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Clarifying the association between personality and interpersonal citizenship behavior.

It goes without saying that employees who exceed job requirements by helping their co-workers (interpersonal organizational citizenship behavior or OCBI) enhance overall performance and productivity. Research (and common sense) show that personality relates positively to OCBI, but which traits, and how do they connect to good teamwork? Positing that constituent attachment--the strength of bonds between and among co-workers-is the key link, the authors explored the premise using structural equation modeling for data from 429front-line service employees of a U.S. restaurant chain. Results confirmed the dominant linkage between OCBI and constituent attachment, especially when a personality features extraversion and agreeableness.


Interpersonal organizational citizenship behavior (OCBI) is a key element of organizational success. OCBI occurs when an employee goes above and beyond his or her formal job requirements to assist co-workers by engaging in behaviors such as helping those who are falling behind in their work and sharing work-relevant information (Bowler and Brass, 2006; Williams and Anderson, 1991). OCBI facilitates better performance, productivity, and more favorable work climates (Erhart, Bliese, and Thomas, 2006; Van Dyne and Lepine, 1998; Williams and Anderson. 1991). Further, OCBI is particularly important in today's work environments where teamwork is an inevitable part of organizational life.

Recognizing the importance of OCBI in the workplace, researchers have worked to identify its antecedents and have focused extensively on personality as a potentially important predictor (e.g., Borman, Penner, Allen, Motowidlo, 2001; Bourdage, Lee, Lee, and Shin, 2012; Lepine and Van Dyne, 2001; Organ and Ryan, 1995). Summarizing this research, Hurtz and Donovan (2000) meta-analyzed 23 independent studies and observed the following fully-corrected estimates for the relationship between the five-factor model of personality (Hogan, 1991; McCrae and Costa, 1997) and OCBI: openness ([rho] = .05), extraversion ([rho] = .11), emotional stability ([rho] = .17), conscientiousness ([rho] = .18), and agreeableness ([rho] = .20). More recently, Chiaburu, Oh. Berry, Li, and Gardner (2011) meta-analyzed 28 independent studies and found similar results. Their fully-corrected estimates were: openness ([rho] = .18), extraversion ([rho] = .10), emotional stability ([rho] = .14), conscientiousness ([rho] = .21), and agreeableness ([rho] = .18).

Although prior research clearly shows a relationship between personality and OCBI, both meta-analyses indicate the effect sizes are lower than expected. It is critical to consider what may account for these results. Smaller effect sizes often signal that the predictor is more distal to the dependent variable (Shrout and Bolger, 2002), suggesting the potential for additional, omitted variables (i.e., mediators) in the causal chain. The purpose of this paper is to identify constituent attachment as a mediating variable between personality and OCBI. Constituent attachment reflects the extent to which an employee feels attached to or has established bonds with individuals in the workplace (Maertz and Griffeth, 2004; Maertz and Boyar, 2012). We argue that personality operates to affect OCBI through constituent attachment.

Personality trait differences affect behavior through their association with different sources of motivational striving (Barrick et al., 2001; Barrick et al., 2013; Barrick, Stewart, and Piotrowski, 2002; Hogan and Shelton, 1998). Employees whose personality suggests tendencies toward communion striving should be more motivated to build constituent attachment and more apt to translate those feelings of attachment into OCBI. We focus our attention on extraversion, agreeableness, and emotional stability, the three traits from the five-factor model that are primary indicators of interpersonal tendencies and most closely associated with efforts to value, seek, and engage in forms of social striving (Barrick et al., 2013; Hogan and Shelton, 1998).

