The Impact of Conscientiousness and Neuroticism on Organizational Citizenship Behavior: The Mediating Role of Trait Mindfulness
Student: Chris Liu
Student number: 11416726
BSc Program: BSc Business Administration Specialization: Management in the Digital Age Supervisor: Olga Kowalska
Submission date: 30-06-2022
2 Statement of Originality
This document is written by Chris Liu who declares to take full responsibility for the contents of this document.
I declare that the text and the work presented in this document are original and that no sources other than those mentioned in the text and its references have been used in creating it.
The Faculty of Economics and Business is responsible solely for the supervision of completion of the work, not for the contents.
Mindfulness as a trait is a relatively new concept in the work context. However, existing literature has shown that it positively contributes to work performance, work environment, stress reduction, and concentration problems. Therefore, making it an interesting research topic in the field of management. The goal of this study is to investigate what mediating effect trait mindfulness has on the relationship between conscientiousness and neuroticism on organizational citizenship behavior. The quantitative data of this research was gathered through a self-administered, cross-sectional survey in which 218 individuals responded that were working at least 12 hours a week. It was found that conscientiousness was positively related to both mindfulness and organizational citizenship behavior. Neuroticism was found to be negatively related to mindfulness. However, there was not enough statistical evidence to support the negative relationship between neuroticism and organizational citizenship behavior, the positive relationship between mindfulness and OCB, and the mediating effect that mindfulness has on the relationship between the main variables.
4 Table of Contents
Abstract ... 3
1. Introduction ... 5
2. Theoretical Framework ... 7
2.1 Big Five personality traits ... 7
2.2 Organizational citizenship behavior ... 8
2.3 Conscientiousness, neuroticism, and OCB ... 9
2.4 Mindfulness ... 10
2.5 Conscientiousness, neuroticism, and mindfulness ... 11
2.6 Mindfulness and OCB ... 12
2.7 Mediation... 12
2.8 Research framework ... 13
Figure 1... 13
3. Method ... 14
3.1 Research design ... 14
3.2 Sample and data collection ... 14
3.3 Measurements ... 15
Conscientiousness ... 15
Neuroticism ... 16
Organizational citizenship behavior ... 16
Mindfulness ... 16
Control variables ... 17
4. Results ... 17
4.1 Descriptive statistics and correlation matrix ... 17
Table 1 ... 18
4.2 Regression analysis ... 19
Table 2 ... 21
Table 3 ... 22
5. Discussion ... 22
5.1 Summary of the findings ... 22
5.2 Contributions and implications ... 24
5.3 Limitations and suggestions for future research ... 25
6. Conclusion ... 26
7. References ... 27
8. Appendix ... 31
5 1. Introduction
When people repeat the same actions daily, they often work on autopilot mode. This is mainly due to the lack of variation in the daily tasks that need to be carried out by the individual and are done in such a repetitive manner, that they often do things without thinking them through carefully (Langer, 1992). In your free time, this autopilot mode will only lead to minor annoyances—doing your usual groceries upon realizing you forgot to buy the ice cream you desired to eat that day—. However, at work, the autopilot mode could cause an individual to not pay attention during their job. This leads to issues such as being distracted or a lack of focus on a given task, which as a result could cause poor performance, followed by the inability to finish a task. Consequently, the individual will experience increased job stress as said individual has fallen behind on the given tasks. At worst, this could result in withdrawal and burnout (Mesmer-Magnus, Manapragada, Viswesvaran, & Allen, 2017).
To combat the aforementioned challenges, a relatively new and popular phenomenon has arisen: mindfulness. It refers to the awareness and attention of the present moment, where one shows an attitude of openness and acceptance without reactivity or judgment (Giluk, 2009;
Glomb, Duffy, Bono, & Yang, 2011). The concept of mindfulness has become a popular topic as it has been proven in psychotherapy treatment that it reduces anxiety, psychological distress, and depression levels, which increases health behaviors and, in turn, health outcomes and overall well-being (Good et al., 2016; Sala, Rochefort, Lui, & Baldwin, 2020). Organizations such as Google, Apple, McKinsey, and the U.S. Army have also realized the value of mindfulness and are therefore offering programs that align with their organizational goals and values. Practitioners of mindfulness are not only able to separate themselves from the experience or emotion—which reduces automatic responding, making them able to process and cope better with stressful events—but are also able to observe and not get attached to the experience. This can improve creativity and joy at work, social relationships, resilience, and performance (Glomb et al., 2011).
Even though existing literature has shown the benefits of mindfulness, it must be said that most of the research was conducted in a non-work-related environment. Much of the research was based on findings using student samples or patients seeking clinical treatment, making it therefore interesting to analyze the role of mindfulness in a work-related environment (Glomb et al., 2011). It is important to note, that mindfulness can be seen as a trait, state, and intervention. However, this dissertation will focus on mindfulness as a trait. Since the research on mindfulness as a trait is still a relatively new concept in a work-related environment, it is often examined with a more commonly used approach in management research, namely the Big
6 Five personality traits (Giluk, 2009). The five traits—also known as the Five-Factor Model—
include openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism (McCrae & John, 1992).
The two personality traits that this dissertation will analyze are conscientiousness and neuroticism. It is argued that conscientiousness is linked with job satisfaction, a positive work environment, and individuals that are more organized making them more reliable and dependable (Barrick & Mount, 1991; Hurtz & Donovan, 2000). This shows that conscientious individuals add value to the organization. On the other hand, neuroticism is often associated with negative words such as anxiety, anger, stress, and depression (Widiger & Oltmans, 2017).
Individuals scoring high on this trait have a tougher time managing their emotions, are more prone to stress, and have heightened self-criticism. As a result, neurotics are often seen as poor team players who could negatively impact the work environment (Costa Jr & McCrae, 1990;
Widiger & Oltmanns, 2017). Although much research has been done on the relationship between the Big Five personality traits and the trait mindfulness, Giluk (2009) argues that not much research has been done between the personality trait conscientiousness and mindfulness as researchers often decide not to include this analysis in their research.
