Exploring the relationship between workaholism facets and personality traits: a replication in American workers.
In this study, we further explored whether any of the dimensions in
the five-factor model of personality (i.e., openness to experience,
conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism) were
related to facets of workaholism (i.e., work involvement, work drive,
and work enjoyment) in a sample of American workers in various
occupational settings. Results showed that personality factors explained
a significant amount of the variance for each workaholism facet, above
and beyond personal demographics. Conscientiousness and agreeableness
were positively related to work involvement, while conscientiousness and
openness to experience were positively related to work drive.
Agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to experience were
positively related to work enjoyment, while neuroticism was negatively
related to work enjoyment. By identifying personality factors related to
workaholism, employers can better predict workaholic tendencies during
recruitment and selection.
Key words: personality, workaholism, work involvement, work drive, work enjoyment
Five-factor personality model (Research)
Tronzo, Casie L.
|Publication:||Name: The Psychological Record Publisher: The Psychological Record Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Psychology and mental health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 The Psychological Record ISSN: 0033-2933|
|Issue:||Date: Spring, 2011 Source Volume: 61 Source Issue: 2|
|Topic:||Event Code: 310 Science & research|
|Geographic:||Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States|
The working world today is not what it was 40 years ago. Especially
in Western cultures, individuals today are generally staying at work
later, working longer workweeks, and bringing their work home (Garson,
2005). Schor (1991) indicated that since 1970, there has been a steady
incline in the average amount of time Americans spend working. According
to a study by the International Labor Organization in 2001, workers in
the United States put in a total of 1,978 hours of work per year, an
increase of 36 hours as compared to 1990 (Garson, 2005). Schor believes
that the increase in hours is a result of the labor demands that society
has placed upon workers. Consistent with Schor's findings, George
(1997) added that, given the fear of unemployment and the opportunity
for promotions and raises, it comes as no surprise that individuals are
putting more hours into work. In fact, organizations typically embrace
the characteristics of stereotypical workaholics; however, life outside
of work can be negatively affected by workaholism (Garson, 2005; Gini,
As a result of this surge in work hours among individuals, the phenomenon of workaholism began to surface almost 40 years ago. Workaholics spend a great deal of time thinking about and engaging in work, but they do not really enjoy working, thereby leading to problems in their relationships with family, friends, and coworkers. Because of this work-life imbalance, they can experience a great deal of stress and health problems. Additionally, workaholics are perfectionists and find it difficult to delegate tasks, although they tend to be fairly productive. Workaholism, a term used to describe individuals who are addicted to work, can lead to such detrimental outcomes as burnout, fatigue, stress, and physical or mental health problems (Burke, 2000a; Porter, 1996). Therefore, even though we still cannot clearly define everything that constitutes workaholism, we do know that it consistently produces negative behaviors and health consequences, thus qualifying it as a syndrome. The term syndrome indicates that a set of key components is considered to characterize the workaholic (Aziz & Zickar, 2006). Hence, in this article, we take the negative view of workaholism.
There is no doubt that external reinforcers (e.g., salary increases, promotions) and societal demands have an influence on workers, but there also lies the possibility that workaholism is part of an individual's personality. Previous findings indicate that some personality factors (e.g., extraversion and conscientiousness) can contribute to one's work culture (Bakker, van der Zee, Lewig, & Dollard, 2006; Burke, Matthiesen, & Pallesen, 2006; Judge, Heller, & Mount, 2002; Mount, Ilies, & Johnson, 2006). In fact, Burke et al. (2006) stated, "Workaholism may in fact be a lower order trait that is related in a hierarchical way to higher order personality factors. There is some support for the utility of trait and personality theories in explaining workaholism" (p. 1225).
Therefore, the current study stems from a study conducted by Burke et al. (2006) and further examined the relationship between workaholism facets (work involvement, work drive, and work enjoyment) and the five-factor model of personality (i.e., openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism). Moreover, the current study also addressed the limitations noted in the Burke et al. (2006) study.
