Modeling the Antecedents of Proactive Behavior at Work

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Abstract

Using a sample of U.K. wire makers (N = 282), the authors tested a model in which personality and work environment antecedents affect proactive work behavior via cognitive-motivational mechanisms. Self-reported proactive work behaviors (proactive idea implementation and proactive problem solving) were validated against rater assessments for a subsample (n = 60) of wire makers. With the exception of supportive supervision, each antecedent was important, albeit through different processes. Proactive personality was significantly associated with proactive work behavior via role breadth self-efficacy and flexible role orientation, job autonomy was also linked to proactive behavior via these processes, as well as directly; and coworker trust was associated with proactive behavior via flexible role orientation. In further support of the model, the cognitive-motivational processes for proactive work behavior differed from those for the more passive outcome of generalized compliance.

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