Personality traits and career role enactment: Career role preferences as a mediator

Nicole De Jong*, Barbara Wisse, José A. Heesink, Karen I. Van Der Zee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


It has been argued that how a person's career unfolds is increasingly affected by his or her own values, personality characteristics, goals and preferences. The current study addresses the issue of how we can explain that personality traits are associated with the enactment of certain career roles. Two survey studies (e.g., a 2 wave worker sample and a cross-sectional worker sample) were conducted to investigate the relationships between personality traits, career role preferences and career role enactment. As expected, results indicate that peoples' personality traits predicted the preference for certain roles in the work context which, in turn, predicted the career roles they actually occupy. Specifically, our findings show that Extraversion, Conscientiousness and Openness to experience influence various career role preferences (i.e., Maker, Expert, Presenter, Guide, Director and Inspirer role preferences) and, subsequently, the enactment of these career roles. Other traits, such as Neuroticism and Agreeableness, seem less important in predicting role preferences and subsequent role enactment. These results underline the importance of acknowledging not only individual trait differences but especially role preferences in explaining how careers develop over time. Further implications, limitations and research ideas are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1720
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberJULY
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jul 2019


  • Career role enactment
  • Career role preferences
  • Career roles
  • Job crafting
  • Personality


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