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Mindfulness at Work: The Mediating Role of Trait Mindfulness on the Relationships of Agreeableness and Conscientiousness with Intrinsic Employee Motivation

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Réka Buzássy - 11607092

Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Amsterdam Bachelor's Thesis and Thesis Seminar Management in the Digital Age

Olga Kowalska June 30, 2022

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Statement of Originality

This document is written by Réka Buzássy 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.

UvA Economics and Business is responsible solely for the supervision of completion of the work, not for the contents.

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Abstract

Research indicates that individuals' personality traits and mindfulness play an important role in determining their motivational attributes. However, there is a lack of evidence regarding their effect on intrinsic motivation specifically. Drawing on existing literature, this study explores how trait mindfulness mediates the relationship of agreeableness and conscientiousness with intrinsic motivation. We hypothesise that Agreeableness and Conscientiousness are positively related to Intrinsic Employee Motivation (H1a, H1b), Agreeableness and Conscientiousness positively affect Trait Mindfulness (H2a, H2b), and Trait Mindfulness positively affects Intrinsic Employee Motivation (H3). Lastly, we hypothesise that Trait Mindfulness mediates the relationship between Agreeableness and Intrinsic Employee Motivation, and Conscientiousness and Intrinsic Employee Motivation (H4a, H4b). The hypotheses are tested under the Hayes approach via the PROCESS macro in spss. The sample consists of 123 individuals working a minimum of 12 hours per week. The results support hypotheses H1a, H2a, H2b, H3, H4a, and H4b, however, not hypothesis H1b.

Interestingly, when including neuroticism in the model, hypotheses H1a becomes unsupported. Given that mindfulness mediates the effect of agreeableness and

conscientiousness on intrinsic motivation, the results could provide valuable insights for managers during the recruitment and training processes regarding what motivates employees intrinsically based on their personalities and mindfulness.

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Contents

Introduction.………... 5

Theoretical Framework………. 8

The Big Five - Conscientiousness and Agreeableness………. 8

Intrinsic Employee Motivation………...…. 9

The relationship of Conscientiousness and Agreeableness with Intrinsic Employee Motivation……….. 9

Mindfulness Trait……… 11

The relationship of Conscientiousness and Agreeableness with Mindfulness Trait……. 11

The relationship between Mindfulness Trait and Intrinsic Employee Motivation…….... 12

Mediation effect………...…….. 13

Method………...………. 13

Design………...……… 13

Sample & Procedure………...………….. 13

Measurement and Reliability Analysis ………...………… 14

The Big Five - Conscientiousness and Agreeableness ………..…….……… 14

Mindfulness Trait………...……… 14

Intrinsic Employee Motivation………...………...…… 15

Analytical Plan………..……….….………...……… 15

Control Variables……….………...………...…… 16

Results………...…………..……… 18

Descriptive Statistics and Correlations………...……… 18

Hypothesis testing……….………...….………… 19

Discussion……….. 23

Main findings, theoretical limitations, and recommendations for future research……… 23

The indirect effects……… 23

The relationship of Conscientiousness and Agreeableness with Intrinsic Employee Motivation - the direct effects……….... 24

The relationship of Conscientiousness and Agreeableness with Mindfulness Trait.. 25

The relationship between Mindfulness Trait and Intrinsic Employee Motivation…. 27 Methodological limitations and recommendations for future research………...…………. 27

Practical implications & recommendations for future research……….. 28

Conclusion………. 30

Reference List……….. 31

Appendices……… 45

Appendix A: Assumption checking for linearity - scatter plots ……….……. 45

Appendix B: Coefficient tables with covariates……….……….. 47

Appendix C: Total effects tables……….……….. 48

Appendix D: Sobel tests……….………. 48

Appendix E: Questionnaire……….……….…...…… 49

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Introduction

The personality of an individual is determined by the patterns of their thinking, feeling, and behaviour, the set of characteristics they constitute, and their interactions

(Escalera et al., 2018; Christensen et al., 2020). Several models identify different personality traits based on common characteristics, such as the Five-Factor Model (FFM), which

distinguishes the traits Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, Extroversion, Openness, and Neuroticism (Costa & McCrae, 1992b). The FFM, in other name, the Big Five is a widely studied concept in different research contexts. Several variables, such as performance

indicators, individual creativity, work involvement, or performance motivation were found to have an influence on the five traits in academic and work contexts (Barrick & Mount, 1991;

Mammadov, 2022; Sung & Choi, 2009; Bozionelos, 2004: Judge & Ilies, 2002).

There has been a substantial recognition regarding mindfulness in various research areas, focusing on its clinical, psychological, physical or spiritual sense (Rau & Williams, 2016; Kang & Whittingham, 2010; Shapiro, 2009; Thomas et al., 2017; Schneider et al., 2019). Even though both mindfulness trait and state are studied extensively, this paper focuses on the trait aspect, as it has been brought to connection with personality traits (Thompson &

Waltz, 2007). Besides the Big Five traits, mindfulness has been recognized to have

characteristics of a personality trait, which might pose limitations to the Five-Factor Model (Glomb et al., 2011). Therefore, investigating relationships where widely acknowledged traits, such as the Big Five, and the mindfulness trait are compared concerning the same outcome variable can constitute new insights for researchers on the topic.

Conscientiousness was found to be associated with mindfulness on many levels (McGarvey, 2010). Firstly, research supports the relation between conscientiousness and self-awareness, to which mindfulness is also highly related (Fenigstein et al., 1975; Brown &

Ryan, 2003; Realo & Allik, 1998). While self-awareness refers to being aware of one’s own emotions and internal aspects, mindful individuals are also aware of external events besides their internal stimuli (Morin, 2011). Besides being connected by definition, research supports that mindfulness and conscientiousness are significantly and positively correlated (Richards et al., 2010; Brown & Ryan, 2003).

Secondly, research suggests that self-awareness is a strong motivator to self-regulate (Silvia, 2002; Vagom & Silbersweig, 2012). According to Gangestad and Snyder (2000), conscientious individuals tend to practice more self-regulation and are more self-aware due to their attentiveness to internal and external stimuli or events. Besides, self-regulation is a key

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component to mindfulness, as it provides the base for being attentive and focused on the present (Kabat-Zinn, 1990). Furthermore, both mindfulness and conscientiousness are positively associated with effortful control, the ability to suppress dominant responses (Brown, 2006; Rothbart & Rueda, 2005). Since effortful control relies on one’s ability to self-regulate, it links the two traits to one another based on theory and corresponding academic research (Hanley, 2016; Kabat-Zinn, 1990; Giluk, 2009).

Similarly, agreeableness relates to mindfulness in different ways. Both mindful and agreeable individuals are likely to engage in social interactions without feeling threatened or vulnerable (Rau & Williams, 2016). Additionally, the traits associated with agreeableness, such as compassion and humility, are rooted in the Buddhist culture, the presumed originator of mindfulness as a concept (Giluk, 2009; Thompson & Waltz, 2007). Due to the common characteristics of the two traits, a positive relationship could be assumed.

