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

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Citations (Scopus)

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-323
Number of pages31
JournalAcademy of Management Journal
Volume61
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018

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