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Procrastination's Impact in the Workplace and the Workplace's Impact on Procrastination

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Procrastination is a self-regulatory failure, whose costs are debated. Here, we establish its impact in the workplace. Using an Internet sample, we assessed 22,053 individuals in terms of their sex, employment status, employment duration, income, occupational attainment and level of procrastination. High levels of procrastination is associated with lower salaries, shorter durations of employment, and a greater likelihood of being unemployed or under employed rather than working full-time. Also, procrastination partially mediates sex's relationship with these work variables. Women tend to procrastinate less than men, evidently giving women an employment advantage. If women procrastinated the same as men, there should be 1.5 million fewer women in full-time employment in the US. alone. Determining the causes of procrastination in the workplace, we also examined it at an occupational level. The results strongly support the gravitational hypothesis: jobs that require higher levels of motivational skills are less likely to retain procrastinators. However, there was some support that jobs can foster procrastination. Procrastinators tend to have jobs that are lower in intrinsically rewarding qualities.
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Procrastination’s Impact in the Workplace
and the Workplace’s Impact on
Brenda Nguyen*, Piers Steel** and Joseph R. Ferrari***
*University of Calgary, SH441– 2500 University Drive N.W., Calgary, AB, Canada T2N 1N4
**University of Calgary, SH444 – 2500 University Drive N.W., Calgary, AB, Canada T2N 1N4.
***Department of Psychology, DePaul University, 2219 North Kenmore Avenue, Chicago, IL 6061, USA
Procrastination is a self-regulatory failure, whose costs are debated. Here, we establish its
impact in the workplace. Using an Internet sample, we assessed 22,053 individuals in terms
of their sex, employment status, employment duration, income, occupational attainment
and level of procrastination. High levels of procrastination is associated with lower salaries,
shorter durations of employment, and a greater likelihood of being unemployed or under
employed rather than working full-time. Also, procrastination partially mediates sex’s rela-
tionship with these work variables. Women tend to procrastinate less than men, evidently
giving women an employment advantage. If women procrastinated the same as men, there
should be 1.5 million fewer women in full-time employment in the US. alone. Determining
the causes of procrastination in the workplace, we also examined it at an occupational level.
The results strongly support the gravitational hypothesis: jobs that require higher levels of
motivational skills are less likely to retain procrastinators. However, there was some sup-
port that jobs can foster procrastination. Procrastinators tend to have jobs that are lower
in intrinsically rewarding qualities.
1. Introduction
Procrastination is a form of self-regulatory failure,
where we ‘voluntarily delay an intended course of
action despite expecting to be worse off for the delay’
(Steel, 2007, p. 66). For example, a common form of
procrastination is putting off funding a personal retire-
ment plan, with more than 80% of Americans failing to
save enough for their retirement needs, by their own
admission (Byrne, Blake, Cairns, & Dowd, 2006;
O’Donoghue & Rabin, 1999; Venti, 2006). Procrastina-
tion is particularly chronic in the working world. Ap-
proximately 25% of the adult population consider their
procrastination to be a defining personality trait
(Ferrari, Diaz-Morales, O’Callaghan, Diaz, & Argumedo,
2007; Steel, 2007).
Procrastination, as Steel (2011) reviews, is associated
with lower wealth, health and well-being. Still, as
Partnoy (2012) documents, there is still considerable
debate about whether procrastination can be an adap-
tive work strategy, with some suggesting procrastination
can be in our best interests (Fischer, 2001). For ex-
ample, Berg and Gigerenzer (2010) argue that irrational
behavior, which would include procrastination, has no
established impact, stating that ‘Notably missing is invest-
igation of whether people who deviate from axiomatic
rationality face economically significant losses’ (p. 133)
and ‘the normative interpretation of deviations as mis-
takes does not follow from an empirical investigation
linking deviations to negative outcomes’ (p. 150).
To resolve this issue, we need to better assess its
personal impact in the working world. Also, we address
the role job characteristics play in its prevalence. In par-
ticular, we ask ‘Do specific jobs attract procrastinators
or create them?’
1.1. Impact of procrastination
Procrastination comprises over a quarter of most
people’s working days, costing employers about $10,000
per employee per year (D’Abate & Eddy, 2007; Steel,
2011). In the present study, we explore the impact
International Journal of Selection and Assessment Volume 21Number 4 December 2013
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procrastination has in the workplace on the individual,
rather than the employer. We investigate the precise
relationship procrastination has with income, employ-
ment status and employment duration.
1.2. Income impact
Does procrastination decrease salary? It seems so. With
respect to income, procrastinators showed a negative
correlation of −.26 with self-reported financial success
(Mehrabian, 2000). This mirrors the relationship ob-
served between income and other constructs related to
procrastination. To begin with, procrastination is often
a symptom of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
(ADHD), along with other shared features such as dis-
tractibility and disorganization (Resnick, 2005). Accord-
ingly, Fletcher (2013) finds that ADHD reduces earnings
by approximately 30%. Furthermore, procrastination is
related to conscientiousness although not identical to it
(Schouwenburg, 2004); conscientiousness is a broad
construct, with procrastination best understood as
being one of its central facets. As per previous research
and review, facets of conscientiousness have theoretical
value over and above the broader trait and have the
capability to incrementally predict as well (Connelly &
Ones, 2007; Judge & Kammeyer-Mueller, 2012; O’Neill
& Paunonen, 2013). Consequently, we expect procras-
tination to show similar findings as conscientiousness
but not necessarily duplicate them. Spurk and Abele
(2011) reviewed and confirmed conscientiousness’ rela-
tionship to salary. Also, Judge, Livingston, and Hurst
(2012) re-analyzed results from the National Survey of
Midlife Development in the US, who were assessed on
both income and the Big Five personality traits. Drawing
on 1,681individuals from the 1995–1996 survey, they
found that conscientiousness’ regression weight with in-
come was a positive $3,874.84, with men showing a
stronger relationship than women.
The reason for the stronger effect with men may be
due to simple occupational segregation. Conscientious-
ness is a consistent predictor of job performance
(Clarke & Robertson, 2005; Dudley, Orvis, Lebiecki, &
Cortina, 2006). To the extent that men are in higher
paying jobs, they receive a larger financial reward for
superior performance. Based on this, we make two
Hypothesis 1a: Procrastination is associated with lower
Hypothesis 1b: Gender will moderate the relationship
between procrastination and income such that it is
stronger for men than women.
1.3. Employment status impact
Employment status refers to whether people are un-
employed, working part-time or full-time. Fletcher
(2013) found that ADHD, which typically has procras-
tination as key symptom, results in a 10% reduction
in employment. As meta-analytically summarized by
Kanfer, Wanberg, and Kantrowitz (2001), conscien-
tiousness is significantly related to job search behaviors
and employment outcomes, including shorter search
duration. Directly examining the relationship between
procrastination and job search is Lay and Brokenshire
(1997), who found that procrastination has a more
consistent relationship with dilatory job search behav-
iors than conscientiousness. Senecal and Guay (2000)
confirmed that procrastination leads to delay in the job
search while Turban, Lee, da Motta Veiga, Haggard,
and Wu (2013) found that procrastination was related
to fewer number of job interviews. Finally, in award
winning research, Wanberg, Zhu, and van Hooft (2010)
connect unemployment to action-state, essentially the
ability to follow through and not procrastinate on
intentions. Consequently, we put forth these two
Hypothesis 2a: Procrastination will be associated with a
reduced period of employment.
Hypothesis 2b: Procrastination will be associated with
employment status.
In addition, we also expect procrastination to mediate
the relationship between employment status and sex, as
well as salary and sex. Specifically, we expect procrasti-
nation to partially account for the rise of women in the
workplace. As per Statistics Canada’s (2011) Labour
Force Survey, women have consistently increased their
percentage of total employment for decades, comprising
approximately 48% of the Canadian workforce in 2009.
Similarly, the U.S. Department of Labor (2009) reports
women comprise approximately 47% of the US work-
force in 2009 and are expected to represent the major-
ity of the labor force increase through to 2018. Salaries
have also risen. Although not approaching parity, US
women’s wages have increased from approximately 60%
of what men typical make during the 1960s, to approx-
imately 77% today (National Committee on Pay Equity,
2011). This rise is due to a variety of reasons, including
historically greater access to capital and education.
However, basic personality differences between the
sexes might be assisting this process too.
