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A Study About the Presence of Mindfulness in the Workplace. How Does It Affect Job Satisfaction Considering Neuroticism and

Conscientiousness?

Bachelor thesis

Name: Aimée Arp Student number: 12669547

Programme: Business administration, management in the digital age Institution: University of Amsterdam

Supervisor: Olga Kowalska Date of submission: 30/06/2022

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Statement of originality

This document is written by Aimée Arp, 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 and submission, not for the contents.

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Abstract

This research wants to investigate the relationships between 2 out of 5 personality traits from the Big Five model by Goldberg (1990) in the work context, namely between neuroticism and job satisfaction and between conscientiousness and job satisfaction. The point of interest is to see if mindfulness as a personality trait acts like a mediator in these relationships. Job satisfaction is important for working individuals, both managers and lower level employees, which is going to be discussed in the paper. This topic is interesting as the relationships between mindfulness and the big five have not been placed in the work context much and this research, therefore, wants to fill that research gap and give new insights for how these variables act when using the outcome variable job satisfaction. This research uses a cross-sectional survey design in order to gather data which is analyzed using linear regression analyses and macro PROCESS by Hayes (2018) for the mediation models. This research found a mediating effect of mindfulness in the relationship between conscientiousness and job satisfaction. However, the mediating effect of mindfulness in the relationship between neuroticism and job satisfaction was not found. Implications and suggestions for further research are discussed in the paper.

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Table of contents

1. Introduction ………5

2. Theoretical Framework ………..6

3.1 Neuroticism, Conscientiousness and Job Satisfaction ……….6

3.2 Neuroticism, Conscientiousness and Mindfulness ………..8

3.3 Mindfulness and Job Satisfaction……… 9

3. Methods ………12

3.1 Research Design ………..…..12

3.2 Sampling ……….…….12

3.3 Procedure ……….…12

3.4 Measurements ……….…...13

3.5 Analytical Plan ………...14

4. Results ………14

5. Discussion ……….….19

5.1 Results ………..…19

5.2 Limitations ………...20

5.3 Implications ………....22

5.4 Suggestions for Further Research ………..22

7. Conclusion ……….…24

8. Literature List ………...24

9. Appendices ………...27

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Introduction

Imagine you are a manager from an organization. You want your employees to be satisfied with their job and working environment in order to deliver the best results. But how can you increase satisfaction then? This is an interesting topic that interests working individuals, specifically managers, as job satisfaction can influence the mental state from employees and job performance in a positive way (Henne, & Locke, 1985) and (Ali, & Tang, 2016). The point of interest for this paper is also to see how more knowledge about mindfulness as a personality trait can be used in the workplace and see how it may be able to influence job satisfaction.

So why is job satisfaction a critical aspect in organizations and thus interesting for research purposes? Firstly, job satisfaction is an important aspect for employees as it can influence ones mental state (Henne, & Locke, 1985). Secondly, it should be a relevant factor to look at for managers as it is able to influence job performance of leaders in the organization in a positive way when job satisfaction is present (Ali, & Tang, 2016). Pushpakumari (2008) also found that there is a significant impact of job satisfaction on performance of employees in private sector organizations. On top of that, employee turnover can be increased when people are dissatisfied with their jobs (Lee, 1988). These factors tells us that it is important to try and keep the level of job satisfaction among working people as high as possible.

As was stated before, mindfulness is also a topic of interest. It is a term that is quite new but has been seen to have relationships with different kind of personality traits. In this paper, neuroticism and conscientiousness are going to be used as they seem to be highly correlated (Giluk, 2009). Giluk (2009) for example, did a meta-analysis and found that mindfulness has the strongest relationship with neuroticism, conscientiousness and negative affect, which is a relevant finding for this research as this paper wants to add to these findings by introducing a new variable to the model, namely job satisfaction.

Mindfulness can be understood as a state, trait or an intervention. It is important to mention that for this research it is used as a personality trait only. Mindfulness, in this case, is a state of mind or a mental process (Osin, & Turilina, 2022). Giluk (2009) adds to this by describing mindfulness as paying attention to the present moment while being nonjudgmental and purposeful.

Job satisfaction is thus relevant for both employees and managers. Relationships between mindfulness and different personality traits are being researched and have found the same kind of relationships. Mostly negative for neuroticism and mindfulness and positive for conscientiousness and mindfulness, but the strength of the correlations vary among the different

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studies (Giluk, 2009). The knowledge that already exist about this topic is expanded in this paper by adding job satisfaction to the research model and placing the concepts of neuroticism, conscientiousness and mindfulness in a work context. This can help to come up with solutions to increase job satisfaction in real life situations in the working place. The goal is to make recommendations for managers in order to keep the job satisfaction level as high as possible.

In this paper, mindfulness is used as a mediator in order to see if the relationships of neuroticism and conscientiousness with job satisfaction can be explained by the variable mindfulness. This leads us to 2 research questions: 1. Does Mindfulness mediate the relationship between Neuroticism and Job satisfaction and 2. Does Mindfulness mediate the relationship between Conscientiousness and Job Satisfaction?

Theoretical Framework

In this paper, the relationship of two out of five personality traits from the BFI model (Goldberg, 1990), namely neuroticism and conscientiousness, are being researched.

Mindfulness is used as a mediator to analyze its relationships with these personality traits and how it affects job satisfaction. A detailed review about these variables is given below including previous research that has been done.