As conscientiousness, agreeableness is also positively related to self-awareness, creating a link to mindfulness via the shared relationship with the attribute (Nystedt &

Ljungberg, 2002; Brown & Ryan, 2003; McGarvey, 2010). However, Rafat and Seif (2014) found that while conscientiousness predicted private, agreeableness predicted public

self-awareness. The former refers to focusing on the personal aspects of oneself, while the latter is the tendency to concentrate on how others perceive our physical appearance (Hwang

& Lee, 2019). Consequently, even though conscientiousness and agreeableness are positively related to mindfulness, the two relationships might differ (Haliwa et al., 2021). Moreover, neuroticism was found to have a positive relationship with self-awareness, therefore,

incorporating this variable into the research might give deeper insights into the relationship.

Since both self-awareness and self-regulation are factors of mindfulness, it can be assumed that conscientiousness and agreeableness have an indirect relationship with

mindfulness which would be interesting to explore (Vago & Silbersweig, 2012). The need for research is further supported by a meta-analysis conducted by Giluk (2009), according to which the relationship between mindfulness and conscientiousness is often overlooked.

Furthermore, Haliwa et al. (2021) found that the discovered relationships between the Big Five traits and mindfulness are inconsistent due to the methodological differences of studies.

Exploring the mediation effect of mindfulness on previously studied relationships between these conscientiousness and agreeableness, and a fixed dependent variable could further expand the existing knowledge pool regarding personality traits.

Barrick et al. (2001) proposed to examine the relationship in the work environment as the Big Five, especially conscientiousness, is a strong predictor of different work outcomes,

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especially motivational constructs. Therefore, this paper draws on these assumptions and aims to explore a relationship, where two traits of the FFM, conscientiousness, and agreeableness, are examined in the work environment.

According to Good et al. (2016), besides personality, motivation is an important determinant of how people function at work. This is reinforced by a study conducted by Dinibutun (2012), which found that motivation is responsible for the effort individuals put into their work tasks. There is extensive research available that examines the effect of personality traits, such as the Big Five, on mindfulness, as well as their relationship with motivation overall in different contexts (Barrick et al., 2002; Major et al., 2006; Judge & Ilies, 2002; Hagger & Chatzisarantis, 2007). Hagger and Chatzisarantis (2007) distinguish three types of motivation in their paper. Amotivation, where the person lacks motivation, extrinsic, where one expects something in exchange for his or her efforts, and intrinsic, where the intentions are encouraged solely by the resulting personal enjoyment and pleasure. Even though overall motivation is a widely used outcome variable, focusing on one of these motivation types specifically has been neglected by scholars.

Based on the self-determination theory intrinsic motivation is characterised by autonomous self-regulation, where individuals are motivated to act according to their values, interests, and will, therefore experiencing enjoyment and fulfilment (Ryan et al., 2021;

Shannon et al., 2020). Research found that trait mindfulness is positively related to intrinsic motivation by facilitating autonomous self-regulation, attentiveness, and awareness to present events allowing for more considerate and self-satisfying responses to stimuli (Ryan & Deci, 2017; Ryan et al., 2021). Additionally, it was found that while mindful individuals are more likely to be intrinsically motivated, they discourage the pursuit of less autonomous and self-endorsed forms of motivation, such as extrinsic or amotivation, due to their potentially low relevance to personal interests, norms, or values (Weinstein et al., 2009; Donald et al., 2020; Brown et al., 2013; Ryan et al., 2021). Moreover, according to a meta-analysis of 89 studies, intrinsic motivation has the strongest relationship with mindfulness compared to the other two types of motivation mentioned above, extrinsic motivation and amotivation (Donald et al., 2020). One paper investigates the mediation effect of mindfulness on intrinsic

motivation, however, the generalizability of the results is limited by the non-random sample of Japanese athletes (Amemiya & Sakairi, 2019).

Given the existing literature and the fact that mindfulness is a commonly used

moderator or mediator variable when studying relationships involving intrinsic motivation as the outcome variable, investigating intrinsic motivation in relation to trait mindfulness could

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discover further insights on the matter (Montani et al., 2021; Kroon et al., 2017). Additionally, different cross-sectional studies proved that conscientiousness and agreeableness are

positively related to intrinsic motivation (Komarraju et al., 2009; Ariani, 2013). Therefore, it might be interesting to investigate whether the effect of personality traits conscientiousness and agreeableness on intrinsic motivation, mediated by mindfulness, leads to similar results.

On the contrary, Basyir and Ibrahim (2018) found that while conscientiousness is positively related to intrinsic motivation, agreeableness has a negative correlation with it. The

contradicting views on the topic further support the need to research the relationship (Furnham et al., 2009). The results could provide accurate insights for management within organisations about what motivates employees intrinsically based on their personalities and their level of mindfulness.

Therefore, this paper aims to complement existing research by studying the effect of conscientiousness and agreeableness on intrinsic employee motivation, and the mediating effect of mindfulness in the relationship. The proposed research question is ‘How does the trait mindfulness mediate the relationship between conscientiousness and intrinsic employee motivation? Similarly, how does the mindfulness trait mediate the relationship between agreeableness and intrinsic employee motivation?’

Theoretical Framework The Big Five - Conscientiousness and Agreeableness

The Five-Factor Model is a hierarchical model identifying five personality traits, including Conscientiousness and Agreeableness, that are the pillars of human nature (Saucier

& Goldberg, 1998; Gosling et al., 2003). According to McCrae and Costa (2008), conscientious people are purposeful, reliable, dependable, achievement-oriented, and disciplined. They tend to adhere to rules, plan ahead, and be organised mentally and

physically (Costa et al., 1991). In an organisational context, employees scoring high on this trait tend to be more organised, diligent, purposeful and disciplined, careful, responsible, and have better problem-solving skills than their less-conscientious counterparts (Witt et al., 2002;

Roccas et al., 2002).

Agreeable individuals are inclined to show sympathy towards others and be humble and trustworthy (Costa et al., 1991). Moreover, their behaviour reflects generosity, honesty, selflessness and tolerance, compliance, and modesty (Digman, 1990; McCrae & Costa, 2008).

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Furthermore, they are willing to invest more effort into cooperation and collaboration with their peers to serve a common goal (Witt et al., 2002). On the contrary, those lacking this trait are prone to be insensitive, inflexible, and suspicious (Roccas et al., 2002). The research of Roccas et al. (2002) also found that agreeableness and conscientiousness are positively related to conformity, which could indicate that the traits are similar in some aspects.

Intrinsic Employee Motivation

Intrinsic motivation was determined to be one of the three motivation types besides amotivation and extrinsic motivation (Hagger & Chatzisarantis, 2007). Although some categorization is suggested, Vallerand (2000), argues that intrinsic and extrinsic motivation coexists on a continuum, having different levels, and are not dichotomous. This is in accordance with the self-determination theory (SDT) proposed by Deci and Ryan (1985;

2000), where intrinsic motivation is referred to as the most autonomous form of motivation given its self-satisfying purpose and characteristics (Ryan et al., 2021).