To begin with, women tend to have more self-
discipline than men (Higgins & Tewksbury, 2006), with
two large-scale investigations specifically showing that
women procrastinate less than men (Gröpel & Steel,
2008; Steel, 2007). Second, jobs have increasingly less
supervision, requiring more self-discipline and self-
regulation to ensure high performance (Cascio, 1995;
Davis & Blass, 2007). In his review, Cascio (1995)
indicated that continual learning and education for
higher-order thinking is needed in workers as the 21st
century workplace is shifting toward a more virtual,
Procrastination’s Impact 389
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Volume 21Number 4 December 2013
boundary-less, and flexible environment. Thus, this un-
structured environment indicates an increasing impor-
tance of personality, specifically for procrastination as a
selection tool. Those who are less able to self-regulate
should perform more poorly with research already es-
tablishing that procrastination is important for perform-
ance, being negatively associated with academic grades,
health, financial well-being and subjective well-being
(Steel, 2007). Combining these two points suggests that
market forces are partially responsible for women’s in-
creasing participation and success in today’s workplace.
Of note, this self-discipline hypothesis is similar to
what has already been put forth to explain women’s
present dominance in education, where they now earn
approximately 55% to 60% of university degrees and
are far more likely to graduate (Goldin, Katz, &
Kuziemko, 2006; Heckman & LaFontaine, 2010; Janosz,
Archambault, Morizot, & Pagani, 2008). Consequently,
procrastination may be the reason for the discrepancy
in educational attainment between women and men. As
Goldin et al. (2006) conclude: ‘One source of the persist-
ent female advantage in K-12 school performance and
the new female lead in college attainment is the higher
incidence of behavioral problems (or lower level of
noncognitive skills) among boys’ (p. 153). Indeed, Steel
and Ferrari (2012) found that procrastination accounted
for approximately one-third of the variance between
sex and education. Extending this from an educational
realm, where lower average levels of procrastination
help women achieve higher levels of education, we ex-
pect that women benefit from lower levels of procrasti-
nation in terms of employment status and salary.
Hypothesis 2c: Procrastination will mediate the relation-
ship between employment and sex as well as salary and
1.4. Job characteristics and procrastination
Not all jobs have the same degree of procrastination or
number of procrastinators. Hammer and Ferrari (2002)
found that procrastination differs among professions,
with those in white-collar jobs reporting higher rates
of procrastination compared to blue-collar workers.
Ferrari, Doroszko, and Joseph (2005) found procrastina-
tion higher among self-employed (i.e., lawyers, physi-
cians) than white-collar workers and higher among sales
personnel than middle-managers. Also, Taras, Steel, and
Ponak (2010) found that professional arbitrators, a pro-
fession where any delay of a decision can be very costly,
tend to report less procrastination.
Barrick, Mount, and Li’s (2013) Theory of Purposeful
Work Behavior provides one explanation for this vari-
ation. Essentially, employees’ work strivings increase
when individuals positively interpret the worthiness or
meaningfulness of their work. Consequently, workplaces
can have ‘amotivational’ job characteristics that exacer-
bate procrastination by lacking value (Ryan & Deci,
2000). In Barrick et al.’s words, ‘when the individual
experiences meaningfulness, this triggers task-specific
motivational processes (e.g., self-efficacy, expectancy
beliefs) that lead to performance outcomes’ (p. 138).
Supplementing the Theory of Purposeful Work Behavior
are two other potential explanations for the variation in
procrastination among occupations. First, reflecting per-
sonnel or self-selection, workplaces may require timeli-
ness or motivational skills antithetical to procrastination.
Consequently, chronic procrastinators are simply less
likely to stay or be hired. Second, the job may be highly
supervised and routinized, providing little opportunity
for procrastination.
1.5. Exacerbating procrastination
Nicholas Carr’s (2010) book, The Shallows, popularized
the notion that our work environment is making us
more distractible and potentially responsible for our
procrastination. Certainly, the workplace has the capa-
city to increase procrastination. Procrastination has
been repeatedly found to vary with task characteristics,
‘most strongly associated with the aversive task compo-
nents of frustration, resentment, and, in particular,
boredom’ (Steel, 2007, p. 75). Also, since job design has
primarily drawn on mechanistic models rather than mo-
tivational ones (Campion, Mumford, Morgeson, &
Nahrgang, 2005), we expect these procrastination-
exacerbating job characteristics to occur regularly. The
result is that some jobs are more motivationally alienat-
ing and likely to foster procrastination (Barrick et al.,
2013). Since people’s self-concept is strongly influenced
by their working lives (Christiansen, 1999; Laliberte-
Rudman, 2002), jobs that ‘encourage’ procrastination
lead workers to identify themselves as procrastinators.
Essentially, people draw on their experience at work
when reflecting on whether they procrastinate. Further
illustrating the importance of the workplace, Steel
(2002) found almost identical responses to a procrasti-
nation inventory when ‘at work’ tags were added com-
pared to when they were not.
What type of job characteristics could give rise to
procrastination? Here, we rely on O*NET job descrip-
tions. O*NET or the Occupational Information Net-
work is an extensive effort by the US Department of
Labor to provide detailed information on jobs from a
variety of perspectives (Peterson et al., 2001). Focusing
on a job’s potential motivational qualities, the O*NET
provides work values. Work values are based on Dawis
and Lofquist’s (1984) Theory of Work Adjustment,
which states that jobs differ according to Occupational
Reinforcer Patterns (ORP). An occupation is reinforcing
or motivating if it provides an environment that can sat-
isfy basic human needs. These needs are described by a
390 Brenda Nguyen, Piers Steel and Joseph R. Ferrari
International Journal of Selection and Assessment
Volume 21Number 4 December 2013
©2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
variety of terminologies, but as used by O*NET, these
ORPs are grouped into the following six categories.
1.Achievement: The job allows accomplishment and the
utilization of one’s abilities.
2. Independence: The job permits creativity and personal
3. Recognition: The job provides status and prestige.
4. Relationship: The job fosters collegial relationships
and social service.
5. Support: The job is predictable and stable, with super-
visors who manage well and provide appropriate
6. Working Conditions: The job is comfortable, and pro-
vides a variety of work with little stress.
Jobs where procrastination occurs should have lower
ORP scores, in that the work is not as likely to satisfy
people’s basic needs. As Steel (2007) finds, ‘Consistently
and strongly, the more people dislike a task, the more
they consider it effortful or anxiety producing, the more
they procrastinate’ (p. 75).
Hypothesis 3a: Procrastination should be negatively cor-
related with work values.
1.6. Selection and procrastination
The variation of procrastination among jobs can also be
accounted for by the gravitational hypothesis, where
people gravitate or move to jobs commensurate with
their abilities (Wilk, Desmarais, & Sackett, 1995). Altern-
atively, we can think of this in terms of person-job or
person-organizational fit (Kristof-Brown, Zimmerman, &
Johnson, 2006), in that our ability to refrain from pro-
crastinating is necessary for us to be well matched to
specific occupations. Consequently, certain jobs require
us not to procrastinate while other occupations are
more forgiving.
Drawing on O*NET job descriptions again, two con-
tent areas are particularly relevant: occupational inter-
ests and work styles. Occupational interests are based
upon Holland’s (1973) model of work environments and
personality types (Sager, 1999). Consistent with Hol-
land’s taxonomy, there are six occupational interest
profiles, coming under the acronym RIASEC.
1.Realistic: Physically or mechanically inclined; a doer.
2. Investigative: Task-oriented and interested in intellec-
tual or scientific endeavors; a thinker.
3. Artistic: Interested in self-expression and is artistically
oriented; a creator.
4. Social: Responsible, supporting and sociable; a helper.
5. Enterprising: Focuses on dominating, leading or selling;
a persuader.
6. Conventional: Detailed, orderly and precise; an
According to Holland (1973) ‘the choice of a vocation is
an expression of personality’ (p. 6), where we choose or
are chosen for jobs that are compatible with our inter-
ests. Of note, whether it is more of the former, where
we choose, or the latter, where we are chosen, is a
matter of contention.
Conscientiousness, the broad trait under which the
personality facet procrastination is subsumed, has been
investigated with RIASEC at both the occupational and
the individual level. At the occupational level, which we
focus upon, Judge, Higgins, Thoresen, and Barrick (1999)
found that those high in conscientiousness tend to be in
investigative jobs. At the individual level however,
Larson, Rottinghaus, and Borgen’s (2002) meta-analysis
found that openness to experience was the trait most
strongly associated with interest in investigative jobs,
although not necessarily employment. This highlights
Lubinski and Benbow’s (2000) contention that voca-
tional counseling, which primarily matches people to
occupational preferences, is quite different from
determining whether they will also succeed in that occu-
pation. In any case, since our own investigation is also
at an occupational level, we expect to replicate Judge
et al.’s (1999) finding. Notably, procrastination is negat-
ively associated with a task-oriented coping style
(Berzonsky, 1992), which matches the task-oriented dis-
position seen in investigative jobs.