Neuroticism, Conscientiousness and Job Satisfaction

Barlow, Ellard, Sauer-Zavala, Bullis and Carl (2014) describe neuroticism as a trait characterized by stress reactivity which results in the frequent negative emotions and also with inability to cope with challenging activities. It is one of the personality traits described in the BFI-2-XS model by Soto and John (2017) that was used in this paper, but also in the original BFI model by Goldberg (1990), which is a self-report scale that measures the ‘big five’

personality traits. Furthermore, Conscientiousness can be characterized by conformity, impulse control and being organized. It has also shown multiple positive relations with, for example, job performance (Hogan, & Ones, 1997).

The outcome variable job satisfaction can be described in different ways and there is not a definite answer to what it means exactly. For this paper it is described as the way how people feel about their job and to what extent they like or dislike their job (Aziri, 2011). This can be interpreted in different contexts. For this research, it is interesting to what extent people dislike or like their job in terms of people who they work with, equipment that they

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use, working hours, what the job is like etc. These are all topics that are also reflected in the questionnaire made by Andrew and Whitey (1976).

But why is this research interested in job satisfaction? Job satisfaction has a lot of influence on several aspects in the workplace and is thus an important factor to consider for managers, employees and other people that are present in organizations. Ali and Tang (2016) state that job satisfaction influences business performance positively. Abdullah and Wan (2013) also found a positive relationship between job satisfaction and employee job performance, which is mostly interesting for managers. Furthermore, as stated in the introduction, job satisfaction can also have an impact on one’s mental state (Henne, & Locke, 1985) which is more important for the employees themselves. To add to this information, Aziri (2011) states that job satisfaction shows a large impact on managers when managing their employees. It can influence the motivation of workers which then influences the productivity and overall employee performances. He also states that financial incentives can be extremely helpful to improve job satisfaction in an organization. In conclusion, job satisfaction seems to influence different important aspects in an organization for both employees and managers, which makes it an interesting outcome variable to research.

Different studies have been done for the relationship between job satisfaction and various personality traits from the Big Five Framework that is mentioned before. Bui (2017), for example, finds that neuroticism and conscientiousness are important predictors of job satisfaction with a negative correlation for neuroticism and a positive one for conscientiousness.

Also, Furnham, Eracleous and Chamorro‐Premuzic (2009) found a positive correlation between conscientiousness and job satisfaction in 3 different aspects, but important for this research is the overall job satisfaction that was researched. There was no significant correlation for neuroticism and job satisfaction found in this research. Zhai, Willis, O'Shea, Zhai, and Yang (2013) found significant positive relationship for conscientiousness and job satisfaction and significant negative relationship for neuroticism and job satisfaction. Considering these significant relationships that are found, it is likely that there is a relationship between these variables. As job satisfaction is described as a feeling that one feels, it seems logical that conscientiousness and neuroticism have influence on this variable as they are part of someone’s personality traits and thus also about how someone can feel. For example, Barlow, Ellard, Sauer-Zavala, Bullis and Carl (2014) described a neurotic person as being characterized by stress reactivity. This is expected to negatively affect someone’s feeling about their job as they, for example, experience stress quicker. Conscientiousness people, on the opposite, are more organized and have a better impulse control (Hogan, & Ones, 1997). This is expected to cause

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higher job satisfaction as they are expected to feel more organized and thus experience less stress and negative emotions. Bui (2017) also describes that personality is under-researched in the context of general management but has seem to be influential. He describes that personality is much more interactive than people thought before. As people are important and valuable assets in every organization, it is interesting to further investigate these relationships.

Concluding these findings, the relationships that are found between these variables are going in the same direction for the different research papers with a negative relationship between neuroticism and job satisfaction and a positive relationship between conscientiousness and job satisfaction, only the significance level differs among the papers. Therefore, it is hard to conclude how strong the relationships between these variables really are, but as most of the papers conclude significant relationships, for example, the research from Zhai, Willis, O'Shea, Zhai, and Yang (2013) and Bui (2017), it is more likely that this paper is also going to find significant relations, with a negative relationship for neuroticism and job satisfaction and a positive relationship for conscientiousness and job satisfaction. The following hypotheses are being created:

H1: Neuroticism has a negative direct relationship with Job Satisfaction H2: Conscientiousness has a positive direct relationship with Job Satisfaction

Neuroticism, Conscientiousness and Mindfulness

Mindfulness can be seen as a personality trait, a state or an intervention. Originally, the purpose of mindfulness comes from Buddhism, where it mostly has a central role in terms of health care (Crowe, Jordan, Burrell, Jones, Gillon, & Harris, 2016). For the mediator mindfulness, Giluk (2009) states a definition of the term mindfulness in her paper that is going to be used in this paper. In her paper, mindfulness is described as paying attention to the present moment while being nonjudgmental and purposeful. In other words, it means that thoughts and feelings are considered to be objects that should be observed and not something one should think about. In her paper, it is stated that mindfulness has shown positive effects on mental health issues, physical well-being and intimate relationships. In this case, and thus also for this paper, mindfulness is used as a personality trait, instead of an intervention or a state.

As neurotic people are expected to cope poorly with stress and are more sensitive to feel anxious or psychological distress, it is expected to be negatively linked to mindfulness as this trait is linked to psychological well-being and a better mental health (Giluk, 2009). As these traits are quite the opposite from each other, it seems reasonable to expect that they would be

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negatively linked to each other and that a neurotic person does not feel very mindful at the same time. Conscientiousness on the opposite has much more in common with mindfulness. Giluk (2009) describes that both mindfulness and conscientiousness are characterized by responding effectively and deliberateness and both are linked to a positive self-esteem. This is why it is expected that conscientiousness is positively related to mindfulness and that a conscientious person also feels more mindful at the same time. Several studies has been done including mindfulness and the personality traits from the Big Five Model by Goldberg (1990), which is interesting for this research as this paper wants to build on that knowledge. Giluk (2009), for example, found a significant medium negative relationship between neuroticism and mindfulness and a significant weak positive relationship with conscientiousness and mindfulness in her meta-analysis. Also Latzman and Masuda (2013) found a significant weak negative relationship between neuroticism and mindfulness and a positive weak relationship between conscientiousness and mindfulness. Haliwa, Wilson, Spears, Strough and Shook (2021) found the same types of correlations between these variables with significant results, so a negative correlation for neuroticism and mindfulness and a positive one for conscientiousness and mindfulness.

