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Personality traits as performance enhancers? A comparative analysis of workers in Russia, Armenia and Kazakhstan

  • Linz, Susan J.
  • Semykina, Anastasia

What is the relative importance of cognitive and non-cognitive traits in accounting for differences in worker performance in former socialist economies? We use survey data collected in 2005 from over 4790 employees in Russia, Armenia and Kazakhstan to construct three different performance measures - self-reported quantity and quality of work in comparison to others doing similar work, earnings, and expected promotions - and two measures to capture two personality traits: locus of control (LOC) and preference for challenge versus affiliation (C-A). We begin our investigation with a descriptive analysis of the relationship between personality traits and work-related attitudes. We find LOC and C-A differences in work-related attitudes more often than not match results associated with studies conducted in developed market economies. To assess the influence of LOC and C-A personality traits on performance, in our regression analysis we control for worker characteristics (age, gender, experience, schooling, unemployment experience, and supervisory responsibilities) and firm characteristics (ownership, whether the workplace is a manufacturing plant). Our results indicate that personality has a positive effect on performance, but the magnitude of the effect varies by performance measure and by country. In some specifications, the effect of personality is similar in magnitude to the effect of education, and may in fact exceed the effect of education if the effects of the two personality traits are combined.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.

Volume (Year): 30 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 71-91

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Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:30:y:2009:i:1:p:71-91
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