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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01720

Personality Traits and Career Role Enactment: Career Role Preferences as a Mediator

  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Groningen, Netherlands
  • 2Business School, Durham University, United Kingdom
  • 3Faculty of Social Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands

It has been argued that how a person’s career unfolds is increasingly affected by his or her own values, personality characteristics, goals and preferences. The current study addresses the issue of how we can explain that personality traits are associated with the enactment of certain career roles. Two survey studies (e.g., a 2 wave worker sample and a cross-sectional worker sample) were conducted to investigate the relationships between personality traits, career role preferences and career role enactment. As expected, results indicate that peoples’ personality traits predicted the preference for certain roles in the work context which, in turn, predicted the career roles they actually occupy. Specifically, our findings show that Extraversion, Conscientiousness and Openness to experience influence various career role preferences (i.e., Maker, Expert, Presenter, Guide, Director and Inspirer role preferences) and, subsequently, the enactment of these career roles. Other traits, such as Neuroticism and Agreeableness, seem less important in predicting role preferences and subsequent role enactment. These results underline the importance of acknowledging not only individual trait differences but especially role preferences in explaining how careers develop over time. Further implications, limitations and research ideas are discussed.

Keywords: Personality, career role preferences, Career roles, career role enactment, Job crafting

Received: 23 Mar 2019; Accepted: 10 Jul 2019.

Edited by:

Sukanlaya Sawang, Coventry University, United Kingdom

Reviewed by:

Melinde Coetzee, University of South Africa, South Africa
Teresa M. Sgaramella, University of Padova, Italy
Gerard A. Callanan, West Chester University, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 De Jong, Wisse, Heesink and Van Der Zee. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Ms. Nicole De Jong, Department of Psychology, University of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands,