Extraversion advantages at work: A quantitative review and synthesis of the meta-analytic evidence

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40 Scopus citations


How and to what extent does extraversion relate to work relevant variables across the lifespan? In the most extensive quantitative review to date, we summarize results from 97 published meta-analyses reporting relations of extraversion to 165 distinct work relevant variables, as well as relations of extraversion's lower order traits to 58 variables. We first update all effects using a common set of statistical corrections and, when possible, combine independent estimates using second-order meta-analysis (Schmidt & Oh, 2013). We then organize effects within a framework of four career domains-education, job application, on the job, and career/lifespan-and five conceptual categories: motivations, values, and interests; attitudes and well-being; interpersonal; performance; and counterproductivity. Overall, extraversion shows effects in a desirable direction for 90% of variables (grand mean ρ̄ = .14), indicative of a small, persistent advantage at work. Findings also show areas with more substantial effects (ρ̄ ≥ .20), which we synthesize into four extraversion advantages. These motivational, emotional, interpersonal, and performance advantages offer a concise account of extraversion's relations and a new lens for understanding its effects at work. Our review of the lower order trait evidence reveals diverse relations (e.g., the positive emotions facet has consistently advantageous effects, the sociability facet confers few benefits, the sensation-seeking facet is largely disadvantageous), and extends knowledge about the functioning of extraversion and its advantages. We conclude by discussing potential boundary conditions of findings, contributions and limitations of our review, and new research directions for extraversion at work. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1447-1470
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Psychological Association.


  • Careers
  • Extraversion
  • Meta-analysis
  • Personality
  • Second-order meta-analysis

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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