First Advisor

Donald Truxillo

Date of Publication

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Applied Psychology






Autonomy, Conscientiousness, Job characteristics, Quality of work life, Job satisfaction, Autonomy (Psychology)



Physical Description

1 online resource (x, 177 p.)


Autonomy is one of the most commonly studied job characteristics in the work design literature and is commonly associated with large and positive effects on job satisfaction. There is reason to believe that autonomy may interact with personality characteristics to affect attitudinal outcomes, but prior research has tended to focus on the original growth-need-strength construct as a potential moderator with mixed results. One glaring gap in the literature is the lack of research that examines the Big Five constructs of personality as a potential class of moderators. Grant, Fried, and Juillerat (2010) have suggested additional research into the Big Five as moderators of individuals' attitudinal reactions to job characteristics. Moreover, several researchers (e.g., Dudley, Orvis, Lebiecki, & Cortina, 2006; Judge, Heller, & Mount, 2002; Major, Turner, & Fletcher, 2006) have called for increased attention to the facets of the Big Five in conducting such research. This dissertation addressed these two gaps in the research literature. First, the study examined conscientiousness as a potential moderator of the relationship between the job design characteristic of autonomy and the outcomes of job satisfaction and person-job fit. Second, the study tested specific hypotheses regarding these interactions using both the global construct of conscientiousness and the narrower sub-traits--or facets--that exist underneath the broader trait. This dissertation also contributes to the research literature by creating a new measure of person autonomy fit adapted from an existing person job fit measure (Cable & DeRue, 2002) and by showing that person autonomy fit mediates the effect of autonomy and job satisfaction and person job fit. Data were collected at two time points from 181 employees at a national wholesale distribution cooperative. Participants came from the corporate office and 10 independently owned locations across the United States, and held a wide variety of jobs. The results indicated strong main effects for autonomy and conscientiousness and its facets on job satisfaction, and a strong effect of autonomy on person-job fit, but did not find evidence of interactions between autonomy and conscientiousness or any of its facets. Moreover, the results indicate that person autonomy fit mediates the effect of autonomy on these two attitudinal outcomes. Based on these results, I suggest that organizations interested in creating work environments that foster high levels of job satisfaction can do so using at least two mechanisms: 1) by selecting individuals with higher levels of conscientiousness and 2) by providing high levels of autonomy in the workplace. I also argue that the potential payoff of providing autonomous work environments is far higher than for selecting workers predisposed to be more satisfied with their jobs. Finally, I suggest that more research is needed to understand the complex interaction between individual differences and workplace environments.


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Portland State University. Dept. of Psychology

Persistent Identifier