Schafer (2001) encouraged replicating studies, using the same methods as were used in the original studies, in the collection of field (e.g., organizational) data. Replicating studies can allow" for better interpretations of applied research, in that doing so removes variation because of methodology and, if the results differ, implies that the original results might have been an error. Consistent results across studies provides a stronger foundation for observed relationships compared to findings obtained within a single study alone, because of the fact that replicated results are considered to be more generalizable and can lead to stronger inferences in other contexts (Schafer, 2001). Given that replications are usually independent, they can often be integrated quantitatively using meta-analysis (Schafer, 2001). For these reasons, the use of replications is particularly appealing to investigators whose research paradigms are limited to field environments (e.g., organizations).
Oates first coined the term workaholism in 1971 and compared it to alcoholism (Spence & Robbins, 1992). Just as alcoholics are addicted to a substance, workaholics are addicted to work. Oates (1971) described workaholism as a strong dependence on work that has negative ramifications (Spence & Robbins, 1992). Since that time, workaholism has become part of popular culture, and more research is being done to explore the causes and consequences of this important construct.
Currently, there is not an agreed-upon definition of workaholism. Some researchers view it in terms of actual hours worked, while others see it as an attitude toward work (Burke, 2000b; Spence & Robbins, 1992). For example, Porter (1996) defined workaholism as having an internal motivation to be overly involved in work, while ignoring other areas of life. Similarly, in an editorial by Griffiths (2005), workaholism was described as an addiction that must meet the following criteria: salience, mood modification, tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, conflict, and relapse. Workaholism has also been referred to as an excessive need that creates an escape from reality (Garson, 2005). According to Garson, Workaholics Anonymous suggests that work addiction is characterized by such criteria as becoming easily excitable over work; working during time off, including during meals; not being able to delegate work; and working beyond the scope of the job description. Ng, Sorensen, and Feldman (2007) defined workaholism in terms of three dimensions: affective (enjoy the act of working), cognitive (obsessed with working), and behavioral (working long hours). Despite the many definitions for workaholism, Spence and Robbins (1992) identified some common elements, and it is these components that we utilized in the current study.
Spence and Robbins' (1992) Workaholism Battery (WorkBAT) is the most widely used self-report assessment of workaholism (Porter, 1996). They describe workaholism in terms of high scores on measures of work involvement and work drive and low scores on work enjoyment. Work involvement is the extent to which an individual productively uses his or her time (both in and out of the workplace) and is committed to work. Work drive refers to an individual's inner motivation to work. Work enjoyment reflects the degree of enjoyment a person derives from his or her work.
Spence and Robbins' (1992) measure has been frequently used in psychological research to examine the relationship between workaholism components (i.e., work involvement, work drive, work enjoyment) and personality factors (Burke et al., 2006), workplace deviance (Galperin & Burke, 2006), and organizational climate (Johnstone & Johnston, 2005), among many other areas. In addition, Aziz and Zickar (2006) used their components to define workaholism as a syndrome.
The psychometric properties of the WorkBat have demonstrated acceptable levels of internal consistency reliability and show factor structures that support their three facets (Burke, Richardsen, & Martinussen, 2002). Moreover, a study by Buelens and Poelmans (2004) found the validity of the Spence and Robbins typology to be similar to past studies in terms of basic dimensions and worker types. Despite the WorkBat's prevalence in workaholism research, it has been criticized not only for being tested on a homogeneous population of 291 social workers, but also because the work involvement facet has consistently been found to be a misfit in the model (Andreassen, Ursin, & Eriksen, 2007; Ersoy-Kart, 2005; McMillan, Brady, O'Driscoll, & Marsh, 2002). Given the widespread use of and statistical support for Spence and Robbins' measure, however, it is the one we used in the current study to assess workaholism.
Burke et al. (2006) examined the relationship between personality factors and the workaholism components created by Spence and Robbins (1992), from which the current study is derived. Given that this domain of research is the basis for the current study, it is necessary to further define the personality factors.
The five domains of personality include openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism (e.g., Costa & McCrae, 1992; Digman, 1990; Goldberg, 1990; Judge, Higgins, Thoresen, & Barrick, 1999; Mount & Barrick, 1998). Much research has been done to show that most personality traits can be categorized into these five domains (e.g., Digman, 1990; Goldberg, 1990; Judge et al., 2002). For example, when 479 English trait adjectives were clustered and analyzed, it was found that they could be divided among these five personality dimensions (Goldberg, 1990). Additionally, the traits of these five personality dimensions can be generalized to other languages and, therefore, across cultures (Goldberg, 1990). Given its widespread popularity and generalizability, as well as the fact that it was used in the Burke et al. (2006) study, Costa and McCrae's (1992) five-factor model of personality was utilized in the current study to assess personality.