We test our hypotheses with a sample of entry-level, service employees from a national restaurant chain (1). OCBI is a critical component of work in the hospitality industry, and attachment to co-workers is particularly important for creating a positive workplace experience (Tews, Michel, and Allen, 2014). Previous research demonstrates that even though turnover levels can be high, employees in these jobs develop constituent attachment and value co-worker bonds (Ellingson, Tews, and Dachner, 2015). Entry-level service work is interdependent and customer-focused. Employees in these positions work in close proximity without clear physical separation. This creates a high level of social intensity, resulting in a concordant situation for observing communion striving (Barrick et al., 2013). In addition, employees who hold these jobs tend to be younger (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2009). Forming bonds with co-workers provides a source of social support and fun that is highly valued as they deal with the unpleasant job demands that can accompany entry-level service work (Ducharme and Martin, 2000; Tews et al., 2014). This makes the sample well-suited for observing how personality affects the development of constituent attachment and the subsequent emergence of OCBI.

Literature Review

Importance of specifying mediator variables that link personality to behavior

Identifying and modeling mediator variables provides estimated effect sizes and closes theoretical gaps by incorporating what MacKinnon, Coxe, and Baraldi (2012) term "action theory" in addition to conceptual theory. In the realm of personality, this means that mediators explain how distal traits operate to affect work behavior (Barrick et al., 2013; Lanaj, Chang, and Johnson, 2012). The result is clearer theoretical articulation of the focal mechanisms. Also important, mediator variables offer better insight into methods for facilitating work behavior. Organizations have less control over employees' personality than over work structure, policies, and practices that serve as contextual guideposts for trait expression (Barrick et al., 2013). Thus, by clarifying the underlying mechanism, we can begin to offer specific guidance concerning managerial actions that foster OCBI.

This research builds on prior work by Ilies, Fulmer, Spitzmuller, and Johnson (2009) that identified job satisfaction as a mediating variable of the relationship between agreeableness and OCBI. Ilies et al. found support for the notion that dispositionally predisposed employees will enact a form of social exchange; when they feel positive about their work environment, they will respond with citizenship behavior. By proposing constituent attachment as a mediator, we extend this prior work by further distilling the link between personality and OCBI to offer a more precise theoretical explanation of how personality influences citizenship. Job satisfaction is a broad, multi-faceted construct representing positive affect with respect to the job in general (Roznowski, 1989; Spector, 1997). Constituent attachment represents the portion of general positive affect attributed to the formation of interpersonal relationships at work (Hays, 1988; Maertz and Boyar, 2012). The positive affect derived from working with individuals with whom one has formed meaningful relationships contributes to feelings of overall job satisfaction, but it also provides a basis for reciprocated exchange as employees feel more compelled to support those individuals. Therefore, the attitudinal mechanisms that underlie a choice to engage in OCBI are likely more specific than previous research has explored.

Constituent attachment as an antecedent of OCBI

OCBI is typically viewed as a form of pro-social exchange (Ilies et al., 2009). Social exchange theory (Blau, 1964, 1986) argues that strong relational ties lead to reciprocity of positive behavior (Bowler and Brass, 2006) such that each partner voluntarily makes contributions and receives benefits in a discretionary manner (Kamdar and Van Dyne, 2007). Thus, social exchange theory supports the assertion that constituent attachment will be an important influence on OCBI. Constituent attachment is associated with forming, maintaining, and valuing bonds with Other employees so that one feels more attached to others at work (Maertz and Griffeth, 2004; Maertz and Boyar, 2012). When employees form such bonds, this means of attachment affords a mechanism for relational reciprocity, thereby supporting OCBI. In other words, constituent attachment facilitates the experience of pro-social exchange so that once a positive exchange is established, individuals will attempt to further forge and maintain that social bond. Valuable social bonds will motivate the individual to engage in behaviors such as OCBI that can help maintain the relationship (Blau, 1964).

Previous research offers support for these ideas. For example, the quality of the relationship between co-workers has been found to positively influence the performance and receipt of helping behavior (Bowler and Brass, 2006; Chiaburu and Harrison, 2008). Employees tend to cooperate more with people whom they like and care about. They are more likely to share knowledge with and assist friends compared to employees with whom they lack the same type of bond. Halbesleben and Bowler (2007) found that employees who were intent on getting along with co-workers were more likely to engage in OCBI. Additional research found that individuals with high-quality team member exchange were more likely to reciprocate helping behavior with other team members than those with low-quality team member exchange (Kamdar and Van Dyne, 2007). Further, there is evidence that individuals engage more readily in helping behavior directed at in-group members than out-group members (Piliavin, Dovidio, Gaertner, and Clark, 1982). Thus, employees who develop higher levels of constituent attachment should experience a basis for reciprocated pro-social exchange that facilitates regular enactment of OCBI.

