Construct Clean-Up in Proactivity Research: A Meta-Analysis on the Nomological Net of Work-Related Proactivity Concepts and their Incremental Validities

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The overall goal of the meta-analytic review of the most frequently studied proactivity concepts-personal initiative, proactive personality, taking charge, and voice-was cleaning up the number and overlap of proactivity constructs and examining their construct validity. We provide a unifying framework for proactivity theory and a nomological net. We studied 163 independent samples (N= 36,079). The meta-analysis found high correlations between proactive personality and personal initiative/personality. Further, there were strong relationships between voice, taking charge, and personal initiative/behavior. For construct clean-up, we suggest that the two proactive personality constructs can be taken as functionally equivalent and that this is also true to some extent for the three proactive behavior constructs-the latter signify proactive behavior. All proactive concepts showed clear correlations with performance (from. 13 to 34 depending upon construct and objectivity level of performance). However, the proactive personality concepts were also highly correlated with the Big Five personality factors and showed very low to no incremental validity for work performance; this is contradictory to prior meta-analyses on proactive personality and is discussed in detail. In contrast, proactive behavior scales (personal initiative/behavior, taking charge, and voice) predicted job performance well above and beyond personality.

Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Psychology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)44-96
Number of pages53
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2013