Looking at these previous findings, the relationships are going in the same direction for the different studies used, but the strength differs. Therefore, it is hard to conclude the strength of the relationship between neuroticism and conscientiousness with mindfulness. It is highly likely that the results of this research will be in line with what has been found before between these personality traits and mindfulness. Based on these findings, the following hypotheses are being created:

H3: Neuroticism has a negative direct relationship with Mindfulness H4:Conscientiousness has a positive direct relationship with Mindfulness

Mindfulness and Job Satisfaction

To add to the information above, relationships between mindfulness and well-being has been researched. Good, Lyddy, Glomb, Bono, Brown, Duffy, Bear, Brewer and Lazar (2016) state that there is increasing evidence that well-being has an positive effect on employee and organizational performance. They also found that mindfulness reduced the level of reported burnouts and perceived stress. Also, job satisfaction was a field of interest where they found a positive relation between mindfulness used both as a trait and intervention and job satisfaction, but the effect was higher when using mindfulness as a trait. These finding are interesting to

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consider during this research as this paper aims to mindfulness as a personality trait. Raza, Ali, Naseem, Moeed, Ahmed and Hamid (2018) also found a significant positive relationship between the trait mindfulness and job satisfaction. However, results are mixed as Vaculík, Vytásková, Procházka and Zalis (2016) found a positive relationship, but not significant.

Overall, different studies show positive relationships between mindfulness and job satisfaction.

However, the level of significance differs among the papers which makes it hard to decide on the strength of this relationship.

In this paper mindfulness is treated as a mediator in order to see if there is an indirect relationship. As research above mentioned, there are direct relationships found between neuroticism, conscientiousness and mindfulness and also between mindfulness and job satisfaction. This tells us that there is a possibility that the relationship between neuroticism and conscientiousness with job satisfaction is explained by the trait mindfulness and that previous research might have been subject to an unobserved variable, namely mindfulness. Also, mindfulness has been shown to have a mediating role between neuroticism and subjective well- being, or in other words life satisfaction (Wenzel, von Versen, Hirschmüller, & Kubiak, 2015).

This research has also an outcome variable about satisfaction, only in the work environment.

Interesting is to see if mindfulness can also play a mediating role in this context. Considering this information, the following hypotheses are being created:

H5: Mindfulness has a positive relationship with Job Satisfaction

H6: Mindfulness mediates the relationship between Neuroticism and Job Satisfaction H7: Mindfulness mediates the relationship between Conscientiousness and Job Satisfaction

Concluding this theoretical framework, research about mindfulness in the workplace is scarce overall. Therefore, this paper can add significant value to the literature as the personality traits are being researched and linked to the work outcome job satisfaction in the models. This can cause that new insights may be found in the work context. As this research adds to the literature by connecting the linkages between Big Five and mindfulness to the workplace situation, in this case job satisfaction, it is able to fill in the research gap as this is missing in the current litereature. It is very helpful for managers in organizations as the outcomes of this research may help in real life situations to gain new insights in how to improve the job satisfaction level in organizations. This may help managers in managing their employees. The mediation models that are going to be researched are shown in figure 1 and 2:

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- +

-

Figure 1

+ +

+

Figure 2

Mindfulness

Neuroticism Job

Satisfaction

Conscientiousness

Mindfulness

Job

Satisfaction

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Methods Research Design

For this research, a cross-sectional survey design is chosen, indicating that all of the information was gathered in a specific period of time, namely the beginning of May 2022. The period of data collecting took 2 weeks. This survey will help to identify correlations between the variables Neuroticism, Conscientiousness, Mindfulness and Job Satisfaction by asking questions from valid questionnaires about these topics. An important limitation to take in mind of this design is establishing the cause-and-effect relationship, since no long-term trends are being indicated. For further research, a longitudinal approach is advised in order to examine long-term trends.

Sampling

In order to get answers to the research questions, the sample only included working individuals since the focus was to investigate the variables in the work context. This was the reason to use a non-probability sampling method with the following criteria: working people who work at least 12 hours a week. This way, people who have a job on the side are also taken into consideration instead of only part-time of full-time working people. All the respondents that did not meet this requirement were deleted from the database. Therefore, 215 respondents were left in the end.

Procedure

The cross-sectional survey was send out via Social Media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and WhatsApp. This way, the most people were reached as we send it out with a group of 4 people with our own and different social networks. Data was collected during a 2-week time span during the beginning of May 2022. People were reminded several times to fill in the survey until the minimum of 200 respondents was met. In the end, more than 200 people filled in the survey, and the data was converted to the program SPSS to further analyze the data. On top, the variables ‘age’ and ‘gender’ were expected to may have an influence on the results which is why these are controlled for by adding them to the mediation and regular linear regression analyses in order to increase the internal validity.

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Measurements

According to the research model, neuroticism, conscientiousness, mindfulness and job satisfaction were taken into consideration. The variables ‘age’ and ‘gender’ are used as control variables. All of the measurements are described below. The specific questions that are used to measure the variables are attached in appendix 1.

