Introverts could shape extroverted co-workers' career success, study shows

Author: Science Daily

Timothy Judge

Introverted employees are more likely to give low evaluations of job performance to extroverted co-workers, giving introverts a powerful role in workplaces that rely on peer-to-peer evaluation tools for awarding raises, bonuses or promotions, new research shows.

Introverts consistently rated extroverted co-workers as worse performers, and were less likely to give them credit for work performed or endorse them for advancement opportunities, according to two studies from researchers at Oregon State University, the University of Florida and University of Notre Dame.

"The magnitude with which introverts underrated performance of extroverts was surprising," said Keith Leavitt, an assistant professor in OSU's College of Business and a co-author of the studies. "The results were very consistent across both studies."

The research offers new understanding of the role personality traits play in the workplace, where these days employees can have significant influence on their colleagues' careers, said Leavitt, an expert in organizational behavior. For example, at Google, colleagues can award bonuses to peers. And on the networking site LinkedIn, employees have the opportunity to recommend or endorse their peers.

"That gives employees a tremendous amount of power to influence their peers' career opportunities," Leavitt said. "It's something individuals and employers should be aware of."

The researchers' paper will appear in a forthcoming issue of Academy of Management Journal and is available online now. The lead author is Amir Erez of the University of Florida. Other co-authors include Pauline Schilpzand of Oregon State, Andrew H. Woolum of the University of Florida, and Timothy Judge of the University of Notre Dame.

There is already considerable research that shows how an individual's personality traits might affect job performance, but there is little research that explores how one employee's personality traits might affect another employee in the workplace, Leavitt said.

That spurred Leavitt and his co-authors to explore how personality traits of one employee might affect that person's co-workers. They conducted two studies to test how co-workers' personalities interact to influence their evaluations of one another.

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