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Does the ve-factor model of personality

relate to goal orientation?


Mo Wang
a,1
, Jesse Erdheim
b,
*
,1
a
Department of Psychology, Portland State University, Portland, OR 97207-0751, United States
b
Psychology Department, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403, United States
Received 19 October 2006; received in revised form 26 February 2007; accepted 16 April 2007
Available online 4 June 2007
Abstract
Although the personality-motivation link has been studied previously, this literature has largely over-
looked goal orientation. Using a eld sample, this study explored the linkages between the ve-factor model
of personality and goal orientation. Results indicated that the Big Two (Extraversion and Neuroticism)
were important correlates of goal orientation. Specically, Extraversion was signicantly related to learning
goal orientation and proving goal orientation. Neuroticism was marginally related to proving goal orien-
tation and signicantly related to avoiding goal orientation. Theoretical and practical implications of the
results are discussed.
2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Personality; Five-factor model; Work motivation; Goal orientation
1. Introduction
In recent years, alongside the emerging consensus of a ve-factor model of personality (i.e., Big
Five), there has been increasing interest among researchers in studying the dispositional source of
0191-8869/$ - see front matter 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.paid.2007.04.024
*
Corresponding author. Tel.: +419 372 4396; fax: +419 372 6013.
E-mail address: jerdhei@bgsu.edu (J. Erdheim).
1
Both authors contributed equally to the production of this paper.
www.elsevier.com/locate/paid
Personality and Individual Dierences 43 (2007) 14931505
work motivation. For example, Judge and Ilies (2002) conducted a meta-analysis on the relations
between the Big Five and three prominent motivation theories goal-setting theory, expectancy
theory, and self-ecacy theory. They found that, as a set, the Big Five had a multiple correlation
of .49 with the motivation criteria, suggesting that the ve-factor model of personality is an
important source of performance motivation. Although Judge and Ilies (2002) meta-analysis is
quite comprehensive, it did not include goal orientation theory, a motivational theory that
describes the mental framework for how individuals interpret and respond to goal attainment
situations (Elliot & McGregor, 2001). This warrants further examination because goal orientation
has been found to have important motivational implications for training and task performance
(Vandewalle, 2001).
So far, only limited work has examined the linkages between personality traits and goal orien-
tation, and the research that has been conducted has been conned to student samples. For in-
stance, Elliot and Thrash (2002) investigated the relations between Extraversion and
Neuroticism and goal orientation and found signicant results. Based on their ndings, Elliot
and Thrash (2002) theorized that personality traits and goal orientations may have sequential
functions in the motivational process. Specically, personality traits are viewed as energizers of
valenced propensities, whereas goal orientations are viewed as specic, cognitive forms of regula-
tion that give focus and direction to these general propensities. Therefore, it is likely that individ-
uals goal orientation tendencies are developed in a way that adapts to their specic personality
traits. As such, it is conceivable that individuals personality traits may have an impact on their
goal orientation. Supporting this theorizing, using a college student sample, Zweig and Webster
(2004) found that goal orientation and general personality traits were related but distinct
constructs.
At this point, however, to the current authors knowledge, no research has looked at the rela-
tions between all ve traits in the ve-factor model of personality and goal orientation in a eld
setting. This is a signicant limitation because the generalizability of student samples has been
questioned regarding whether student samples reect the complex contextual elements inuencing
peoples motivational tendency in their work life (see Bandura & Locke, 2003; Locke, 1986).
Therefore, this literature would strongly benet from an examination using a full-time work sam-
ple to examine the relations between the Big Five and goal orientation. As such, this is the primary
aim of the paper.
1.1. The Big Five
The ve-factor model of personality provides a meaningful and generalizable taxonomy for
studying individual dierences. This model is comprised of ve relatively independent dimensions:
Extraversion, Neuroticism, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, and Openness to Experience.