As stated earlier, one of the outcomes that is positively related to mindfulness is job performance. Organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) is one of the more common dimensions of this outcome (Good et al., 2016; Kong 2016). In essence, OCB describes the behavior in which an employee performs extra tasks and activities that are not formally required for the job on his or her own accord. This type of behavior can boost employee morale and the work environment by creating better social interactions between colleagues, reducing stress, and increasing performance (Organ & Lingl, 1995; Bolino, Hsiung, Harvey, & LePine, 2015).
Currently, there is limited research about the relationship between mindfulness as a trait and OCB. One study argued that with the help of using self-regulation theory and social exchange theory, some facets of mindfulness are positively correlated with OCB (Allred, 2012).
Another study concluded that the influence of a leader’s mindfulness is positively associated with an employee’s OCB (Reb, Narayanan, & Chaturvedi, 2014). Even though the latter study focused more on the role of leaders, both studies show that there is a possible relationship between mindfulness and OCB, making it therefore interesting to reconfirm the relationship between the two variables and analyze what role mindfulness would play on OCB. This leads to the following research question:
7 RQ: How does the trait mindfulness mediate the relationship between conscientiousness and neuroticism on organizational citizenship behavior?
This research will expand on existing literature by investigating how the trait mindfulness mediates the relationship between conscientiousness and neuroticism on OCB in a work-related context. By doing so, individuals and organizations can get a better understanding of the mindfulness concept. This adds value to the parties of interest because the results of this study could for example be taken into account in the recruitment process when looking for or avoiding individuals with certain personality traits. The subsequent section will include the theoretical framework, which will describe the theory that will be used in this dissertation. Afterward, the method section will provide a detailed explanation of how the research is conducted and which measurements were used. Then, the statistical analyses and hypothesis testing will be described in the results section. Finally, the last section will summarize the findings of this dissertation and offer concluding remarks, contributions and implications, limitations, and suggestions for future research.
2. Theoretical Framework
2.1 Big Five personality traits
The Big Five personality traits—also known as the Five Factor Model—consists of the following five dimensions: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism (McCrae & John, 1992). Throughout the years, the model has been used extensively in studies regarding psychology and sociology, which is mainly due to its well-established and validated scale that has become a popular classification of personality (Barrick & Mount, 1991; Hurtz & Donovan, 2000). This dissertation will focus on two out of the five personality traits, namely conscientiousness and neuroticism.
McCrae and John (1992) describe a conscientious individual as someone who holds impulsive behavior in check, is well-organized, is governed by conscience, and is diligent and thorough. According to Giluk (2009), conscientiousness refers to individuals who are dependable, responsible, rule abiding, achievement-oriented, and self-disciplined. Lastly, another paper argues that conscientious behavior is also characterized as someone who is productive and responsible (Soto & John, 2017). It can therefore be argued that someone who scores high on conscientiousness is for example careful, highly organized, and self-disciplined,
8 whereas someone who scores low on conscientiousness is easily distracted, is irresponsible, follows their impulses, and finds it difficult to complete tasks.
Whereas conscientiousness is generally seen as a highly evaluated dimension that describes good and strong-willed individuals, neuroticism is the opposite and is often linked with negative outcomes (McCrae & John, 1992). Neuroticism is described as a trait where individuals are anxious, depressed, insecure, and moody (Giluk, 2009; Soto & John, 2017). In addition, neuroticism is also negatively associated with subjective well-being, where individuals encounter psychological distress, cope poorly with stress, and negatively perceive themselves and the world. Individuals scoring high on this trait experience negative effects such as psychological stress, anxiety, or being emotionally unstable. This in turn causes the individual to function ineffectively in a social environment or leads to poor work performance (Costa & McCrae, 1990). In contrast, low neuroticism does not mean that individuals are completely immune to stress, anxiety, or high in positive mental health, but are simply more resistant to it. They are for example better at withstanding stress in a high-pressure environment, without getting taken over by the negative emotions (McCrae & John, 1992). The two abovementioned personality traits—conscientiousness and neuroticism—will be the independent variables of this dissertation.
2.2 Organizational citizenship behavior
Job performance is important to a firm because this will positively contribute to a firm’s overall performance. High performance is often linked with employees that feel satisfied and successful since they are able to recognize their mastery when finishing a specific task. These employees meet their deadlines, sale targets, and build the brand of the company with positive customer interactions. Not only are these individuals more likely to get promoted and awarded, but receive praise and get honored by their peers (Fox et al., 2012). Employee retention and loyalty, increased productivity, and decreased absenteeism and turnover are often positive effects of these highly motivated and goal-oriented individuals (Ramos-Villagrasa et al., 2019).
OCB is one of the dimensions of job performance (Kong, 2016). It is a term that describes all the positive actions and behavior that an employee is not contractually bound to perform and is also not part of their formal job description. The actions and behavior are exercised on their own accord, where the individual expects to receive no rewards (Organ & Lingl, 1995;
Podsakoff, Whiting, Podsakoff, & Blume, 2009). This behavior is important to the firm because it positively contributes to the work environment. Employees exercising this behavior could for example assist their colleagues that need help with a certain task, voluntarily offer to go the
9 extra mile during a project, or simply do a little bit more than is expected from the employer, which lowers the overall work pressure of the team and ultimately leads to increased productivity (Graham, 1991; Bergeron, 2007).
However, it must be stated that too much OCB can also be harmful to both the individual and the colleagues. Colleagues could conduct free-riding behavior and benefit from the employees who put more effort when working in a group context. This decreases their performance and commitment to the organization, compared to when working alone (Şeşen, Soran, & Caymaz, 2014). As for the individual, by being too focused on continuously helping others, they could experience high levels of stress depending on the degree of citizenship behavior (Ganster & Rosen, 2013; Bolino, Klotz, Turnley, & Harvey, 2013). In addition, this stress could also negatively affect their own performance because they want to rush to complete their tasks to help others. Lastly, the stress that comes with high levels of OCB also has the potential to negatively affect the personal relationships of the individual. Dahm, Glomb, Manchester, and Leroy (2015) show that when there is a conflict in the work-family relationship of the individual, less time can be spent on completing tasks at work. This leads to undesirable consequences for career success, job-, life-, and family satisfaction. Knowing this, both the employee and employer must find a balance to what degree an individual should conduct OCB to make it more beneficial than harmful to the organization. This will be the dependent variable of this research.
