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Integrating Personality and Social Networks: A Meta-Analysis of Personality, Network Position, and Work Outcomes in Organizations

Ruolian Fang (), Blaine Landis (), Zhen Zhang (), Marc H. Anderson (), Jason D. Shaw () and Martin Kilduff ()
Additional contact information
Ruolian Fang: NUS Business School, National University of Singapore, Singapore 119245
Blaine Landis: Department of Management Science and Innovation, University College London, London WCIE 6BT, United Kingdom
Zhen Zhang: W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona 85287
Marc H. Anderson: College of Business, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011
Jason D. Shaw: Faculty of Business, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Hong Kong
Martin Kilduff: Department of Management Science and Innovation, University College London, London WCIE 6BT, United Kingdom

Organization Science, 2015, vol. 26, issue 4, 1243-1260

Abstract: Using data from 138 independent samples, we meta-analytically examined three research questions concerning the roles of personality and network position in organizations. First, how do different personality characteristics—self-monitoring and the Big Five personality traits—relate to indegree centrality and brokerage, the two most studied structurally advantageous positions in organizational networks? Second, how do indegree centrality and brokerage compare in explaining job performance and career success? Third, how do these personality variables and network positions relate to work outcomes? Our results show that self-monitoring predicted indegree centrality (across expressive and instrumental networks) and brokerage (in expressive networks) after controlling for the Big Five traits. Self-monitoring, therefore, was especially relevant for understanding why people differ in their acquisition of advantageous positions in social networks. But the total variance explained by personality ranged between 3% and 5%. Surprisingly, we found that indegree centrality was more strongly related to job performance and career success than brokerage. We also found that personality predicted job performance and career success above and beyond network position and that network position partially mediated the effects of certain personality variables on work outcomes. This paper provides an integrated view of how an individual’s personality and network position combine to influence job performance and career success.

Keywords: social networks; network position; structural holes; brokerage; indegree centrality; personality; self-monitoring; Big Five personality traits; meta-analysis (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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