According to the same theory, intrinsically motivated individuals tend to perform a task for personal enjoyment and pleasure instead of monetary or other extrinsic rewards (Deci, 1975; Deci & Ryan, 1985). Therefore, these individuals are self-determined whether to engage in an activity depending on their own psychological needs and interests, irrelevant of the tangible benefits (Cameron & Pierce, 1994). However, a meta-analysis of 96 experimental studies conducted by Cameron and Pierce (1994) shows contradicting results on the matter.

The paper indicates that intrinsic motivation can increase or decrease based on different factors, such as verbal appraisal or individuals' expectancy of receiving tangible rewards. This theory is further supported by the findings of Deci (1971), according to which extrinsic rewards can decrease while verbal reinforcement can increase the intrinsic motivation of an individual.

Consequently, it is not statistically supported that intrinsic motivation is not influenced by extrinsic rewards depending on the context. Supporting these claims, Vallerand (2000) found that one can lose intrinsic motivation in one context and gain it in another.

The relationship of Conscientiousness and Agreeableness with Intrinsic Employee Motivation

In an organisational environment, intrinsic motivation is key in maintaining

engagement, which is a determinant of job performance (Guay et al., 2000; Miao et al., 2020).

Therefore, assessing to what extent employees are more likely to be intrinsically motivated is indispensable. Thomas (2009) defined work-related tasks as a collection of activities which

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erect from one’s will of accomplishing a goal in a certain way. Employees’ choice of method is often self-determined, since organisations want them to gain pleasure and satisfaction from performing the task, and in turn, be intrinsically motivated. However, to identify what might influences the level of workers’ intrinsic motivation, analysing their personality and other traits is important, given the high correlation between the Big Five and several work outcomes, including intrinsic employee motivation (Ariani, 2013; Barrick & Mount, 1991;

Bozionelos, 2004; Komarraju et al., 2009).

Even though all the five traits are correlated with intrinsic motivation, agreeableness and conscientiousness have the strongest relationship with it (Basyir & Ibrahim, 2018).

However, while conscientiousness is positively related, agreeableness shows a negative effect on the outcome variable. This can be attributed to the fact that while intrinsic employee motivation derives from more selfish actions to satisfy one’s own interests, agreeable

individuals aim to please others by creating a cooperative atmosphere (Ryan et al., 2021; Witt et al., 2002).

Nonetheless, studies indicate contradicting effects of agreeableness and conscientiousness on intrinsic employee motivation (Jeng & Teng, 2008; Watanabe &

Kanazawa, 2009). A study conducted by Ariani (2013) found that agreeableness and

conscientiousness have a positive effect on intrinsic motivation due to the personal challenge and curiosity associated with the work tasks. However, the relationship with

conscientiousness was also attributed to the goal-orientation aspect of the trait. They employ a mastery-approach to ensure the successful execution of their tasks despite the challenges.

These findings are further supported by Lepper et al. (2005), who found a positive correlation between intrinsic motivation and achievement motivation, meaning that conscientious

individuals are committed to their goals and are intrinsically motivated to achieve them (Gellatly, 1996).

Additionally, the study of McCabe et al. (2013) examined the relationship between the Big Five and mastery-approach goals, where the latter was associated with intrinsic

motivation. The results show that both conscientiousness and agreeableness positively affect mastery-approach goals, hence proposing the possibility of a similar effect on intrinsic motivation. This is also supported by the findings of Lee et al. (2003), which imply that autonomy-oriented motivation, or intrinsic motivation, is positively related to mastery-goals, the aim to meet personal standards and goals. To examine the relationship between the two components of the Big Five, conscientiousness and agreeableness, and intrinsic employee motivation, the following hypotheses are proposed:

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H1a: Agreeableness is positively related to Intrinsic Employee Motivation.

H1b: Conscientiousness is positively related to Intrinsic Employee Motivation.

Mindfulness Trait

Based on the Eastern perspective, the mindfulness trait originates from Buddhism and is considered a quality of conscientiousness, defined by attention to and awareness of present events. (Giluk, 2009; Tomlinson et al., 2018; Brown et al., 2007). Unlike the mindfulness state, which refers to the momentary state of an individual, the mindfulness trait is a stable characteristic of humans that might change over time based on one’s experiences (Tang, 2017;

Sala et al., 2020).

Individuals possessing the mindfulness trait, often referred to as dispositional mindfulness, are prone to be non-judgemental, curious, self-aware, and open to current experiences without holding preconceptions, or feeling the need to control those (Tang, 2017;

Tang & Tang, 2020; Bishop et al., 2004; Glomb et al., 2011; Mesmer-Magnus et al., 2017).

Moreover, mindful individuals practise self-regulation to focus on the present moment with a lenient and non-biased mindset, called the ‘beginner’s mind’ (Kabat-Zinn, 1990, pp. 35– 36).

Even though this paper focuses on the overall capacity of trait mindfulness, it is indispensable to mention its facets to better understand the main pillars of the concept. The FFMQ measurement scale distinguishes five facets; ‘observing’ and ‘describing’ of the present moment, ‘acting’ on those experiences with awareness, and ‘nonjudging’ them regardless of past events (Baer et al., 2008). The relevance of including mindfulness in the model is further supported by its relationship with various work outcomes, such as job satisfaction, performance, burnout or motivation (Mesmer-Magnus et al., 2017; McCormick

& Hunter, 2008).

The relationship of Conscientiousness and Agreeableness with Mindfulness Trait Thompson and Waltz (2007) stated that even though no causality inference was statistically proven between conscientiousness and mindfulness, the latter showed a positive correlation both with conscientiousness and agreeableness. According to Giluk (2009), conscientious individuals possess high self-regulation and self-esteem, to which mindfulness is also positively linked (Neace et al., 2020). Similarly, a study proposed that

conscientiousness is associated with the constructs of self-esteem, and self-efficacy, and is positively correlated with the mindfulness trait itself (Rau & Williams, 2016).

Giluk (2009) reported that those scoring high on the mindfulness trait tend to score high on agreeableness. This is also supported by the fact that similar to agreeable individuals,

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mindful people show empathy and compassion towards others by being aware of current internal and external stimuli, such as their own and others' emotions, thoughts, sensations, or actions, simultaneously. (Glomb et al., 2011; Brown et al., 2007). Moreover, they are more inclined to renew their trust in others despite any negative experiences.

Research indicates that conscientiousness and agreeableness are significantly and positively related to mindfulness (Giluk, 2009; Rau & Williams, 2016). This supports the aim of the paper to investigate a mediation model instead of moderation. To test the direct

relationship between the two independent variables and the mediator, the following hypotheses are proposed:

H2a: Agreeableness is positively related to Mindfulness Trait.

H2b: Conscientiousness is positively related to Mindfulness Trait.