Previous research has examined the relationship between the five domains of personality and various work-related constructs that might be considered as elements of workaholism (Bakker et al., 2006; Hochwalder, 2006; Mount et al., 2006; Tett, Jackson, & Rothstein, 1991). For example, Judge et al. (2002) found neuroticism and openness to experience to be negatively correlated with job satisfaction, and agreeableness, extraversion, and conscientiousness to be positively correlated with job satisfaction. Additionally, Barrick and Mount (1991) found conscientiousness to be a consistent and valid predictor of job performance across occupations. Furthermore, neuroticism and extraversion appear to be predictors of burnout (Bakker et al., 2006; Hochwalder, 2006). With the exception of Burke et al. (2006), however, no studies to date have explored the relationship between the five-factor model of personality traits and the construct of workaholism itself.
The current study stems from a study conducted by Burke et al. (2006) in which the relationship between workaholism components (work involvement, work drive, work enjoyment) and the five-factor model of personality, as defined by Judge et al. (1999), was examined. Burke et al. (2006) collected data from nursing home employees in Norway using questionnaires. Findings from their study are outlined in the following paragraphs. They noted, however, some study limitations that we hoped to address in the current study. First, some of their measures had levels of reliability that fell below the generally accepted value of .70. For example, the work involvement measure was found to have a Cronbach's alpha of .46. Additionally, the Cronbach's alphas for openness to experience and agreeableness were .62 and .65, respectively. Second, it is not clear the degree to which the findings of the Burke et al. study are generalizable to other occupational groups in other countries.
The first limitation was addressed by comparing the internal consistency reliabilities of the workaholism facets and the five-factor model of personality found in the Burke et al. (2006) study with the ones obtained in the current study, which employed a sample of U.S. employees. Moreover, the current study addressed their second limitation and went beyond the existing literature by examining the relationship between personality factors and workaholism facets among American workers employed in various occupational settings (e.g., business, education, fine arts, law, health, manufacturing, sales). Therefore, the findings of the current study are more generalizable, in that participants were recruited from a wide variety of organizations in the United States.
In the Burke et al. (2006) study, the workaholism components were correlated with the five-factor model of personality. They found that extraversion was positively related to work involvement and work enjoyment. Work drive was negatively associated with openness to experience, whereas neuroticism and conscientiousness were positively related to work drive, with neuroticism showing the strongest relationship to any workaholism component (Burke et al., 2006). Additionally, they found that personal demographics (e.g., marital status, age, gender, number of children) showed no relationship to the workaholism facets. Personality factors as a whole were significantly related to all three workaholism facets, with extraversion related more so to work involvement and enjoyment, and neuroticism, openness, and conscientiousness related to work drive (Burke et al., 2006).
Hypothesis 1: Openness to Experience and Workaholism
A person who is open to new experiences is more likely to be intelligent and curious and thus more involved in work and more likely to enjoy learning new experiences (Barrick & Mount, 1991). In the Burke et al. (2006) study, openness to experience was negatively related to work drive. It could be that an individual who is open to new experiences is ready to try new things, which may indicate that his or her work drive on existing projects is not high. Also, being intelligent and curious does not necessarily mean that one has the inner motivation to work.
Hypothesis 2: Conscientiousness and Workaholism
Conscientiousness is linked with being achievement oriented, dependable, and orderly (Judge et al., 1999). In addition, it is consistently found to be a strong predictor of job performance (Barrick & Mount, 1991). Furthermore, if an individual is performing well at his or her job, it is likely that person will be satisfied. For these reasons, a positive relation is expected between conscientiousness and the workaholism facets.
Hypothesis 3: Extraversion and Workaholism
Based on previous research, extraverts have been found to be more outgoing and active, as well as more ambitious, than nonworkaholics (Judge et al., 1999); therefore, a positive relationship is expected between extraversion and both work enjoyment and work drive. Furthermore, extraversion will be positively related to work involvement, given that extraverts are characterized as being opportunistic and optimistic (Goldberg, 1990). Extraverts are also predisposed to experience more positive emotions, which is likely to generalize to higher levels of job satisfaction (Judge et al., 2002).