Hypothesis 1: Constituent attachment will he positively related to interpersonal citizenship behavior.

Constituent attachment as a mediator of the personality-OCBI relationship

Personality predisposes individuals to behave in certain ways and influences habits, skills, and knowledge required for effectiveness in social contexts (LePine and Van Dyne, 2001 ; Motowidlo, Borman, and Schmidt, 1997). Extraversion, agreeableness, and emotional stability are the core elements of personality that signal the value of social bonds with others and affect the nature and development of social relationships (Barrick, Stewart, Neubert, and Mount, 1998; Kalish and Robins, 2006; van Vianen and De Dreu, 2001). Extraverts are energetic, sociable, bold in nature, participative, and expressive (Barrick and Mount, 1991 ; Goldberg, 1992). They have a higher quantity of interpersonal relationships, share more personal information, and value those relationships more highly (Berry. Willingham, and Thayer, 2000; Kalish and Robins, 2006). Agreeable individuals are sensitive, generous, sympathetic, and trusting (Goldberg, 1992). Their warmth and kindness provide a solid foundation for the formation of high-quality relationships (Sprecher and Regan, 2002). Klein, Lim, Saltz, and Mayer (2004) found that agreeable individuals are often central in friendship networks. People prefer to form relationships with individuals high on agreeableness because there is less irritation in the relationship (Berry et al., 2000). Emotionally-stable individuals are calm, controlled, and well-adjusted (Barrick and Mount, 1991; Goldberg, 1992). They are pleasant to be around, tolerant, and even-tempered (Berry, Willingham, and Thayer, 2000; Walker and Gorsuch, 2002). Emotionally-stable individuals are often viewed by others as a source of support (Hills and Argyle, 2001 ; Vitterso, 2001) and are typically liked more by others (Xia, Yuan, and Gay, 2009).

The interpersonal nature of these three traits could be taken to suggest that individuals high on extraversion, agreeableness, or emotional stability will display OCBI as a direct manifestation of trait expression. In other words, if individuals are high on extraversion, for example, they will consistently demonstrate OCBI. Yet, prior empirical research does not bear that out. Rather, the small effect points to a relationship between personality and OCBI that is more indirect (Chiaburu, Stoverink, Li. and Zhang, 2015). The theoretical challenge, then, is to identify what filters the relationship.

Current process models of personality identify implicit, higher-order goal striving as providing a critical link between personality and resultant behavior (Barrick et al., 2001). These implicit, fundamental goals regulate the transformation of traits into personal action (Deci and Ryan, 2000; Hogan and Shelton, 1998). Specifically, individuals are differentially motivated to strive toward certain implicit, higher-order goals as a function of their personality traits, and different goals engender different sets of work behavior (Barrick et al., 2001; Barrick et al., 2013; Halbesleben and Bowler, 2007; Deci and Ryan, 2000; Hogan and Shelton. 1998).

Individuals whose personality predisposes them toward the higher-order goal of communion striving will direct their energy and attention toward building attachments with others (Deci and Ryan, 2000). Communion striving fosters a desire to get along with other employees, engage in activities with other employees, and function within a harmonious work environment to meet a psychological need for relatedness (Hogan and Shelton, 1998). Constituent attachment as a form of social exchange can be viewed as a manifestation of communion striving (Wiggins and Trapnell, 1996). Individuals motivated by this type of social striving seek purposefulness in social interactions at work. They should form, maintain, and value bonds with co-workers resulting in higher levels of constituent attachment.

