Linking Job-Relevant Personality Traits, Transformational Leadership, and Job Performance via Perceived Meaningfulness at Work: A Moderated Mediation Model

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By integrating the fundamental principles of the theory of purposeful work behavior (TPWB; Barrick, Mount, & Li, 2013) with cognitive-affective personality system (CAPS) theory (Mischel, 1977; Mischel & Shoda, 1995), we examine how and when salespeople’s job-relevant personality traits relate to their performance. We argue that individuals with personality traits that fit outdoor sales jobs (i.e., conscientious, extraversion, openness to experience) will perceive their work as more meaningful and as a result achieve heightened performance. Moreover, drawing from TPWB and CAPS theory, we expect that as an important element of the social context, transformational leadership moderates the indirect effect of salespeople’s job-relevant personality traits on their job performance via enhanced perceptions of meaningfulness at work. Results based on data from 496 outdoor salespeople and their 218 supervisors and regional managers provide support for the hypotheses pertaining to conscientiousness and openness, but not extraversion. Specifically, the conditional indirect effects of conscientiousness or openness on performance through perceived meaningfulness are more positive under low, rather than high, levels of transformational leadership. Implications for research and practice are discussed along with study limitations and future research directions.

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