The Interaction Between Conscientiousness and General Mental Ability: Support for a Compensatory Interaction in Task Performance

Harris-Watson, Alexandra M.; Kung, Mei-Chua; Tocci, Michael C.; Boyce, Anthony S.; Weekly, Jeff A.; Guenole, Nigel and Carter, Nathan T.. 2022. The Interaction Between Conscientiousness and General Mental Ability: Support for a Compensatory Interaction in Task Performance. Journal of Business and Psychology, ISSN 0889-3268 [Article] (In Press)

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Abstract or Description

We propose a compensatory interactive influence of conscientiousness and GMA in task performance such that conscientiousness is most beneficial to performance for low-GMA individuals. Drawing on trait by trait interaction theory and empirical evidence for a compensatory mechanism of conscientiousness for low GMA, we contrast our hypothesis with prior research on a conscientiousness-GMA interaction and argue that prior research considered a different interaction type. We argue that observing a compensatory interaction likely requires: (a) considering the appropriate interaction form, including a possible curvilinear conscientiousness-performance relationship; (b) measuring the full conscientiousness domain (as opposed to motivation proxies); (c) narrowing the criterion domain to reflect task performance; and (d) appropriate psychometric scoring of variables to increase power and avoid type 1 error. In four employee samples (N1 = 300; N2 = 261; N3 = 1,413; N4 = 948), we test a conscientiousness-GMA interaction in two employee samples. In three of four samples, results support a nuanced compensatory mechanism such that conscientiousness compensates for low to moderate GMA, and high conscientiousness may be detrimental to or unimportant for task performance in high-GMA individuals.

Item Type:

Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-021-09780-1

Additional Information:

The work of Alexandra M. Harris-Watson was supported in part by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (DGE-1443117), and the work of Nathan T. Carter was supported in part by the National Science Foundation (SES1561070).

Keywords:

Conscientiousness, general mental ability, interaction, performance

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute of Management Studies

Dates:

DateEvent
1 November 2021Accepted
7 January 2022Published Online

Item ID:

30638

Date Deposited:

08 Nov 2021 13:12

Last Modified:

20 Jan 2022 14:01

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI:

https://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/30638

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