Neuroticism

Neuroticism (=.75) was measured using a Likert scale from 1 (completely disagree) to 7 (completely agree), filled in by the target group mentioned above. The questionnaire that was used is the BFI-2-XS model by Soto and John (2017), including 3 items measuring Neuroticism. An example question is: “I often feel depressed, blue.”

Conscientiousness

Conscientiousness (=.72) was measured using a Likert scale from 1 (completely disagree) to 7 (completely agree). Same model by Soto and John (2017) was used as the one measuring neuroticism. For this variable, also 3 items were used. Example question is: “I’m reliable, can always be counted on.”

Mindfulness

Mindfulness (=.67) was measured using a 4-point Likert scale from 1 (Never or very rarely true) to 4 (Very often or always true). The model used is the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) with 15 items by Bear, Smith, Lykins, Button, Krietemeyer, Sauer and Williams (2008). The original model uses a 5 point Likert scale, this will be further discussed in the limitations. Example questions are “I am good at finding words to describe my feelings”

or “I find myself doing things without paying attention.”

Job Satisfaction

For the variable Job Satisfaction (=.80), a Likert scale was used from 1 (Terrible) to 5 (Delighted). The model used is the Andrews and Whitey Job Satisfaction scale (Andrew, &

Whitey, 1976). All 15 items are used to keep the validity level as high as possible. Example question are “How do you feel about your job?” and “How do you feel about the people you work with - your co-workers?”.

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Age

For the variable age, a categorical scale was used with the following 7 options:

1. 20 and under, 2. 20-30, 3. 30-40, 4. 40-50, 5. 50-60, 6. 60 and over, 7. Prefer not to say.

Gender

For the variable gender, a categorical scale was used with the following 4 options: 1.

Male, 2. Female, 3. Non-Binary / third gender, 4. Prefer not to say.

Analytical Plan

The data was collected using the website “Qualtrics” which is a cloud-based platform for creating web surveys which can be distributed online. Processing of the data was done using the program SPSS conducting a mediation analysis and regular linear regression analyses as we want to predict the value of a variable based on the value of another variable and see if a mediator is the reason for this relationship. These analyses are performed using macro PROCESS of Hayes (2018). In this case, predicted is the value of mindfulness based on the value of neuroticism and conscientiousness and then the value of job satisfaction based on the value of mindfulness.

Results

During the data preparation, multiple items needed to be recoded as they were reversed items. Furthermore, every participant that filled in that they worked less than 12 hours a week were deleted from the database as 12 hours was the minimum for this research. 215 respondents were left in the end. A reliability analysis was executed in order to check if certain items should be removed. According to the analysis, the Cronbach’s Alpha for conscientiousness could be improved significantly from .57 to .72 when deleting the item “I’m reliable, can always be counted on.” Therefore, it was decided to remove the item. Conscientiousness was therefore measured using the 2 items left stated in appendix 1.

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Table 1

Descriptive statistics and correlations

M SD 1 2 3 4 5 1. Job Satisfaction 5.11 .87 (.80)

2. Mindfulness 2.74 .38 .18* (.67)

3. Neuroticism 3.42 .99 -.17* -.42** (.75)

4. Conscientiousness 5.25 1.11 .11 .26** -.22** (.72)

5. Age 2.2 1.00 .006 .19** -.25** .14

6. Gender 1.58 .50 .05 -.02 .21** .04 -.17*

Note. * p < .05. ** p < .01. Cronbach’s Alphas are in parentheses on the diagonal. N=215 working individuals. For age: 1. 20 or under, 2. 20-30, 3. 30-40, 4. 40-50, 5. 50-60, 6. 60 or over, 7. Prefer not to say. For gender: 1. Male, 2. Female, 3. Non- binary/third gender, 4. Prefer not to say.

Table 1 shows the mean, standard deviations and the important correlation between the key variables, together with the Cronbach’s Alpha for each variable. One can see that there are multiple significant relationships, but first the non-significant relationship between conscientiousness and job satisfaction is discussed. The correlation shows a weak positive relationship with job satisfaction (r=.11, p > .05). This means that is does not support the expectation that it has a positive relation with job satisfaction. Secondly, neuroticism shows a significant weak negative relationship with job satisfaction (r=-.17, p < .05). This is in line with the hypothesis. Thirdly, the correlation between neuroticism and conscientiousness with mindfulness are both significant. Neuroticism shows a strong negative relationship with mindfulness (r=-.42, p < .01). Conscientiousness shows a weak to moderate positive relationship with mindfulness ( r=.26, p < .01). These correlations are both in line with the expectations. Lastly, the correlation between mindfulness and job satisfaction is significant and shows a weak positive relationship (r=.18, p < .05). This was also as expected. Also interesting are the significant correlations between the control variables and several other key variables.

For age and mindfulness, it showed a significant weak correlation (r=.19, p < .01). Age and conscientiousness showed a significant negative correlation (r =-.25, p < .01). Gender showed a significant positive correlation with neuroticism (r =.21, p < .01) and a negative correlation with age (r =-.17, p < .05). Preferably, the Cronbach’s Alphas should have a minimum of 0.7.

This was the case for three out of four variables, namely job satisfaction (=.80), neuroticism

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(=.75) and conscientiousness (=.72). However, it was decided to still use mindfulness (=.67) as the value is very close to .7. This will be further discussed in the limitations.

To test if a linear regression could be executed, the assumptions for a linear regression were tested. The only assumption that was not met was the multicollinearity. But as the relationship between conscientiousness and neuroticism shows a weak correlation, and there is thus little multicollinearity, it was decided to still execute the regression analysis.

