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A longitudinal study of the impact of occupational mobility on job satisfaction trajectory: Individual differences in neuroticism.

Zhou, Ying, Wu, C-H, Zou, M and Williams, Mark (2017) A longitudinal study of the impact of occupational mobility on job satisfaction trajectory: Individual differences in neuroticism. Proceedings of the Seventy-seventh Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management. (nominated for the Careers Division’s “Overall Best Paper” award)..

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Research on the impact of job change on subsequent job satisfaction trajectory has revealed a ‘honeymoon-hangover’ effect, which refers to the pattern that job satisfaction typically peaks initially following a job change (the ‘honeymoon’) but subsequently falls back to baseline levels over time (the ‘hangover’) (Boswell, Bourdreau & Tichy, 2005; Chadi and Hetschko, 2014). The ‘honeymoon-hangover’ effect, however, can vary across situations and individuals. Trajectories of job satisfaction may depend on both the nature of job change and the individual’s personality traits, as the former determines objective changes in one’s occupational or work environment and the latter affect one’s subjective appraisal of the transition. In order to fully understand the impact of job change, we therefore need to take both factors into account. The aim of this study is to advance our understanding of the impact of job change on individuals’ subjective well-being by adopting an interactionist perspective that considers how situational and dispositional factors jointly shape subsequent development of job satisfaction. To reveal the nature of job change, we focus on skill-based occupational mobility which is defined as “change to a work position in a different general field of work in which the major tasks, activities and responsibilities are different in nature” (Breeden, 1993: 33). Following social production function theory (Lindenberg, 1996; Ormel et al., 1999) and self-discrepancy theory (Higgins, 1987), we argue that upward occupational mobility will lead to increased job satisfaction whereas downward occupational mobility will lead to decreased job satisfaction. Further, the pattern will differ for individuals with different levels of neuroticism, a personality trait characterized by the tendency to experience negative emotions, vulnerability in the face of stress and sensitivity to negative outcomes, threats and punishments (see DeYoung and Gray, 2010; Matthews, 2016 for reviews). Based on the literature, we expect that individuals with higher levels of neuroticism will react more strongly to both upward and downward job changes because of their greater sensitivity to the social and psychological implications of occupational mobility. Following set point theory that fluctuations in well-being around life events are transient in nature (Headey and Wearing, 1989; Larsen, 2000), we propose that individuals will return to their baseline levels of job satisfaction over time but the process of adaptation will be slower among highly neurotic individuals due to their greater initial reactions to occupational mobility compared with their emotionally stable counterparts.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Surrey Business School
Authors :
Date : August 2017
Copyright Disclaimer : Copyright 2017 Academy of Management. This is the author's accepted manuscript.
Contributors :
Related URLs :
Additional Information : Nominated for the Careers Division’s “Overall Best Paper” award 2017
Depositing User : Melanie Hughes
Date Deposited : 04 Aug 2017 09:58
Last Modified : 04 Aug 2017 16:02

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