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FACTORS AFFECTING INDIVIDUAL JOB PERFORMANCE

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FACTORS AFFECTING INDIVIDUAL JOB PERFORMANCE
Lim Kah Boon
Faculty of Business & Law
Multimedia University
kblim@mmu.edu.my
Yeo Sook Fern
Faculty of Business & Law
Multimedia University
yeo.sook.fern@mmu.edu.my
Cheah Chew Sze
Faculty of Business & Law
Multimedia University
cheah.chew.sze@mmu.edu.my
Stanley
Faculty of Business & Law
Multimedia University
ABSTRACT
As the work productivity of working adults has been increasing in recent years due to the changing work
environment and standard of living, organisations are trying their best to improve the job satisfaction
and job performance of their employees in order to improve the overall organisational performance.
Hence, this study is aimed to examine the factors that affect the job performance among the employees.
This study assesses the five key factors that influence the job performance of working adults, which are
income, rewards and incentives, workplace environment, work-family factors, and personality. A sample
of 169 working adults in Melaka and Kuala Lumpur were targeted as respondents to answer the self-
administered questionnaires. The research findings show that only two factors that are work-family
related factors and personality have the significant relationship with individual job performance. Some
recommendations and managerial implications have been proposed at the end of this study.
Field of Research: Job performance, work-family factor, personality.
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1. INTRODUCTION
Job attitude and performance of working adults vary across individuals based on their personal needs
and wants. Moreover, more and more individuals yearn to fulfill their dreams and desires through their
jobs, such as social needs and status recognition. This practice has become the current trend of society
to the extent that individuals tend to be more engaged in work than ever to ensure that they meet the
minimum standards of living in order to achieve their personal targets. With the desire to achieve one’s
personal needs and wants, the worker has to ensure that the total output and productivity from the
paid employment are associated with the real wages offered by the employer. Using Malaysian
manufacturing data, Yusof (2008) suggested that there is a long-term relationship
between real wages, employment and productivity in which these three variables are important in
labour economics whereby real wages act as the main variable out of the three variables. These
relationships can be used to explain briefly the concept behind job performance among working adults.
Besides that, different organizations have different work environments with distinguishable cultural
values, vision, mission, goals, objectives and targets regardless of whether they are in the public or
private sector. Hence, it is not unusual that similar individuals working in different organizations will
have different job performance even when working within the same sector. At the same time, the
workplace environment can bring huge impact to the worker to the extent that it can directly or
indirectly affect their attitude and behaviour while performing the job. Employers should ensure that a
comfortable environment is provided for their employees to work optimally so as to allow them to give
their best contribution to the organization.
Therefore, the main objective of this study is to investigate what are the major factors that will affect
the job performance of working adults in today’s society.
2. LITERATURE REVIEW AND HYPOTHESES
2.1 Job performance
According to Murphy (1989), job performance can be defined as “the set of behaviours that are relevant
to the goals of the organization or the organizational unit in which a person works”. Therefore, the job
performance of an individual plays a vital role in an organization’s growth. This is because it highly
influences the overall firm’s performance and also functions as the key variable in work and
organizational psychology (Sonnentag and Frese, 2002; Zacher, 2009).
However, individual job performance is not stable and can fluctuate over time. Studies have shown that
the performance of an individual changes by changing the time spent on a specific job. At the same
time, individual performance changes as a result of learning and “high performance is always the result
of greater understanding towards the specific job instead of greater effort to the job” (Frese and Zapf,
1994). Besides, the fluctuating individual job performance can be caused by the patterns of intra-
individual change” or changes in an individual’s “psycho-physiological state” (Hofmann et al., 1992;
Ployhard and Hakel, 1998; Zickar and Slaughter, 1999).
On the other hand, job performance is considered one of the most important constructs in human
resource studies. According to Motowidlo et al. (1997), the behaviour and conduct of an individual can
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be distinct from his or her job performance over time in the workplace. This is because behaviour is
what people do while job performance is the predictable and anticipated organizational value of what
people will do. Hence, not all actions are categorized as performance and not all actions are able to
solve organizational problems. Only actions which are relevant and can be scaled and measured for
organizational value, goals and success are considered as performance. Due to the importance of
construct in human resource studies, job performance can be the key indicator of the effectiveness of
the human resource management system of an organization (Ferguson and Reio, 2009).When
individuals are well trained and equipped, the ability to compete nationally and even internationally
enhances the performance of the employees. Thus, this helps to accomplish economic success and
boost the reputation for the organization.
