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Publication Date

Summer 2015

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Howard Tokunaga


Employee Withheld Effort, Job Neglect, Personality, Shirking, Social Loafing

Subject Areas

Psychology; Organizational behavior


Research has identified both organizational and psychological predictors (termed “contextual factors”) of employees’ withheld effort, yet the contribution of employees’ personality to predicting withheld effort has yet to be assessed. The current study tested the hypothesis that personality, assessed by the Big Five Personality Model, predicts dimensions of withheld effort (shirking, job neglect and social loafing) above and beyond the contextual factors identified by existing research. Data were gathered via a survey distributed to 127 respondents employed in different industries. Contextual factors were found to be related to withheld effort, supporting current research. In addition, personality was found to predict withheld effort above and beyond the contextual factors, with conscientiousness identified as a significant, unique predictor of shirking, job neglect, and social loafing. This finding suggests that organizations should incorporate selection criteria when hiring that identify applicants’ level of conscientiousness in order to build a workforce of employees who are less apt to withhold effort.