Previous research identifies agreeableness and emotional stability as strongly related to communion striving, and extraversion as strongly related to status striving (Barrick et al., 2013). Communion- and status-striving each represent a broad motivational goal associated with social interaction (Gonzalez-Mule et al., 2014). Recent work by De Young, Weisberg, Quilty, and Peterson (2012) demonstrates that extraversion, a typical marker of agency, is also associated with communion striving through an aspect level subfactor, enthusiasm, characterized by gregariousness, positive emotions, and warmth. It follows then, that extraverts, agreeable people, and emotionally stable people should be more likely to support co-workers with whom they have formed a social bond, because they view that behavior as a way to maintain a bond that serves as their source of attachment to others (Lepine and Van Dyne. 2001). Thus, each trait should facilitate OCBI via constituent attachment because attachment to co-workers supports bond formation and maintenance as a form of positive reciprocity.

Explicating these relationships more precisely, extraverts cultivate more social interactions and seek to build connections with other people. These broad and dense social networks enable them to engage in a higher frequency of helping behavior (Amato, 1990). They simply have more opportunities to assist co-workers with work-related tasks that should strengthen social bonds. Agreeable people are known to actively work to maintain interpersonal relationships once formed (Ilies et al., 2009; Sprecher and Regan, 2002). Engaging in OCBI represents a primary method for maintaining such bonds. Indeed, agreeable people tend to assume that their efforts to support others will be reciprocated (Costa and McCrae, 1992), and their approachability and supportiveness lead others to turn to them for assistance. Individuals high on emotional stability tend to display positive moods that foster helping behavior (George, 1990, 1991; Isen and Levin, 1972). Emotional stability engenders a quiet confidence that is known to facilitate social striving to get along with others (Hogan and Shelton, 1998). Co-workers are likely to approach these individuals for assistance because they are not preoccupied with their own anxieties and are more willing to help. Emotionally-stable people have the internal resources necessary to assist others and work cooperatively (Lepine and Van Dyne, 2001). This positions them to help others in the interest of maintaining their interpersonal relationships at work. To summarize, extraversion, agreeableness, and emotional stability should facilitate the development of constituent attachment through communion striving. This, in turn, should affect the tendency to engage in OCBI as these individuals strive to maintain the social bonds that serve as a source of positive, meaningful exchange with others.

Hypothesis 2: Constituent attachment will mediate the relationship between (a) extraversion, (b) agreeableness, arid (c) emotional stability and interpersonal citizenship behavior.



The sample consisted of 429 front-line service employees from a casual dining, national restaurant chain in the United States. The sample was 60% female and 85% white. The average age was 26. Forty-six percent of the sample was currently enrolled in school and 85% had completed some college courses.


Close to 1,000 employees were invited to participate in a study about their work environment in 2008. Those who voluntarily chose to participate completed the survey during work time. Subsequently, up to three different supervisors were asked to provide interpersonal citizenship behavior ratings for each employee. Of the 438 employees with usable data, 429 received OCBI ratings from at least one supervisor.


Personality. The agreeableness, extraversion, emotional stability, conscientiousness, and openness scales of the Mini-IPIP (International Personality Item Pool) served as measures of the five-factor model traits (Donnellan, Oswald, Baird, and Lucas, 2006). Each scale consisted of four items administered with a 5-point Likert scale (l=very inaccurate to 5=very accurate). Sample items from the agreeableness ([alpha] = .71), Extraversion ([alpha] = .72), and Emotional Stability ([alpha] = .62) scales included. "I sympathize with others feelings," "I am the life of the party," and "I am relaxed most of the time," respectively.

Constituent attachment was measured using a 5-item scale from Tews et al. (2014). They constructed an expanded version of the original Constituent Attachment scale developed by Maertz and Campion (2004) to more fully capture whether individuals have formed valued ties to people in an organization. Items were administered with a 5-point Likert scale (l=very inaccurate to 5=very accurate). Coefficient alpha for this scale was .82.

Interpersonal citizenship behavior was measured using four items from Williams and Anderson (1991) that assess citizenship behaviors directed at individuals. A sample item is "This employee helps others who have heavy workloads." Items were administered with a 5-point Likert scale (l=very inaccurate to 5=very accurate). The coefficient alpha for this scale was .94. Scale scores were calculated by computing unit-weighted composites of the item-level averages of the supervisor ratings. Prior to calculating the composite scores, the reliability of the mean ratings was estimated by calculating an intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC = .67) which confirmed moderate agreement, indicating that aggregation to item-level averages was appropriate (Lebreton and Senter, 2008).