2.2 Relationship between income and job performance
Nowadays, performance-related income is a common type of pay system in many organizations.
According to established human resource management (HRM) models, performance-related pay is an
original pay system which functions as one of the key roles in human resource strategies together with
the performance appraisal system (Fombrun et al., 1984). It is also known as one of the financial reward
systems in which it is different from traditional pay systems and is often carried out in a collective basis
(Shelley, 1999). Helm et al. (2007) stated that although many organizations are implementing
programmes of pay-for-performance, very few organizations identify and indicate the goals of their
performance management system, the goals alignment towards the organizational strategic plans, or
even evaluate the conditions or process of accomplishing the goals to see whether or not the goals are
achieved.
Chang and Hahn (2006) stated that when an organization practises fair or equitable performance-
related pay based on an employee’s performance or input-output ratio, it will enhance the employee’s
perception of distributive justice towards the organization. According to Mujtaba and Shuaib (2010), the
pay-for-performance system would be useful and effective for the manufacturing environment. This
system enables employees to do self-evaluation based on their units of production. It also provides
immediate feedback to employees so that it can highly motivate employees to enhance their
performance and productivity as immediate feedback is considered one of the top motivation factors for
employees.
2.3 Relationship between reward and incentive and job performance
Empirical evidence has shown that rewards for performance is a strong management tool that can be
used to create a high-performing organization as it motivates individuals to perform better as their
contribution and efforts are being recognized, valued and appreciated. Research has shown that
monetary rewards and incentives play an important role in attracting and retaining top-performing
employees. Trahant and Yearout (2006) suggested that employers have to ensure that meaningful
financial rewards are set aside for outstanding performance of employees. This is because employees
will not take seriously the rewards and incentives system and principles if financial rewards are not
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provided in a meaningful way. However, rewards and incentives are not a guarantee for attracting and
retaining high-performing employees or improving the organizational performance and productivity.
2.4 Relationship between workplace environment and job performance
Vischer (2007) stated that the furniture dimensions and arrangement, spatial layout, noise level,
temperature, the total amount and accessibility of file and work storage, and the height and density of
workplace partitions have a great impact on job satisfaction and performance, for both the individual
and the team. An effective work environment which is positive and supportive enables employees to
work comfortably and have the willingness to give their full commitment and contribution in performing
the tasks given. The difference between a supportive and an unsupportive environment determines the
satisfaction and performance level of attention, energy, commitment and contribution of an employee
towards an organization. “Environment comfort” is the supportive environment that employees require
to perform their job and activities well once health and security are guaranteed in the workplace
(Vischer, 2007).
2.5 Relationship between work-family related factors and job performance
According to Stein (2002), the identification and study of the four behavioural families that are related
to job performance is one of the ways to examine job performance on a broader level. It is found out
that the relationship between any of the behavioural families and job performance is unlikely to have a
strong relationship with one another at the individual level. On the other hand, the relationship
between any of the behavioural families and job performance is more apparent and can be strongly
related and associated with one another at the aggregate level.