Table 2

Model coefficients for the influence of neuroticism on mindfulness and job satisfaction Consequent

M (Mindfulness) Y (Job Satisfaction)

Antecedent Coeff. SE p Coeff. SE p

X (Neuroticism) -.16** .03 <.01 -.10 .07 >.05

M (Mindfulness) Covariate (Age) Covariate (Gender)

.04 .06

.03 .05

>.05

>.05

.29 .01 -.04

.19 .07 .13

>.05

>.05

>.05

Constant 3.08** .14 <.01 4.67** .69 <.01

Model Summary

R2 = .19 F (.12)=13.51, P<.01

R2=.04 F(.75)=1.99, P >.01

Indirect effect Coeff = -.05, SE = .03 , LLCI = -0.10, ULCI = 0.01

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Table 3

Model coefficients for the influence of conscientiousness on mindfulness and job satisfaction Consequent

M (Mindfulness) Y (Job Satisfaction)

Antecedent Coeff. SE p Coeff. SE p

X(Conscientiousness) .08** .03 <.01 .03 .06 >.05

M (Mindfulness) Covariate (Age) Covariate (Gender)

.06*

.00

.03 .06

<.05

>.05

.37*

.02 -.07

.18 .07 .13

< .05

>.05

>.05

Constant 2.20** .17 <.01 3.99** .56 <.01

Model Summary

R2 = .09 F (.13) =5.48,

P<.01

R2=.04 F(.75)=1.58, P >.05

Indirect effect Coeff = .03, SE = .02, LLCI = 0.002, ULCI = 0.065

To investigate the hypotheses, 2 simple mediation analyses were performed using macro PROCESS of Hayes (2018). The outcome variable of the analyses was job satisfaction. The predictor variables were neuroticism and conscientiousness. The mediator variable for the analysis was mindfulness. Table 2 and 3 show the results of the two mediation analyses.

Firstly, the first mediation model is tested with the variables neuroticism, mindfulness and job satisfaction. Table 1 show these results. First, hypothesis 1 “Neuroticism has a negative direct relationship with job satisfaction” is tested. The results in the table showed a non- significant direct effect of neuroticism on job satisfaction (coeff. = -.10, se = .07, p > 0.05), meaning that hypothesis 1 is not supported and job satisfaction is not significantly lower when neuroticism is present. On top, the table did show a significant direct effect of neuroticism on mindfulness (coeff.= -.16, se = .03, p < .05). This means that hypothesis 3 “neuroticism has a negative direct relationship with mindfulness’ is supported and mindfulness is significantly lower when neuroticism is present. For hypothesis 5 “Mindfulness has a positive relationship with Job Satisfaction”, a separate linear regression analysis was performed, including the

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control variables, to test this relationship accurately. The results (appendix 5) showed that there was a significant positive relationship between mindfulness and job satisfaction (coeff.= .17 , se = .18, p < .05). This means that hypothesis 5 is supported and job satisfaction is significantly higher when mindfulness is present. Lastly, looking at the indirect effect, the table showed an insignificant result (coeff. = -.05, se = .03, LLCI = -0.10, ULCI = 0.01), meaning that there is no mediating effect present and hypothesis 6 “Mindfulness mediates the relationship between Neuroticism and Job Satisfaction” is not supported. In conclusion, there are significant relationships found between neuroticism and mindfulness and between mindfulness and job satisfaction. However the direct effect of neuroticism on job satisfaction is insignificant. Also, no indirect effect is found in this model. This means that the negative relationship that neuroticism has with job satisfaction can not be explained by the variable mindfulness and mindfulness is, thus, not a mediator in this model.

Secondly, the second mediation model is tested with the variables conscientiousness, mindfulness and job satisfaction. Table 2 shows these results. The table showed an insignificant direct effect in the mediation model between conscientiousness and job satisfaction (coeff. = .03, se = .06, p > 0.05), meaning that hypothesis 2 “Conscientiousness has a positive direct relationship with Job Satisfaction” is not supported and job satisfaction is not significantly higher when conscientiousness is present. The table did show a significant direct effect between conscientiousness and mindfulness (coeff. = .08, se = .03, p < 0.01), meaning that hypothesis 4 “Conscientiousness has a positive direct relationship with Mindfulness” is supported and mindfulness is significantly higher when conscientiousness is present. Lastly, the table showed a significant indirect effect (coeff. = .03 se = .02, LLCI =0.002 , ULCI = 0.065) meaning that there is a mediating effect. Therefore, hypothesis 7 “Mindfulness mediates the relationship between Conscientiousness and Job Satisfaction” is supported and the positive relationship between conscientiousness and job satisfaction can be explained by mindfulness. In conclusion, there is no direct effect found between conscientiousness and job satisfaction, but there is a significant direct effect between mindfulness and conscientiousness. Lastly, the mediation model showed that there was a mediating effect. As the significance level of the relationship between conscientiousness and job satisfaction lowers when including the variable mindfulness, partial mediation is concluded.

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Discussion

Results

The purpose of this research paper was to investigate the research questions 1. “Does Mindfulness mediate the relationship between Neuroticism and Job satisfaction and 2. Does mindfulness mediate the relationship between Conscientiousness and Job Satisfaction?”.