Extraversion reects Eysencks (1947) Extraversion/Introversion dimension and the typical
behavioral tendencies associated with it include being assertive, talkative, and sociable (Barrick
& Mount, 1991). The second factor, Neuroticism, reects the Neuroticism/Emotional Stability
dimension from Eysencks (1947) model. It represents individual dierences in the tendency to
experience distress (McCrae & John, 1992) and the typical behaviors that are associated with it
include being anxious, depressed, emotional, worried, and insecure (Barrick & Mount, 1991).
1494 M. Wang, J. Erdheim / Personality and Individual Dierences 43 (2007) 14931505
Taken together, these two dimensions (Extraversion and Neuroticism) represent the Big Two
rst described by Eysenck over 50 years ago.
The third factor is Conscientiousness, which has been argued to reect volition (i.e., Will to
Achieve) and dependability; that is, being careful, thorough, responsible, and planful (Barrick
& Mount, 1991). The typical behaviors associated with Conscientiousness include being hard-
working, achievement-oriented, and persevering (Barrick & Mount, 1991). The fourth factor is
Agreeableness, which describes the humane aspects of people, such as altruism, nurturance, car-
ing, and emotional support at one end and hostility, indierence to others, self-centeredness, spite-
fulness, and jealousy at the other end (Digman, 1990). The behavioral tendencies typically
associated with this factor include being courteous, good-natured, co-operative, soft-hearted,
and tolerant (Barrick & Mount, 1991). The last factor is called Openness to Experience, and is
related to scientic and artistic creativity, divergent thinking, and political liberalism (see Judge,
Heller, & Mount, 2002; McCrae, 1996). At the core of this dimension is an openness to feelings
and new ideas, exibility of thought, and a readiness to indulge in fantasy (Digman, 1990). The
behavioral tendencies typically associated with it include being imaginative, cultured, curious,
intelligent, and artistically sensitive (Barrick & Mount, 1991).
1.2. Goal orientation
The construct of goal orientation originated in educational psychology. Dweck (1986) rst pro-
posed that individuals have goal orientation preferences in achievement situations: (a) a learning
goal orientation, which is the development of competence through expanding ones competencies
by mastering challenging situations and learning new skills and knowledge, and (b) a performance
goal orientation, which is the demonstration and validation of ones competence. Later on,
researchers in both Educational Psychology and I-O Psychology (e.g., Elliot & Harackiewicz,
1996; VandeWalle, 1997) rened performance goal orientation into two facets: a proving goal ori-
entation (also called performance-approach goal orientation) that focuses on demonstrating ones
competence and approaching favorable judgments and an avoiding goal orientation (also called
performance-avoidance goal orientation) that focuses on avoiding negation of ones competence
and negative judgments from others. Guided by this conceptualization, a three-factor model of
goal orientation (i.e., including learning, proving, and avoiding goal orientations) has been sup-
ported by various empirical studies (e.g., Elliot, McGregor, & Gable, 1999; VandeWalle, Cron, &
Slocum, 2001). As such, we adopted this three-factor model of goal orientation for this study.
1.3. Relations between the Big Five and learning goal orientation
Research has demonstrated that Extraversion is signicantly related to motivational concepts
such as goal-setting and self-ecacy (Judge & Ilies, 2002). Because extraverts tend to set high per-
formance goals and attain them, they are likely to set active skill/knowledge acquisition goals. In
addition, Elliot and Thrash (2002) found that Extraversion loaded onto a latent construct, general
approach temperament, which predicted learning goal orientation. Therefore, we expected to rep-
licate this nding in the current study.
Hypothesis 1: Extraversion will positively relate to learning goal orientation.
M. Wang, J. Erdheim / Personality and Individual Dierences 43 (2007) 14931505 1495
Openness to Experience has been argued to positively relate to performance in training pro-
grams because people high on Openness have a willingness and interest to learn new job-relevant
information (Barrick & Mount, 1991). In addition, individuals with a learning goal orientation
demonstrate behaviors and hold beliefs that are consistent with those who are high in Openness
to Experience (Zweig & Webster, 2004). Using the same logic, we expected that people high on
Openness to Experience would be more willing to learn task-related information, and therefore
be more likely to have a high learning goal orientation at work.
