The Two Faces of High Self-Monitors: Chameleonic Moderating Effects of Self-Monitoring on the Relationships between Personality Traits and Counterproductive Work Behaviors

Journal of Organizational Behavior, 35, 92-111 (2014)

20 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2014

See all articles by In‐Sue Oh

In‐Sue Oh

Temple University - Department of Human Resource Management

Steven Charlier

Quinnipiac University

Christopher M. Berry

University of Minnesota - Department of Psychology

Michael Mount

University of Iowa - Department of Management & Organizations

Date Written: August 24, 2011

Abstract

This study examines whether and how self-monitoring moderates the relationships between two personality traits (agreeableness and conscientiousness) and counterproductive work behavior directed toward the organization (CWB-O) and toward other employees (CWB-I). High self-monitors strive to attain personal goals related to status and prestige enhancement by adjusting their behavior to what the situation requires or allows for. We propose that the status enhancement motive can take on two different yet related forms — impression management (interpersonal potency) and opportunism (win-at-all-costs) — depending on relevant situational cues. We hypothesize that in public, interpersonal settings where their behavior is visible to others, high self-monitors’ desire to enhance their status by looking good to others suppresses the natural expression of low agreeableness via increased engagement in CWB-I. Conversely, we hypothesize that in private, noninterpersonal settings where their behavior is rarely visible to others, high self-monitors’ desire to enhance their status by doing whatever it takes to get what they want intensifies the natural expression of low conscientiousness via increased engagement in CWB-O. On the basis of two independent samples of participants, results of moderated multiple regression analyses provided support for the hypotheses.

Keywords: counterproductive work behavior; self-monitoring; conscientiousness; agreeableness; trait activation theory

Suggested Citation

Oh, In-Sue and Charlier, Steven and Berry, Christopher M. and Mount, Michael, The Two Faces of High Self-Monitors: Chameleonic Moderating Effects of Self-Monitoring on the Relationships between Personality Traits and Counterproductive Work Behaviors (August 24, 2011). Journal of Organizational Behavior, 35, 92-111 (2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2401124

In-Sue Oh (Contact Author)

Temple University - Department of Human Resource Management ( email )

1801 Liacouras Walk
Alter Hall 343
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.fox.temple.edu/mcm_people/in-sue-oh/

Steven Charlier

Quinnipiac University

275 Mt. Carmel Avenue
Hamden, CT 06518
United States

Christopher M. Berry

University of Minnesota - Department of Psychology ( email )

420 Delaware St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

Michael Mount

University of Iowa - Department of Management & Organizations ( email )

IA
United States

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