Does Having a Dysfunctional Personality Hurt Your Career? Axis II Personality Disorders and Labor Market Outcomes

Professor, Departments of Medicine and Health Services, University of California Los Angeles. 911 Broxton Plaza, Room 106, Box 951736, Los Angeles, California, 90095-1736 USA. .
Industrial Relations A Journal of Economy and Society (Impact Factor: 1.48). 01/2011; 50(1):149-173. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-232X.2010.00629.x
Source: PubMed


Despite recent interest in how psychiatric disorders affect work outcomes, little is known about the role of personality disorders (PDs), which are poorly understood yet prevalent (15%) and impairing. We used nationally representative data for 12,457 men and 16,061 women to examine associations of PDs with any employment, full-time employment, chronic unemployment, being fired or laid off, and having trouble with a boss or co-worker. Antisocial, paranoid, and obsessive-compulsive PDs demonstrated the broadest patterns of associations with adverse outcomes. Findings suggest that PDs may have implications for the productivity of co-workers as well as that of the disordered employees themselves.

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    • "Relatedly, further insights may be gained from looking into specific dark personality traits. As suggested by previous studies (e.g.,Baker, 1979;Ettner et al., 2011;Wille et al., 2013), specific personality disorders may be particularly relevant in explaining specific work experiences and/or behaviors that might lead to turnover. For example, narcissistic individuals may quit their jobs (or experience work failures) in order to seek (temporary) " narcissistic gratification " or avoid the clash between their grandiose sense of self and the harsh work demands/challenges (Baker), and those with borderline personality disorder tend to have difficulty sustaining employment (Wille et al.). "
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    ABSTRACT: Recent advances in the personality and turnover literatures suggest the importance of expanding current turnover criteria, incorporating dark personality traits, and examining the role of time in these relationships. The present study investigates these issues by considering both the speed and the reasons for leaving, examining a wider range of personality variables as predictors by including both “bright” and “dark” traits, and exploring the potential moderating effect of time in such predictions. Data were collected from a sample of 617 employees working in an electronics manufacturing firm in the United States. Using a Bayesian survival analysis framework, we found that dark traits were just as useful in predicting turnover outcomes as traditional personality traits and best predicted the specific turnover reasons, “deviant behavior” and “no call no show.” Investigating the role of time showed that job satisfaction and intellectual curiosity (i.e., Openness) grew in predictive strength over the course of organizational tenure but that the time-dependent effects of other predictors were negligible.
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    • "Overall, individuals affected by personality disorders have a higher risk of being laid off (Ettner et al., 2011), and of receiving a disability pension (Ostby et al., 2014). With an overall prevalence of about 15% in the general population (Ettner et al., 2011), personality disorders are a relevant mental health problem for the workforce. One situation in which reactions of colleagues and supervisors are of particular importance is when returning to work after sick leave. "
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    ABSTRACT: People with mental disorders, especially personality disorders, often face low acceptance at work. This is particularly problematic when returning to work after sick leave, because it impedes reintegration into the former workplace. This study explores colleagues' reactions towards a problematic worker dependent on the returning person's reintegration strategy: The returning person undertaking changes in their behaviour is compared with the person requesting adjustments of the workplace. In an experimental study, 188 employed persons read one of four vignettes that described a return-to-work-situation of a problematic co-worker. Across all vignettes, the co-worker was depicted as having previously caused problems in the work team. In the first vignette, the co-worker did not change anything (control condition) when she returned to work; in the second, she asked for workplace adjustments; in the third vignette she initiated efforts to change her own behaviour; and the fourth vignette combined both workplace adjustments and behavioural change. Study participants were asked for their reactions towards the problematic co-worker. Vignettes that included a behavioural change evoked more positive reactions towards the co-worker than vignettes without any behavioural change. Asking for workplace adjustments alone did not yield more positive reactions compared to not initiating any change. When preparing employees with interactional problems for their return to work, it is not effective to only instruct them on their statutory entitlement for workplace adjustments. Instead, it is advisable to encourage them to proactively strive for behaviour changes.
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    • "In fact, Karpman posited that only primary psychopathy should be considered ''true'' psychopathy. Furthermore, due to their impulsivity-related problems it is unlikely that secondary psychopaths can be successful workers (if they enter the work force; Ettner et al. 2011). Thus, for the present study, we use primary psychopathy as a predictor. "
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    ABSTRACT: Careerism refers to an individual’s propensity to achieve their personal and career goals through nonperformance-based activities (Feldman, The Indus Org Psychol 39–44, 1985). We investigated the role of several dispositional predictors of careerism, including Five-factor model (FFM) personality traits, primary psychopathy, and exchange ideology. Based on data from 131 respondents, as expected, we observed that emotional stability was negatively correlated with careerism. Primary psychopathy and exchange ideology explained additional variance in careerism after accounting for FFM traits. Relative importance analyses indicated that psychopathy (relative weight percentage of explained variance = 42.1 %) and exchange ideology (relative weight percentage = 44.1 %) were equally important in predicting careerism. We highlight the need for future research efforts investigating the combined effects of contextual factors—particularly, human resource practices—and individual differences to understand careerism in the workplace.
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