Self-monitoring, self-selection, and prospective employment: individual differences in finding a workplace niche

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Self-selection of different employment opportunities was predicted to be a function of dispositional differences in self-monitoring. In two studies, participants read two job descriptions containing attributes that matched the skills and needs of either high self-monitors or low self-monitors. Participants then indicated which job they would accept if offered both jobs and subsequently completed the 25-item Self-Monitoring Scale. Scale responses were used to create univariate/categorical (high vs. low self-monitors) and bivariate/two dimensional (acquisitive, protective) indices of self-monitoring. In Study 1, low self-monitors and high self-monitors chose personally congruent jobs. These divergent choices were observed regardless of the way (univariate model, alternative bivariate model) self-monitoring was assessed. In Study 2, these self-monitoring differences were moderated by job status. These moderated choices of jobs were obtained when self-monitoring was assessed in its conventional and acquisitive (i.e., impression management for gain) forms but not in its protective (i.e., impression management for self-defense) form. In both studies, sex differences did not account for self-monitoring differences. These findings suggest on-the-job differences between high and low self-monitors may represent self-selection processes occurring before job-based experiences.

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Journal of General Psychology

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