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A trait-interactionist approach to understanding the role of stressors in the personality-CWB relationship.
Journal of Occupational Health Psychology  (IF7.25),  Pub Date : 2021-03-18, DOI: 10.1037/ocp0000274
Kimberly E O'Brien,Jeremy A Henson,Bernard E Voss

In the current study, we extend the trait-activation theory (TAT) in order to provide context for the role of stressors in the relationship between personality and counterproductive work behavior (CWB). Specifically, we propose relationships between conflict-sensitive personality traits (social dominance orientation and hostile attributional style) and CWB, moderated by organizational stressors (interpersonal conflict and organizational constraints) as trait-relevant situational cues that signal competition. A sample of 208 matched employee-supervisor dyads was recruited from an online panel for a multiphasic study. As expected, the relationships between personality traits and supervisor-reported CWB were stronger when stressors were high compared to low, even when controlling for negative affectivity. Thus, as guided by TAT, we suggest that workplaces should minimize cues that activate CWB or attempt to use cues that constrain these behaviors, particularly when considering employees with higher levels of social dominance orientation or hostile attributional style. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).