2.3 Conscientiousness, neuroticism, and OCB
A conscientious person is described as an individual who is trustworthy, responsible, efficient at planning, and well-organized. This makes conscientious individuals reliable and dependable coworkers for their colleagues, where they know they can ask said individuals for help when they are struggling with complicated tasks (Barrick & Mount 1991; Hurtz &
Donovan, 2000). There is some overlap between this trait and OCB. OCB is the type of behavior where an individual voluntarily does extra work and assists coworkers in need (Podsakoff et al., 2009; Bolino et al., 2013). This tendency to do voluntary extra work is in line with the conscientious characteristic of being reliable and dependable while being aware of coworkers that need help during complicated tasks (Graham, 1991; Organ & Lingl, 1995). In one research it was stated that conscientiousness to a certain degree positively predicts OCB, suggesting that an individual who behaves conscientiously, positively contributes to their work performance and the work environment of those around them (Debusscher, Hofmans, & De Fruyt, 2017). It is therefore interesting to investigate how this Big Five personality trait affects OCB.
10 Neuroticism is a term that describes individuals who are associated with anxiety, insecurity, self-consciousness, and easily stressed (McCrae & John, 1992; Soto & John, 2017).
Even though not much research is done on the relationship between neuroticism and OCB, based on the characteristics of this trait it could be argued that they are negatively correlated.
One of the characteristics of OCB is that its practitioners perform extra tasks that they are not contractually bound to do (Graham, 1991). This extra, voluntary work is often paired with more stress. People who would offer to do more tasks are not necessarily immune to stress but are more resistant to it. However, as was stated by Giluk (2009) and Ganster and Rosen (2013), neurotic individuals cope poorly and react negatively to stress. Therefore, adding more stress to a neurotic individual—who is already known to be more emotionally unstable in general—, could lead to a moody, irritable, or even depressed coworker which could negatively contribute to the work environment. Hence, the following hypotheses state:
H1: Conscientiousness is positively related to OCB H2: Neuroticism is negatively related to OCB
As was stated earlier, mindfulness is a psychological state of mind, where one is paying non-judgmental attention to the present both internally—thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations—and externally—physical and social environment—without thinking about the past and future (Bishop et al., 2004; Glomb et al., 2011; Mesmer-Magnus et al., 2017). Mindfulness can be seen as a trait, state, or intervention. Mindfulness as a trait refers to what extent an individual is mindful in their everyday activities. Meaning that it describes how much an individual pays attention, is aware, and focuses on the present. Mindfulness as a state refers to how an individual experiences something in the here and now, where sensations are experienced internally and externally without deriving meaning from it (Bishop et al., 2004; Good et al., 2016). As an intervention, mindfulness utilizes programs that are often used for self-training mindfulness, teaching the participant to become aware of thoughts and feelings, are taught to observe them, and return the attention to the object. These programs often take at least several weeks intending to develop an open and compassionate mindset, that teaches the individual to be kind toward themselves rather than criticizing or blaming themselves (Hülsheger, Alberts, Feinholdt, & Lang, 2013). This dissertation, however, will focus on mindfulness as a trait.
The benefit of mindfulness is that mindful individuals are better at regulating their emotions. Their consciousness in combination with self-awareness allows them to react well to
11 stressful events. As a result, they are able to experience events more positively because they are aware of the moment (Giluk, 2009). Because mindful people are generally more positive, in the work context it would mean that they appreciate their job or given tasks and are more satisfied than those who are less mindful. In addition, practitioners of mindfulness have higher self- esteem and are more emotionally stable which could influence those around them and in turn contribute positively to a better working environment (Reb, Narayanan, & Chaturvedi, 2014;
Mesmer-Magnus et al., 2017). This was also supported by Good et al. (2016), who researched managerial experience and organizational leader insights. It was argued that mindfulness influences attention, emotion, behavior, and physiology, which in turn affects performance, relationships, and well-being positively. As a result, mindfulness in the work context could improve the thought, emotions, and actions of working individuals that overall enhances the human functioning at work.
Baer et al. (2006) argue that mindfulness is divided into five facets, namely: observing, describing, acting with awareness, non-judging of inner experience, and non-reactivity to inner experience. Having several facets explaining why mindfulness covers a certain aspect helps understand the complexity of this phenomenon, but this paper will analyze the mindfulness trait as one item and not as five different facets. The mindfulness trait will be regarded as the mediating variable in this research.
2.5 Conscientiousness, neuroticism, and mindfulness
Mindfulness in the work context has not been studied for very long as it is a relatively new concept. That said, there is sufficient literature to analyze this topic. Giluk (2009) conducted a meta-analysis where it was argued that self-discipline was positively linked with both mindfulness and conscientiousness, showing that there could be a positive relationship between the two variables. Mesmer-Magnus et al. (2017) argued that the trait mindfulness was positively correlated with emotional regulation, mental health, confidence, and life satisfaction.
These characteristics are very comparable to the characteristics of conscientiousness, where an individual demonstrates self-control, is well organized, and is confident in their capabilities to complete tasks. Lastly, Costa and McCrae (1992) show that several other characteristics of both conscientiousness and mindfulness have an overlap, but not much research was done on the relationship between the two. This leads to hypothesis three:
H3: Conscientiousness is positively related to mindfulness
12 Mindfulness can also be linked to neuroticism. According to Giluk (2009), neuroticism is negatively related to mindfulness. This has to do with the characteristics of both traits.