The first category of behavioural family is “Organisational Citizenship Behaviours” (OCBs). It is suggested
that this category helps the organization to improve its effectiveness, efficiency and the overall
organizational performance. The second category of behavioural family is “Work Withdrawal
Behaviours” (WWBs) in which it slows down or hinders to achieve a good job performance. Under this
kind of situation, an employee tends to avoid fulfilling the job or task given and may spend less time on
work. This may lead to frequent absenteeism of the employee at the workplace. The third category of
behavioural family is “Organizational Retaliation Behaviours” (ORBs). This category brings harmful and
disadvantageous effects to the organizational performance as it intends to damage the relationship with
the employer. The fourth category is “Job Withdrawal Behaviours” (JWBs) which also intend to inhibit
the job performance of the employees. It can be defined as “employees’ efforts to remove themselves
from a specific organisation and their work role or withdrawal from their job” (Hanisch and Hulin, 1991)
2.6 Relationship between personality and job performance
Personality variables can be valid predictors of job performance whereby employers carefully match the
personality of an individual to the right and appropriate position in the organization. Personality
characteristics can be used to predict the achievement of career success or others which are related to
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occupations (Barrick et al., 2003). Nikolaou (2003) has suggested that two of the big five factors model,
which are agreeableness and extroversion differ across all occupations as far as the personality-job
performance relationship is concerned. On the other hand, it is found that conscientiousness predicts
job performance, extraversion indicates successful sales and management employees, and
agreeableness relates to performance in teams (Gunkel, 2010). An employee with high values on these
three factors is most likely to achieve a positive career outcome. Edwards (1991) suggested person and
job function as the correlative and integrative determinants for individual and organizational outcomes
based on the general idea about person-job fit. Hogan et al. (1996) stated that “well-constructed
measures of normal personality are valid predictors of a wide range of occupational performance”. They
can be correlated to performance based on productivity and contribution and they will not adversely
influence the minority groups.
3. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1 Research Framework
Based on the existing literature review, five key variables had been identified in order to study the
factors that affect the job performance among working adults. Subsequently, a theoretical framework
was developed. The framework consisted of independent variables (income, rewards and incentives,
workplace environment, work-family related factors and personality) and dependent variable (job
performance). The theoretical framework is shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Factors Affecting Individual Job Performance
3.2 Hypothesis Development
Five hypotheses were developed based on the literature review and conceptual framework formed. The
hypotheses are:
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H1: There is a significant relationship between income and job performance among working adults at
workplace.
H2: There is a significant relationship between rewards and incentives and job performance among
working adults at workplace.
H3: There is a significant relationship between workplace environment and job performance among
working adults at workplace.
H4: There is a significant relationship between work-family factors and job performance among
working adults at workplace.
H5: There is a significant relationship between personality and job performance among working
adults at workplace.
3.3 Sample and Data Collection
The targeted sample for this study consists of 170 working adults with different occupation backgrounds
from Melaka and Kuala Lumpur. A set of structured questionnaire using a self-administered survey
method was given to the targeted respondents to respond to the survey. It is assumed that the
respondents will give their answers in a truthful and honest manner. The questionnaire was designed in
order to understand the responses of working adults towards job performance at their workplace based
on the five variables that had been mentioned earlier. Out of the 170 questionnaires that were collected
back, 1 was incomplete and was not used in this study. Therefore, only 169 completed questionnaires
were received and were used to analyze in this study.
3.4 Measures
In the questionnaire that were used in this study, all the variables are measured by six to eight variables
with the use of Likert scale of 1 – 5 where 5 indicate the highest degree of agreement. The questionnaire
of this study consists of 40 questions that are adapted and modified from the previous studies in this
field.
3.5 Reliability Analysis
Reliability analysis can be defined as the consistency of measurement with the extent to which results
were similar over different forms of the same instruments or occasions of data collection (McMillan and
Schumancher, 1993; Patten, 2002). Cronbach’s Alpha was used in the reliability analysis as it is the most
common form of internal consistency reliability coefficient. The value of Cronbach’s Alpha should be at
least 0.70 or higher in order to retain the item in an adequate scale.
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3.6 Data Analysis
After all the data had been collected from the questionnaires, a software system, Predicted Analytics
SoftWare (PASW) version 20 was used to analyze the data. Hypothesis testing was developed to indicate
whether there was a significant relationship between the dependent variable and an independent
variable by using p-value. A significant relationship only exists if the p-value is below 0.05. Multiple
linear regression was conducted in order to analyze the relationship between the independent variables
as a whole towards the dependent variable. The p-value of each independent variable was used to reach
a decision whereby the p-value of less than 0.05 of the independent variable showed a significant
relationship with the dependent variable. Besides that, Pearson’s correlation analysis has been used to
study the correlation relationship between each variable too.