Hypothesis 4: Agreeableness and Workaholism
Agreeable individuals are generally caring and cheerful and therefore tend to be more cooperative individuals (Judge et al., 1999). Highly agreeable individuals tend to be happy when others are happy, thereby making it possible that they may be driven to take on more work, even if it is more than they can handle. Additionally, by helping people out, it is likely that highly agreeable individuals will enjoy their work more and be more involved in the task in order to complete it.
Hypothesis 5: Neuroticism and Workaholism
Previous findings indicate that highly neurotic individuals put themselves in situations that foster negative affect, and they are found to have lower job satisfaction than others (Judge et al., 2002). If a highly neurotic individual indicates lower job satisfaction, it is likely that individual will not be highly engaged in work. Also, individuals who exhibit high neuroticism are insecure and not very confident, which, in turn, could lead to lower work involvement. Additionally, high neuroticism is linked with independence and individualism (Goldberg, 1990), which, in turn, may lead to a high internal work drive.
Participants consisted of a sample of 202 individuals employed in a wide variety of occupations (e.g., business, education, health). Specifically, 300 surveys were sent out electronically to study participants. Of those 300 surveys, 202 individuals responded, resulting in a 67% response rate, which is fairly high in this field of research. No incentive was provided for survey completion. Among the initial 202 respondents, nine of them neglected to answer at least two or more of the survey items; therefore, those surveys were removed from the study. The remaining participants' data (N = 193) were used for the statistical analyses.
The results of frequency analyses found that 40% of the participants were men and 60% were women. Age was assessed in terms of groups, whereby 25% of the participants were under the age of 25, 40% were between 25 and 35 years, 19% were between 36 and 45 years, and 16% were over the age of 45. In addition, 37% of the respondents were married, 63% were single, and 38% had one or more children. The majority of the participants were Caucasian (91%), while 4% were African American, 2% were Asian or Pacific Islander, 2% were Latino or Mexican, and 1% were Native American. Furthermore, organizational tenure was measured in terms of groups, whereby 21% of the participants had been in their current positions for less than 1 year, 23% for 1-2 years, 21% for 3-5 years, 11% for 6-9 years, 11% for 10-15 years, and 13% for over 15 years. The average number of hours worked per week was assessed in terms of groups, whereby 3% of the participants worked under 20 hours, 33% worked 20-40 hours, 44% worked 41-50 hours, 15% worked 51-60 hours, 3% worked 61-70 hours, and 2% worked over 70 hours. The distribution of participants across occupations was as follows: 23% were in business, 17% were in sales, 14% were in education, 9% were in law/government, 8% were in a technical field, 7% were in research, 2% were in fine arts, and 1% were in manufacturing. Note that 19% of the participants did not answer the question pertaining to occupation.
Participants were administered a self-report questionnaire to assess demographic information, workaholism components, and personality factors. The questionnaire was administered online through an Internet-based survey via a link that was sent through electronic mail that allowed participants to access the questionnaire. Participants were recruited by two of the research team members through contact persons who were associated with professional organizations and currently employed in the field. Follow-up emails were sent out two weeks after the initial message was distributed. Confidentiality was maintained throughout the study and respondents were assured that study participation was completely voluntary. Survey completion indicated consent, and it took approximately 20 minutes to complete the survey.
Workaholism components. Spence and Robbins's (1992) 25-item measure was used to measure work involvement, work drive, and work enjoyment. A sample work involvement item is "I spend my free time on projects and other activities." A sample work drive item is "I often feel that there's something inside me that drives me to work hard." A sample work enjoyment item is "Most of the time my work is very pleasurable." The following Cronbach's alphas were obtained: .71 for work involvement, .84 for work drive, and .90 for work enjoyment.