Mindful individuals are psychologically stronger, react better to distress, and maintain better mental health, whereas individuals with neuroticism are more emotionally unstable and are therefore more irritable which causes them to react negatively in stressful situations. A more recent study also found neuroticism to be negatively correlated with mindfulness (Nilsson &
Kazemi, 2016). Lastly, Mesmer-Magnus et al. (2017) argued that mindfulness was found to be negatively correlated with perceived life stress, negative emotions, and anxiety, which are characteristics that are often linked with neuroticism. Therefore, the fourth hypothesis is as follows:
H4: Neuroticism is negatively related to mindfulness
2.6 Mindfulness and OCB
Practitioners of OCB are often highly motivated to create a positive work environment for themselves and their colleagues. One of the more common approaches in doing so is by helping coworkers in times of need or volunteering to do extra work. According to Sawyer et al. (2021), a positive relationship was found between mindfulness and promoting helping behavior. An individual that scores high on mindfulness might notice more quickly whenever their colleague needs help with specific tasks or in a different scenario notice this same thing, but quickly realize that it would not be beneficial to help said colleague—less time on own tasks, or negatively impact personal life— and therefore decides not to interfere (Glomb et al., 2011). This is due to the characteristics of the mindfulness trait, where the individual pauses before taking action against something that is happening around them. The mindful person is thoughtfully considering how to react to a stimulus rather than impulsively responding to it which could be harmful on some occasions (Good et al, 2016). It is therefore hypothesized that:
H5: Mindfulness is positively related to OCB
To summarize, the goal of this dissertation is to analyze the relationship between conscientiousness, neuroticism, and OCB and whether there is a mediating effect on this relationship with the mindfulness trait. Abovementioned, it was argued that there are
13 characteristics between conscientiousness and OCB that overlap, hence this relationship is expected to be positively related (Graham, 1991; Organ & Lingl, 1995; Debusscher, Hofmans,
& De Fruyt, 2017). In contrast, a negative relationship between neuroticism and OCB is expected. Furthermore, mindfulness as a trait is argued to be positively related to OCB due to the goal of both variables is to positively contribute to the work environment (Glomb et al., 2016; Good et al., 2016). It is, therefore, interesting to investigate how the abovementioned relationships will be affected by the mediating role of trait mindfulness. Hence, the final hypotheses are:
H6a: The relationship between conscientiousness and OCB is mediated by mindfulness H6b: The relationship between neuroticism and OCB is mediated by mindfulness
2.8 Research framework
Figure 1 illustrates the research framework of this dissertation. It is theorized that the independent variable conscientiousness will have a positive effect on the dependent variable OCB and the mediating variable mindfulness, whereas the independent variable neuroticism will have a negative effect on the dependent variable OCB and the mediating variable mindfulness. The framework also depicts that mindfulness will mediate the positive relationship between conscientiousness and the negative relationship of neuroticism with OCB.
14 3. Method
3.1 Research design
To get a better understanding of how mindfulness mediates the relationship between conscientiousness, neuroticism, and OCB, this dissertation followed a deductive descriptive research approach. First, information was gathered from existing theories that were based on prior research. With this information, several hypotheses were created. Then, data was collected through a survey. Finally, statistical analyses were carried out to test the relationship between the variables in the hypotheses to identify what the results of the observations included (Trochim, Donnelly, & Arora, 2016; Casula, Rangarajan, & Shields, 2021).
3.2 Sample and data collection
The quantitative data that was analyzed in this dissertation was collected through a self- administered, cross-sectional survey. This type of survey was chosen because it allows a large sample size with many variables, that can be gathered in a quick and cheap way (Rindfleisch, Malter, Ganesan, & Moorman, 2008). In addition, the participants will also be able to fill in the questionnaire without the intervention of the researcher and without having to set up an appointment. Said individuals will therefore be able to complete the survey at their convenience (Jenkins & Dillman, 1995). The data consisted of only working individuals, who work at least 12 hours a week where they can be either part-time or full-time employees. The participants were selected through the convenience sampling technique, which is a non-probability sampling method where the researcher can collect data quickly, is cost-effective, and is easy to use (Acharya, Prakash, Saxena, & Nigam, 2013). This technique was chosen because the participants had to fulfill the abovementioned requirements for the data to become usable when analyzing the hypotheses. The participants were asked to fill in their answers at one point in time, where the questions were related to the trait mindfulness, the Big Five personality traits, and OCB.
The data was collected in the year 2022, of which 218 individuals responded. The incomplete responses were excluded from the sample size as this data was not usable. This incomplete data consisted of respondents that did not meet the requirement of working at least 12 hours a week or failed to select the right answer “select very true” or “select never” to the questions that were used to control attention. As a result, the final sample size of this analysis consisted of 126 respondents leading to a response rate of 58%. The ideal response rate through surveys—when the unit of observation is the individuals—is 50-60%, which is achieved in this
15 case. Therefore, making the sample size sufficient for quantitative research (Tomaskovic- Devey, Leiter, & Thompson 1994; Baldauf, Reisinger, & Moncrief, 1999).
Based on the different measurements that had to be tested in this dissertation, abbreviated but validated versions of a questionnaire about the main variables were chosen.
This decision was made because the several questionnaires were compiled into one big questionnaire. Consequently, to get as accurate data as possible, it was not possible to include the full version of each measurement scale due to time constraints or reduced respondent fatigue. Ultimately, the survey consisted of 60 questions where the initial 7 questions were a combination of open-ended and multiple-choice questions—consent, control variables, and demographics—and the remaining 53 questions were measured on a 5-point Likert scale.
Conscientiousness was measured by asking the respondents three subjective questions.