4. RESULT
4.1 Demographic result
As mentioned earlier, descriptive analysis consists of frequency analysis of the demographic data and is
used to determine and analyze the characteristics of data through gender, age, race, marital status,
education background, job position, monthly income and number of years of working experience.
Summary of demographic information for the respondent has been shown in Table 1.
Table 1: Demographic Characteristic of Respondents
Demographic Variable
Frequency
Percentage (%)
Gender
Male
75
44.4
Female
94
55.6
Age
≤ 19
0.6
20
29
39
23.1
30
39
55
32.5
40
49
37
21.9
50
59
34
20.1
≥ 60
1.8
Race
Malay
70
41.4
Chinese
93
55
Indian
Others
0.6
Marital Status
Single
43
25.4
Married
126
74.6
Education Background
Certificate
1.8
Diploma
15
8.9
Degree
110
65.1
Master
35
20.7
PhD
1.8
Others
1.8
Job Position
Non
-
executive
27
16
Executive
52
30.8
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Senior executive
3.6
Manager
12
7.1
Senior manager
14
8.3
Director
4.7
Others
50
29.6
Monthly Income
< RM1000
1.2
RM 1000
RM 1999
4.1
RM 2000
RM 2999
30
17.8
RM 3000
RM 3999
51
30.2
RM 4000
RM 4999
33
19.5
≥ RM 5000
46
27.2
Number of Years of
Working Experience
< 5 years
40
23.7
5
9 years
25
14.8
10
14 years
27
16
15
19 years
20
11.8
20
24 years
22
13
≥ 25 years
35
20.7
As shown in Table 1, respondents of this study consists 75 males and 94 females from a total of 169
samples. In terms of the age of the respondents, result shows that the highest number of respondents
of the survey is between the ages of 30 and 39 years old with the highest percentage of 32.5%.
However, the age group of 60 years old and above consists of only 3 respondents with 1.8% and the age
group of 19 years old and below consists of only 1 respondent with 0.6%. Besides that, Chinese comprise
the highest number of respondents with 55% and others races consists of 1 respondent which is equal
to 0.6%. The majority of the respondents of the survey are married with 74.6% while the remaining
25.4% are single. Table 1 also shows that the majority of the respondents of the survey have the highest
education level of degree qualification with 65.1%, while Ph.D. and others education background share
the same number of respondents with 1.8% each. For the job position category, executives level
comprise the highest number of respondents with 30.8% and senior executives level comprise the
lowest number of respondents with 3.6%. As shown in Table 1, the highest range of monthly income
earned by respondents is RM3000 to RM3999 with 30.2%. The lowest percentage of monthly income
earned by respondents is RM1000 and below with only 2 respondents or 1.2%. As shown in Table 1, the
majority of the respondents, which is 23.7%, have a low number of years of working experience with 5
years and below.
4.2 Descriptive Analysis for Variables
The mean or the average is a measure of central tendency of data that offers a general picture of the
data without unnecessarily inundating one with each of the observation in a data set. The results in
Table 2 show that all of the means of variables are higher than three. This indicates that most
respondents believe job performance can be improved to a higher level according to the variables.
The standard deviation is another measurement of dispersion of internal and ratio scaled data whereby
it offers an index of the spread of a distribution on the variability in the data. It is a common
measurement of variation as well and it shows variation about the mean. From the results shown in the
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Table 2, all of the standard deviation of the variables is within the range of 0.4 to 0.6. The low value of
standard deviation indicates that the data points tend to be close to mean within a small range of
values.
Table 2: Descriptive Statistics for Variables
Variable
N
Mean
Std. Deviation
Job Performance
169
4.082
0.4254
Income
169
3.797
0.5650
Rewards and Incentives
169
3.934
0.4447
Workplace Environment
169
4.086
0.4662
Work
family related factors
169
3.741
0.6135
Personality
169
3.9839
0.4329
4.3 Reliability Analysis
Cronbach’s Alpha, which is the most popular test of consistency reliability, is implemented for the
reliability test of the variables. According to Malhotra, Cronbach’s Alpha is calculated by averaging the
coefficients that result from the combinations of split halves whereby the value of coefficients varies
from 0 to 1. An alpha value of 0.7 or above should be obtained in order to illustrate the satisfactory
internal-consistency level of reliability.