The relationship between Mindfulness Trait and Intrinsic Employee Motivation Glomb et al. (2011) proposed that mindful employees function better and are more empathetic and self-determined, which results in improved work outcomes, such as higher organisational commitment. Since, based on the SDT, intrinsically motivated individuals are also self-determined and exhibit self-regulation, which are both relevant in assessing

organisational commitment and overall work performance, interdependency between

mindfulness and intrinsic motivation can be assumed (Kuvaas, 2006; Guay et al., 2000; Miao et al., 2020; Ryan & Deci, 2017). Moreover, due to their aware and attentive nature, mindful individuals experience events on a deeper level. Therefore, they prefer to engage in activities and tasks out of intrinsic motivation that align with their interests, needs, and values, hence ensuring joy and happiness (Schultz & Ryan, 2015; Ryan & Deci, 2017).

Besides being indirectly related, several studies found a positive direct relationship between mindfulness and intrinsic motivation, such that more mindful individuals tend to score higher on intrinsic motivation (Brown et al., 2016; Brown & Ryan, 2015; Brown &

Ryan, 2003; Ruffault et al., 2016; Amemiya & Sakairi, 2019).

Since research suggests correlation between mindfulness and intrinsic motivation in various domains and their influences on similar constructs concerning the SDT in the organisational domain, it can be assumed that they are also correlated in an organisational context. Therefore the following hypothesis is proposed:

H3: Mindfulness Trait is positively related to Intrinsic Employee Motivation

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Mediation effect

Based on research, individuals’ motivation is partly determined by their motivational skills, which is a function of their self-regulatory and self-efficacy qualities (Sonnentag &

Frese, 2002). Since these qualities are also associated with conscientiousness, agreeableness, and mindfulness, it suggests interdependence among these four variables (Giluk, 2009; Liang

& Chang, 2014; Rau & Williams, 2016; Brown & Ryan, 2003). Moreover, mindfulness was found to influence intrinsic motivation and self-determined goal achievement to which conscientiousness and agreeableness are also linked (Brown & Ryan, 2015; Ariani, 2013;

McCabe et al., 2013).

Consequently, it can be assumed that mindfulness explains the relationship between the traits and the outcome variable, such that individuals being conscientious or agreeable while simultaneously being mindful tend to be more intrinsically motivated. Moreover, lending credibility to the accuracy of existing research according to which there is a

significant relationship between agreeableness and intrinsic motivation and conscientiousness and intrinsic motivation, a mediation effect can be assumed (Ariani, 2013; Komarraju et al., 2009). Therefore, the following hypotheses are formulated to test the indirect effect:

H4a: The relationship between Agreeableness and Intrinsic Employee Motivation is mediated by Mindfulness Trait.

H4b: The relationship between Conscientiousness and Intrinsic Employee Motivation is mediated by Mindfulness Trait.

Method Design

This research employs a cross-sectional design utilising surveys to extract data. This method enables the collection of responses at one point in time, in this case via a self-reported questionnaire. Furthermore, since existing literature is examined before answering the

research question and testing the hypotheses, the paper employs a deductive method. This allows for a quantitative approach to data analysis and the generalizability of the results.

Sample & Procedure

To obtain the sample, nonprobability, convenience sampling was used, where potential participants were approached through the researchers’ networks on social media and in

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person. The sample was drawn from the population of working individuals, however, participation was later regulated based on criteria; respondents must be employed either part-time or full-time, working a minimum of 12 hours per week. Thus individuals with a 0-hour contract working sufficient hours met the eligibility requirement. Despite the ease of non-random sampling, the limited ability to generalise results can be a major issue.

The data was collected jointly, where four researchers combined their variables into one online survey via Qualtrics (see Appendix E). The aim was to obtain 200 responses using personal networks. The survey link was published on social media platforms, such as

Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and on Surveyswap to increase the chances of reaching the target number.

Measurement and Reliability Analysis

The Big Five - Agreeableness and Conscientiousness

To measure the personality traits, the 15-item Big Five Inventory scale (BFI-2-XS) was used, developed based on Goldberg’s theory, where three items per trait were used to assess one’s conscientiousness and agreeableness, alongside openness and neuroticism (Soto

& John, 2017). Each trait was measured on a 5-point Likert scale, 1 being ‘Disagree strongly’, and 5 being ‘Agree strongly’. Example items for measuring conscientiousness are ‘I am someone who tends to be disorganised’ and ‘I am someone who is reliable, can always be counted on’, and for agreeableness are ‘I am someone who is sometimes rude to others’, and

‘I am someone who assumes the best about people.

The reliability of the scale was measured by Cronbach’s alphas (see Table 1). Both Agreeableness (α=.421) and Conscientiousness (α=.422) scored low on internal consistency, which could be attributed to using a shortened version of the BFI. However, removing items would not have increased the reliability of the scale.

Mindfulness Trait

To assess one’s level of mindfulness, the 15-item Five Facet Mindfulness

Questionnaire (FFMQ-15) was utilised. It was developed by Baer et al. (2008), based on the original 39-item FFMQ (Baer et al., 2006), by selecting items with the highest loadings. The resulting 15-item scale was tested by Gu et al. (2016), which lent support to the validity of the scale, moreover, it was found not to significantly differ from the original 39-item scale in terms of structure and results. Similar to the BFI, the construct was measured on a 5-point Likert scale, 1 being ‘Never or very rarely true’ and 5 being ‘Very often or always true’.

Example items are ‘I’m good at finding words to describe my feelings’, and ‘I find myself

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doing things without paying attention’. The reliability of the scale (α=.714) (see Table 1) indicated that the items of the scale are measuring the same construct, thus no items need to be removed.

Intrinsic Employee Motivation

Lastly, Intrinsic Employee Motivation was measured using three items indicating intrinsic motivation from the Work Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation Scale (WEIMS), developed based on the self-determination theory (Ryan & Deci, 2000). One example item is,

‘I am motivated to work, because I derive much pleasure from learning new things’.

Moreover, all items to assess intrinsic employee motivation were evaluated on a 7-point Likert scale, 1 being ‘Strongly disagree’, and 7 being ‘Strongly agree. Besides the variables, questions regarding the participants’ demographics were also included, considering work, age, gender, nationality, and education level. Despite the advantages of having standardised

answers, using a Likert scale in a cross-sectional survey, might elicit the common method variance bias, where respondents are prone to give inflated answers, leading to biased correlations between variables. The internal consistency of the scale (α=.821) (see Table 1) showed that all items measure the same construct, therefore no items were removed.

Analytical Plan

The data was screened, filtered, and analysed, via a quantitative approach, in SPSS.

Overall 216 responses were collected, however, cases with missing values on the questions, except for the optional demographic questions, and those that failed the two control questions were removed. The missing values for the demographic questions were then filled using the series mean function in SPSS, leading to the final sample size of 123. Lastly, the reversed items of the scales were transformed, and the variables of the conceptual model were created.

The independent variables for this research are Conscientiousness and Agreeableness, the mediator is Mindfulness, and the outcome variable is Intrinsic Employee Motivation.

The PROCESS macro (model 4), developed by Andrew Hayes, was used to perform the regression analyses for the conceptual models (see Figure 1a; 1b; 2a; 2b) (Hayes, 2018).

