Enhancing a Sense of Competence at Work by Engaging in Proactive Behavior: The Role of Proactive Personality

Journal of Happiness Studies, Forthcoming

31 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2017

See all articles by Chia‐Huei Wu

Chia‐Huei Wu

Durham University

Hong Deng

University of Manchester - Alliance Manchester Business School

Yuhui Li

Renmin University of China

Date Written: November 27, 2016

Abstract

To understand how individuals’ senses of competence are cultivated, scholars have primarily focused on situational factors such as job autonomy and supervisor support. Against this backdrop, we propose that individuals can work as active agents and enhance their sense of competence by initiating actions that aim to master the environment. We adopt the behavioral concordance model and propose that people higher in proactive personality are more likely to engage in proactive behavior that elevates their senses of competence over time. We further propose that such behavioral concordance contributes to boosting a sense of competence is more prominent among those with higher proactive personality. Our predictions are supported by data from 172 employees and their direct supervisors in China, after controlling for the effect of job autonomy and supervisor support for autonomy. Specifically, only those higher in proactive personality engaged in more proactive behavior and increased their sense of competence over time. This study highlights both a self-initiated and a behavioral perspective on understanding the development of a sense of competence.

Suggested Citation

Wu, Chia‐Huei and Deng, Hong and Li, Yuhui, Enhancing a Sense of Competence at Work by Engaging in Proactive Behavior: The Role of Proactive Personality (November 27, 2016). Journal of Happiness Studies, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2894344

Chia‐Huei Wu (Contact Author)

Durham University ( email )

Old Elvet
Mill Hill Lane
Durham, Durham DH1 3HP
United Kingdom

Hong Deng

University of Manchester - Alliance Manchester Business School ( email )

Booth Street West
Manchester, M15 6PB
United Kingdom

Yuhui Li

Renmin University of China ( email )

Room B906
Xianjin Building
Beijing, Beijing 100872
China

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