Hypothesis 3b: Procrastination should be negatively cor-
related with investigative occupations.
In addition to occupational interests, O*NET provides
information on work styles (Borman, Kubisiak, &
Schneider, 1999). Work styles are key areas of fit be-
tween the personality or values of the individual and
that of the occupation or organization. For example, the
job of computer programming requires more analytical
thinking than the job of police officer, which in turn re-
quires considerably more self-control than that of com-
puter programming. O*NET considers six work styles:
1.Achievement/Effort: Requiring goal setting and striving
for work competence.
2. Social Influence: Requiring energy and taking charge.
3. Interpersonal Orientation: Requiring working with oth-
ers and being cooperative.
4. Adjustment: Requiring maturity and self-control in
emotionally challenging situations.
5. Conscientiousness: Requiring dependability and com-
mitment to the job.
6. Practical Intelligence: Requiring logical thinking and
finding creative, innovative solutions.
Given the nature of procrastination, we expect negative
correlations with all work styles except two: interper-
sonal orientation and practical intelligence. As Steel’s
(2007) meta-analytic review indicates, procrastination
is associated with reduced planning and need for
Procrastination’s Impact 391
©2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd International Journal of Selection and Assessment
Volume 21Number 4 December 2013
achievement (i.e., Achievement/Effort), reduced energy
(i.e., Social Influence), less self-control (i.e., Adjustment),
and lower levels of conscientiousness (see also Gröpel
& Steel, 2008). On the other hand, procrastination’s
correlation with extraversion (i.e., Interpersonal Orien-
tation) was weak (−.13) and nonexistent with intelli-
gence (i.e., Practical Intelligence). Conscientiousness
according to the O*NET work styles involves commit-
ment to the job and is influenced by affective commit-
ment, one of three components of the job commitment
model (Meyer & Allen, 1991). Those with high affective
commitment are more motivated on the job and conse-
quently these individuals procrastinate less.
Hypothesis 3c: Procrastination should be negatively cor-
related with achievement/effort, social influence, adjust-
ment and conscientiousness.
1.7. Supervision and procrastination
The relationship between supervision and procrastina-
tion can be disputed, hinging on the issue of situational
strength. Highly regulated jobs are described as ‘strong
environments’, which leave little opportunity for motiva-
tional individual differences to manifest (Withey,
Gellatly, & Annett, 2005). A tightly supervised factory
job, for example, provides few opportunities to procras-
tinate. If job characteristics are fostering procrastination,
then jobs that permit putting tasks off should have em-
ployees who report more procrastination.
On the other hand, Meyer, Dalal, and Bonaccio
(2009) research suggests the opposite. Meta-analytically
determining whether the conscientiousness-
performance correlation is moderated by job character-
istics, they matched job descriptions from individual
validation studies to O*NET occupational units. Using
six O*NET job characteristics, they created a ‘con-
straint’ summary variable, an indicator of the situational
strength of the occupation. Jobs which are very struc-
tured or have little freedom are highly constrained.
Meyer et al. (2009) found that the more constrained a
job becomes, the lower the relationship between con-
scientiousness and performance. Constraint moderates
the relationship or, in other words, the more autonomy
you are given at work, the more you need to self-
regulate (Behling, 1998). Combined with the gravitational
hypothesis, Meyer et al.’s (2009) research indicates that
those within constrained work environments are more
likely to report they are procrastinators, not less. If we
find that procrastination is associated with less con-
straint, it makes the gravitational hypothesis a less de-
pendable principle. Such a finding would have practical
implications for selection, especially synthetic validity, a
methodology that helps to create personnel selection
systems without a traditional criterion validation study
(Steel, Huffcutt, & Kammeyer-Mueller, 2006).
Consequently, we have two opposing although non-
exclusive hypotheses. Job characteristics creating pro-
crastination may be mitigated by the gravitational
hypothesis. We are uncertain which will dominate but
do not expect a complete cancellation.
Hypothesis 4: Procrastination should be associated with
2. Method
2.1. Procedure
Data collection was conducted similar to Rentfrow,
Gosling, and Potter (2008). That is, self-reported pro-
crastination and demographic information was obtained
over the World Wide Web using a noncommercial,
advertisement free website. In return for their involve-
ment, respondents received feedback about their com-
parative level of procrastination and some suggestions
regarding ways to reduce it. Respondents were at-
tracted to the website through a variety of ways:
50.8% referring sites, 27.3% search engines, and 21.9%
direct traffic. This methodology permits gathering a
large and diverse sample needed to detect small me-
diation effects. Also, Gosling, Vazire, Srivastava, and
John (2004) found that web-based surveys like this
usually provide results consistent with traditional
Data collection occurred over 3 years, between
March 2007 and March 2010, imbedded in a series of
other data collection efforts regarding procrastination.
The procrastination scale used was the Irrational Procras-
tination Scale (IPS; Steel, 2010), containing nine items
such as ‘When I should be doing one thing, I will do an-
other.’ The scale has been previously validated in a scale
development study and shows good discriminant and
convergent validity when administered either via Inter-
net or paper and pencil, including correlating well with
observed procrastination behavior (Steel, 2002, 2010).
Specifically, the IPS has demonstrated good convergent
validity, correlating at .87 with the Pure Procrastination
Scale, which is itself composed of the first factor ex-
tracted from the three other widely used procrastina-
tion scales. It has shown divergent validity with
conscientiousness (.45) and self-discipline (.61), as well
as adequate test-retest reliability after 4 months (.67). It
is also correlated at .41with observed academic delay.
In addition, we assessed a variety of work and demo-
graphic variables. Respondents indicated their sex, age,
work status (i.e., unemployed, part-time, full-time), job
duration, annual income, and occupational description.
Participants who filled out the survey received feedback
on their procrastination along with some advice on how
to improve their behavior. See Table 1for response
392 Brenda Nguyen, Piers Steel and Joseph R. Ferrari
International Journal of Selection and Assessment
Volume 21Number 4 December 2013
©2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Screening of the data resulted in an 11.7% reduction
in sample size, leaving 22,053 (55.1% women, 44.9%
men) respondents. This reduction was primarily due to
respondents reporting being less than 17 years of age or
failing to sufficiently fill out the demographic portion of
the survey. Answering the demographic questions was
not required by the respondent to receive personal
feedback. Standard screening for duplicates and nonsens-
ical responses (e.g., length of employment was greater
than age of participant) was also conducted.
For analyses specifically involving occupational attain-
ment, the data were further reduced. Duplicating the
established protocol of Judge et al. (1999) and Meyer
et al. (2009), two of the authors independently matched
jobs with O*NET job codes using respondents’ open-
ended descriptions and O*NET job descriptions. Dis-
agreements over coding were then resolved. If a job
code could be not be mutually agreed upon, the respond-
ent’s occupational response was discarded. Aside from
the role of homemaker, we were able to identify 490
occupations from the responses of 11,017 people. The
remaining respondents did not provide a job description
or did not provide enough information to be unambigu-
ously identified. Table 2 shows a sample of 15 occupa-
tions, along with the average level of procrastination.
Once O*NET codes were attached to jobs, the O*NET
database was accessed to obtain the relevant job charac-
teristics needed to assess: work value, work style, occu-
pational interest, and constraint.
3. Results
Consistent with the results of Steel (2010), the IPS
proved to be high reliable (α=.91;SD = .85). Descript-
ive demographic information for nominal or ordinal
variables along with average procrastination scores is
reported in Table 1. Average job duration, excluding
those reporting any durations of zero, is 7.0 years
(SD =8.1).