Structural equation modeling (SEM) with MPLUS was used to test the hypotheses. When testing intervening variable models, psychometric scholars (Hayes, 2009; LeBreton, Wu, and Bing, 2009; Shrout and Bolger, 2002; Wood, Goodman, Beckmann, and Cook, 2008) are advocating for the use of more statistically rigorous analytics that push beyond the traditional causal steps approach (e.g.. Baron and Kenny. 1986; James and Brett, 1984). SEM is recommended when multiple antecedent variables are included in a mediation model containing both manifest and latent variables (Baron and Kenny, 1986; Hoyle, 1995; Lebreton et al., 2009). The resulting individual parameter tests and overall model-fit indices permit one to draw conclusions about the likelihood of an indirect effect and the extent to which that effect operates primarily or secondarily through the intermediary variable of interest (Bing, Davison, LeBreton, and LeBreton, 2002; Lebreton et al., 2009). In other words, using SEM allowed us to identify if the effect of personality on OCBI is direct, indirect via constituent attachment, or both. Subsequently, separate nonparametric bootstrapping procedures each based on 1,000 bootstrap resamples were used to estimate and test the hypothesized indirect effects (Preacher and Hayes, 2004; Preacher and Hayes, 2008; Shrout and Bolger, 2002).


Descriptive statistics and correlations for all of the variables are reported in Table 1. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to estimate the fit of the measurement model before proceeding with the hypothesis tests. All of the variables had four indicators with the exception of constituent attachment, which was measured by five indicators. The goodness-of-fit indices used to judge the fit of the measurement model verified the likelihood that the observed indicators were good measures of the latent constructs of interest. Fit statistics for the measurement model indicated good fit to the data: [[chi square] (356) = 722.95, p < .001; SRMR = .05, CFI = .91, RMSEA = .05], Furthermore, each indicator loaded significantly (p < .001) and substantively on its intended factor.

To understand the nature of constituent attachment as a mediating variable we tested two models using SEM. One model (partial mediation) allowed for direct effects from all five traits to OCBI as well as indirect effects for agreeableness, extraversion, and emotional stability via constituent attachment. The other model (full mediation) removed the direct effects for the three hypothesized traits. Goodness-of-fit indices, such as SRMR, RMSEA, and CFI, judge the fit of the path model and indicate the likelihood that the hypothesized model could have produced the observed data (Browne and Cudeck. 1993). Both models produced acceptable fit statistics (Browne and Cudeck, 1993; O'Boyle and Williams, 2011): partial mediation model [[chi square] (358) = 728.08, p < .001 ; SRMR= .05, CFI = .91, RMSEA = .05 with 90% confidence interval (0.04, 0.05)]; full mediation model [[chi square] (361) = 734.35, p < .001; SRMR = .05, CFI = .91, RMSEA = .05 with 90% confidence interval (0.04,0.05)]. The difference between the fit statistics for the two models was not statistically significant [[[chi square].sub.diff] (3) = 6.27, p > .05], Consistent with recommendations concerning which model to retain when faced with no significant differences in fit, we adhered to the rule of parsimony. In general, partial mediation models are less parsimonious and therefore easier to accept, leading to more false positive results (James, Mulaik, and Brett, 2006). As such, all path coefficients were estimated using standardized parameters from the more parsimonious full mediation model. These coefficients are displayed in Figure 1.

The relationship between constituent attachment and OCBI was positive and significant (.19, p < .01) providing support for Hypothesis I. In support of Hypotheses 2a and 2b, bootstrapped estimates of the indirect effect of personality on OCBI as mediated by constituent attachment were significant for extraversion [.05, p < .05, bias-corrected 95% confidence interval (.01, .09)] and agreeableness [.06, p < .05, bias-corrected 95% confidence interval (.01, .11)]. Thus, the effect of extraversion and agreeableness on OCBI appears to operate primarily through constituent attachment. Support was not found for Hypothesis 2c, which stated that the effect of emotional stability on OCBI would be mediated by constituent attachment.