The questions on this scale were measured through the BFI-2-XS by Soto and John (2017), which is an extra-short form of the BFI-2 (Soto & John, 2017). The extra-short form still retains most of the validity and reliability of the full version and is therefore considered to be a useful tool for measuring personality traits when measuring the full BFI-2 is not feasible. The questions on this scale were rated on a 5-point Likert scale, ranging from “1 = disagree strongly”, to “5 = agree strongly”. Example items of this scale asked whether the respondent
“tends to be disorganized” or “has difficulty getting started on tasks” (see Appendix 8.4.8). Two questions on this scale had to be recoded because a high score indicated low levels of conscientiousness. Since the gathered data from this scale is subjective, the internal consistency had to be tested which was done through Cronbach’s alpha (Field, 2018). The test resulted in a Cronbach’s alpha score of 0.481. During the test, all items contributed positively to the reliability of the scale. Normally, a reliability score of 0.7 is desirable which this scale has failed to achieve (Field, 2018). However, it was argued by Soto and John (2017) that despite the shorter version being less accurate, it is still a validated abbreviated version of the original questionnaire that retains its reliability.
Neuroticism was measured by asking the respondent three subjective questions. The scale and its items were also developed by Soto and John’s (2017) BFI-2-XS and were rated on a 5-point Likert scale, ranging from “1 = disagree strongly”, to “5 = agree strongly”. This scale included questions that asked the respondents if they “worried a lot” or “tend to feel depressed, blue” (see Appendix 8.4.9). On this scale, the last question had to be recoded. The scale scored a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.706 where it was not necessary to delete an item to increase the reliability of the scale because every item contributed positively to the reliability.
Organizational citizenship behavior
This scale was measured by utilizing the OCB-C 10-item version, which was developed by Spector, Bauer, and Fox (2010). The authors developed several OCB-C questionnaires, ranging from a 10-item version up to a 43-item version, and depending on the scope of the research, it is up to the researcher to choose which version is more applicable. The items were rated on a 5-point Likert scale, ranging from “1 = never”, to “5 = every time”. Some example items of this scale included questions such as “took time to advise, coach, or mentor a co- worker” or “helped new employees get oriented to the job” (see Appendix 8.4.11). For this scale, Cronbach’s alpha scored a value of 0.786. All items on this scale contributed positively to the reliability of the scale and it was therefore not necessary to delete an item.
The trait mindfulness was measured through the FFMQ-15: 15-item Five-Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire which was developed by Baer et al. (2008). This is a short form of the original 39-item FFMQ (Baer et al., 2006). Despite the shorter version having 24 questions less than its predecessor, it was found that the questionnaire still maintained its factor structure and psychometric properties. In addition, large correlations were found between the total scores of both forms and the validity and consistency were sufficient. Taking this into consideration, it was argued by Gu et al. (2016) that the FFMQ-15 was a usable shorter alternative when briefer forms are needed. The questionnaire is divided in five recurring themes that are often experienced when analyzing the facets of mindfulness. These include observing, describing, acting with awareness, non-judging of inner experience, and non-reactivity to inner experience.
The subjective questions were rated on a 5-point Likert scale, ranging from “1 = never or very rarely true”, to “5 = very often or always true”. A few example items on this scale included
17 questions such as “I believe some of my thoughts are abnormal or bad and I shouldn’t think that way” or “I notice how foods and drinks affect my thoughts, bodily sensations, and emotions” (see Appendix 8.4.10). Cronbach’s alpha scored a value of 0.749. Out of the fifteen items, two items—ffmq1 and ffmq6—could have increased the reliability by 0.754 or 0.758.
However, there was no need to do so as removing observations just to slightly increase the reliability is not necessary. In addition, the reliability score was already above the desired 0.7 threshold (Field, 2018).
In order to limit unexplainable outcomes in the analysis testing, several control variables were introduced. This is to rule out irrelevant variables that could influence the correlational relationship between the main variables in this research (Carlson & Wu, 2012). As a result, the following control variables were included in this research: age, gender, education, work experience, and work tenure.
This chapter will include several analyses and their outcomes in order to explain the hypotheses and the research question of this dissertation, which will be done with the statistical software program SPSS. Before the several analyses were conducted, the data had to be cleaned of unusable data. Meaning that the data where respondents who refused to participate, did not fully complete the survey, failed to enter the correct answer to two control questions, and failed to fill in the demographics were removed. After successfully organizing and cleaning the data, it became usable for analytical purposes. Firstly, this chapter will explain the descriptive statistics. Afterward, a correlation matrix of all the variables that were used in the analyses will follow. Finally, the aforementioned hypotheses will be tested with the PROCESS v4.0 macro (model 4) by Hayes (2018), while taking the control variables into account. The findings will be discussed to see whether there are statistically significant results in the relationship between the main variables and whether this relationship is positive or negative.
4.1 Descriptive statistics and correlation matrix
Below, the results of the correlation analysis are shown. The matrix and its correlations are depicted in Table 1. The table displays the mean, the standard deviations, the Cronbach’s alpha values in brackets, and the correlation between the dependent variable, independent
18 variables, mediating variable, and control variables. Based on Table 1, a few assumptions can be made before the relationship between the main variables will be further discussed with the regression analysis. The Big Five personality trait conscientiousness seems to have a weak, positive, and statistically significant correlation with OCB (r = 0.310, p < .01), which is in line with hypothesis 1. The personality trait neuroticism has a very weak negative correlation with OCB (r = -0.054, p > .05). However, this relationship is non-significant. This is not in line with hypothesis 2, as that hypothesis predicted the relationship to be significant. As for the mediating variable, conscientiousness has a moderate positive relationship with mindfulness (r = 0.441, p
< .01) and neuroticism has a moderate negative relationship with mindfulness (r = -.399, p <
.01). Both these findings are statistically significant and are in line with what was predicted for hypothesis 3 and hypothesis 4. As for the correlation between mindfulness and OCB, a weak positive correlation was found (r = 0.206, p < .05). In addition, other correlations were found between age, gender, education, work experience, work tenure, and the main variables. Some of these correlations were found to be significant, despite them not being part of the main analysis of this dissertation. They could influence the outcome of the analysis and should therefore be considered as control variables in the regression analysis (Spector & Brannick, 2011).