3.1. Impact on income: hypotheses 1a and 1b
To begin with, the jobs procrastinators typically are em-
ployed in do not pay as well, correlating with salary
at −.18(p<.0001). Using regression, R2= .03, F(1,
19119) = 665.86, p<.0001, with a regression weight of
12,662.74, results showed that the drop in procras-
tination consistently decreases with each increase in pay
grade (see Table 1). Using the IPS’s standard deviation of
.85, a single point increase in the procrastination scale
(e.g., going froma3toa4ona5-point scale) is associ-
ated with a $14,897 drop in yearly income. Hypothesis
1a is confirmed: Procrastination is associated with lower
Similar to Judge et al.’s (2012) conscientiousness in-
vestigation, this effect intensified when examining men
(R2= .05, F(1, 8903) = 438.48, b=−16,893.2, p<.0001)
rather than women (R2= .03, F(1,10179) = 340.26,
b=−10,877.21,p<.0001). Comparing with Judge et al.’s
(2012) archival analyses, procrastination is among the
most important personality trait so far identified for
predicting yearly income, perhaps second to agreeable-
ness (depending on the currency conversion methodo-
logy used). Hypothesis 1b is confirmed: The relationship
Table 1. Demographic characteristics and average procrastina-
tion level of participants
Characteristic N% Procrastination
Male 9,885 44.9 3.69
Female 12,115 55.13.54
Employment status
Unemployed 1,253 7.8 3.92
Working part-time 2,420 15.13.71
Working full-time 12,297 77.0 3.50
Annual income
Less than $10,000 3,511 18.4 3.85
$10,000 to $20,000 1,848 9.7 3.83
$20,000 to $30,000 1,749 9.13.70
$30,000 to $40,000 1,682 8.8 3.59
$40,000 to $50,000 1,697 8.9 3.55
$50,000 to $60,000 1,5818.3 3.52
$60,000 to $75,000 1,764 9.2 3.50
$75,000 to $100,000 2,069 10.8 3.47
$100,000 to $200,000 2,426 12.7 3.36
$200,000+ 794 4.2 3.28
Table 2. Mean procrastination levels and percentile rank asso-
ciated with jobs from a sample of occupations
Occupation NRank Mean (SD)
High procrastination jobs
Food servers 22 100.0 4.39 (.64)
Legal secretaries 20 98.7 4.04 (.20)
Computer systems administrators 18 98.3 3.91(.18)
Library assistants 14 97.4 3.89 (.22)
Sales representative 37 96.5 3.87 (.13)
Moderate procrastination jobs
Photographers 25 74.8 3.64 (.17)
Poets, lyricists and creative writers 274 75.7 3.66 (.05)
Lawyers 416 65.2 3.59 (.04)
Education teachers, postsecondary 63 45.3 3.53 (.73)
General operation managers 569 27.0 3.46 (.76)
Low procrastination jobs
Chief executives 162 9.4 3.32 (.79)
Librarians 111 7.5 3.25 (.72)
Economists 28 4.4 3.20 (.81)
Loan officers 20 1.9 3.14 (.73)
Military officer special and tactical
operations leaders
26 2.5 3.16 (.85)
Note: Rank indicates the procrastination percentile rank with respect
to jobs with the highest procrastination. Food servers had the highest
procrastination score and represented the 100th percentile.
Procrastination’s Impact 393
©2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd International Journal of Selection and Assessment
Volume 21Number 4 December 2013
that procrastination has with income is stronger for
men than women.
3.2. Impact on employment status: hypotheses
2a, 2b and 2c
What jobs procrastinators do obtain, they do not keep
for as long; employment duration correlates with pro-
crastination at −.10(p<.001). On a one to five scale, a
one point increase in procrastination translates into, on
average, 322 fewer days of employment. Hypothesis 2a
is confirmed: Procrastination is associated with a re-
duced period of employment.
Employment status was assessed in terms of unem-
ployed, part-time work, or full-time work. Notably, as
per Table 1, the percentages approximate the economic
conditions during data collection, with an unemploy-
ment rate of 7.8%. Procrastinators trend toward un-
employment (r=−.14, p<.0001). Further comparisons
were conducted using regression dummy coding and
correcting for uneven splits. Procrastinators are indeed
more likely to be unemployed rather than working
full-time (r= −.23, p<.0001) and, if working, working
part-time rather than full-time (r=−.12, p<.0001). Hy-
pothesis 2b is confirmed: Procrastination is associated
with being unemployed or under employed.
Finally, we determined whether procrastination medi-
ated the relationship between sex and employment. Sex
and employment status (i.e., unemployed, part-time, and
full-time) were negatively correlated at −.10(p<.0001),
meaning that women tend to be unemployed or under
employed (i.e., part-time). On the other hand, focusing
on those who report being part of the labor force (i.e.,
reporting either full- or part-time employment) versus
being unemployed, the correlation reduces to −.03
(p<.0001). The reduction is largely due to women
being more likely to be in part-time work rather than in
full-time positions (r=.13, p<.0001). For all these rela-
tionships, the Sobel test for mediation was significant
(p<.0001), meaning that procrastination helps to ex-
plain women’s employment status. Controlling for pro-
crastination, these correlations change slightly. Sex and
employment status becomes −.11 (p<.0001), sex and
being employed within the labor force becomes −.04
(p<.0001), and sex and part-time work becomes .14
Although these correlation differences appear to be
small, in this context, a .01change in correlation trans-
lates into a half a percentage point difference in the sex
employment ratio. In other words, if women procras-
tinated at the same level as men, there would be about
.5% more women than men who are unemployed and
.5% more women who are working part-time instead of
full-time. Adding the unemployed and under employed
percentages together to calculate the full-time employ-
ment opportunities that go to women rather than men
would equal to about 1% of the total labor force.
For sex, its correlation with salary increases from
−.12to−.14 after controlling for procrastination, which
the Sobel test for mediation indicates as significant
(p<.0001). In our sample, women were paid on average
$14,027 less than men. Of note, supporting the
generalizability of the sample, this represents women
being paid 79.8% of what men make, very close to
observed national US average of 77.4% (National
Committee on Pay Equity, 2011). Interpreting these re-
sults, if women procrastinate at the same level as men,
the income difference would have increased to $16,667,
an additional $2,640. In other words, although women
are paid less than men, if both sexes procrastinate at
similar levels, women would be paid even less. Hypo-
thesis 2c is confirmed: Procrastination mediates the re-
lationship between employment and sex as well as salary
and sex.
3.3. Job characteristics and procrastination:
hypotheses 3a, 3b and 3c
Before examining our hypothesis regarding job charac-
teristics and procrastination, we confirmed that jobs do
differ in terms of procrastination levels. To establish
this, we conducted a one-way ANOVA with random ef-
fects, letting the O*NET coded occupations predict pro-
crastination. We obtained a partial η2 of .062 (F(488,
10722) = 1.46, p<.0001), similar but somewhat larger
than Ones and Viswesvaran’s (2003) finding that about
4% of personality variance is at the occupation level. In-
deed, occupations differ regarding the average level of
procrastination of their incumbents (see Table 2). We
proceeded to analyze this variance at a mean level,
based on occupations with 10 or more respondents.
This gave us a sample of 160 occupations. Consistent
with the recommended procedure for occupational
level analyses (cf. Steel & Kammeyer-Mueller, 2009), we
used weighted least squares (WLS) regression based on
the standard error of the mean. This reflects that more
emphasis should be given to occupations with more re-
spondents and that can be more accurately estimated.
Investigating whether jobs might create procrastina-
tion, we conducted an analysis of work values. Based on
Dawis and Lofquist’s (1984) research, O*NET provides
work values, which are essentially needs that are import-
ant to an employee’s satisfaction. As discussed, jobs
with low value should be associated with higher levels of
procrastination. Using WLS regression, we obtained
these results, most statistically significant and all negative
in direction: Achievement (R2=.10, F(1,149) = 17.07,
p<.001); Independence (R2=.12, F(1,149) = 20.56, p<
.001); Recognition (R2=.10, F(1,149) = 16.01,p<.001);
Relationship (R2= .07, F(1,149) = 11.51,p=.001); Sup-
port (R2= .02, F(1,149) = 2.80, p=.10); and Working
394 Brenda Nguyen, Piers Steel and Joseph R. Ferrari
International Journal of Selection and Assessment
Volume 21Number 4 December 2013
©2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Conditions (R2=.12, F(1,149) = 20.71,p<.001). Hy-
pothesis 3a is supported; procrastinators tend to oc-
cupy jobs lacking value altogether.
To investigate the gravitational hypothesis, we duplic-
ated Judge et al.’s (1999) methodology and conducted a
WLS multiple regression analysis using all six of Hol-
land’s RIASEC occupational interest typology: realistic,
investigative, artistic, social, enterprising, and conven-
tional. The results are reported in Table 3, R2=.13
(F(6,144) = 3.72, p=.002). As can be seen, procrastina-
tors do not tend to be in investigative jobs. Hypothesis
3b is supported.