Burgeoning research on the "relational" perspective in management research demonstrates that social relationships at work are increasingly important in determining employee actions as organizations emphasize teamwork, technology, knowledge, and flatter organizational structures (Chiaburu and Harrison, 2008). The present study proceeds along this line by considering that attachment to one's co-workers through the development of social bonds can help explain how personality affects OCBI. Responding to calls for research that identifies intermediary variables as a means of obtaining a better understanding of how and why personality traits affect behavior (e.g., Barrick et al., 2001 ; Lanaj et al., 2012), this paper offers a mechanism-based explanation to clarify what guides trait expression and to build explanatory theory for OCBI.

Refining prior work by Ilies et al. (2009), results from this study indicate that the dimension of overall job satisfaction responsible for translating personality into OCBI is the extent to which an employee's positive feelings about work originate from the formation of highly valued, co-worker bonds. Ilies et al. demonstrated that dispositionally predisposed employees will enact OCBI as a form of social exchange based on the experience of positive affect. Our results provide a more precise theoretical explanation by demonstrating that constituent attachment, the portion of general positive affect attributed to the formation of meaningful interpersonal relationships at work (Hays 1988; Maertz and Boyar, 2012), is the specific mechanism housed within overall satisfaction that links personality and OCBI.

Results from this study suggest that extraversion and agreeableness affect OCBI via an increased tendency to develop constituent attachment. Employees who are more extraverted or agreeable construct more social bonds with co-workers and as such, feel more attached to other employees at work. This finding is consistent with past research suggesting that social relationships are based on psychological predispositions (Kalish and Robbins, 2006) and that these two traits in particular support the development of social ties (Barrick, Stewart, Neubert, and Mount, 1998; van Vianen and De Dreu, 2001). The bonds offer an interpersonal connection that is highly-valued as these types of employees tend to be intrinsically motivated to seek purposefulness in social interactions and pursue situations and engage in activities that connect them to other employees (e.g., Barrick et al., 2002; Barrick et al., 2013; Hogan and Shelton, 1998). In other words, their striving tendency facilitates bond formation (Deci and Ryan, 2000; Wiggins and Trapnell, 1996). OCBI is enabled when actors expect that these behaviors will be returned in kind. Employees must be positioned to offer and benefit from co-worker assistance. Social exchange theory suggests that with bonds in place, individuals have an established basis for relational reciprocity. Thus, the sense of constituent attachment and the associated meaningfulness ascribed to those social connections lead these individuals to engage in OCBI as a method of bond maintenance. Individuals who are more agreeable or more extraverted assist others at work because their disposition facilitates a feeling of attachment, which offers a mechanism for action.

Contrary to our expectations, constituent attachment did not mediate the relationship between emotional stability and OCBI, leading us to speculate why this association failed to emerge. One explanation is that emotionally-stable individuals may fear that interpersonal relationships formed with co-workers will lack reciprocity rather than foster it. If such individuals anticipate that they will be pressured regularly to assume the socially-supportive role, they may consciously refrain from developing more social bonds to minimize this burden. Emotionally-stable individuals may elect to preserve their internal resources for themselves versus drawing on those resources to connect with others. Another possible explanation is that at its core, emotional stability is about stability of mood. The extent to which an individual is even-keeled certainly has implications for the development of interpersonal relationships, but arguably the interpersonal focus of this trait is comparatively less strong. In contrast, at their core, extraversion and agreeableness, pertain to the drive to relate to others and the nature of those relationships. Indeed, research on the interpersonal circumplex focuses on extraversion and agreeableness as the two Big Five factors most strongly related to social behavior and interpersonal tendencies (DeYoung, et al., 2012; McCrae and Costa, 1989; Wiggins, 1979).

