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Counterdispositional Conscientiousness and Wellbeing: How Does Acting Out of Character Relate to Positive and Negative Affect at Work?

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Conscientiousness is typically seen as a positive or desired personality trait in the workplace,
with the overall assumption being “the more, the better”. Drawing on the behavioral
concordance model, we challenge this assumption, expecting that the highest level of positive
affect and the lowest level of negative affect will correspond at the point where state
and trait conscientiousness converge. Using an experience sampling study and an event
reconstruction study, we show that deviations from one’s level of trait conscientiousness
relate to variations in positive and negative affect, but not in a straightforward way. While
wellbeing was lower when people behaved less conscientiously than they normally do,
increases beyond one’s typical conscientiousness level were largely unrelated to wellbeing.
Moreover, people high in trait conscientiousness suffered more from negative deviations
from their trait level than people low in trait conscientiousness. As a whole, our findings
suggest that the interplay of personality states and personality traits is complicated, with
both the state level and deviations from the trait level being relevant to wellbeing—calling
for an integrative approach to personality.
Journal: Journal of Happiness Studies
ISSN: 1389-4978
Issue: 4
Volume: 21
Pages: 1463-1485
Number of pages: 23
Publication year:2020
Keywords:Conscientiousness, Counterdispositional behavior, Organizational psychology, Positive and negative affect, Wellbeing, Within- and between- person personality