Descriptive statistics and correlation
Variable Mean SD 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
(1) Conscientiousness (2) Neuroticism (3) OCB (4) Mindfulness (5) Age
(6) Gendera (7) Educationb (8) Work experiencec (9) Work tenured
11.159 8.984 33.595 51.056 26.90 1.630 2.370 2.100 1.290
2.401 2.876 5.935 7.257 7.560 0.486 1.114 1.176 0.778
.093 .106 -.165 .068 -.063
(.706) -.054 -.399**
.168 .124 -.272**
.045 -.116 .189*
-.010 - .077 -.449**
- -.042 .049 .030
Note. N = 126; *p < .05,**p < .01. Cronbach’s Alphas are in the parentheses on the diagonal. OCB = organizational citizenship behavior. aGender was coded as: 1 = male, 2 = female, 3 = non-binary / third gender, 4 = prefer not to answer. bEducation was coded as: 1 = master’s degree or PhD, 2 = bachelor’s degree, 3 = secondary vocational education, 4 = High school. cWork experience was coded as: 1 = 0-3, 2 = 3-6, 3 = 6-9, 4 = 9+. dWork tenure was coded as: 1 = 0-3, 2 = 3-6, 3 = 6-9, 4 = 9+.
19 4.2 Regression analysis
Before testing the hypotheses, the variables had to be checked to see whether there was a linear relationship between the dependent and independent variables. Hence, a scatter plot was performed (see Appendix 8.2). Based on this mathematical diagram, it can be seen from the results that there is sufficient evidence to assume that there is linearity between the dependent and independent variables. For example, a positive linear relationship between conscientiousness and OCB is visually depicted (see Appendix 8.2.1). In another example, it can be seen that neuroticism has a negative linear relationship with mindfulness (see Appendix 8.2.4).
In order to test hypotheses 1-6, the PROCESS v4.0 macro (model 4) by Hayes (2018) was used. The output of these analyses can be found in Table 2 and Table 3. Table 2 describes the analysis output that tested the relationship between the main variables conscientiousness and OCB, the mediating role of mindfulness, and the control variables. Table 3 includes the analysis of the relationship between the main variables neuroticism and OCB, mindfulness as a mediator, and the control variables. As will be seen in the analysis below, some results indicated statistically significant findings, whereas some did not. These findings will be further discussed in the discussion section of this dissertation.
Hypothesis 1 states that conscientiousness is positively related to OCB. The results of the regression analysis show that R2 is 0.161, meaning that 16.1% of the variance in OCB is explained by conscientiousness (see Model 2, Table 2). This model also depicts how conscientiousness has a statistically significant positive effect on OCB (β = 0.635; SE = 0.234;
p < .010), meaning that every one unit increase in conscientiousness results into 0.635 increase in OCB. In addition, the overall fit of this model is also statistically significant (F-value = 3.227;
p < .010). It can therefore be concluded that there is enough statistical evidence to support hypothesis 1.
Hypothesis 2 states that neuroticism is negatively related to OCB. The regression analysis shows that R2 is 0.110, meaning that 11% of the variance in OCB is explained by neuroticism (see Model 4, Table 3). It is also shown in this model that neuroticism has a positive relationship with OCB, but this effect is not statistically significant (β = 0.044; SE = 0.207; p = .831). In addition, the overall fit of this model provides weak—but clearly inconclusive—
evidence as the p-value is .051, not making the p ≤ .050 cut-off point (F-value = 2.078; p = 0.051). Thus, based on these results, hypothesis 2 is not supported.
Hypothesis 3 states that conscientiousness is positively related to mindfulness. The R2 of this analysis is 0.265, meaning that 26.5% of the variance in mindfulness is explained by
20 conscientiousness (see Model 1, Table 2). This model shows that conscientiousness has a significant positive relationship with mindfulness (β = 1.268; SE = 0.243; p < .001), meaning that each unit increase in conscientiousness results in a 1.268 increase in mindfulness. The overall fit of this model is statistically significant (F-value = 7.147; p < .001). As a result, it can be said that there is enough statistical evidence to support hypothesis 3.
Hypothesis 4 states that neuroticism is negatively related to mindfulness. The R2 of this analysis is 0.209, showing that 20.9% of the variance in the mediating variable mindfulness is explained by the independent variable neuroticism (see Model 3, Table 3). A statistically significant negative relationship was found in the relationship between the two variables (β = - 0.911; SE = 0.222; p < .001), indicating that each unit increase in neuroticism leads to a 0.911 decrease in mindfulness. The overall fit of this model is statistically significant (F-value = 5.228; p < .001). These results provide enough evidence that hypothesis 4 is supported.
Hypothesis 5 states that mindfulness is positively related to OCB. As can be seen in Model 2 and Model 4, there are two different b-paths. The b-path in Model 2 takes the independent variable conscientiousness into account, whereas the b-path in Model 4 takes neuroticism as the independent variable. Consequently, different results were found while testing the relationship between the mediating variable and the dependent variable. The R2 of Model 2 is 0.161, showing that 16.1% of the variance in mindfulness is explained by conscientiousness. The results indicate that there is a positive relationship between mindfulness and OCB, but it is not statistically significant (β = 0.050; SE = 0.080; p = .536). The overall fit of this model is statistically significant (F-value = 3.227; p < .010). So in the case of conscientiousness as an IV, hypothesis 5 is not supported. The R2 of Model 4 is 0.110, showing that 11% of the variance in mindfulness is explained by neuroticism. A positive relationship found between mindfulness and OCB, but this result was found to be not statistically significant (β = 0.149; SE = 0.080; p = .064). As was stated earlier in this analysis, Model 4 provides weak evidence, as the p-value of this model is .051, not making the p ≤ .050 cut-off point (F-value = 2.078; p = 0.051). As a result, hypothesis 5 is also not supported when taking neuroticism as an IV. In addition, a final test—simple linear regression—was conducted to analyze the relationship between mindfulness and OCB. This was done because the PROCESS output concluded different results when using conscientiousness or neuroticism as the independent variable. The R2 of this analysis is 0.109, indicating that 10.9% of the variance in OCB is explained by mindfulness (see Appendix 8.3.3). A positive relationship between mindfulness and OCB was found, but it was not significant (β = 0.143; SE = 0.074; p = 0.057). The overall fit of this model is statistically significant (F-value = 2.437; p < .05). After testing the
21 relationship between the mediating variable mindfulness and dependent variable OCB with three different methods, it can therefore be concluded there is insufficient statistical evidence to support hypothesis 5.