Managerial Implications

The results of this research are noteworthy in that managers may presume that employees who have developed more social bonds at work will subsequently engage in more socializing on the job versus completing job tasks. This could occur, but these results suggest there are also positive effects since constituent attachment can facilitate performance, especially individuals assisting co-workers with job tasks. This interpersonal citizenship behavior benefits the organization by promoting efficient and effective organization functioning.

The research results from this research also offer insight into methods for facilitating OCBI in the workplace. Work environments operate as contextual backdrops for trait expression. The knowledge that constituent attachment plays a key facilitative role allows managers to introduce changes in the workplace that produce what Barrick et al. (2013) term a "concordant" situation (i.e., one that facilitates trait expression). Put another way, if extraversion and agreeableness translate into OCBI as a function of the development of constituent attachment, then managers can adopt policies and practices that engender this type of attachment to capitalize on trait expression.

Adopting certain selection and recruitment strategies may help enable OCBI by facilitating constituent attachment. For example, involving employees in the recruitment process through increased use of employee referrals may help construct an internal labor force where employees feel more attached to one another since referrals often reflect highly homogeneous, close knit, social networks (Marsden and Gorman, 2001). In addition, trait differences in agreeableness and extraversion can be assessed during hiring to affect employees' tendency to develop social bonds.

Other strategies that encourage the development of social bonds include appropriately socializing newcomers (Allen, 2006), promoting a climate of openness and fun at work (Rousseau, 1995; Tews et al., 2014), and initiating social activities both inside and outside the workplace (Berman, West, Richter, and Maurice, 2002). For example, hosting monthly birthday celebrations at work, planning happy hours after work, providing days away from the office for co-workers to volunteer for charity together, and sponsoring recreational sports teams are all organization initiatives that provide employees an opportunity to develop quality relationships in less-formal settings (Tews et al., 2014).

Finally, team training initiatives and job design tactics can increase the occurrence of OCBI among co-workers. Encouraging team building can facilitate the emergence of constituent attachment. In fact, team training improves communication and coordination among team members. each of which are important for the development of constituent attachment and subsequent helping behavior. Second, designing jobs that allow employees to work interdependently with their friends should reinforce constituent attachment as employees work side-by-side with co-workers who share the same goals and expectations.

Limitations and Future Research

This study is not without limitations. First, although the dependent variable was measured using supervisor ratings and represents the addition of a unique measurement source, the personality and relationship variables were collected via self-report at a single time period. It is common in the literature to measure traits and attitudinal variables in this manner when the dependent variable originates from an independent source (e.g., Allen, Weeks, Moffitt, 2005; Barrick et al., 2002). Nevertheless, we recognize that ideally all variables would be uniquely measured.

Second, although OCBI ratings were obtained from multiple supervisors increasing the likelihood that the extent of OCBI was accurately assessed. OCBI was measured from only the supervisor perspective. In a restaurant setting, supervisors are typically aware of employee behavior and able to report whether employees assist their co-workers. Yet, co-workers may interpret OCBI differently than supervisors. Since employees were not asked directly about the tendency for others to engage in OCBI, it is possible that their assessment of the extent of helping behavior experienced may differ. Research using performance ratings from different sources clearly demonstrates that ratings can vary as a function of source (Hoffman, Lance, Bynum, and Gentry, 2010; Ilies et al., 2009; Viswesvaran, Schmidt, and Ones, 2002). Indeed, it is generally acknowledged that peer ratings combined with supervisor ratings produce assessments that are less deficient, encapsulating the extent of performance as perceived via multiple lenses (Oh and Berry, 2009). Future research should incorporate co-worker ratings of OCBI to help ensure that such behavior is perceived and interpreted fully.

Future research might also consider whether similarity in personality traits among co-workers affects the development of constituent attachment. The well-established law of attraction (Byrne and Griffitt, 1966) suggests that similarity in general, especially in personality, breeds attraction (Bleda, 1974, Montoya, Horton, and Kirchner, 2008). Therefore, the degree of homogeneity present among co-worker disposition should influence the construction of social bonds. Selfhout, Denissen, Branje, and Meeus (2009) as well as Lutz-Zois, Bradley, Mihalik, and Moorman-Eavers (2006) found that perceived similarity in personality is associated with friendship intensity as well as increased relationship satisfaction. This indicates that some degree of coherence must exist between two people in order for interpersonal connections to germinate and thrive. When co-workers experience a dispositional "match" with others, this should facilitate social bonds and lead to greater levels of constituent attachment.