Hypothesis 2: Openness to Experience will positively relate to learning goal orientation.
Conscientiousness has been positively linked to goal-setting (Barrick, Mount, & Strauss, 1993)
and self-ecacy motivation (Judge & Ilies, 2002). Given that individuals with high Conscientious-
ness tend to set high performance goals and believe they can achieve them with exerting eort
(Barrick et al., 1993), it is likely that they will also set high learning goals and strive to attain them
as well. In addition, individuals high on Conscientiousness tend to be more dutiful and hard-work-
ing (Judge et al., 2002), and therefore may invest more eort in learning job-related skills and
knowledge. Supporting this notion, research has found Conscientiousness to be positively related
to performance in training settings (Barrick & Mount, 1991), which may at least be partially med-
iated by the degree of learning that has occurred during the training program. Based on this logic,
Hypothesis 3: Conscientiousness will positively relate to learning goal orientation.
1.4. Relations between the Big Five and proving goal orientation
When engaging in skill/knowledge acquisition tasks, individuals with a proving goal orientation
have been identied as focusing on demonstrating good competency appearance (VandeWalle,
1997), and therefore, proving goal orientation can be construed as a motivation of impression
management. This reasoning has implications for Extraversion because its dening characteristics
include being assertive (Barrick & Mount, 1991) and ambitious (Hogan, 1986) and having a desire
to obtain rewards (Stewart, 1996). Therefore, an extravert may highlight personal strengths and
past accomplishments more than someone who is introverted. In support of this logic, previous
research has found that extraverts are more likely to use self-promotion tactics in job-related com-
munications to serve impression management purposes (e.g., Kristof-Brown, Barrick, & Franke,
2002). Therefore, it is conceivable that extraverts may be more likely than introverts to adopt the
proving goal orientation. Furthermore, extraverts tend to be subsumed by positive emotionality
(Watson & Clark, 1997), which should give them the condence to move toward achieving their
desirable competency appearance (Judge & Ilies, 2002) and make them show a higher approaching
tendency. Based on these rationales, we expect
Hypothesis 4: Extraversion will positively relate to proving goal orientation.
It has been argued that avoidance tendency at the general, dispositional level (e.g., Neuroti-
cism) can lead to an approach tendency (e.g., proving goal orientation) at the situation-specic
level (Elliot & Church, 1997). In the current case, proving goal orientation may reect a motiva-
1496 M. Wang, J. Erdheim / Personality and Individual Dierences 43 (2007) 14931505
tion to approach normative competence to avoid negative judgment from others (i.e., approach
to avoid; Elliot & Thrash, 2002, p. 807), which is a sensible, adaptive coping response in achieve-
ment settings (Elliot & McGregor, 2001). This is consistent with the notion that impression man-
agement may be an adaptive coping response for people who feel nervous about the tasks at hand
(Kristof-Brown et al., 2002). Furthermore, Elliot and Thrash (2002) have provided empirical evi-
dence that Neuroticism is positively related to proving goal orientation. Therefore, we expect
Hypothesis 5: Neuroticism will positively relate to proving goal orientation.
1.5. Relations between the Big Five and avoiding goal orientation
By their nature, those high on Neuroticism are anxious and tend to question their own ideas
and behaviors (Digman, 1990). Therefore, they are more likely to seek avoiding failure than di-
rectly move toward achieving a goal. In further support of this logic, previous research has found
Neuroticism to be negatively related to goal-setting motivation, expectancy motivation, and self-
ecacy motivation (Judge & Ilies, 2002) and positively related to avoidance motivation (Elliot &
Thrash, 2002). Thus, we hypothesize,
Hypothesis 6: Neuroticism will positively relate to avoiding goal orientation.