The PROCESS tool allows for easier interpretation of complex mediation models and the use of control variables. For testing the mediation hypotheses, the Hayes (2018) procedure was employed, where mediation can be concluded regardless of the significance of the total effect and the other independent paths.

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Control Variables

Three control variables were created, Neuroticism, Age, and a binary variable, Gender.

Based on research, neuroticism has a negative correlation with all four traits of the Big Five, including agreeableness and conscientiousness, therefore using it as a covariate might

improve the quality of the significant results. (Latzman & Masuda, 2013; Tucker et al., 2014).

Individuals scoring high on neuroticism tend to experience negative emotions, such as anxiety, embarrassment, anger, stress mood swings, self-consciousness, or depression (Costa

& McCrae, 1987; Costa & McCrae, 1992a; McCrae & Costa, 2008). On the other hand, those scoring low on the trait are more confident and emotionally stable (Goldberg, 1990; McCrae

& Costa, 2008).

Additionally, various facets of neuroticism were identified in research, such as anxiety, anger, depression, self-consciousness, immoderation, and vulnerability (McCrae & Costa, 1983; Johnson, 2014). According to Johnson (2014), these facets are associated with fear, frustration, embarrassment, hopelessness, loneliness, and stress. Moreover, neurotic individuals tend to reflect volatile behaviours and withdrawal from actions.

The relationship between neuroticism and mindfulness was investigated in several studies, concluding a negative link between the variables (Klockner & Hicks, 2015; Giluk, 2009; Brown & Ryan, 2003; Haliwa, et al., 2021; Tucker et al., 2014; Latzman & Masuda, 2013; Baer et al., 2006). Moreover, Barnhofer et al. (2011) found that mindfulness moderates the negative relationship between neuroticism and depression, such that the relationship was only significant for those who scored relatively low on mindfulness traits. Other studies found that mindfulness reduces depression, anxiety, and stress in various contexts, including the work environment, therefore increasing the psychological and emotional well-being of individuals (Baer, 2003; Brown & Ryan, 2003; Brown et al., 2007; Grossman et al., 2004;

Mackenzie et al., 2006; Giluk, 2009). This further indicates a negative relationship between mindfulness and neuroticism. Neuroticism was also found to be positively related to extrinsic motivation, however, no research was found that reported either a positive or negative

significant relationship between neuroticism and intrinsic motivation (Hart et al., 2007;

Ariani, 2013).

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Figure 1a

Conceptual Model 1a - Agreeableness (without covariates)

Figure 1b

Conceptual Model 1b - Conscientiousness (without covariates)

Figure 2a

Conceptual Model 2a - Agreeableness (with covariates)

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Figure 2b

Conceptual Model 2b - Conscientiousness (with covariates)

Results Descriptive Statistics and Correlations

After screening and filtering the database, leaving the sample size at 123 participants, the linearity of the variables were assessed via scatter plots (see Appendix A). The plots suggested linearity for all relationships, allowing for further analysis. Next, the descriptive statistics and the correlations between the variables were assessed. Table 1 shows the means and standard deviations of all variables of the conceptual model, including the covariates. The average age is 26.55, and the mean gender implies that there are more females in the sample than males. Moreover, the fact that agreeableness and conscientiousness were measured on a 5-point scale and have an average close to 3 and standard deviation around 0.75, it entails that participants gave variable answers.

The Pearson correlation coefficients show (see Table 1) that while agreeableness is not significantly correlated with conscientiousness (r(121)=.12, p=.185), intrinsic employee motivation (r(121)=.09, p=.307), and neuroticism (r(121)=-.06, p=.526), it is with

mindfulness (r(121)=.23, p<.01). However, conscientiousness is significantly and negatively correlated with neuroticism (r(121)=-.24, p<.01), and positively correlated with both

mindfulness (r(121)=.44, p<.001) and intrinsic employee motivation (r(121)=.29, p<.001).

Lastly, mindfulness has a positive relationship with intrinsic motivation (r(121)=.39, p<.001).

Even though there are significant correlations, all of them are below .70, therefore, none can be considered as strong.

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Table 1a

Means, Standard Deviations, Correlations, and Cronbach’s Alpha (with covariates)

Hypothesis testing

For the hypothesis testing, the PROCESS macro (model 4) in spss was used. First, the hypotheses were tested without the covariates, and then including the covariates in the model, to be able to compare the two results. Table 2a shows the results for the conceptual model 1a (see Figure 1a) including agreeableness as the independent variable, without control variables, while Table 2b (see Appendix B) displays the results for the conceptual model 2a (see Figure 2a) including agreeableness as the independent variable, with control variables, neuroticism, age, and gender. Similarly, Table 3a shows the results for the conceptual model 1b (see Figure 1b) including conscientiousness as the independent variable, without control variables, and Table 3b (see Appendix B) shows the results for the conceptual model 2b (see Figure 2b) having conscientiousness as the predictor variable, including control variables.

Based on the results, Hypothesis H1a, which states that agreeableness is positively related to intrinsic employee motivation, is supported, therefore suggesting a direct effect between the two variables (coeff.=0.002, se=0.14, p<.01) (see Table 2a ). However, after including the control variables, neuroticism, age, and gender, the relationship becomes non-significant (coeff.=0.01, se=0.14, p=.950) (see Table 2b - Appendix B). On the other hand, a significant relationship between neuroticism and intrinsic employee motivation is shown (coeff. =-0.25 , se = 0.12, p<.05) (see Table 2b - Appendix B). This confirms the insignificant correlations between agreeableness and intrinsic motivation when the control variables, neuroticism, age, and gender, are included (see Table 1). The R-squared showed that without the covariates, agreeableness explained 15% of the variation in intrinsic

employee motivation, and only 0.6% in mindfulness, however after including the covariates,

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the R-squared increased to 19% and 22% respectively, potentially due to the increased number of variables used in the model.

For hypothesis H1b, according to which conscientiousness is positively related to intrinsic employee motivation, the results did not lend support neither excluding (coeff.=0.22, se=0.14, p=.113) (see Table 3a), nor including the covariates in the model (coeff. = 0.18, se=0.14, p=.202) (see Table 3b - Appendix B). Therefore, there is no significant direct effect between conscientiousness and intrinsic employee motivation. These results are contradictory to the suggested relationship based on the significant correlation between conscientiousness and the outcome variable. Moreover, neuroticism was found to have a negative effect on intrinsic employee motivation (coeff.=-0.23, se=0.12, p<.05).

The results excluding covariates corresponding to hypothesis H2a, which states that agreeableness is positively related to mindfulness trait, supported the hypothesis (coeff.=0.15, se=0.06, p<.001) (see Table 2a). Similarly, hypothesis H2b, which claims that

conscientiousness is positively related to mindfulness trait, was supported (coeff.=0.28, se=0.05, p<.0001) (see Table 3a). Moreover, the results suggest that both hypotheses remain supported when adding neuroticism, age and gender to the model (coeff.=0.12, se=0.06, p<.05) (see Table 2b - Appendix B) and (coeff.=0.22, se=0.05, p<.0001) (see Table 3b - Appendix B). The results further suggest that while age and gender do not predict mindfulness, neuroticism is negatively significantly related to mindfulness, regardless of whether agreeableness (coeff.=-0.18, se=0.04, p<.0001) (see Table 2b - Appendix B) or conscientiousness (coeff.=-0.14, se=0.04, p<.01) (see Table 3b - Appendix B) is the predictor.

