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When and why people engage in different forms of proactive behavior: interactive effects of self-construals and work characteristics

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  • Wu, Chia-Huei
  • Parker, Sharon
  • Wu, Long-Zeng
  • Lee, Cynthia

Abstract

When and why do people engage in different forms of proactive behavior at work? We propose that, as a result of a process of trait activation, employees with different types of self-construal engage in distinct forms of proactive behavior if they work in environments consistent with their self-construals. In an experimental Study 1 (N = 61), we examined the effect of self-construals on proactivity and found that people primed with interdependent self-construals engaged in more work unit-oriented proactive behavior when job interdependence also was manipulated. Priming independent self-construals did not enhance career-oriented proactive behavior, even when we manipulated job autonomy. In a field Study 2 (N = 205), we found that employees with interdependent self-construals working in jobs with high interdependence reported higher work unit commitment and higher work unit-oriented proactive behavior than employees in low interdependent jobs. Employees with independent self-construals working in jobs with high autonomy also exhibited stronger career commitment and more career-oriented proactive behavior than those in jobs with low autonomy. This research offers a theoretical framework to explain how dispositional and situational factors interactively shape people's engagement in different forms of proactive behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Wu, Chia-Huei & Parker, Sharon & Wu, Long-Zeng & Lee, Cynthia, 2017. "When and why people engage in different forms of proactive behavior: interactive effects of self-construals and work characteristics," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 71991, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:71991
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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/71991/
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Andreas Klein & Helfried Moosbrugger, 2000. "Maximum likelihood estimation of latent interaction effects with the LMS method," Psychometrika, Springer;The Psychometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 457-474, December.
    2. Shipp, Abbie J. & Edwards, Jeffrey R. & Lambert, Lisa Schurer, 2009. "Conceptualization and measurement of temporal focus: The subjective experience of the past, present, and future," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 110(1), pages 1-22, September.
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    1. repec:hur:ijarbs:v:8:y:2018:i:2:p:244-261 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Self-construal; Job design; Proactive behavior; Trait activation; Commitment;

    JEL classification:

    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General

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