Counterproductive behaviors: Relations across life domains, etiology, and implications for applied practice

Kevin C. Stanek, Deniz S Ones, Matt Mc Gue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Previous research on counterproductive work behavior (CWB) has shown that workplace deviance can be predicted from individual differences and environmental variables, but relatively little is known about CWBs’ relations with counterproductive behaviors in other domains of an individual's life. Data from 500 male twins were used to examine relations among counterproductive behaviors from several life domains, including school, non-work, substance use, and work. The results supported the hypotheses that counterproductivity in work and a variety of personal life domains, previous and contemporaneous, are strongly and positively related. A general counterproductivity factor, giving rise to rule- and norm-breaking behavioral repertoire of individuals, accounted for approximately half the variance across measures of counterproductivity in specific life domains. To inform theory and research, the etiology of inter-individual differences in counterproductivity was examined. Biometric analyses revealed that most of the variance in the counterproductivity domains examined, including CWB, is attributable to genetic and unique (nonshared) environmental factors. The general counterproductivity factor spanning different counterproductivity domains was most influenced by genetic factors (75.4%), but was also influenced by unique environmental factors (24.6%). Biometric analyses indicated that 27% of the variance in CWB is attributable to genetic influences arising from the general factor of counterproductivity and 20% from genetic factors specific to CWB. Unique environmental influences associated with the work domain explained 12% of the variance in CWB. For the CWB criterion, regression analyses explored the usefulness of information from other counterproductivity domains for prediction and employee selection. Counterproductivity from academic and non-work domains are potent predictors of counterproductivity at work (multiple Rs ranging between.50 and.54).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-124
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Selection and Assessment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd


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