“Built to Last: Interactive Effects of Perceived Overqualification and Proactive Personality on New Employee Adjustment” by Dr. Lauren Simon
Management and Strategy Seminar
Dr. Lauren S. Simon
Assistant Professor of Management
The Sam M. Walton College of Business
University of Arkansas
Globally, the slow recovery from the financial crisis in the first decade of the 2000s has resulted in a significant number of workers taking jobs for which they are overqualified (International Labor Organization, 2014). This phenomenon has important implications for both workers and organizations. In this paper, we integrate relative deprivation (Crosby, 1976) and broaden and build theories (Frederickson, 2001) to develop a process-based model of perceived overqualification and its influence on new employee adjustment via "broaden and build" mechanisms (i.e., reciprocal relationships between initial status and change trajectories in work-related positive affect and perceived job autonomy). Additionally, we examine how new employee proactive personality influences this process. Analyses of weekly survey responses from 331 new employees of a large financial institution throughout their first 90 days of employment revealed that those who perceive themselves as overqualified generally feel a reduced sense of work-related positive affect and job autonomy when beginning their jobs (assessed the first week of employment). Moreover, initial levels of job autonomy influenced adjustment outcomes (assessed at 90 days of employment) by increasing subsequent levels of positive affect over time (assessed weekly, up to eight weeks of employment). These findings suggest that perceived overqualification negatively influences newcomer adjustment by stunting broaden and build processes. However, proactive personality attenuated this effect, such that the adjustment outcomes of proactive individuals did not seem to be negatively influenced by perceived overqualification.