Hypothesis 6a states that the positive relationship between conscientiousness and OCB is mediated by mindfulness, whereas hypothesis 6b states that the negative relationship between neuroticism and OCB is mediated by mindfulness. It is shown in Model 2 that there is a positive indirect effect of conscientiousness on OCB via mindfulness (coeff. = 0.063; SE = 0.121; 95%
CI = [-0.149; 0.322]), but this positive indirect effect is not statistically significant. This is because the 95% CI range includes a value of zero, where the presence of zero means that there is no mediating effect (Field, 2018). Model 3 shows a negative indirect effect of neuroticism on OCB through mindfulness (coeff. = -0.136; SE = 0.082; 95% CI = [-0.300; 0.332]), where the results are also found to be non-significant as the range of the 95% CI includes a value of zero. Therefore, based on the findings of this analysis, it can be concluded that there is not enough statistical evidence to support both hypotheses 6a and 6b.
Model coefficients for the influences of mindfulness on conscientiousness and OCB Consequent
MV (Mindfulness) DV (OCB)
Antecedent Coeff. SE p Coeff. SE p
IV (Conscientiousness) 1.268 0.243 <.001 0.635 0.234 <.010
MV (Mindfulness) 0.050 0.080 .536
CV (Age) 0.327 0.126 <.050 -0.046 0.114 .685
CV (Gender) -0.266 1.184 .822 2.096 1.040 <.050
CV (Education) 0.672 0.594 .260 0.150 0.524 .776
CV (Work experience) -0.007 0.750 .993 1.155 0.658 .082
CV (Work tenure) -1.260 0.867 .149 -0.046 0.114 .633
Constant 28.606 4.603 <.001 19.499 4.649 <.001
Model summary 𝑅2 = 0.265
F(6,119) = 7.147, P <.001
𝑅2 = 0.161 F(7,118) = 3.227, P <.010
Indirect effect Coeff. = 0.063, SE = 0.121, LLCI = -0.149, ULCI = 0,322
22 Table 3
Model coefficients for the influences of mindfulness on neuroticism and OCB
MV (Mindfulness) DV (OCB)
Antecedent Coeff. SE p Coeff. SE p
IV (Neuroticism) -0.911 0.222 <.001 0.044 0.207 .831
MV (Mindfulness) 0.149 0.080 .064
CV (Age) 0.240 0.134 .076 -0.066 0.118 .577
CV (Gender) 1.387 1.249 .270 2.320 1.093 <.050
CV (Education) 0.238 0.613 .698 -0.056 0.534 .917
CV (Work experience) -0.128 0.780 .870 1.21 0.679 .079
CV (Work tenure) -1.408 0.898 .120 -0.422 0.790 .594
Constant 52.048 4.562 <0.001 21.739 5.750 <0.001
Model summary 𝑅2 = 0.209
F(6,119) = 5.228, P <0.001
𝑅2 = 0.110
F(7,118) = 2.078, P = 0.051
Indirect effect Coeff. = -0.136, SE = 0.082, LLCI = -0.300, ULCI = 0,332
5. Discussion 5.1 Summary of the findings
The goal of this dissertation was to answer the following research question: “How does the trait mindfulness mediate the relationship between conscientiousness and neuroticism on organizational citizenship behavior?”. In order to answer this question, several hypotheses had to be tested. The first hypothesis states that there is a positive relationship between conscientiousness and OCB. There was enough statistical evidence to support this hypothesis.
Barrick and Mount (1991), Podsakoff et al. (2009), and Bolino et al. (2013) argued that these variables had overlapping characteristics, indicating that there was a possible relationship between said variables. In addition, the theory of Debusscher, Hofmans, and De Fruyt (2017) suggested that conscientious individuals contribute to their work performance and in turn positively affect the work environment of those around them, in other words, contribute to OCB. Therefore, the first hypothesis is in line with existing literature, indicating that conscientious individuals positively affect OCB.
The second hypothesis states that there is a negative relationship between neuroticism and OCB. The results indicate that there was not enough statistical evidence to support this hypothesis. Existing literature shows that research on this relationship was already lacking.
23 However, due to the opposing characteristics of the neuroticism trait and OCB, it was still argued that they would be negatively related (Graham, 1991; McCrae & John, 1992; Ganster &
Rosen, 2013). That said, the results show that there is no negative relationship between these two variables, indicating that OCB is not negatively affected by neuroticism.
The third hypothesis states that conscientiousness is positively related to mindfulness.
Based on the results it could be said that there was enough statistical evidence to support this hypothesis. This is in line with the existing literature, where it was argued that self-discipline was positively linked with both variables and a possible relationship between said variables was also high likely (Giluk, 2009). In addition, Mesmer-Magnus et al. (2017) and Costa and McCrae (1992) argued that the traits conscientiousness and mindfulness had similar characteristics. This was also supported by Giluk (2009), but it was argued that more research had to be conducted to confirm its positive relationship. Therefore, the results of this research add to the literature by confirming that there indeed is a positive relationship between conscientiousness and the trait mindfulness.
The fourth hypothesis tested the negative effect of neuroticism on the trait mindfulness.
Enough statistical evidence was found to support this hypothesis, indicating that neurotic individuals are less mindful. Neurotics are more emotionally unstable, prone to stress, or are self-conscious, and are therefore less likely to for example help those around them or think before they act (Bishop et al., 2004; Good et al., 2016). This is in line with the theory of Giluk (2009), which showed the dissimilarities in the two traits.
The fifth hypothesis states that mindfulness is positively related to OCB. Several analyses had to be conducted to investigate this relationship due to the different results that were derived while testing the hypothesis. It was found that this relationship was non- significant. Glomb et al. (2011) and Good et al. (2016) argued that in the work context, mindful individuals are thoughtfully considering how they should react when they experience something, rather than acting on impulse. This is because they are aware of the potential consequences that acting on impulse could have on their colleagues and the work environment.
