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J Appl Psychol. 2008 Mar;93(2):472-81. doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.93.2.472.

The causal relation between job attitudes and performance: a meta-analysis of panel studies.

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  • 1Work and Organisational Psychology Group, Aston Business School, Aston University, Birmingham B4 7ET, UK.


Do job attitudes cause performance, or is it the other way around? To answer this perennial question, the author conducted meta-analytic regression analyses on 16 studies that had repeatedly measured performance and job attitudes (i.e., job satisfaction or organizational commitment). The effect of job attitudes on subsequent performance, with baseline performance controlled, was weak but statistically significant (beta = .06). The effect was slightly stronger for commitment than for satisfaction and depended negatively on time lag. Effects of performance on subsequent job attitudes were elusive (beta = .00 across all studies), which suggests that job attitudes are more likely to influence performance than vice versa.

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