Previous research has shown that employees differ in their attitudes toward job mobility and in the way they perceive mobility opportunities [ 20 ], and only very few empirical studies have so far examined relationships between the Big Five and actual job changes across time [ 89101112 ].
Such research designs do not account for the possibility that the relationship may dynamically change over time.
Methods Participants To test our hypotheses, we used data from the Household, Income and Labor Dynamics in Australia HILDA survey, a national representative panel study that has been conducted annually since and surveys approximately 20, individuals each year [ 65 ]. According to trait-activation theory [ 56 ], the situations in managerial and professional positions should thus have a high trait-activation potential for extraversion, such that employees may become more extraverted in response to upward job changes into such positions.
More particularly, results suggested that employees who cognitively and emotionally invested in their jobs showed both cross-sectional and longitudinal changes in their Big Five personality characteristics. Such people are often more willing to try out new activities that they have not experienced previously.
This may be due to the fact that organizational decision makers are likely to regard extraverted employees as well-suited for positions that require frequent social interactions and leadership behaviors e. Extraversion has furthermore emerged as one of the main predictors of job performance, especially in occupations that involve social interaction [ 19 ].
Journal of clinical and experimental neuropsychology. However, emotional stability is also the characteristic that most consistently predicts job satisfaction [ 5 ], so that employees may be less likely to be willing to leave their current position.
They may therefore be regarded as especially well-suited for leadership positions in which cooperation and teamwork are required [ 48 ], and thus experience upward job changes especially into managerial and professional positions.
However, most of this work was cross-sectional and thus did not allow the investigation of effects of extraversion on subsequent upward job changes over a period of time.