Finally, to investigate work styles, we used WLS re-
gression. Examining each work style separately, we ob-
tained these results, all statistically significant and again
all negative in direction: Achievement/Effort (R2=.13,
F(1,146) = 20.86, p<.001); Social Influence (R2=.18,
F(1,146) = 32.48, p<.001); Interpersonal Orientation
(R2= .06, F(1,146)=9.15, p=.003); Adjustment (R2=
.10, F(1,146) = 16.52, p<.001); Conscientiousness
(R2=.13, F(1,146)=21.66, p<.001); and Practical
Intelligence (R2= .09, F(1,146) = 15.16, p<.001).
Hypothesis 3c is supported. Although interpersonal
orientation and practical intelligence were not pre-
dicted as being influential, they were the two work
styles with the lowest association with procrastination.
It appears that procrastination is significantly more
common in jobs that require a substantial degree of
motivational characteristics.
3.4. Supervision and procrastination:
hypotheses 4
We investigated Meyer et al.’s (2009) O*NET sum-
mary dimension of constraint. If jobs are fostering pro-
crastination by allowing long periods of unstructured
time, constraint should be negatively associated with
procrastination. On the other hand, if the gravitational
hypothesis is more important, high constraint jobs
should be positively associated with procrastination, as
structured and highly regulated environments, ‘strong
environments,’ make individual differences in motiva-
tion less important. Using WLS regression, procrastina-
tion was positively associated with constraint (R2= .24,
F(1,147) = 46.21,p<.001). Hypothesis 4 is confirmed,
with the gravitational hypothesis supported.
4. Discussion
As George Ainslie, one of the research pioneers in the
area of motivation, puts it, ‘In a prosperous society
most misery is self-inflicted. We smoke, eat and drink
to excess, and become addicted to drugs, gambling,
credit card abuse, destructive emotional relationships,
and simple procrastination, usually while attempting
not to do so’ (Ainslie, 2005, p. 635). Indeed, the find-
ings here confirm that the last of these, procrastina-
tion, is indeed associated with unhappiness. We
provide here the first detailed estimates of its potential
impact on employment.
To begin with, procrastination is significantly associ-
ated with lower income. A single point increase in
procrastination on a 5-point scale is associated with ap-
proximately a $15,000 drop in salary, with the relation-
ship being slightly stronger for men than women. This
suggests that procrastination could be the most import-
ant personality trait associated with income that we
have yet identified, perhaps second to agreeableness.
Furthermore, procrastination is associated with reduced
employment. This time, a single point increase in pro-
crastination on a 5-point scale is associated with, on av-
erage, 322 fewer days of employment. If we split our
procrastination distribution into two groups, procras-
tinators and nonprocrastinators, we would find that
procrastinators comprise 57% of the unemployed. Simi-
larly, of those working part-time rather than full-time,
procrastinators would comprise only 44% of full-time
workers compared to 56% of full-time workers who
would be nonprocrastinators. Although these results
are based on correlational data, previous research on
constructs related to procrastination strongly indicates
these relationships are likely causal (e.g., Clarke &
Robertson, 2005; Wanberg et al., 2010).
Of particular interest is that procrastination mediated
the relationship between sex and employment and sex
and salary. Potentially, procrastination partially accounts
for women gaining ground in the workforce. Women
procrastinate less than men and appear to reap a com-
petitive advantage because of it. If women were to pro-
crastinate at the same level as men and the apparent
competitive advantage was removed, we would expect
over 1.5 million fewer women in full-time employment
in the US alone and the ones that remain would likely
be paid several thousands of dollars less.
Consistent with the Theory of Purposeful Work Behavior
(Barrick et al., 2013), we considered whether job char-
acteristics might contribute to the degree of procras-
tination. Jobs do differ in the degree of observed
Table 3. Weighted least squares regression analysis summary
for RIASEC predicting procrastination
Variable M (SD)BSEBβSig.
Realistic 2.63 (1.65) .018.012.152 .119
Investigative 3.62 (2.01) −.028 .010 −.283 .007
Artistic 2.98 (1.77) −.012.012−.111 .328
Social 3.84 (1.97) −.018 .009 −.178 .06
Enterprising 4.35 (1.96) −.031.012 −.290 .011
Conventional 4.31(1.58) −.022 .015−.169 .133
Procrastination’s Impact 395
©2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd International Journal of Selection and Assessment
Volume 21Number 4 December 2013
procrastination and there was some support that jobs
create procrastination; that is, the jobs procrastinators
tend to hold seem uniquely suited to promote pro-
crastination. The relationship between procrastination
and work values was consistently negative, supporting
Ainslie’s observation that procrastination can be instilled
or inflicted. In short, procrastinators tend to be in jobs
that are lower in characteristics that would provide
motivation. On the other hand, there was consistent
support for the gravitational hypothesis, that procras-
tinators seek jobs that are commensurate with their
self-disciplinary skills. Procrastinators tend to be in jobs
that do not require definite work styles, with the
top four in order of strength being: Social Influence (i.e.,
requiring energy), Conscientiousness (i.e., requiring
dependability), Achievement/Effort (i.e., requiring plan-
ning), and Adjustment (i.e., requiring self-control). Simi-
larly, they do not tend to be in jobs requiring
investigative work, which requires organizational skills
that they do not tend to possess. Also, in support of
Meyer et al.’s (2009) work, procrastinators tend to be
in jobs with high constraint, which is plausible from a
labor market perspective. A performance enhancing
trait like conscientiousness or low procrastination con-
centrates in jobs where it is most valuable: ones with
high levels of autonomy.
4.1. Strengths, limitations and future research
This study further expands the person–environment fit
literature. As Roberts, Kuncel, Shiner, Caspi, and
Goldberg (2007) review, ‘there are far fewer studies
linking personality traits directly to indices of occupa-
tional attainment’ (p. 333). Furthermore, what has been
done primarily focuses on general mental ability (Reeve
& Heggestad, 2004) rather than the personality and
self-regulatory characteristics we considered here.
This study was conducted with an Internet sampling
methodology, which often provides comparatively ro-
bust results; web-based surveys like this provide findings
consistent with traditional methodologies (Gosling et al.,
2004). Supporting its generalizability, key findings were
replicated from previous investigations, such as the ob-
served degree of unemployment, women versus wage
disparity, and the level of variance in the procrastination
By some standards, the effect sizes obtained are small.
However, the strength of these correlations is typical of
what is seen in the psychological field (Richard, Bond, &
Stokes-Zoota, 2003); for example, procrastination ac-
counted for approximately 50% more variance at the
occupational level than seen with most personality traits
(Ones & Viswesvaran, 2003). Also, as Roberts et al.
(2007) review, they are sufficiently large for directing
public policy. Another limitation is that the results are
correlational, hampering causal conclusions. However,
there is a strong research base to assist in making
stronger inferences. Also, it would be extraordinarily
difficult, and consequently yet to be done, to investigate
this topic (i.e., employment and personality) experimen-
tally at a reasonable level of power (i.e., across hun-
dreds of occupations). As per Judge et al. (1999), if we
are to investigate personality and job characteristics
across a wide range of occupations, a survey methodol-
ogy should be used.
For future research, it would be useful to take
advantage of procrastination’s substantive connection
to education and especially career success (Steel, 2007).
Procrastination is associated with a host of employment
relevant criteria and consequently holds promise as a
useful predictor in a selection context. Vocational coun-
selors might well take note that the traits associated
with occupational interest do not necessarily translate
into those associated with occupational attainment, as
per Lubinski and Benbow (2000). Also, Steel et al.
(2010) argue, the future of selection will be in assessing
personality facets, like procrastination. When consider-
ing narrow as well as broad performance dimensions,
facet level analyses are often preferable (Dudley et al.,
2006; Schneider, Hough, & Dunnette, 1996). Still, the
benefit of including procrastination in a selection battery
is uncertain. Because procrastination is associated with
the conscientiousness trait, its ability to incrementally
predict performance may be compromised (i.e., positive
The current study utilized O*NET, a database devel-
oped by the US Department of Labor, to obtain descrip-
tions of occupations. Because two-thirds of our sample
was from the US, this does mean that our results are in-
deed US centric. However, we analyzed the results for
the US and non-US sample separately to determine
whether differences existed and found that they were
very similar, with slightly stronger results for the
non-US sample, indicating that our findings should gen-
eralize to other countries. Still, it is likely that a few job
descriptions and their associated job characteristics do
vary among countries despite having nominally the same
title. As Steel and Kammeyer-Mueller (2009) note with
their own occupational level analysis, this variation can
happen even among jobs within a country. Jobs at differ-
ent organizations are not necessarily identical despite
reflecting the same occupation. This suggests that if fu-
ture research can obtain job characteristic information
for the specific respondent, additional explanatory vari-
ance can be captured.