Individuals who are performance-avoidance-oriented are highly concerned with avoiding unfa-
vorable judgments from others (Elliot & Harackiewicz, 1996). To these individuals, attending to
errors may lead to an increased focus on them and the potential for committing more future mis-
takes. Therefore, for a performance-avoidance-oriented individual, non-perseverance on tasks
may serve as a defense mechanism against committing future errors and soliciting unfavorable
judgments from others. As task perseverance is an important component of Conscientiousness,
Conscientiousness is expected to negatively relate to avoiding goal orientation. This is also con-
sistent with Judge and Ilies (2002) nding that conscientious people tend to successfully attain
goals they set. As such, we hypothesize,
Hypothesis 7: Conscientiousness will negatively relate to avoiding goal orientation.
2. Method
2.1. Sample
A sample of 183 employees was obtained from an automobile manufacturer and an 80.61% re-
sponse rate (183 out of 227 possible respondents) was obtained. The gender composition of the
sample was 87.4% male (N = 160) and 12.6% female (N = 23). The average age of the respondents
was 37.19 years (SD = 5.67). The average years of education were 14.09 years (SD = 1.89), with
the majority of participants having received high school or college degrees (80.32%). On average,
respondents had worked in their present jobs for 2.06 years (SD = .91) and for their organization
for 7.05 years (SD = 2.03). Their job titles included mechanical technician (36.1%), electronic
M. Wang, J. Erdheim / Personality and Individual Dierences 43 (2007) 14931505 1497
technician (12.6%), mechanical engineer (8.2%), electrical engineer (3.3%), operation supervisor
(14.8%), quality inspector (5.5%), quality control specialist (2.2%), production manager (7.1%),
safety specialist (2.7%), and general oce manager (6.0%).
2.2. Procedure
One week prior to survey administration, employees received a letter from the Vice President of
Human Resources, which acknowledged the importance of the survey for improving management
practices and asked for voluntary participation. The survey was administered during company
time and employees responded on answer sheets, which were later sent to the researchers.
2.3. Measurements
2.3.1. The Big Five
Goldberg (1992) noted that small sets of variables can serve as markers of the Big Five structure,
and consequently, we used Sauciers (1994) Big Five personality markers to measure the ve-factor
model of personality. This forty-item scale is measured on a Likert-type anchoring ranging from
extremely inaccurate (1) to extremely accurate (9), and contains ve dimensions corresponding
to the ve factors of personality: Extraversion, Neuroticism, Agreeableness, Openness, and Con-
scientiousness. Sample items for each of the dimensions are as follows: Talkative (for Extraver-
sion), Moody (for Neuroticism), Sympathetic (for Agreeableness), Creative (for Openness),
and Organized (for Conscientiousness). The reliabilities for each facet were as follows: Extraver-
sion (.83), Neuroticism (.83), Agreeableness (.88), Openness (.90), and Conscientiousness (.86).
2.3.2. Goal orientation
Goal orientations facets were each measured by three items from Elliot and McGregors (2001)
scale. We chose this scale for its conciseness. Similar to VandeWalle et al. (2001), these items were
adapted to be more appropriate to the international assignment setting. Sample items are as fol-
lows: I want to learn as much as possible at this expatriate assignment (learning goal orienta-
tion); It is important for me to do well compared to other expatriates here (proving goal
orientation); and My goal in this expatriate assignment is to avoid performing poorly (avoiding
goal orientation). Responses were given on a seven-point Likert-type scale. The Cronbachs al-
phas for the three-item learning, proving, and avoiding goal orientation scales were .90, .91,
and .87, respectively.
3. Results
Table 1 lists the means, standard deviations, intercorrelations, and reliabilities for the variables.
The correlations among some of the study variables provided initial support for our hypotheses.