Hypothesis H3 states that the mindfulness trait is positively related to intrinsic employee motivation. The results show that this relationship is significant both without (coeff.=0.94, se=0.20, p<.001) (see Table 2a and Table 3a) and with control variables (coeff.=0.79, se=0.22, p<.001) (see Table 2b and Table 3b - Appendix B), therefore hypothesis H3 is supported.

Lastly, the indirect effects were analysed. The total effects of the mediation model including agreeableness as the independent variable were non-significant both without the use of covariates (coeff.=0.15, se=0.14, p=.307) (see Table 4a - Appendix C) and with them (coeff.=0.11, se=0.14, p=.458) (see Table 4b - Appendix C). In spite of this, the confidence intervals suggested that hypothesis H4a, which states that the relationship between

agreeableness and intrinsic employee motivation is mediated by mindfulness trait, is supported under the Hayes (2018) method. When excluding covariates from the model the significant direct effect indicates partial mediation (coeff.=0.15, se=0.07, 95% CI=[0.03,

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0.31]) (see Table 2a), while including them results in a full mediation effect (coeff.=0.10, se=0.06, 95% CI=[0.001, 0.23]) (see Table 2b - Appendix B). However, according to Baron and Kenny (1986) for mediation to occur, the total effect must be significant, hence, implying no mediation effect.

On the other hand, the total effects corresponding to the mediation model with

conscientiousness as the predictor were significant both without (coeff.=0.44, se=0.13, p<.01) (see Table 4a - Appendix C) and with covariates in the model (coeff.=0.33, se=0.13, p<.05) (see Table 4b - Appendix C). Moreover, hypothesis H4b, which states that the relationship between conscientiousness and intrinsic employee motivation is mediated by mindfulness trait, was also significant both without covariates (coeff.=0.22, se=0.08, 95% CI=[0.08, 0.38]) (see Table 3a) and with covariates (coeff.=0.002, se=0.14, 95% CI=[0.03, 0.08]) (see Table 3b - Appendix B), therefore lending support for the indirect effect proposed by hypothesis H4b.

Since when including the mediator in the model, the direct effect became insignificant, while the indirect effect was significant, mindfulness fully mediates the relationship between conscientiousness and intrinsic employee motivation.

Despite supporting the negative effect of neuroticism on mindfulness and intrinsic employee motivation when controlling for agreeableness (see Table 2b - Appendix B) and for conscientiousness (see Table 3b - Appendix B), no significant relationship was found between age or gender, and any of the variables in the model.

Besides the regressions, the Sobel test was used to support the established mediation relationships under the Baron and Kenny method. For agreeableness being the predictor, the test statistics indicate a significant indirect effect when covariates are not included (z=2.29, se=0.06, p<.05) (see Table 5a - Appendix D), however, the relationship becomes

non-significant when the covariates are added (z=1.88, se=0.05, p=.060) (see Table 5b - Appendix D). These statistics suggest different effects from the regression results. On the other hand, the Sobel test lent support for the indirect effects when conscientiousness is the independent variable. Both without covariates (z=2.96, se=0.07, p<.01) (see Table 5a - Appendix D) and with covariates in the model (z=2.38, se=0.06, p<.05) (see Table 5b - Appendix D), the test statistics indicate a significant mediating relationship.

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Table 2a

Model coefficients for the influences of Agreeableness on Mindfulness Trait and Intrinsic Employee Motivation (without covariates)

Table 3a

Model coefficients for the influences of Conscientiousness on Mindfulness Trait and Intrinsic Employee Motivation (without covariates)

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Discussion

Main findings, theoretical limitations, and recommendations for future research The indirect effects

Our results contribute to existing literature by confirming established relationships and adding value to them by indicating potential discrepancies in the theory or method of those studies, based on the results of this paper. The purpose of this study was to investigate how the mindfulness trait mediates the relationship between conscientiousness and intrinsic employee motivation and the relationship between agreeableness and intrinsic employee motivation. The results of the present study support the hypothesis that the relationship between conscientiousness and intrinsic employee motivation is fully mediated by

mindfulness. However, due to conflicting views on when mediation can be concluded, the mediating effect of mindfulness on the relationship between agreeableness and intrinsic employee motivation could not be confidently supported.

Baron and Kenny (1986) proposed the ‘causal steps approach’, according to which for mediation to happen, first, there must be a significant total effect, then agreeableness must be related to mindfulness, and lastly, mindfulness must predict intrinsic employee motivation.

Based on the results, the requirement regarding a significant total effect is not met. Therefore, despite the significant indirect effect, the results imply that mindfulness does not mediate the relationship between agreeableness and intrinsic employee motivation.

However, given the limitations of this method, an alternative procedure was developed by Hayes (2018), where mediation is concluded solely based on the significance of the

indirect effect (Memon et al., 2018; Zhao et al., 2010; Hayes, 2009; Shrout & Bolger, 2002).

His theory is adopted and supported by other researchers who agree that the total effect is an unjustified requirement for concluding mediation (Ruckeret al., 2011; Preacher & Selig, 2008;

Zhao et al., 2010). Nonetheless, no dominant approach emerged due to conflicting arguments.

Following Hayes’ (2018) theory, more conscientious individuals tend to be more mindful, which consequently contributes to them being intrinsically motivated. Similarly, existing research suggests an indirect effect between conscientiousness and intrinsic motivation indicating that the achievement-orientation of conscientious individuals drives their intrinsic motivation (Ariani, 2013; Lepper et al., 2005; Gellatly, 1996). Furthermore, employees that are highly agreeable tend to be more mindful and intrinsically motivated.

However, their level of intrinsic motivation is partially attributed to their mindfulness.

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The results suggest that one’s neurotic trait also influences this relationship which adds value to existing literature on the topic, as it indicates potential indirect effects among the Big Five traits. When including neuroticism in the model, the direct effect between agreeableness and intrinsic employee motivation is insignificant, however, neuroticism has a negative relationship with the outcome variable. Therefore, it can be assumed that if

neuroticism is correlated with agreeableness, it indirectly influences intrinsic motivation.

Research suggests a significant negative association between agreeableness and neuroticism (Steiner et al., 2012; Côté & Moskowitz, 1998; Tucker et al., 2014). Furthermore, neuroticism was positively related to negative affect, while agreeableness was negatively related to it, indicating a potential negative relationship between the two traits (McCrae & Costa, 1991;

Watson & Clark, 1992; Côté & Moskowitz, 1998). However, there is a lack of knowledge on the relationships amongst the Big Five traits, therefore, further research is suggested to

explore the relationship between agreeableness and neuroticism while controlling for the other traits.

