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Enhancing a sense of competence at work by engaging in proactive behavior : the role of proactive personality.

Wu, Chia-Huei and Deng, Hong and Li, Yuhui (2018) 'Enhancing a sense of competence at work by engaging in proactive behavior : the role of proactive personality.', Journal of happiness studies., 19 (3). pp. 801-816.


To understand how individuals’ senses of competence are cultivated, scholars have primarily focused on situational factors such as job autonomy and supervisor support. Against this backdrop, we propose that individuals can work as active agents and enhance their sense of competence by initiating actions that aim to master the environment. We adopt the behavioral concordance model and propose that people higher in proactive personality are more likely to engage in proactive behavior that elevates their senses of competence over time. We further propose that such behavioral concordance contributes to boosting a sense of competence is more prominent among those with higher proactive personality. Our predictions are supported by data from 172 employees and their direct supervisors in China, after controlling for the effect of job autonomy and supervisor support for autonomy. Specifically, only those higher in proactive personality engaged in more proactive behavior and increased their sense of competence over time. This study highlights both a self-initiated and a behavioral perspective on understanding the development of a sense of competence.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:The final publication is available at Springer via
Date accepted:27 November 2016
Date deposited:13 July 2018
Date of first online publication:24 January 2017
Date first made open access:13 July 2018

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