In this research, two mediation models were tested. In the first mediation model, the relationships between neuroticism, mindfulness and job satisfaction were included. An insignificant negative relationship was found between neuroticism and job satisfaction, meaning that hypothesis 1 was not supported. This means that a person with higher levels of the neurotic personality trait is not necessary likely to experience lower levels of job satisfaction. The theoretical framework showed different findings in terms of significance, for example, Zhai, Willis, O'Shea, Zhai, and Yang (2013) showed a significant negative relationship between neuroticism and job satisfaction, while Furnham, Eracleous and Chamorro‐Premuzic (2009) showed an insignificant negative relationship. However, most papers showed a significant outcome such as the one from Bui (2017) . The result we found in this paper adds to these previous findings by showing another insignificant relationship between neuroticism and job satisfaction. A reason for this insignificant result could be that there were not enough persons with high levels of neuroticism included in this research. Or maybe other variables had influence on the result that were not considered. On top, a significant negative relationship was found between neuroticism and mindfulness, which is also in line with previous findings that are described in the literature review. Giluk (2009) her findings were useful here to compare to as she performed a meta-analysis. This means that the neurotic personality trait will likely lead to lower mindfulness levels for a person. Also, mindfulness showed a significant positive relationship with job satisfaction which was expected and is in line with existing literature such as the findings from Raza, Ali, Naseem, Moeed, Ahmed and Hamid (2018) and Good, Lyddy, Glomb, Bono, Brown, Duffy, Bear, Brewer and Lazar (2016), where they found significant positive correlations between these variables. This means that a person with higher levels of the trait mindfulness is more likely to experience higher levels of job satisfaction. On top of these findings, the mediating effect that was investigated was also not significant. This means that the relationship between neuroticism and job satisfaction is not explained by the personality trait mindfulness. The literature review did show a significant mediating effect of mindfulness when subjective well-being was the outcome variable (Wenzel, von Versen, Hirschmüller, & Kubiak, 2015). This is interesting as both outcome variables are

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about satisfaction. This could mean that the personality trait mindfulness is able to be a mediating variable in the context of one’s personal life satisfaction but not in the work context.

In conclusion, the direct effect between neuroticism and job satisfaction was insignificant, while the direct effects between neuroticism and mindfulness and mindfulness and job satisfaction was significant. So, neuroticism does not have a negative impact on job satisfaction, but does has a negative impact on mindfulness. Mindfulness does have a positive effect on job satisfaction. Mindfulness is not a mediator in this mediation model and is not able to explain the relationship between neuroticism and job satisfaction.

The second mediation model included the variables conscientiousness, mindfulness and job satisfaction. Conscientiousness showed an insignificant relation with job satisfaction, meaning that people with the personality trait conscientiousness are not necessarily more likely to experience higher levels of job satisfaction than people who do not have high levels of this trait. This is surprising when comparing these results to the previous findings stated in the literature review, where most papers show a significant positive relationship such as the paper from Zhai, Willis, O'Shea, Zhai, and Yang (2013). Multiple explanations can be made for such a contrary result. For example, it may be that not much people who are conscientious filled in the survey, so that the database was not sufficient enough to measure this relationship or it could be that a lot of people worked the same kind of job where job satisfaction in general is not high, which may have impacted the results for this relationship. The results did show a significant positive relationship between conscientiousness and mindfulness which was as expected and in line with previous research findings such as the one from Latzman and Masuda (2013) and Giluk (2009) where they also found significant positive relations between these variables. This means that conscientious people are more likely to be more mindful. Lastly, this research found a significant mediating effect, which was as expected. This means that the positive relationship between conscientiousness and job satisfaction is explained by the trait mindfulness and a mediating effect can be concluded. Interesting to notice is thus that the direct effect of mindfulness on job satisfaction is significant in this mediation model where conscientiousness is included, but not when neuroticism is considered. However, it is important to mention that the total effect of the model and the direct relationship between conscientiousness and job satisfaction showed no significant effect and Agler and De Boeck (2017) show in their paper that researchers are still debating if mediation can be concluded or not in this case. Baron and Kenny (1986) for example give the argument that there needs to be a direct effect in order to conclude mediation. However, Hayes (2013) explains that the direct effect between the independent variable and the dependent variable is not necessary to conclude mediation.

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Because the macro PROCESS by Hayes (2018) was used to analyze the results, the conclusion of a mediating effect is based on the statement by Hayes (2013) that no significant direct effect or total effect is needed to conclude mediation.

Limitations

Some limitations that occurred in this research were as follows. Firstly, when measuring mindfulness with the FFMQ questionnaire by Bear, Smith, Lykins, Button, Krietemeyer, Sauer and William (2008), a 4-point Likert scale was used instead of the original 5-point Likert scale by accident. Because the middle option was forgotten, which is ‘Sometimes true’, it was decided to still use the results as it is expected to still be able to measure the strength of mindfulness evenly enough for the ‘weaker’ side as the ‘stronger’ side as those 2 options for both sides were all still available to choose from. So, unintentionally this scale has only forced answers. However, it is not certain how much exactly it affected the results and it would be better to use the original 5-point Likert scale to be more precise in measuring what needs to be measured, in this case mindfulness (Vaske, Beaman, & Sponarski, 2017). Secondly, the Cronbach’s alpha from the variable mindfulness did not meet the minimum requirement of  = 0.7. However, because the number was very close to the minimum (.67) and a validated scale was used, it was decided to keep it in. Also, Vaske, Beaman and Sponarski (2017) state that an alpha of .65-.80 is often considered as adequate. it was decided to keep the variable as it is and proceed with this research. Thirdly, multicollinearity was found between the variables conscientiousness and neuroticism, but as the correlation was very minimum and weak, it is not expected to impact the results significantly, which is why it was decided to let this be. Fourthly, as the survey reached mostly people between 20-30 years old, namely 154 out of 215 respondents, the results from this research is not generalizable to all age groups in the population. Fifthly, what may have impact the validity is that the survey was send out to the networks of 4 people in the research group and it probably did not reach much people outside of our personal networks. This may have caused, for example, that there was not much diversity in cultural aspects such as cultural background, languages, and different values as 3 out of 4 people from the research group were Dutch.

