Publication: Personel Psychology
Article: Understanding the impact of personality traits on individuals’ turnover decisions: a meta-analytic path model.
Blogger: Katie O’Brien
Apparently, it can! While the rest of us who study turnover have been looking mostly at environmental influences that lead people to quit, Ryan Zimmerman has been collecting a stash of personality variables. In the latest issue of Personnel Psychology, Zimmerman presented a meta-analysis and path model of 86 empirical studies published in the past few decades that have any connection between personality and turnover. Frankly, I’m glad someone’s doing it and eternally thankful it’s not me. Talk about your project from Dante’s Inferno – this kind of research project has its own circle of hell. Anyway, enough with my methodology nightmares, let’s get to the juice.
In a nutshell, of the Big Five personality traits (openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, emotional stability, and agreeableness), emotional stability and conscientiousness had the largest negative effect on intentions to quit.
And, those two traits plus agreeableness had the largest negative connection to actually quitting. Surprise, surprise, people who are neurotic want to quit more than emotionally stable people, and people who are conscientious and agreeable aren’t likely to quit their jobs. In this study, Zimmerman was also able to link lots of these predictors together in a (neurotic + poor job performance review = sayonara) kind of way, but the crux of the useful information is that we can possibly predict and then lower turnover by knowing things about an applicant/employee’s personality. That’s some pretty cool news.