Finally, we can expect that as the workplace reconfig-
ures itself to rely on characteristics associated more
with women than men (e.g., self-discipline), women will
retain a performance advantage and perhaps even ex-
pand upon it. Given that motivationally poor job design
appears to exacerbate the problem of procrastination,
396 Brenda Nguyen, Piers Steel and Joseph R. Ferrari
International Journal of Selection and Assessment
Volume 21Number 4 December 2013
©2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
some mitigation of this trend is possible. As Carr (2010)
argues, we have actually created a workplace that makes
it exceedingly hard to maintain focused attention. In-
stead, we can design jobs that are inherently motivating
instead of over-relying on the self-motivation of employ-
ees. This would benefit both the employer and em-
ployee, regardless of their sex. On the other hand, since
procrastination affects almost every stage in career de-
velopment, from school performance to the job search,
women’s slight advantage in self-control repeatedly
comes into play, increasing its overall importance in life
achievements. Under these conditions, women’s rise in
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... Procrastination is positively correlated with higher workload levels (DeArmond et al. 2014), lower income, reduced periods of employment, work values, and occupation types (Nguyen et al. 2013). Therefore, Nguyen et al. (2013) found that full-time employees with higher salaries and a stronger work ethic are less likely to procrastinate. ...
... Procrastination is positively correlated with higher workload levels (DeArmond et al. 2014), lower income, reduced periods of employment, work values, and occupation types (Nguyen et al. 2013). Therefore, Nguyen et al. (2013) found that full-time employees with higher salaries and a stronger work ethic are less likely to procrastinate. Ambiguity in the assigned role, goals, and coworkers can also increase the possibility of procrastination (Hen 2018). ...
... Furthermore, compensation system deficiencies and a lack of welfare are the second category of problems that foreign workers face (Han et al. 2008). Factors like low wages, late payments, disparities in the wage rate of foreign workers compared to domestic workers, insufficient accommodations, and medical support are factors that affect the attraction of the industry for foreign workers as well as contribute to workers' procrastination (Nguyen et al. 2013). Foreign workers' poor working conditions, including unsafe work conditions and excessive overtime shifts, also known as another procrastination root, constitute the third category of foreign labor productivity issues (DeArmond et al. 2014;Metin et al. 2016). ...
Procrastination is one of the critical psychological behaviors affecting labor productivity and can occur throughout a project’s life cycle. Several factors cause this phenomenon, from various personal to environmental factors. Affected by such diverse factors, employees often spend a significant amount of time procrastinating by engaging in nonproductive activities in the workplace, which adds to project costs without adding value. To effectively manage worker procrastination, project managers need to control its root causes throughout the project life cycle. However, the current project management literature lacks a holistic approach to addressing the roots of procrastinationThis study conducts a synthesis review to identify the root causes of workplace procrastination. Then a holistic framework is proposed to assist construction project managers in monitoring and managing procrastination throughout projects. The proposed framework is flexible enough to apply to any project organizational structure and provides several strategies for different phases of project life cycles. The main contribution of this paper is to strengthen our understanding of the procrastination phenomenon (i.e., its root causes and consequences) and recommend preventive practices. The implementation of the proposed life-cycle approach is demonstrated in the context of addressing potential procrastination among foreign construction workers, whose cultural and immigrant background often causes them to procrastinate more.
... In fact, researchers have consistently found college students to be particularly prone to academic procrastination (both passively and actively) as compared to other groups of adults (e.g., the workforce or community samples) mainly because of their younger age and the more procrastination-friendly university environment (Harriott & Ferrari, 1996;Hicks & Storey, 2015;Schraw et al., 2007;Steel, 2007;. Unlike college students who have a lot of freedom and flexibility in their own time management, corporate employees rely more on job tasks/goals predefined by their organizations and are often under the influence of schedules and social norms in a team, which would restrain the opportunity for delaying assigned work (Nguyen, Steel, & Ferrari, 2013). On the other hand, given the multiple tasks and dynamic demands faced by many individuals in the contemporary workplace, people may also engage in AP (e.g., intentionally delaying challenging tasks that might benefit from having more time to incubate, or delaying boring projects one may not feel like doing until the last minute) to maximize their overall work efficiency (Choi & Moran, 2009;Kim et al., 2017). ...
... 2) Would their personality traits be rated similarly (or differently) by active procrastinators themselves and their supervisors at work? Because of the differences between college-student and employed-adult samples as previously discussed (Nguyen et al., 2013), we did not formulate specific hypotheses regarding the personality-AP relationships in the work context. To our knowledge, this study is the first to examine the personality predictors of AP in the workplace via multiple sources of personality ratings, which holds promise to expand our knowledge of the AP phenomenon. ...
... When people participate in AP intending to promote their own individual performance and preferences, they could come across as not so cooperative or concerned for others and thus become less likable or socially desirable teammates despite their task competence (see Hogan & Holland, 2003 for the conceptualization of "getting ahead" and "getting along" in a group). As aforementioned, in an academic setting college students may freely determine their own work pace with minimal impact on their peers, but corporate employees are often more interdependent and may check on each other's progress regularly to accomplish team goals (Nguyen et al., 2013). Therefore, one may reconsider AP in the workplace especially when there is a great deal of teamwork involved. ...
What are active procrastinators like? Past research examining the Big Five personality predictors of active procrastination (AP) has found Extraversion and Emotional Stability to be predictive of such a behavioral characteristic. Yet, previous studies suffered from the fact that data were solely collected from undergraduates in academic settings using self-reports of personality. Attempting to extend the personality-AP associations among college students to working adults as well as to expand our knowledge on the personality profiles of active procrastinators according to both self- and other reports, the present study investigated the predictive effects of N = 173 full-time employees’ Big Five personality traits on their AP behaviors in the workplace via self- and supervisor-rated personality. Results revealed that Extraversion and Emotional Stability predicted AP across both rating sources and that in the supervisor-rating results only, the trait Agreeableness emerged as another (negative) predictor of AP. In light of recent developments with multimethod studies in the field of personality research, we discussed possible reasons for the current findings together with the study implications for research and practice related to AP at work.
... Procrastination has traditionally been associated with lower productivity of employees, which has negative consequences for both employees and organizations (Gupta et al., 2012;Nguyen et al., 2013). However, analysing the psychological mechanism, the nature of procrastination is primarily to be related to time management, which is particularly affected by motivation linked with neurophysiological processes (Chen et al., 2020;Zhang et al., 2019). ...
... In addition, demotivating factors (e.g., neuroticism, anxiety, fear of failure) (Day et al., 2000;Steel, 2007), age, gender, culture , parenting factors/consequences (control in the family, extremely strict discipline) (Darlow et al., 2017;Hong et al., 2015), which have residual effects, are especially important in seeking to explain the causes of the emergence of the phenomenon. In addition, some work characteristics may also promote procrastination (Gupta et al., 2012;Nguyen et al., 2013); therefore, it is generally proposed to separate procrastination from conceptually similar concepts such as counterproductive work behaviour, general procrastination, and boredom (Metin et al., 2016). For example, it has been observed that active procrastinators tend to engage in a large number of tasks, which is likely to require constant reorganization and prioritisation of task-related activities (Choi & Moran, 2009). ...
... Klingsieck, 2013;van Eerde, 2003;Haghbin et al., 2012;Goroshit, 2018). It may also have an impact on the lower salary (Nguyen et al., 2013). Many studies show a negative relation between procrastination and health (e.g., Stead et al., 2010;Sirois, 2016). ...
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The nature of procrastination is usually analysed from the angle of the psychological mechanism, in the aspects of demotivating factors; however, there are not many studies emphasizing procrastination provoked by mismanagement. A similar situation is also observed with regard to multitasking analysed in this article, which is recorded at work not because employees naturally like to multitask but because they have no other way out. The purpose of this article is to present the results of the empirical study revealing the nature of procrastination and multitasking in the workplace. The study involved 995 employees of Polish (N = 500) and Lithuanian (N = 495) private sector organizations. It has been found that a share of employees are forced to become procrastinators and multitaskers due to management flaws. In addition, procrastination and multitasking are related by medium strength statistical relationships, regardless of the country. The value of the research is presupposed by the fact that it presents new and original data showing the situation of multitasking and procrastination in Lithuanian and Polish organizations. These results improve the literature on procrastination by providing additional confirmatory evidence on how more flexible work organization can serve for better understanding of causes of multitasking and procrastination. First published online 28 February 2022
... Procrastination is a trait that leads to daily procrastinating behaviors and affects between 15 and 20% of working adults (Harriott and Ferrari, 1996); at work, it is characterized by being a self-regulatory failure of tasks and is associated with high costs for the individual (e.g. dismissal) and the organization (drop in productivity) (Nguyen et al., 2013). In telework, procrastinating behaviors (for instance, doing the laundry, watching YouTube during the period of work and online shopping, among other examples) have been associated with negative outcomes such as lower performance and affective well-being (e.g. ...