Table 3 shows the results of the reliability of job performance, income, rewards and incentives,
workplace environment, work-family related factors, and personality. Cronbach’s Alpha for all variables
are close to or above 0.7. Hence, all of the variables are reliable and can be used for testing in this study.
Table 3: Reliability analysis for each variable
Variable
Cronbach’s Alpha
Job Performance
0.726
Income
0.697
Rewards and Incentives
0.782
Workplace Environment
0.696
Work
-
family related factors
0724
Personality
0.768
4.4 Pearson correlation
Based on Pearson’s Correlation coefficient shown in Table 4, all the variables are statistically correlated
at 0.01 alpha level. As the correlation values among the independent variables are less than 0.70, thus
we can conclude that there isn’t any multicollinearity. The result shows that to the certain extent, the
five variables will affect the individual job performance. With the highest r-value (0.563) among all
variables, personality has strong association with individual job performance. Workplace environment
found to have the weak correlation with individual job performance with its lowest r-value of 0.413.
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Table 4: Correlation coefficient result
Job Performance
r
-
value
Sig. (2
tailed)
Income
0.465
0.000
Rewards and Incentives
0.457
0.000
Workplace Environment
0.413
0.000
Work
-
family related factors
0.443
0.000
Personality
0.563
0.000
4.5 Multiple Linear Regression
Based on the result as shown in Table 5, the R – square is equal to 0.408. This means that 40.8% of the
change in the degree of job performance of a person can be explained by the factors of income, rewards
and incentives, workplace environment, work-family related factors and personality that are included in
the regression equation. On the other hand, table has shown that the p-value (Sig.) is 0.000, which is less
than 0.05. This indicates that at least one of the 5 predicted variables can be used to analyze the level of
job performance of a person.
Table 5: Multiple regression analysis for the model
R
2
F
value
Sig.
Model
0.408
22.468
0.000
From the hypothesis test result as shown in Table 6, H1, H2 and H3 are not supported since the p – value
for these three variables are more than 0.05. This indicates that there is no significant relationship
between these three variables and job performance. But, the p – value for the other two variables which
are work – family related factors and personality are less than 0.05. Thus, this shows that H4 and H5 are
supported and these two variables have significant relationship with job performance.
Table 6: Multiple regression analysis summary for each variable and hypothesis test result
Variables
t
value
Sig.
Hypothesis result
Income
1.848
0.066
H1 not supported
Rewards and Incentives
0.781
0.436
H2 not supported
Workplace Environment
1.613
0.109
H3 not supported
Work
-
family related
factors 2.857 0.005 H4 supported
Personality
3.798
0.000
H5 supported
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5. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION
As the purpose of this research is to determine the factors that affect the job performance among
working adults at workplace, there are five variables used to determine the job performance of working
adults at workplace in today’s society. The first variable is the income versus job performance of
working adults. The results show that there is no relationship between income and the job performance.
The principle of “equal pay for equal work” stated by The Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 specifies that employees with equal levels of qualification, skills, knowledge, abilities
and responsibilities under equal working conditions should receive equal pay from their employers. This
principle has been strongly emphasized by many organizations in today’s world. Thus, it indicates that
income is based on the “equal pay for equal work” with equal qualification under equal working
conditions rather than the level of job performance of an individual.
The second variable is the rewards and incentives versus job performance of working adults. The given
results show that this variable does not have a significant relationship with the job performance of a
working adult as well. According to Mowday et. al. (1979), the organizational commitment of an
employee whereby he or she is well attached to the organization will have a greater access to
meaningful rewards and incentives that can satisfy personal needs. Hence, rewards and incentives
offered to employees are more likely to be based on the commitment and attachment towards the
organization rather than their job performance.
The third variable, which is workplace environment, also shows no significant relationship with job
performance based on the results of the survey. The working environment is becoming more dynamic
and complex due to major changes in organizations and modern technologies. This does not have a huge
impact on the job performance of an individual but it highly influences the way people work and do
business in a different environment. Mill (2010) stated that the technological revolution in the last few
decades has changed the workplace beyond imagination. The development of modern technology
results in the increasing adoption of the virtual approach in the workspace by many organizations
(Igbaria and Guimaraes, 1999). This results in a huge distinction from the traditional work environment
and buildings, namely, the lack of fixed desk allocation as the physical design of offices.
