Personality Change Via Work: A Job Demand-Control Model of Big-Five Personality Changes

Journal of Vocational Behavior, 92, 157-166.

32 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2016

Date Written: February 8, 2016


Based on the job demand-control model and Gray’s biopsychological theory of personality, the author proposed a model to suggest that time demand and job control can drive changes in big-five personality traits, especially neuroticism and extroversion, by shaping an individual’s stress experiences at work. Five waves of data from 1,814 employees over a five-year period from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey were analyzed. Time demand, job control and job stress were measured in all five waves, and big-five personality was assessed in the first and last waves. The results showed that time demand and job control shaped job stress positively and negatively at a given time; and over time, an increase in time demand predicted an increase in job stress, which subsequently predicted an increase in neuroticism and a decrease in extroversion and conscientiousness. Results also showed that an increase in job control predicted an increase in agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness directly, but did not predict change in neuroticism and extroversion. Finally, the buffering effect of job control on the association between time demand and job stress was only observed in two of five waves and such buffering effect was not observed in a change process. The implications on personality development and work design research are discussed.

Keywords: personality development, work design, job demand-control model, job stress, longitudinal data analysis

Suggested Citation

Wu, Chia‐Huei, Personality Change Via Work: A Job Demand-Control Model of Big-Five Personality Changes (February 8, 2016). Journal of Vocational Behavior, 92, 157-166., Available at SSRN:

Chia‐Huei Wu (Contact Author)

Durham University ( email )

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