Personality factors. Goldberg et al.'s (2006) 50-item International Personality Item Pool (IPIP) representation of Costa and McCrae's (1992) revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO PI-R), the most widely used five-factor questionnaire, was used to measure personality factors. Each factor consisted of 10 questions. Sample items for each personality factor follow. For agreeableness, a sample item is "Accept people as they are." A sample item reflective of conscientiousness is "Pay attention to details." For extraversion, a sample item is "Am skilled in handling social situations." For neuroticism, a sample item is "Panic easily." A sample item reflective of openness to experience is "Enjoy hearing new ideas." The following Cronbach's alphas were obtained: .76 for agreeableness, .85 for conscientiousness, .85 for extraversion, .83 for neuroticism, and .73 for openness.
Intercorrelations and descriptive statistics are presented in Table 1. In sum, positive correlations were found among all three of Spence and Robbins' (1992) workaholism facets. In addition, work involvement had a significantly positive correlation with agreeableness and conscientiousness. Furthermore, work drive was significantly positively correlated with conscientiousness and openness to experience. Significantly positive correlations were also found between work enjoyment and agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to experience. Finally, a significantly negative correlation existed between work enjoyment and neuroticism.
Multiple regression analyses were used to test the hypotheses, but the correlations also (partially) supported the hypotheses. In other words, multiple regression analysis was used as a correlational analysis, with the added benefit of examining relationships between the workaholism facets and personality factors while controlling for other factors. As shown in Table 2, demographics accounted for 10% of the variance in work involvement. Moreover, 23% of the variance in work involvement was explained by the personality factors, above and beyond the demographics, F(10, 180) = 7.063, p < .000. Although not reported here in the tables, it is of note that when occupation was included as a control variable in the regression analyses, it was not significantly related to any of the workaholism components. Therefore, the results were not in any way skewed by the predominance of one or more occupations.
The partial effect of gender was negatively related to work involvement when the personality factors were entered into the model. After adjusting for the model, the mean traits for men (25.20) were significantly higher than those for women (23.53), F(10, 180) = 4.117, p < .05, [[eta].sup.2] = .06. Also, as expected, conscientiousness was positively related to work involvement, thereby partially supporting Hypothesis 2. The zero-order correlation showed that agreeableness was significantly correlated with work involvement, thereby partially supporting Hypothesis 4; however, the effects of agreeableness were insignificant when entered into the regression model.
Additionally, demographics accounted for 1% of the variance in work drive (see Table 2). Moreover, personality factors accounted for 16% of the variance in work drive, above and beyond the demographics, F(10, 180) = 3.021, p < .01. Conscientiousness was significantly positively related to work drive, which partially supports Hypothesis 2. Openness to experience was significantly positively related to work drive, thereby partially refuting Hypothesis 1.
In addition, demographics accounted for 5% of the variance in work enjoyment (see Table 2). Moreover, personality factors accounted for 15% of the variance in work enjoyment, above and beyond the demographics, F(10, 180) = 3.673, p < .000. As expected, conscientiousness was significantly positively related to work enjoyment, thereby partially supporting Hypothesis 2. Additionally, Hypothesis 1 was partially supported, in that openness to experience was significantly positively related to work enjoyment. In the zero-order correlations, agreeableness was significantly positively related to work enjoyment, which partially supports Hypothesis 4; however, when added into the regression model, the variance of agreeableness was insignificant. As shown in Table 1, neuroticism was significantly negatively related to work enjoyment, which partially confirms Hypothesis 5; however, when neuroticism was put into the regression model, the effects became insignificant.
The current study replicated the Burke et al. (2006) study and further explored the idea that personality traits are associated with workaholism components. Overall, results of both the current study and the Burke et al. study imply that workaholism can be explained as a personality trait. Such studies serve as the foundation to further investigate the association between personality and workaholism. In fact, Burke et al. (2006) emphasized the importance that future studies replicate their reported findings.
The current study contributes to the existing body of knowledge in several ways. First, the Burke et al. (2006) study used a sample of nursing home employees from the same company in Norway. Nursing is typically viewed as a stressful job, especially given the fact that most nursing home residents have serious health issues and life expectancies of fewer than three years. The current study, however, went beyond the existing literature by including employees from a variety of industries in the United States. Thus, our findings are more generalizable, in that participants were recruited from a wide variety of organizations. Second, in the current study, the internal consistency reliabilities of the five-factor model of personality were all higher than those obtained by Burke et al. (2006). Perhaps this is because Burke et al. translated all of the scales to Norwegian. Essentially, acceptable levels of internal consistency reliability were found in the American sample; however, lower levels of reliability were retrieved in the Norwegian sample. Hence, it is possible that the items that comprise the five-factor model (developed in the United States) might be interpreted differently in such countries as Norway.