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Implications

This research contributes to literature in several ways. Firstly, the results show that conscientious people are more likely to be mindful and therefore more likely to experience higher levels of job satisfaction. This is an interesting finding, especially for managers and other working individuals. Higher levels of job satisfaction is beneficial for companies for several reasons that are described in the literature review such as one’s mental state described by Henne and Locke (1985). Also performance of leaders is improved (Ali, & Tang, 2016). On top, it has a positive impact on performance of employees in private sector organizations (Pushpakumari, 2008). A suggestion for managers is therefore to create or search for questionnaires in order to measure peoples level of conscientiousness when hiring new employees. This could improve the overall job satisfaction in an organization. Secondly, this research adds to the existing literature by finding that mindfulness has a positive relationship with job satisfaction, so it could also be beneficial to measure this trait when hiring new employees. Managers could use the well-known Big Five questionnaire by Goldberg (1990) and the FFMQ questionnaire by Bear, Smith, Lykins, Button, Krietemeyer, Sauer and William (2008) to measure the personality traits from the big five model and the trait mindfulness. As mindfulness seemed to have a positive impact on job satisfaction in the second model and also in linear regression analyses, it could also be interesting for managers to develop workshops or trainings in order to enhance the mindful personality trait. There are some psychological methods to teach and improve mindfulness. Johnson, Park and Chaudhuri (2020) found that mindfulness training in the workplace is an effective intervention to improve performance of employees, but also well- being. They also found that not much organization make use of such trainings despite the possible benefits that it could bring, which is interesting. Therefore, the suggestion for organizations would be to implement these kind of trainings and therapies more to see how it affects the job satisfaction levels in the organization. For example, Hayes and Wilson (1994) give an overview of the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). This is an method that attempts to, among other things, diminish emotional avoidance. It does so by letting the clients experience unpleasant emotions in which the function of language that strengthen these emotions, is taken away. The goal is then to let the client focus on a more valued and personally fulfilling life and take away the obstruction from these unpleasant emotions that one can experience (Blackledge, & Hayes, 2001). Thirdly, this paper contributed to the literature by placing the variable mindfulness in a work context, in this case with job satisfaction as an outcome variable, in order to extent the knowledge about the relationships that exist between

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these variables and creating new insights in how to use mindfulness in the working environment.

Suggestions for Further Research

Firstly, it could be interesting for further research to gather a bigger sample with more diversity in terms of cultural background, age and gender to see if this impacts the results for these research questions. This would also improve the generalizability of this research as it would include a more diverse sample with a wider age range. Including a more diverse sample in terms of cultural backgrounds can help to gain more detailed insights in the topic and make new conclusions. This can simply be measured by letting people fill in their nationality in an open question. Secondly, as mindfulness seems to have a mediating effect in the relationship between conscientiousness and job satisfaction, it could be interesting to research this mediating effect on the other big five personality traits, namely openness, extraversion and agreeableness as this is still missing in current research papers. It would be interesting to see if there are new connections and possible relationships to be found and it would extent the knowledge about this topic. Thirdly, it could also be interesting to switch the model and use mindfulness as an independent variable. As previous literature found significant direct relations between big five and mindfulness and also between mindfulness and job satisfaction, it could be possible that the other personality traits act as a mediator between the relationship of mindfulness and job satisfaction. If the model in this paper where mediation was found would be switched, it would mean that conscientiousness would be the mediator. Expected would be that mindfulness would cause higher levels of conscientiousness and that would then lead to higher levels of job satisfaction. Lastly, interesting to research would be other outcome variables in the work context as this is still scarce in the current literature. For example, one could think about work engagement, job performance or work pressure. This would extent the knowledge about mindfulness in the work context and give more insights in this topic in order to advise managers and employees in improving these types of work outcomes.

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Conclusion

The goal of this research paper was to answer the 2 research questions 1. Does Mindfulness mediate the relationship between Neuroticism and Job satisfaction and 2. Does Mindfulness mediate the relationship between Conscientiousness and Job Satisfaction? To conclude the first question, the results showed no significant mediating effect. The answer to the question is therefore that mindfulness does not mediate the relationship between neuroticism and job satisfaction. The only significant effect that was found in this model was the direct negative relationship between neuroticism and mindfulness. To conclude the second question, the results showed a significant mediating effect. The answer to this question is therefore that mindfulness does mediate the relationship between conscientiousness and job satisfaction. Important to mention is that the mediating effect seems very small. Also, a significant direct relationship was found in this model between conscientiousness and mindfulness.

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Appendices Appendix 1 – questions survey

Neuroticism - BFI-2-XS model (Soto, & John, 2017) 1. I often feel depressed, blue

2. I worry a lot

3. I’m emotionally stable, not easily upset

Conscientiousness - BFI-2-XS model (Soto, & John, 2017) 1. I tend to be disorganized

2. I have difficulty getting started on tasks 3. I’m reliable, can always be counted on

Mindfulness - FFMQ (Bear, Smith, Lykins, Button, Krietemeyer, Sauer, &William, 2008). : 1. When I take a shower or a bath, I stay alert to the sensations of water on my body

2. I’m good at finding words to describe my feelings.

3. I don’t pay attention to what I’m doing because I’m daydreaming, worrying, or otherwise distracted.

4. I believe some of my thoughts are abnormal or bad and I shouldn’t think that way.

5. When I have distressing thoughts or images, I “step back” and am aware of the thought or image without getting taken over by it.