Purpose This study draws on the affective events theory (AET) to understand how telework may influence workers' well-being. Hence this study aimed to (1) analyze the indirect relationship between telework and well-being via daily micro-events (DME), and (2) test whether procrastination would moderate this indirect effect. Design/methodology/approach To test the goals, data were gathered from a sample of teleworkers in the IT sector ( N = 232). To analyze the data, a moderated mediation analysis was performed in SPSS with PROCESS macro. Findings The results showed that micro-daily events mediated the positive relationship between telework and well-being; however, this relation was conditional upon the levels of workers' levels of procrastination, that is, this link became weaker for those who were procrastinators. Practical implications By highlighting the importance of telework, DME and procrastination, this study offers managers distinct strategies for enhancing their employees' well-being. Originality/value Despite the existing research investigating the effect of telework on well-being, studies investigating the intervening mechanisms between these two constructs are scarce. Moreover, there is a lack of research investigating the moderating effect of procrastination in these relations. Hence, this study fills these gaps and advances knowledge on the process that explains how (via DME) and when (when procrastination is low) teleworking influences workers' well-being.
... Although studies on the outcomes of procrastination at work are still scant, existing studies have pointed out some relevant detrimental effects of procrastination for both individuals and organizations: losses of productivity (Lim & Teo, 2005); counterproductive behaviors such as withdrawal and abuse (Metin et al., 2016); lower salaries, shorter durations of employment and a greater likelihood of being unemployed or under employed (Nguyen et al., 2013); increased rates of work stress (Sirois, 2014); and reduced job satisfaction (Mohsin & Ayub, 2014). In the present study we focus on two relevant outcomes of procrastination at work that are related to the pleasure-displeasure dimension and the anxiety-comfort dimension of work-related well-being, respectively, job satisfaction and work stress (Rothmann, 2008). ...
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Although research on procrastination at work is scarce, existing studies indicate its negative effects in multiple spheres of personal and professional life, with repercussions on individuals’ well-being and social sustainability. This study proposes a model that aims to clarify the relationships between the antecedents and consequences of procrastination at work. We follow a bi-dimensional conceptualization of procrastination at work, using the dimensions of soldiering and cyberslacking. The model includes boredom at work as a predictor and work stress and job satisfaction as outcomes. Data from a sample of 287 participants were analyzed with Partial Least Squares. Results show that boredom at work is positively associated with both soldiering and cyberslacking. Results also show that soldiering increases work stress and decreases job satisfaction. Cyberslacking has no significant effects on work stress or job satisfaction. The theoretical and practical implications of this study are further discussed.
... Embora os estudos sobre os resultados da procrastinação no trabalho ainda sejam escassos, os existentes apontam alguns efeitos prejudiciais relevantes da procrastinação tanto para indivíduos quanto para organizações: perdas de produtividade (Lim & Teo, 2005); comportamentos contraproducentes, como abusos e distanciamento (Metin et al., 2016); salários mais baixos, períodos de emprego mais curtos e maior probabilidade de estar desempregado ou subempregado FGV EAESP | RAE | São Paulo | V. 62 | n. 5 | 2022 | 1 -22 | e2021-0313 eISSN 2178-938X (Nguyen, Steel, & Ferrari, 2013); aumento das taxas de estresse no trabalho (Sirois, 2014); e redução da satisfação no trabalho (Mohsin & Ayub, 2014). No presente estudo, focamos em dois resultados relevantes da procrastinação no trabalho que estão relacionados à dimensão prazer-desprazer e à dimensão ansiedade-conforto do bem-estar relacionado ao trabalho, respectivamente, satisfação no trabalho e estresse no trabalho (Rothmann, 2008). ...
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RESUMO Embora as pesquisas sobre procrastinação no trabalho ainda sejam escassas, os estudos existentes apontam para os seus efeitos negativos em múltiplas esferas da vida pessoal e profissional com repercussões no bem-estar e na sustentabilidade social dos indivíduos. Este estudo propõe um modelo que visa esclarecer as relações entre os antecedentes e os consequentes da procrastinação no trabalho. Assim, adotou-se uma conceitualização bidimensional da procrastinação no trabalho, utilizando as dimensões de soldiering e cyberslacking. O modelo inclui o tédio no trabalho como um antecedente da procrastinação, e o estresse no trabalho e a satisfação no trabalho como seus consequentes. Os dados recolhidos a partir de uma amostra de 287 participantes foram analisados por meio do método dos mínimos quadrados. Os resultados mostram que o tédio no trabalho está positivamente associado tanto ao soldiering quanto ao cyberslacking. Os resultados também mostram que o soldiering aumenta o estresse e diminui a satisfação no trabalho. O cyberslacking não teve efeitos significativos quer sobre o estresse no trabalho, quer sobre a satisfação no trabalho. São ainda discutidas as implicações teóricas e práticas deste estudo.
... Twitter has been researched across many disciplines, politics ( (Kim, 2014; Alaslaa, 2018), linguistics (Scolari, Aguado & Feij, 2012;Soffer, 2010), discourse analysis/CMC (Nguyen, Steel & Ferrari, 2013;Chiluwa, 2015), more from quantitative perspective than qualitative. The present study complements a few studies that engaged twitter data on children discourse from the purview of pragmatics and with qualitative dimension. ...
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This paper investigates the pragmatic expression of attitudes by Twitter users in children related discourse in Nigeria. Data comprised 80 children-centered Nigerian-tweets, involving individuals and bodies, were screenshots from Twitter between July-August, 2019. These were analyzed through aspects of appraisal theory and pragmatic act theory. Findings showed that Nigerian-tweets on children manifest 85% of negative appraisal and 15% positive appraisal within the socio-cultural context. These affirm that Nigerian-Twitter users circulate more negative children issues than positive as shown in their language use that is characterized by lamenting, rebuking, condemning and commending. The paper concludes that Nigerian-Twitter users in different perspectives have continued to condemn social factors that affect children and advocate good welfare packages to ameliorate their suffering to reposition them for a better future.
The relationship between employees and the organization is not only transactional, which is regulated in formal contracts, but also involves informal and relational relationships as described in the social exchange theory. The formal relationship is in the form of organizational justice, while the informal relationship is in the psychological contract between the organization and employees. A fair relationship can positively affect job satisfaction, and can negatively affect employee behavior such as procrastination. Procrastination is behavior influenced by complex factors such as personal characteristics, task characteristics, and organizational environment. The relationship between organizational justice, psychological contract, job satisfaction, and procrastination is still a gap in the literature, as well as has become the motivation for this research. This article discusses the moderating role of psychological contract breach on the effect of organizational justice on job satisfaction and procrastination. This study contributes through a literature review on the effect of flexible and fair contracts on job satisfaction and procrastination behavior.