In support of Hypothesis 1, Extraversion was positively correlated with learning goal orientation
(r = .19, p < .01). In addition, Neuroticism was marginally correlated with proving goal orienta-
tion (r = .14, p = .06), providing marginal support for Hypothesis 5. Neuroticism was also posi-
tively correlated with avoiding goal orientation (r = .19, p < .05), providing support for
1498 M. Wang, J. Erdheim / Personality and Individual Dierences 43 (2007) 14931505
Table 1
Means, standard deviations, intercorrelations, and coecient alphas
Variables Mean SD 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1. Age 37.68 5.88
2. Gender .12 .33 .02
3. Extraversion 5.30 1.44 .05 .02 (.83)
4. Neuroticism 4.19 1.55 .05 .07 .28
**
(.83)
5. Agreeableness 6.57 1.36 .06 .02 .20
**
.28
**
(.88)
6. Openness to
Experience
5.90 1.52 .14 .02 .20
**
.18
*
.13 (.90)
7. Conscientiousness 5.72 1.37 .03 .02 .24
**
.22
**
.27
**
.05 (.86)
8. Learning goal
orientation
4.89 1.54 .01 .06 .19
**
.04 .03 .10 .09 (.90)
9. Proving goal
orientation
4.53 1.30 .02 .14 .10 .14
***
.04 .10 .05 .03 (.91)
10. Avoiding goal
orientation
4.18 1.65 .01 .05 .09 .19
*
.02 .10 .15
*
.09 .35
**
(.87)
Note: N = 183.
*
p < .05.
**
p < .01 (two-tailed).
***
p = .06.
Table 2
Hierarchical regression results for Extraversion, Openness to Experience, and Conscientiousness and learning goal
orientation
Step Predictors Learning goal orientation
b (Step 1) b (Step 2) b (Step 3)
Intercept 4.56
**
5.00
**
3.82
**
1 Age .04 .04 .03
Gender .06 .06 .06
2 Age .04 .03
Gender .06 .06
Neuroticism .004 .06
Agreeableness .07 .07
3 Age .03
Gender .06
Neuroticism .06
Agreeableness .07
Openness to Experience .05
Conscientiousness .10
Extraversion .25
**
R
2
.01 .02 .02
Change in R
2
.004 .07
Overall F .32 .26 2.90
Change in F .29 7.11
**
Note: N = 183.
**
p < .01.
M. Wang, J. Erdheim / Personality and Individual Dierences 43 (2007) 14931505 1499
Hypothesis 6. Finally, Conscientiousness was negatively correlated with avoiding goal orientation
(r = .15, p < .05), supporting Hypothesis 7.
To test our hypotheses, we performed a hierarchical regression analysis for each component of
goal orientation. Our goal was to determine if the hypothesized personality dimensions added a
unique contribution in the prediction of the criterion above and beyond the other personality
dimensions and control variables. As such, we rst entered the control variables. Second, we en-
tered the personality dimensions not hypothesized to have relations with the criterion. Third, we
entered the hypothesized personality dimension. To control for potential demographic eects, we
included age and gender as control variables. In the description below of our results, all reported
coecients are standardized and adjusted R
2
s are reported.
3.1. Relations between the Big Five and learning goal orientation
Table 2 shows that, as a set of predictors, Extraversion, Openness to Experience, and Consci-
entiousness explained an additional 7% of variance in the criterion over and above the unhypoth-
esized personality dimensions and control variables (DF = 7.11, p < .01). Specically,
Extraversion signicantly related to learning goal orientation (b = .25, p < .01), supporting
Table 3
Hierarchical regression results for Extraversion and Neuroticism and proving goal orientation
Step Predictors Proving goal orientation
b (Step 1) b (Step 2) b (Step 3)
Intercept 4.75
**
4.68
**
3.20
**
1 Age .02 .01 .01
Gender .14 .14 .13
2 Age .01 .01
Gender .14 .13
Agreeableness .04 .05
Openness to Experience .07 .13
Conscientiousness .11 .06
3 Age .01
Gender .13
Agreeableness .05
Openness to Experience .13
Conscientiousness .06
Extraversion .19
*
Neuroticism .17
***
R
2
.001 .00 .08
Change in R
2
.02 .04
Overall F 1.33 .99 1.58
Change in F .77 4.05
*
Note: N = 183.