The fourth variable is the work-family related factor versus job performance. The results obtained show
that work-family related factors have a significant influence on the job performance of a working adult.
In an organization context, evidence has shown that work-family culture is positively related to job and
organizational outcomes within an organization. Thompson et al. (1999) defined work-family culture as
“the shared assumptions, beliefs, and values regarding the extent to which an organization supports and
values the integration of employees’ work and private lives”. According to Voydanoff (2005), work-
family culture is an organizational resource that helps to coordinate work and family responsibilities and
commitment. Hence, the practice of work-family culture in an organization enables the improvement of
the job performance of an individual. As the job performance and work-family related factors are
strongly associated with one another, Chew and Liao (1999) stated that it is not necessary for individuals
to sacrifice their family life for the sake of having a successful career.
Last but not least, the fifth variable which is the employee’s personality has shown a significant
relationship with job performance based on the results of the survey. Recent research has proved that
personality traits influence the attitude, behaviour, and personal values of an individual (Olver and
Mooradian, 2003). This directly influences the job performance of an employee whereby the attitude,
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behaviour and personal values are displayed at the workplace while performing a task. According to
Barrick et al. (2003), personality characteristics can be used to predict the job performance and
achievement of career success or others which are related to occupations.
5.1 Recommendation
As the findings of the study have shown that work-family related factors and personality are the two
important variables that have a positive relationship on job performance, a few recommendations are
made in order to improve the performance of both the organization and the employee.
Due to major demographic changes resulting in an increasing number of dual-earner families or dual-
career couples, work-family balance issues have become more important in the society. Therefore, it is
highly recommended that work-family cultural practices and training programmes regarding the work-
family balance should be offered in every organization. Although some organizations have yet to
perceive the significance of work-family balance issues, it is vital that every organization creates
supportive work-family cultural practices and conducts related training programmes directly and
indirectly as a way to show that their employees who are practising optimal balance between work and
family role are valued and appreciated (Peeters et al., 2009). As Pierce and Gardner (2009) had
suggested that personality has a considerably huge influence on both personal life and work life of an
individual, the personality of an employee will determine his or her work and organizational roles and
job performance at the workplace. It is very difficult to change or improve the personality of an
employee. Thus, organizations should implement the best actions in order to improve the performance
of each of their employees.
5.2 Implication and Contribution of Research
Firstly, for an organization or company regardless of its size or which sector it belongs to, this research
provides real information regarding the work performance of each employee whereby the results of the
study show a clearer picture and better understanding regarding the job performance of an individual at
the workplace. This helps the top management or employer to take actions in order to improve the
employees’ performance by supporting them in work-family life and place them at the right position
that best suits their personality. When this situation truly occurs, the economy of the country will be
enhanced as there will be growth in the performance of organizations and the country’s economy. As a
result, this will bring a large impact and benefit to the country’s development. The results of the study
indicate that work-family related factors and personality are the two factors that affect job
performance, fresh graduates will be aware of these factors and find a suitable career which can support
them based on the balance of work-family and personality rather than finding a job that emphasizes
income, rewards and incentives, and workplace environment. This will result in the smooth and
successful career path of each individual fresh graduate. Thus, they will be able to achieve happiness
and satisfaction in their working and personal life.
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5.3 Conclusion
In conclusion, this study has found that work-family related factors and personality can significantly
affect the job performance of working adults at the workplace. Other variables that have been
addressed, which are income, rewards and incentives, and workplace environment do not have a
significant relationship with job performance. Therefore, working adults should emphasize work-family
related factors and personality if they seek to improve their job performance and achieve satisfaction in
their life. As work-family related factors and personality have a positive relationship with job
performance, there are also some other variables that can explain the job performance of working
adults but have not been addressed in this study. Thus, future researchers should take note of this as
well as the limitations of this study in order to improve future studies and obtain more reliable results.
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