Do adaptable employees always display high performance? Dual roles of proactive behavior and self-construal

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Yanzhao Bi
Jie Zhang
Qi Nie
Miaomiao Wang
Cite this article:  Bi, Y., Zhang, J., Nie, Q., & Wang, M. (2021). Do adaptable employees always display high performance? Dual roles of proactive behavior and self-construal. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 49(8), e10464.


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We examined a dual-path model to explain the opposite roles of career adaptability and organizational performance. We used a time-lagged survey of 53 supervisors and 327 employees in China to collect data. Results show that career-oriented proactive behavior mediated the negative effect of career adaptability on performance, and work unit-oriented proactive behavior mediated the positive effect of career adaptability on performance. Moreover, the effects of career adaptability and career-oriented proactive behavior on performance were significant only for employees with high independent self-construal, and the effects of career adaptability and work unit-oriented proactive behavior on performance were significant only for employees with high interdependent self-construal. This study extends career construction theory in the organizational behavior field and has practical significance for the effective guiding of adaptable employees’ contribution to organizational performance.

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