*
p < .05.
**
p < .01.
***
p < .09.
1500 M. Wang, J. Erdheim / Personality and Individual Dierences 43 (2007) 14931505
Hypothesis 1. Table 2 also shows that Openness to Experience was not found to relate to learning
goal orientation (b = .05, p > .1), providing no support for Hypothesis 2. In addition, as can be
seen by Table 2, Conscientiousness was not found to relate to learning goal orientation (b = .10,
p > .1), providing no support for Hypothesis 3.
3.2. Relations between the Big Five and proving goal orientation
As Table 3 shows, as a set of predictors, Extraversion and Neuroticism explained an additional
4% of variance in the criterion over and above the unhypothesized personality dimensions and
control variables (DF = 4.05, p < .05). Specically, in support of Hypothesis 4, Extraversion re-
lated to proving goal orientation (b = .19, p < .05). Neuroticism marginally related to proving
goal orientation (b = .17, p < .09), providing support for Hypothesis 5.
3.3. Relations between the Big Five and avoiding goal orientation
Table 4 shows that, as a set of predictors, Neuroticism and Conscientiousness explained an
additional 4% of variance in the criterion over and above the unhypothesized personality dimen-
sions (DF = 2.71, p = .05). Specically, Neuroticism related to avoiding goal orientation (b = .16,
Table 4
Hierarchical regression results for Neuroticism and Conscientiousness and avoiding goal orientation
Step Predictors Avoiding goal orientation
b (Step 1) b (Step 2) b (Step 3)
Intercept 3.46
**
4.18
**
3.17
*
1 Age .07 .09 .10
Gender .05 .05 .04
2 Age .09 .10
Gender .05 .04
Openness to Experience .08 .06
Agreeableness .01 .07
Extraversion .06 .01
3 Age .10
Gender .04
Openness to Experience .06
Agreeableness .07
Extraversion .01
Neuroticism .16
*
Conscientiousness .11
R
2
.01 .02 .004
Change in R
2
.01 .04
Overall F .50 .54 1.08
Change in F .57 2.71
*
Note: N = 183.
*
p < .05.
**
p < .01.
M. Wang, J. Erdheim / Personality and Individual Dierences 43 (2007) 14931505 1501
p < .05), supporting Hypothesis 6. As can also be seen in Table 4, Conscientiousness was not re-
lated to avoiding goal orientation (b = .11, p > .1), providing no support for Hypothesis 7.
4. Discussion
This study attempted to address an important gap in the literature by examining the relation
between the ve-factor model of personality and goal orientation. Replicating Elliot and Thrashs
(2002) ndings using a eld sample, the current results suggest that Extraversion and Neuroticism
serve as strong correlates of goal orientation, which suggest that goal orientation is, at least par-
tially, dispositionally based. Specically, Extraversion was found to be positively related to both
learning and proving goal orientation, whereas Neuroticism was found to be positively related to
proving goal orientation and avoiding goal orientation.
Surprisingly, the remaining three hypotheses were all left unsupported. First, Openness to
Experience did not relate to learning goal orientation. Perhaps Hypothesis 2 was not supported
because, in the present context, those high on Openness to Experience did not perceive the
task-related learning to be creatively stimulating. In support of this logic, Openness to Experience
has been related to developing interests in both science and the arts because of these arenas
emphases on creativity (Perrine & Broderson, 2005).