However, since the results show that this relationship is non-significant, it could be said that mindfulness does not positively contribute to OCB which is not in line with existing theory.
The sixth hypothesis states that mindfulness has a mediating effect between conscientiousness (H6a), neuroticism (H6b), and OCB. However, there was not enough statistical evidence to support this hypothesis. Considering that hypothesis 5 was found to be non-significant—which described the relationship between the mediating variable and the dependent variable—, it was not surprising to see that the results also concluded that hypothesis
24 6 was non-significant. Nevertheless, these results still contribute to the existing literature because it provides the parties of interest an insight to not further investigate the mediating effect of mindfulness on the relationship between the main variables.
5.2 Contributions and implications
Prior literature had already investigated the relationship of some of the hypotheses that were tested in this dissertation. Nonetheless, these were still taken into account when analyzing the relationship between conscientiousness and neuroticism on OCB with the mediating role of trait mindfulness. This was mainly due to the trait mindfulness—in a work-related context—
being a relatively new research topic. For example, Giluk (2009) conducted a meta-analysis where the goal was to estimate the relationship between mindfulness and the Big Five personality traits. However, it was argued that there was still insufficient literature to conclude the relationship between the trait conscientiousness and mindfulness. In addition, existing literature indicated that a relationship between the Big Five personality traits and OCB was high likely, but not enough research was done on the variables. Therefore, this research contributes to the literature by testing several hypotheses where it was found that conscientiousness is positively related to OCB, which is in line with prior research. However, neuroticism was not found to be negatively related to OCB, despite their dissimilar characteristics (McCrae & John, 1992; Podsakoff et al., 2009; Bolino et al., 2013; Debusscher, Hofmans, & De Fruyt, 2017;
Soto & John, 2017).
This makes it interesting for organizations to further investigate why neurotic individuals do not negatively impact OCB. Prior research had suggested that the extra tasks that practitioners of OCB voluntarily offer to do, often lead to more stress which would have a negative impact on neurotic individuals (Graham, 1991; Giluk, 2009; Ganster & Rosen 2013).
However, this relationship was found to be non-significant. As a result, it could mean that neurotic individuals—despite their negative outcomes—do positively contribute to OCB which could improve the work environment. Tamir and Robinson (2004) argue that despite neuroticism being associated with negative outcomes, in some cases neurotic individuals make faster evaluations when they experience negative emotions. Managers can therefore consider the results of this dissertation in the recruitment process when looking to hire new employees, where the applicants for a new function scoring high on neuroticism are not necessarily a bad addition to the workforce.
25 5.3 Limitations and suggestions for future research
Even though this literature contributes to the literature by the abovementioned arguments, it must be stated that there were some limitations while conducting this research.
Firstly, the final sample size of this study consisted of only 126 fully completed surveys.
Initially, the sample size consisted of 218 respondents but due to the removal of incomplete surveys, this sample size was reduced which lead to a response rate of 58%. Furthermore, the method of data collection was a convenience sampling method. This was chosen due to a limited professional network and time and could lead to a sampling bias.
As for the measurements, one of the scales scored a low Cronbach’s alpha. This was the variable conscientiousness, which tested a reliability score of 0.481. According to Field (2018), it is argued that 0.7 should be the minimum threshold when testing the reliability of the measured items on a subjective scale. That said, the shorter version is still considered to be a validated abbreviated version compared to the original questionnaire, but it may have affected the results due to its low reliability score (Soto & John, 2017; Field, 2018).
Lastly, as can be seen in Table 3 and Appendix 8.3.3, the relationship between the mediating variable and dependent variable is almost significant, p = .064 and p = .057 respectively. If the cut-off point of the p-value was increased to p <.1, this relationship would have been supported. This indicates that something is going on between the trait mindfulness and OCB, showing that this relationship could be further investigated in future research.
As the literature suggested, mindfulness has become an interesting research topic for organizations (Giluk, 2009; Glomb et al., 2011; Good et al., 2016). However, due to the limitations in this research, some hypotheses were not supported even though it was suggested that a relationship was high likely. Suggestions for future research could be to increase the sample size. This increases the confidence in the estimates, decreases uncertainties, and more accurate values will be presented hence making the data more reliable (Field, 2018). Another suggestion would be to use a random sampling method instead of a convenience sampling method. This could increase the external validity, making it possible to generalize the results of the study to other situations (Thornhill, Saunders, & Lewis, 2009).
Lastly, this research used the abbreviated versions of several questionnaires mainly due to the multiple variables that had to be measured, time constraints, and potential respondent fatigue. It must be stated, however, that the questions of these abbreviated versions were not chosen at random. The questionnaires were validated, abbreviated versions of the original versions that were often used due to time constraints (Baer et al., 2008; Spector, Bauer, & Fox, 2010; Soto & John, 2017). Future research could instead use the full versions of the
26 questionnaires to get a better and deeper understanding of the variables since all of the items on the scale are tested.
To summarize, prior research had investigated the relationship of the Big Five personality traits on mindfulness, the relationship of the personality traits on OCB, and what effect mindfulness has on OCB. However, there was limited research on the mediating effect of mindfulness on this relationship. The goal of this dissertation was to investigate this relationship by testing several hypotheses. It was found that conscientiousness has a positive effect on OCB, conscientiousness positively affects trait mindfulness, and neuroticism negatively affects trait mindfulness. However, neuroticism does not have a negative effect on OCB, OCB is not positively affected by trait mindfulness, and trait mindfulness does not mediate the relationship between conscientiousness and neuroticism on OCB. Therefore, this study has contributed to the existing literature by showing the mediating role of mindfulness in the aforementioned main variables. Mindfulness in a work-related context is still a relatively new concept but it has shown what positive effects it could potentially have. By having a greater understanding of this topic, managers can use the said topic to positively contribute to the organization and its employees.
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