6. I notice how foods and drinks affect my thoughts, bodily sensations, and emotions.

7. I have trouble thinking of the right words to express how I feel about things.

8. I do jobs or tasks automatically without being aware of what I’m doing.

9. I think some of my emotions are bad or inappropriate and I shouldn’t feel them.

10. When I have distressing thoughts or images I am able just to notice them without reacting.

11. I pay attention to sensations, such as the wind in my hair or sun on my face.

12. Even when I’m feeling terribly upset I can find a way to put it into words.

13. I find myself doing things without paying attention.

14. I tell myself I shouldn’t be feeling the way I’m feeling.

15. When I have distressing thoughts or images I just notice them and let them go.

Job Satisfaction – (Andrew, & Whitey, 1976).

1. How do you feel about your job?

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2. How do you feel about the people you work with - your co-workers?

3. How do you feel about the work you do in your job - the work itself?

4. What is it like where you work - the physical surroundings, the hours, the amount of work you are asked to do?

5. How do you feel about what you have available for doing your job in terms of equipment, information, good supervision, and so on?

Appendix 2 - Process output mediation model 1with neuroticism, mindfulness and job satisfaction

***************** PROCESS Procedure for SPSS Version 3.5 *****************

Written by Andrew F. Hayes, Ph.D. www.afhayes.com

Documentation available in Hayes (2018). www.guilford.com/p/hayes3

**************************************************************************

Model : 4 Y : Job_Sat X : Neuro M : Mind

Covariates:

Q2 Q1

Sample Size: 178

**************************************************************************

OUTCOME VARIABLE:

Mind

Model Summary

R R-sq MSE F df1 df2 p

.4346 .1889 .1185 13.5052 3.0000 174.0000 .0000

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Model

coeff se t p LLCI ULCI

constant 3.0794 .1447 21.2798 .0000 2.7938 3.3650 Neuro -.1564 .0274 -5.7129 .0000 -.2104 -.1024 Q2 .0596 .0535 1.1151 .2663 -.0459 .1651 Q1 .0415 .0270 1.5374 .1260 -.0118 .0948

**************************************************************************

OUTCOME VARIABLE:

Job_Sat

Model Summary

R R-sq MSE F df1 df2 p

.2095 .0439 .7473 1.9861 4.0000 173.0000 .0987

Model

coeff se t p LLCI ULCI

constant 4.6727 .6897 6.7753 .0000 3.3114 6.0339 Neuro -.1004 .0749 -1.3397 .1821 -.2482 .0475 Mind .2918 .1904 1.5331 .1271 -.0839 .6676 Q2 -.0363 .1347 -.2694 .7879 -.3022 .2296 Q1 .0128 .0683 .1875 .8515 -.1220 .1476

****************** DIRECT AND INDIRECT EFFECTS OF X ON Y

*****************

Direct effect of X on Y

Effect se t p LLCI ULCI -.1004 .0749 -1.3397 .1821 -.2482 .0475

Indirect effect(s) of X on Y:

Effect BootSE BootLLCI BootULCI Mind -.0456 .0289 -.1001 .0130

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*********************** ANALYSIS NOTES AND ERRORS

************************

Level of confidence for all confidence intervals in output:

95.0000

Number of bootstrap samples for percentile bootstrap confidence intervals:

5000

--- END MATRIX ---

Appendix 3 – Process output mediation model 2conscientiousness, mindfulness and job satisfaction

***************** PROCESS Procedure for SPSS Version 3.5 *****************

Written by Andrew F. Hayes, Ph.D. www.afhayes.com

Documentation available in Hayes (2018). www.guilford.com/p/hayes3

**************************************************************************

Model : 4 Y : Job_Sat X : Cons M : Mind Covariates:

Q2 Q1

Sample Size: 178

**************************************************************************

OUTCOME VARIABLE:

Mind

Model Summary

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R R-sq MSE F df1 df2 p

.2937 .0863 .1335 5.4768 3.0000 174.0000 .0013

Model

coeff se t p LLCI ULCI

constant 2.1956 .1656 13.2548 .0000 1.8687 2.5225 Cons .0772 .0251 3.0718 .0025 .0276 .1267 Q2 .0003 .0560 .0054 .9957 -.1103 .1109 Q1 .0573 .0285 2.0081 .0462 .0010 .1136

**************************************************************************

OUTCOME VARIABLE:

Job_Sat

Model Summary

R R-sq MSE F df1 df2 p

.1879 .0353 .7540 1.5834 4.0000 173.0000 .1808

Model

coeff se t p LLCI ULCI

constant 3.9882 .5580 7.1468 .0000 2.8868 5.0897 Cons .0299 .0613 .4886 .6258 -.0910 .1509 Mind .3732 .1802 2.0717 .0398 .0176 .7288 Q2 -.0729 .1331 -.5475 .5848 -.3357 .1899 Q1 .0211 .0686 .3079 .7586 -.1143 .1565

****************** DIRECT AND INDIRECT EFFECTS OF X ON Y

*****************

Direct effect of X on Y

Effect se t p LLCI ULCI .0299 .0613 .4886 .6258 -.0910 .1509

Indirect effect(s) of X on Y:

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Effect BootSE BootLLCI BootULCI Mind .0288 .0166 .0020 .0650

*********************** ANALYSIS NOTES AND ERRORS

************************

Level of confidence for all confidence intervals in output:

95.0000

Number of bootstrap samples for percentile bootstrap confidence intervals:

5000

--- END MATRIX ---

Appendix 4 – Linearity analyses

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Appendix 5 – linear regression with mindfulness and job satisfaction including the control variables age and gender.

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