Second, Conscientiousness did not relate to learning or avoiding goal orientation. This seems to
contradict previous research ndings that linked Conscientiousness to other motivational theo-
ries. For example, Conscientiousness has been found to be a strong predictor of goal-setting, per-
formance expectancy, and self-ecacy motivation (Judge & Ilies, 2002). Nevertheless, diering
from those motivational theories, goal orientation theory emphasizes the achievement tendency
(i.e., approach vs. avoidance), which relates more to the direction of motivation than the intensity
of motivation. Given that Conscientiousness has been argued to lead to better performance via
increasing the eort level (e.g., Schmidt & Hunter, 1998), it probably predicts more of the intensity
than the direction of performance motivation.
4.1. Theoretical and practical implications
Theoretically, the results of our study suggest that personality plays a role in the development
of goal orientation. Specically, it appears that the Big Two personality traits (Eysenck, 1947)
have strong relations with dierent goal orientations, with Extraversion being linked to learning
and proving goal orientations and Neuroticism being linked to proving and avoiding goal orien-
tations. Thus, these results continue a trend which demonstrates that the Big Two are the reli-
able sources for a number of important organizational outcomes, such as job satisfaction (Judge
et al., 2002), organizational commitment (Erdheim, Wang, & Zickar, 2006), and leadership
(Judge, Bono, Ilies, & Gerhardt, 2002). Furthermore, the results suggest that the relations between
the Big Five and these organizational outcomes may be mediated by goal orientation.
Our results also have practical implications. Although personality is often used as a predictor of
job performance (see Barrick & Mount, 1991), our results further conrm that personality has a
signicant impact on performance motivation. Because work motivation is often the immediate
precursor to job performance (Judge & Ilies, 2002) and the ve-factor model of personality has
1502 M. Wang, J. Erdheim / Personality and Individual Dierences 43 (2007) 14931505
proven its worth in predicting job performance, the results of the current study could be used to
clarify the personalityperformance relation. Accordingly, rather than focusing solely on Consci-
entiousness, organizations may also choose to use selection methods that measure Extraversion
and Neuroticism because these traits are the strongest predictors of goal orientation. Moreover,
our results suggest that instead of focusing only on post-entry work experiences to induce work
motivation, organizations may adopt selection procedures based on personality measures to
attain high levels of goal orientation.
4.2. Limitations
Like all research, there are limitations to this study that must be considered. First, the data were
cross-sectional in nature and this restriction prevents any inference of causality. At a minimum, a
longitudinal design is required to infer causality that may exist among these variables. Second, the
results may have been aected by common method bias because the data were collected from self-
report measures. A primary concern of common method variance is that the relations observed
between variables are due to the measurement method rather than the hypothesized relations be-
tween constructs (Podsako & Organ, 1986). Nevertheless, CFA and EFA analyses (not reported
here) supported the clear distinction among all the variables included in the current study, indi-
cating that common method variance should not have aected our results to a great extent. In
addition, research has suggested that the eects of common method variance may be reduced if
items on a questionnaire are ordered such that the independent variable precedes the dependent
variable (Podsako & Organ, 1986). We followed this method in the design of our questionnaire.
Finally, the eect sizes for the relations of interest were small. This suggests the possibility of
unknown moderator variables on the personalitygoal orientation relation. For example, vari-
ables such as situational strength (demands of the situation), time of criterion measurement, type
of job, and job complexity may be particularly relevant to consider as moderators of the person-
alitygoal orientation relation because each of these variables has been shown to moderate the
personalityperformance relation (Schneider, Hough, & Dunnette, 1996). Unfortunately, data
were not collected in regard to possible moderators because such hypotheses were beyond the
scope of this study.
These limitations aside, the present research extends the literature on the dispositional source of
goal orientation in several ways. First, the ndings continue to demonstrate the signicance of the
Big Two in predicting important work motivation and provide additional evidence for their
worth in predicting goal orientation. Second, our ndings have practical implications for person-
nel selection. Future studies may further explore the utility of using personality tests to predict
goal orientation in selection situations.
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