The relationship of Conscientiousness and Agreeableness with Intrinsic Employee Motivation - the direct effects

Agreeable workers were found to be more intrinsically motivated, nonetheless, only when no control variables were included in the model. After adding neuroticism to the model, the relationship became insignificant, while neuroticism was found to be negatively related to intrinsic employee motivation. It can be that neuroticism is related to agreeableness, therefore explains the relationship between agreeableness and intrinsic motivation. Moreover, prior studies suggest that neuroticism is solely related to extrinsic motivation, however, this is against our findings (Hart et al., 2007; Komarraju et al., 2009; Kaufman et al., 2008).

Therefore, besides investigating the relationship between neuroticism and agreeableness, future research should explore whether neuroticism is related to intrinsic motivation, potentially while controlling for the four other traits of the Big Five.

Additionally, while conscientiousness was not significantly related to intrinsic motivation, the relationship between neuroticism and the outcome variable remained

significant, further supporting the claim that neuroticism could be an alternative predictor of the relationships. Previous literature reported a positive relationship between neuroticism and self-awareness, which is also positively related to agreeableness, and conscientiousness, suggesting that neuroticism might be related to the two traits (Haliwa et al., 2021). On the other hand, while some studies found that conscientiousness and agreeableness are both

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positively related to intrinsic motivation, others found that agreeableness is negatively related to the construct (Komarraju et al., 2009; Ariani, 2013; Basyir & Ibrahim, 2018). The latter findings would further indicate the potential explanatory power of neuroticism on the relationship between agreeableness and intrinsic motivation, given its negative effect on intrinsic employee motivation. These findings further emphasise the value-adding nature of future research on the relationship between agreeableness and neuroticism.

The relationship of Conscientiousness and Agreeableness with Mindfulness Trait

Furthermore, both agreeableness and conscientiousness were found to be positively related to mindfulness trait. These results are in line with existing research, which might be due to the strong association between the trait components. Firstly, individuals scoring high on self-awareness, meaning that they are more attentive to inner stimuli and emotions, tend to be more conscientious, agreeable, and mindful, than those being less self-aware (Fenigstein et al., 1975; Nystedt & Ljungberg, 2002; Brown & Ryan, 2003; McGarvey, 2010; Realo &

Allik, 1998). Secondly, besides self-awareness being a predictor of self regulation,

self-regulation was found to be positively related to both conscientiousness and mindfulness, indicating a relationship between the two constructs (Gangestad & Snyder, 2000; Kabat-Zinn, 1990). Moreover, according to Hanley (2016) self-regulation has a negative relationship with neuroticism but is positively associated with conscientiousness. Thirdly, the relationship between conscientiousness and mindfulness can be explained by their link to effortful control, to which self-regulation is also related (Brown, 2006; Rothbart & Rueda, 2005). These

findings indicate the indirect effect between agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and mindfulness, which are consistent with the results of this paper.

Moreover, the direct relationship between conscientiousness and mindfulness, without relying on a common denominator, such as self-awareness, self-regulation, or effortful

control, is supported by research, where the relationship was found to be significant regardless of any third variables included in the model (Richards et al., 2010; Brown & Ryan, 2003;

Thompson & Waltz, 2007). Therefore, prior findings support the results of this paper, according to which more conscious individuals also tend to be more mindful.

Existing literature also supports the claim that individuals scoring higher on agreeableness tend to be more mindful than those who score low on the former trait. The indirect relationship between the traits is indicated by their common characteristics. Besides being highly self-aware, those scoring high on agreeableness and mindfulness are

compassionate and attentive and show empathy towards others (Giluk, 2009; Thompson &

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Waltz, 2007). However, Giluk (2009) and Thompson and Waltz (2007), also found support for the direct relationship between the variables, lending credibility to the results of this paper.

However, in a multiple regression setting, including all the five personality traits, Westbrook (2013) found that while conscientiousness and neuroticism significantly predicted

mindfulness, agreeableness did not. This might be due to the explanatory power of the other traits, potentially neuroticism, in relation to agreeableness and mindfulness.

Similar to the case of the insignificant relationship between agreeableness and intrinsic employee motivation after including neuroticism in the model mentioned above, the

insignificant relationship between agreeableness and mindfulness can be attributed to the significant effect of neuroticism on agreeableness and mindfulness. Even though, research on the relationship between the former two variables are lacking, several studies support a negative relationship between neuroticism and mindfulness (Klockner & Hicks, 2015; Giluk, 2009; Brown & Ryan, 2003; Tucker et al., 2014; Latzman & Masuda, 2013; Baer et al., 2006).

However, although the results of this paper further highlight the negative effect of neuroticism on mindfulness, the study conducted by Haliwa et al. (2021) suggests the opposite effect given the positive relationship between neuroticism and self-awareness and the positive relationship between mindfulness and self-awareness (Richards et al., 2010).

Additionally, nonetheless, neuroticism had a significant relationship with mindfulness, age and gender showed no significant effect on it. However, prior research has found

inconsistent results regarding the relationship between personality traits and different demographic factors, such as age, and gender (Goldberg et al., 1998; Paris, 2004; Schmitt et al., 2008). Research suggested that age is negatively associated with neuroticism, meaning that older individuals are less neurotic and therefore are more emotionally stable (Lehmann et al., 2013; Soto et al., 2011; Roberts et al., 2006). Moreover, agreeableness was consistently found to increase as age increases (Donnellan & Lucas, 2008; Lehmann et al., 2013; Soto et al., 2011; Roberts et al., 2006). However, while the study of Donnellan and Lucas (2008) showed that middle-aged individuals tend to be the most conscientious, Lehmann et al. (2013) and Roberts et al. (2006) found that the two variables have a positive linear relationship, such that the older the individuals become, the more conscious they are.

Schmitt et al. (2008) found that females tend to be more conscious, agreeable, and neurotic than males. The positive relationship between women and the latter two traits was further supported by Lehmann et al. (2013), although they found no significant relationship between gender and conscientiousness. Additionally, research suggests that women are more mindful than men regardless of context (Bränström et al., 2011; Fogarty et al., 2015).

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Furthermore, there was a significant positive relationship between age and mindfulness, indicating that older individuals are more mindful than youngsters (Mahoney et al., 2015;

Shook et al., 2017).

The relationship between Mindfulness Trait and Intrinsic Employee Motivation

Mindful individuals were found to be more intrinsically motivated. This is in line with existing research, which states that mindfulness is positively related to intrinsic motivation potentially due to their common characteristics, such as self-regulation, self-awareness, and attentiveness, to present events (Ryan & Deci, 2017; Ryan et al., 2021). The results also indicate a negative relationship between neuroticism and intrinsic motivation. As

self-awareness is related to neuroticism and mindfulness, it can be assumed that the variables are correlated to some extent (Haliwa et al., 2021). This potential association is further supported by research that found that neuroticism and mindfulness are negatively related (Klockner & Hicks, 2015; Giluk, 2009; Brown & Ryan, 2003; Haliwa, et al., 2021; Tucker et al., 2014; Latzman & Masuda, 2013; Baer et al., 2006).