Another noteworthy observation lies in the differences in some of the demographics between the American sample and the sample of nursing home employees in Norway. For example, the Burke et al. (2006) sample was primarily female (89%), whereas the current study sample consisted of 60% women and 40% men. Additionally, 68% of the participants in the Burke et al. study were married and 74% had children, whereas 37% were married and 38% had children in the current study sample.
Personality and Work Involvement
Consistent with the hypothesis, results of the regression analysis indicated that conscientiousness was significantly related to work involvement. Additionally, results of the correlation confirmed that agreeable individuals were more involved in work. However, when added into the regression model with the other traits, agreeableness was no longer significantly related to work involvement.
On the other hand, the idea that extraverted individuals are more likely to be involved in their work was refuted by the results. This finding was also inconsistent with the Burke et al. (2006) study, where extraversion was the only significant personality trait related to work involvement. This inconsistency could be because of the nature of the work from the previous study. The Burke et al. study used participants employed in a nursing home, where they are constantly interacting with patients and thus exhibiting higher levels of extraversion as part of their job. The current study recruited individuals from various industries where some of the occupations are more solitary (e.g., research, manufacturing), thereby having introverts exhibiting a higher level of involvement. Additionally, given that extraverts are typically more social and have more friends, perhaps they are socializing with other coworkers, which could be a distraction and lead to low work involvement.
Also contrary with the hypothesis, results showed that neurotic individuals were significantly more involved in their work, instead of less involved. Neurotic individuals are unlikely to cope with anxiety and pressure; therefore, pressure to engage in work and complete it could be the driving force for such individuals to be involved in their work.
Results also indicated that openness to experience was not significantly related to work involvement, which is partially inconsistent with the hypothesis. Individuals who are open to new experiences are more curious, which could explain why those individuals are more interested and involved in new experiences and not as interested in work.
Personality and Work Drive
Consistent with the findings of Burke et al. (2006), results from the current study confirmed that conscientiousness was positively related to work drive. Conscientious individuals are typically achievement oriented, and conscientiousness has been found to be a strong predictor of job performance.
Contrary to expectations and to the Burke et al. (2006) study, results showed that openness to experience actually leads to higher work drive. This anomaly may again be attributed to the nature of the work. Where in the previous study the environment was a nursing home, the current study included a wide variety of occupations. Open individuals have been found to be more imaginative; therefore, some occupations may require "thinking outside the box" and encourage imaginative thinking (e.g., sales/marketing, fine arts) that would initiate work drive.
The results also did not support the hypothesis that agreeableness would be linked with higher work drive. Research has found that agreeable individuals are more likely to be cooperative and nonargumentative, and thus will be more likely to engage in work that they do not necessarily want to do in order to avoid conflict.
Additionally, contrary to the hypothesis, extraversion was not found to be significantly linked with work drive. Again, this could be attributed to the fact that extraverts might be more focused on socializing with their coworkers or driven in more social aspects of their life and thus are not motivated to complete their work.
Furthermore, the results did not show that neuroticism was significantly related to work drive, which does not support the hypothesis or the previous study findings. In the previous study, participants were all in a high-stress environment (i.e., nursing home) and perhaps working maintained that stress level. This could be why individuals' neuroticism significantly related to work drive. On the other hand, in the current study, work drive of individuals in different work environments (e.g., sales, real estate) is not significantly affected by levels of neuroticism because any additional distress or instability could be detrimental to the job and may result in a lack of work motivation.
Personality and Work Enjoyment
Results supported the hypothesis that individuals exhibiting openness to experience enjoy their work more than others. Open individuals are more excited to take on new adventures and may include work projects in those adventures. Additionally, results confirmed that conscientious individuals show more work enjoyment. Given that conscientiousness is linked with job performance, it is likely that work enjoyment is a result of high performance.