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Procrastination is the volitional delay of an intended task, despite believing that delay will be harmful. While not all delay is attributable to procrastination, procrastination is fundamentally characterised by delay. As much as 90% of the population have experience with procrastination, with around 20% in the general population and 50% of university students reporting problematic levels of chronic procrastination. Compared to their non-procrastinating peers, chronic procrastinators report lower levels of wellbeing, higher rates of depression, higher rates of alcohol and other drug use for coping, and poor health adjustment. Procrastinators tend to have lower salaries, shorter durations of employment, and a greater likelihood of being unemployed or underemployed. There is also a direct economic impact on the workforce, with office workers found to spend an average of 1.5 hours per work day procrastinating. Despite its prevalence, the variability of tasks, time available, subjectivity, and individual differences render procrastination difficult to observe as it happens. Consequently, while correlates, antecedents, effects, and types of procrastination have been widely investigated, progress in this field is limited by several factors. In particular, few studies have accurately quantified delay associated with procrastination over time. As a consequence, there is limited evidence supporting the ability of trait measures of procrastination to predict delay, and few interventions aimed at reducing procrastination have been clearly associated with reduced delay. Recent developments in smartphone technology and Experience Sampling Method (ESM) applications have enabled intensive longitudinal observations of such dynamic phenomena with relative ease; however, such methodology and statistical modelling of delay have yet to be reliably applied to the study of procrastination. To address the challenge of observing delay associated with procrastination, I conducted three studies of students enrolled in a 1st year psychology course: a small pilot study (N = 24) and two larger scale replications (Ns = 80 and 107) focusing on intensive longitudinal measurement of delay, procrastination scale validation, and an intervention to reduce procrastination respectively. Participant ages ranged from 17.38 to 65.85 years (M = 23.85, SD = 9.49) and 75% identified as female. Each study included a baseline survey of demographic and trait procrastination and personality variables, an ESM phase comprised of 28 SMS surveys over 14 days in the lead-up to submission of an assignment worth 30% of the course grade, and the collection of assignment submission date and mark from the course convenor. Participants in the ESM phase were randomly allocated into either an intervention or control condition, with participants in both conditions reporting their assignment progress, completion intent, and affect regarding their assignment progress. Participants in the intervention, but not the control, condition were messaged at the end of each ESM survey with open reflection prompts designed to reduce procrastination. Studies 1 and 3 also included follow up interviews with a small subsample of participants (N = 8) to garner first-hand perspectives of participation in the ESM component of the studies. Through the application of multilevel model analyses, the presence of quantified delay curves in all three studies provides firm evidence that regular self-reporting of task progress using ESM is a robust and reliable method for measuring behavioural delay. The use of multilevel modelling in quantifying delay enabled the inclusion of mixed effects, where the predictive ability of several procrastination scales could be assessed. A trait measure of passive procrastination was found to reliably predict behavioural delay, whereas no association was found between a measure of active procrastination, a type of procrastination purported to be adaptive and deliberate, and delay. The intervention prompting regular reflection on factors thought to be related to procrastination that was embedded into the ESM phase of each study was found to significantly reduce delay in Studies 1 and 3, but not in Study 2. Between-study differences in this intervention effect were likely related to contextual differences as participants in Study 2 were aware that the research pertained to procrastination whereas those in the other studies were not informed of the focus on procrastination. In the follow-up interviews, participants reported that regularly reporting task progress, as well as the intervention reflection prompts, may have assisted with the reduction of procrastination. Analyses conducted into the relationships between trait procrastination, neuroticism, and state affect and delay revealed that neuroticism (emotional stability) moderated the relationship between trait procrastination and affect, and affect mediated the relationship between trait procrastination and task delay. Moreover, cross-lagged panel model analyses of inter-temporal changes in affect and delay showed that participants who reported greater task progress at an earlier time were likely to report higher positive affect at a subsequent time, whereas those reporting higher positive affect at an earlier time tended to report lower progress at a subsequent time. Overall, the research offers three specific unique contributions to the body of knowledge. First, the use of ESM surveys of task progress is demonstrated to be a reliable method for measuring behavioural delay associated with procrastination. This is evidenced by the presence of accelerating delay curves, where assignment progress increases in a hyperbolic trajectory prior to a submission date. The reliable observation and modelling of delay is an oft-cited limitation of the field; thus, the replicated validation of this as a reliable method constitutes a valuable contribution. Second, multilevel mixed effects modelling is used to assess the ability of scales measuring different aspects of trait procrastination to predict behavioural delay, indicating that some trait procrastination measures are more predictive of behaviour than are others. The statistical method employed, and the use of task progress rather than study duration as the outcome, enabled the construct validity of the contentious ‘active’ form of procrastination to be challenged. This approach is proposed also to be a suitable method for assessing the behavioural efficacy of targeted interventions for reducing procrastination. Third, sending regular reflection prompts to randomly selected ESM recipients resulted in a significant reduction in behavioural delay in two of the three studies. This use of low-intensity reflection prompts delivered at a high frequency demonstrates smartphone use can be an effective medium for reducing procrastination without the need for intensive approaches requiring considerable commitment from both practitioners and participants. This intervention design sets an example for reducing delay in academia, with the method likely capable of being extended, with adaptation, to procrastination in other areas such as health behaviour change, personal finance, and collective action.
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Arousal and avoidance procrastination prevalence was assessed with corporate or non-corporate, professionals living in US geographic areas. Sample 1 adults (61 women, 23 men) were corporate employed reported significantly more avoidant but not arousal procrastination tendencies compared to other professionals. Sample 2 adults (123 women, 118 men) were employed as sales associates compared to mid-level managers in the same company reported significantly more avoidant but not arousal procrastination tendencies. Sample 3 included mid-level managers/directors (72 women, 43 men) living in different U.S. geographic areas working in the same industry. Respondents from the northwest reported significantly more avoidant (but not arousal) procrastination tendencies than participants from other sections of the country. Results suggest that chronic procrastination motivated by performance fears and evaluation apprehension is prevalent among men and women employed in corporate settings, perhaps depending upon their employment status and geographic location. Procrastination may be defined as a delay of a relevant and timely task, and results often in sabotaging task performance (Ferrari, 1991 b; Ferrari & Tice, 2000) but dodging performance evaluations (Ferrari, 1991 c). Empirical studies report that chronic procrastination is related to a host of other traits, including low states of self-confidence and self-esteem and high states of depression,
Research from the individual-differences tradition pertinent to the optimal development of exceptional talent is reviewed, using the theory of work adjustment (TWA) to organize findings. The authors show how TWA concepts and psychometric methods, when used together, can facilitate positive development among talented youth by aligning learning opportunities with salient aspects of each student's individuality. Longitudinal research and more general theoretical models of (adult) academic and intellectual development support this approach. This analysis also uncovers common threads running through several positive psychological concepts (e.g., effectance motivation, flow, and peak experiences). The authors conclude by underscoring some important ideals from counseling psychology for fostering intellectual development and psychological well-being. These include conducting a multifaceted assessment, focusing on strength, helping people make choices, and providing a developmental context for bridging educational and industrial psychology to facilitate positive psychological growth throughout the life span.
This paper is a conceptual and methodological critique of arguments advanced by Ones and Viswesvaran (1996, this issue) favoring ‘broad’ over ‘narrow’ personality traits for personnel selection and theoretical explanation. We agree with Ones and Viswesvaran that predictors should match criteria in terms of specificity. We depart from them, however, in our view of how traits should be chosen to obtain the best possible prediction and explanation of a complex overall job performance criterion. We argue that the best criterion-related validities will be attained if researchers use a construct-oriented approach to match specific traits (i.e. traits narrower than the Big Five) to those specific job performance dimensions that have been found to be job relevant. We further argue that researchers should focus on development of theories of job performance that incorporate constructs that are both specific and meaningful. If researchers seek to emphasize only overall job performance and personality traits greater than or equal to the Big Five in breadth, we will fail to acquire a great deal of important knowledge about the nature and causes of important aspects of work behavior.
We expected that the commentary process would provide valuable feedback to improve our ideas and identify potential obstacles, and we were not disappointed. The commentaries were generally in agreement that synthetic validity is a good idea, although we also received a fair amount of suggestions for improvements, conditional or tempered praise, and explicitly critical comments. We address the concerns that were raised and conclude that we should move forward with developing a large-scale synthetic validity database, incorporating the suggestions of some of the commentators.
Intrinsic and extrinsic types of motivation have been widely studied, and the distinction between them has shed important light on both developmental and educational practices. In this review we revisit the classic definitions of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in light of contemporary research and theory. Intrinsic motivation remains an important construct, reflecting the natural human propensity to learn and assimilate. However, extrinsic motivation is argued to vary considerably in its relative autonomy and thus can either reflect external control or true self-regulation. The relations of both classes of motives to basic human needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness are discussed.
Dramatic changes are affecting the world of work. Examples include increased global competition, the impact of information technology, the re-engineering of business processes, smaller companies that employ fewer people, the shift from making a product to providing a service, and the growing disappearance of "the job" as a fixed bundle of tasks. These trends are producing a redefinition of work itself. They provide great opportunitities for industrial and organizational psychologists to contribute to the betterment of human welfare. This article identifies 6 key areas in which to start: job analysis, employee selection, training and development, performance appraisal, compensation (including incentives), and organizational development. Relevant research in these areas can provide substantial payoffs for individuals, organizations, and society as psychology moves into the 21st century.
The purpose of this study was to propose and test a model of procrastination in job-seeking activities. This model posits that non self-determined job-seeking motivation (i.e., performing job-seeking activities because of controls and pressure) is positively related to procrastination in job-seeking activities. In addition, decisional procrastination is expected to be positively related to procrastination in job-seeking activities. In turn, procrastination in job-seeking is hypothesized to positively predict change in hopelessness toward job-seeking. Participants were 345 university students who were about to graduate. Results from regression analyses revealed that all hypothesized links were supported. Discussion centers on the role of motivation in procrastination toward job-seeking.