In addition, this research focused on broadband traits as a basis for explaining prior metaanalytic results (Chiaburu et al., 2011 ; Hurtz and Donovan, 2000) and extending prior research on the five-factor model and OCBI. It would be interesting to consider how various traits at the facet level of extraversion and agreeableness fit within the model. For example, facets such as gregariousness, modesty, warmth, and sociability occupy the "warmer" sectors of the interpersonal circumplex and may be expected to foster constituent attachment and OCBI more readily than facets such as ambition, arrogance, and submissiveness, which occupy the "colder" sectors of the circumplex (McCrae and Costa, 1989; Wiggins, 1979). Warmer facets embody affiliation, the fundamental element of communion-striving. Employees with agreeableness and extraversion in their trait architectures are more heavily anchored in affiliation-loaded facets and should be increasingly prone to forge bonds with co-workers. Future work should explore these associations in more detail to continue to refine our understanding of the relationship between personality, constituent attachment, and OCBI.


The results of this research demonstrate that constituent attachment is positively related to OCBI and that constituent attachment fully-mediates the relationship between both extraversion and agreeableness and OCBI. Introducing constituent attachment as a mediating variable closes a theoretical gap between personality and OCBI by elucidating the intermediary processes that guide the expression of personality. Moreover, we offer insight into methods for facilitating OCBI in the workplace, such as socializing newcomers, promoting a climate of fun at work, and initiating social activities both inside and outside the workplace.

Dr. Dachner teaches human resource management, organizational behavior, training, and development. Her research, which has been published in several journals, focuses on learning, development, engagement, and retention specifically for emerging adult employees. Dr. Ellingson, who is associate editor for the Journal of Applied Psychology, teaches and researches in the human resource management area, including hiring, retention, training, and individual differences. Dr. Tews, who teaches in Penn State's School of Hospitality Management, conducts and has published research on employee selection, training, development, and retention, especially in the service sector.


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Alison M. Dachner, John Carroll University

Jill E. Ellingson, The University of Kansas

Michael J. Tews The Pennsylvania State University

(1) Although we only hypothesize relationships for the three Big 5 personality traits viewed as particularly relevant for interpersonal connections, in light of prior meta-analytic research we include direct effects on OCBI for the other two five-factor model traits. Thus, when testing the hypotheses, conscientiousness and openness are included to ensure that the model is fully estimated and to reduce error in the parameter estimates due to model misspecification.

Caption: Figure 1. Structural Parameters for the Full Mediation Model Estimating the Relationship Between Personality, Constituent Attachment, and OCBIs
Table 1. Descriptive Statistics and Correlation Matrix for Study

                               Mean (SD)        1         2

1. Extraversion                3.91 (.77)
2. Agreeableness               3.98 (.74)    .25 **
3. Emotional stability         3.84 (.73)    .18 **    .17 **
4. Conscientiousness           4.13 (.75)    .14 **    .24 **
5. Openness                    4.06 (.72)    .31 **    .32 **
6. Constituent attachment      3.56 (.77)    .29 **    .32 **
7. OCBI                        3.53 (.67)     -.01      .11 *

                                 3         4         5         6

1. Extraversion
2. Agreeableness
3. Emotional stability
4. Conscientiousness          .32 **
5. Openness                   .16 **    .14 **
6. Constituent attachment       .08       .04      .12 *
7. OCBI                         .03     .13 **      .01     .16 **

Note. * p < .05, ** p < .01. OCBI = interpersonal organizational
citizenship behavior.
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Author:Dachner, Alison M.; Ellingson, Jill E.; Tews, Michael J.
Publication:SAM Advanced Management Journal
Date:Jan 1, 2017
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