While neuroticism had a significant negative relationship with intrinsic employee motivation, age and gender showed no significant relationship with the outcome variable.

Prior research however found that age is positively related to intrinsic motivation in the workplace (Lord, 2002; de Lange et al., 2011; Kooij et al., 2008; Kooji et al., 2011; Cohn, 1979). Moreover, Schwab and Heneman (1977) found that this relationship is significant both for women and men. A study conducted by Montana and Lenaghan (1999) claimed that the extent to which different generations are motivated intrinsically could be attributed to the different stimuli present at different periods. On the other hand, some research suggests no relationship between intrinsic motivation and age, however, these studies were conducted with a specific sample, therefore their external validity is low (Finegold et al., 2002; Catania

& Randall, 2013).

Methodological limitations and recommendations for future research

Besides the theoretical limitations, the design of this study might limit the accuracy of the results, hence, it ought to be addressed. Firstly, the use of a cross-sectional design records responses at one point in time, thus the data might not be representative of the individual in general as immediate and temporal circumstances can influence the answers. Moreover, the data was extracted from a single source, which increases the probability of common method variance bias, meaning that all variables are self-reported by the same individuals who are therefore prone to give inflated answers. This could lead to biased correlations among the

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variables (Holmbeck et al., 2002; Podsakoff et al., 2003). The use of a Likert-scale further enhances the bias due to its easily comparable answer options.

Even though the correlation among variables can be tested, due to the lack of temporal order between the variables, inferring causality is not guaranteed (Van der Stede, 2014). The results do not indicate cause-effect relationships, as survey data can only conclude

correlations, therefore, alternative explanations or reverse causality cannot be dismissed. As the results suggest, the relationship between agreeableness and mindfulness, and

agreeableness and intrinsic motivation might be caused due to their correlation with neuroticism. Alternatively, it might be the case that being mindful causes one to be more conscientious or agreeable, and not vice versa.

However, despite the limitations, the cross-sectional design facilitates fast data collection from a large sample on many variables at once, which was indispensable for this paper. Moreover, even though data was collected from a single source, respondents were diverse in terms of age and gender. This also improves the external validity of the results.

Therefore, even though convenience sampling was used, the generalitabilily of the results is sufficient given the diversity of the respondents in terms of demographics. Moreover, given the sample size of 123 valid participants and the scatterplots, the use of regression analyses was justified (Hair et al., 2018). A cross-sectional-design, a high enough sample, and a quantitative method, improve the generalizability of the results (Carlson & Morrison, 2009).

Testing the reliability of the scales confirmed high internal consistency for

Mindfulness Trait, Intrinsic Employee Motivation, and Neuroticism, as the Cronbach's alphas were above the minimum threshold of .07 (see Table 1) (Taber, 2018). However, the measures for Conscientiousness and Agreeableness were found to be less reliable. This might be

because a shorter, yet validated, version of the original scale was used (Soto & John, 2017).

For future research, it is advised to use multi-source data or longitudinal, experimental design, where the variables are measured at different times to reduce the common variance bias and rule out alternative explanations or reverse causality to the results. However, it is of importance to note that experimental designs tend to have lower external validity compared to cross-sectional studies (Carlson & Morrison, 2009).

Practical implications and recommendations for future research

The results of this study imply that different personality traits, namely

conscientiousness, agreeableness, mindfulness, and potentially neuroticism play a key role in employees’ intrinsic motivation. Therefore, given the high external validity of the results, this

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paper can be relevant to managers. Assessing the personalities of candidates during the recruitment process can increase the quality of the workforce in terms of performance.

Agreeable and conscientious individuals tend to be more mindful and potentially more intrinsically motivated.

By hiring those who score high on these traits, managers could directly access individuals who are more intrinsically motivated. This can be beneficial for several reasons.

Firstly, intrinsic motivation is positively, directly related to job performance (Joo et al., 2021).

This is especially true for jobs that require multitasking, or where task obligations are ambiguous and cannot be communicated in advance (Kreps 1997, Holmstrom & Milgrom 1991). Moreover, besides improving job performance, intrinsic motivation tends to increase employee creativity and cooperation, which might be an advantage in certain workplaces (Zhang & Bartol, 2010; Dunifon & Duncan, 1998).

Secondly, Alge et al. (2006) indicated that intrinsic motivation is positively related to organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB), the extent to which employees engage in actions beyond their mandatory tasks. Considering these relationships in the HR department can be beneficial, as individuals engaging in OCB perform better at work and execute their tasks more efficiently (Mallick et al., 2014; MacKenzie et al., 1991; Organ et al., 1988).

On the other hand, the effects of one’s level of mindfulness should be considered, especially for training purposes. Since one’s level of trait mindfulness is subject to change over time, mindfulness training could be used to direct this transformation and benefit both the individual and the organisation (Good et al., 2016; Tang, 2017; Sala et al., 2020). These trainings are becoming popular due to their positive effects on psychological and physical well-being (Sala et al., 2020; Baer, 2003; Hyland et al., 2015). A meta-analysis of 28

empirical studies confirmed that mindfulness training improves the mental health, well-being, and performance of employees effectively (Johnson et al., 2020). More specifically, the training enhances positive emotions, decrease the probability of stress, anxiety and burnout, and therefore retains talent in the organisation (Andrews et al., 2014; Dane & Brummel, 2014;

Leroy et al., 2013; Weinstein eta l., 2009; Mackenzie et al., 2006; Mesmer-Magnus et al., 2017). Moreover, it positively relates to work engagement, productivity, job satisfaction, and work-life balance (Van Gordon et al., 2014; Silver et al., 2018; Mesmer-Magnus et al., 2017).

Based on the paper, it is recommended for managers to assess applicants’ personality traits, including agreeableness, conscientiousness, and mindfulness to evaluate their potential in terms of personal and professional growth, and proactively incorporate mindfulness training into their employee development programs to ensure organisational success in the

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long term. Besides the existing research on the importance of trait mindfulness in an

organisational context, future research is suggested on the relationship between mindfulness training and work outcomes, such as intrinsic motivation, organisational citizenship

behaviour, or overall job performance to gain further insights.

Conclusion

Prior research indicated the interconnectedness of agreeableness,

conscientiousness,and trait mindfulness, due to their common characteristics, such as self-awareness, humility, or self-regulation. Given the importance of these personalities in assessing one’s motivation the present study aimed to explore the mediation role of mindfulness on the relationships of conscientiousness and agreeableness with intrinsic employee motivation. The results suggested that both agreeableness and conscientiousness play a positive role in determining one’s level of mindfulness and intrinsic motivation, moreover, that neuroticism was likely to influence those relationships.

Despite the limitations, the results can provide useful insights for managers regarding what motivates employees intrinsically based on their personalities. This can serve as an advantage during the recruitment process as research confirms that intrinsically motivated individuals tend to perform better. Moreover, by assessing one’s level of mindfulness,

mindfulness training could be used to retain talent, improve personal well being, and achieve long-term organisational success.

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