Results of the correlation were consistent with the hypothesis, in that neurotic individuals were less likely to experience work enjoyment. Based on earlier research, neurotic individuals have lower job satisfaction than their more emotionally stable counterparts. It is important to note that, when entered into the regression model, neuroticism no longer had a significant relationship with work enjoyment.
The hypothesis that agreeable individuals would exhibit higher levels of work enjoyment was also partially supported by the zero-order correlations. Generally, agreeable individuals are happier and more helpful; therefore, it is no surprise that they would enjoy their work more than their nonagreeable counterparts. The effect of agreeableness, however, was insignificant when entered into the regression model.
The current findings did not support the hypothesis that extraversion would lead to work enjoyment and were also inconsistent with Burke et al. (2006). This could be dependent on the nature of the work. If a highly extraverted individual is currently employed in an autonomous setting that does not foster sociability (e.g., research lab, manufacturing plant), then that individual may not enjoy working at all, or at least may not enjoy working in that particular setting.
Limitations and Future Research
Although the current study addressed some of the drawbacks of the Burke et al. (2006) study, there are still some limitations that should be noted. It may be beneficial for future research to examine work characteristics, specifically job profession, in order to explore the relationships between personality traits and workaholism. It may be that certain personality types are linked to particular professions; perhaps there are occupations that are naturally consistent with workaholic individuals (e.g., surgeons, lawyers; Ng et al., 2007). It may be the case that there are personality trends within such occupations that could be used to further examine workaholism.
Although the differences are appreciated, some of the findings were significantly different from those of the Burke et al. (2006) study, which could partially be the result of cross-cultural differences. For example, extraversion may have been significantly related with work involvement in the Burke et al. study because employees in Norway are more extraverted. The current study used a relatively small, idiosyncratic sample of workers from various industries across the United States; therefore, the results are only relevant to the U.S. workforce. Future research could include participants from the same occupations but across countries to see if any personality differences exist.
Reliance on self-report measures is another limitation. Individuals usually have inaccurate opinions of themselves, which may produce erroneous results (Spector, 1994). Self-report data are invaluable as a way to gather information on how people perceive themselves; however, a more accurate picture can be attained by collecting data from coworkers, supervisors, peers, and close friends and family members (Aziz & Zickar, 2006).
Given that perceptions of psychological constructs lie in the eye of the beholder, the hypotheses were most appropriately assessed by asking employees to indicate their own attitudes. Moreover, because of the self-report nature of the study, causal inferences were not made. Future studies should use longitudinal research to enhance our understanding of the relationship between workaholism and personality.
Workaholism has been linked with various behaviors that can be detrimental to one's health and work life. For example, previous research has shown that workaholism is related to burnout, fatigue, and neglect (Burke, 2000b; Garson, 2005; Gini, 1998; Johnstone & Johnston, 2005; Spence & Robbins, 1992). Workaholism has also been linked with organizational deviant behavior (Galperin & Burke, 2006). With regard to the five-factor model of personality, it may bode well for interviewers to hire those individuals who display personality factors that have positive effects on the organization (e.g., conscientiousness is positively related to facets of workaholism). It is of note, however, that the use of personality tests in the selection process also has its limitations. For instance, social desirability might be an issue, in that respondents might fake their responses (i.e., lie) in order to please the interviewer and present themselves in a more positive light.
It is also equally important to look for potential hires who exhibit personality factors that are harmful to the organization. For example, future studies might find neuroticism to be related to workaholism (Bakker et al., 2006; Hochwalder, 2006). By identifying personality factors that are related to workaholism, employers may be able to better predict workaholic tendencies among potential employees during both recruitment and selection, which in turn could be helpful in the decision-making process (Barrick & Mount, 1991; Tett et al., 1991), For example, for those employers who perceive workaholism to be an undesirable behavior in the workplace, one implication could be that they should not hire individuals with personality traits that are related to facets of workaholism. However, it is also possible that it is a combination of the situation and the disposition that creates workaholism, thereby opening the door to future questions on how to use workaholism to the tipping point and how to identify that tipping point.
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Shahnaz Aziz and Casie L. Tronzo
East Carolina University
Correspondence concerning this article should be sent to Dr. Shahnaz Aziz, Department of Psychology, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858-4353. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hypothesis 1: Openness to experience will be positively related to work involvement and work enjoyment and negatively related to work drive.
