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Thesis Format



Doctor of Philosophy




Allen, Natalie J.


In our team-based world of work, understanding the effects of team member differences is critical. This research examined the effects of personality congruence (i.e., (dis)similarity) on individual team members’ satisfaction with the team and autonomous motivation. The potential role of psychological need fulfillment as a mediator of the relation between personality congruence and these outcomes was also considered.

Multilevel polynomial regression with response surface analysis provided no evidence for a congruence pattern relating any of the HEXACO model of personality’s six domains to individual satisfaction with the team, autonomous motivation, or any of the psychological needs. Supplemental analyses revealed a significant congruence pattern for the emotionality sub-trait of dependence. As individual and team levels of dependence became more discrepant, satisfaction with the team was lower.

This study contributes to the relatively limited research conducted on personality dissimilarity in teams and should provide useful direction for team composition researchers. The findings provide further evidence for the need to consider personality differences at the facet level and the potential importance of investigating moderators of personality congruence relations to explain the inconsistent findings to date. If replicated, the results could have practical implications. Individuals putting together work groups may consider the trait of dependence when affective outcomes are of concern. These implications are discussed in detail, as well as study limitations and directions for future research.

Summary for Lay Audience

Our world is full of team-based work. Anyone who has experienced life in a team knows that individual members can differ in countless ways. This research examined what it is like to be different than one’s teammates across a wide array of personality characteristics. Specifically, it looked at how personality dissimilarity affects an individual’s satisfaction with their team and autonomous work motivation. Of the personality traits examined, the only notable relation was between dependence dissimilarity and satisfaction with the team. Dependence refers to one’s tendency to seek emotional support from others. When individuals are more, or less, dependent than their team, it seems that they are less satisfied with their team. When the difference is bigger, the relation is stronger.

While this finding may seem to suggest individuals composing teams should consider members’ level of dependence, the present research had limitations and more research needs to be done before this can be considered an important takeaway.

Another aim of this research was to determine whether the degree to which a team fulfilled an individual’s psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness helped explain why personality differences might affect satisfaction and motivation. Although these psychological needs were related to the outcomes, they did not appear to explain why dependence dissimilarity leads to lower satisfaction with the team. Nonetheless, the research supports the idea that managers should be careful to support the psychological needs of their team members to ensure viable and motivated teams.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.