Hypothesis 2: Conscientiousness will be positively related to all three workaholism components.
Hypothesis 3: Extraversion will be positively related to all three workaholism components.
Hypothesis 4: Agreeableness will be positively related to all three workaholism components.
Hypothesis 5: Neuroticism will be positively related to work drive and negatively related to work involvement and work enjoyment.
Table 1 Correlations and Descriptive Statistics (N = 193) Work Work drive Work Agreeableness involvement enjoyment Work involvement .71 Work drive .43 ** .84 Work enjoyment .35 ** .30 ** .90 Agreeableness .23 ** .08 .19 * .76 Conscientiousness .47 ** .36 ** .35 ** .37 ** Extraversion -.03 .09 .04 .15 Neuroticism -.05 .02 -.12 * -.40 * Openness to .07 .19 * .20 * .15 experience Gender -.04 .08 .06 .21 ** Age .23 ** -.03 .15 .17 * Race -.01 .01 .08 -.01 Marital status .32 ** -.02 .19 * .13 Number of .25 ** -.06 .12 .08 children Score range 8-40 7-35 10-50 10-50 Study range 12-38 9-35 12-50 25-49 M 24.19 24.18 31.49 37.67 SD 5.21 6.07 7.64 5.43 Conscientiousness Extraversion Neuroticism Work involvement Work drive Work enjoyment Agreeableness Conscientiousness .85 Extraversion .17 * .85 Neuroticism -.24 * -.36 ** .83 Openness to .09 .31 ** -.18 * experience Gender .15 .07 .24 ** Age .09 -.20 -.09 Race -.00 .08 -.06 Marital status .15 -.17 * -.03 Number of .07 -.18 * -.09 children Score range 10-50 10-50 10-50 Study range 20-50 16-50 10-42 M 38.06 36.14 24.48 SD 6.07 6.69 6.95 Openness to Gender Age Race Marital Number of experience status children Work involvement Work drive Work enjoyment Agreeableness Conscientiousness Extraversion Neuroticism Openness to .73 experience Gender .14 -- Age -.14 -.06 -- Race .04 .01 -.06 -- Marital status -.18 * -.06 .68 -.06 -- ** Number of -.31 * -.13 .53 .03 .63 ** -- children ** Score range 10-50 1-2 1-4 1-5 1-3 1-4 Study range 20-50 1-2 1-4 1-5 1-3 1-4 M 37.68 1.60 2.27 1.08 1.48 1.79 SD 6.05 .49 1.01 .28 .50 1.14 Note. Entries on the main diagonal are Cronbach's alphas. * p < .05. ** p <. 001.
Table 2 Hierarchical Regression Analyses With Work Involvement, Work Drive, and Work Enjoyment as the Criteria (N = 193) Work involvement Step Variable [beta] [DELTA][R.sup.2] 1 Gender -.01 Age .00 Race .00 Marital status .27 * Number of children .07 .10 ** 2 Gender -.16 * Age -.00 Race .01 Marital status .17 Number of children .14 Agreeableness .12 Conscientiousness .45 ** Extraversion -.05 Neuroticism .17 Openness to experience .15 .23 ** Total [R.sup.2] .33 ** Work drive 1 Gender .08 Age -.03 Race .02 Marital status .05 Number of children -.06 .01 2 Gender -.03 Age -.01 Race .01 Marital status -.03 Number of children .02 Agreeableness -.03 Conscientiousness .39 ** Extraversion .01 Neuroticism .15 Openness to experience .19 * .16 ** Total [R.sup.2] .17 ** Work enjoyment 1 Gender .08 Age .04 Race .09 Marital status .16 Number of children .00 .05 2 Gender .07 Age -.00 Race .03 Marital status .13 Number of children .05 Agreeableness -.01 Conscientiousness .28 ** Extraversion -.10 Neuroticism -.17 Openness to experience .20 * .15 ** Total [R.sup.2] .20 ** Note. [DELTA][R.sup.2] for the personal demographics is equal to the initial [R.sup.2], whereas [DELTA][R.sup.2] for the personality factors is the increment in [R.sup.2] after adding it to the personal demographics. * p < .05. ** p < .001.
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