Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
Psychol Bull. 2012 Sep;138(5):998-1034. doi: 10.1037/a0027723. Epub 2012 Apr 2.

Regulatory focus and work-related outcomes: a review and meta-analysis.

Author information

  • 1Department of Management, Michigan State University, N451North Business Complex, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA. lanaj@bus.msu.edu


Regulatory focus theory (Higgins, 1997) has received growing attention in organizational psychology, necessitating a quantitative review that synthesizes its effects on important criteria. In addition, there is need for theoretical integration of regulatory focus theory with personality research. Theoretical integration is particularly relevant, since personality traits and dispositions are distal factors that are unlikely to have direct effects on work behaviors, yet they may have indirect effects via regulatory focus. The current meta-analysis introduces an integrative framework in which the effects of personality on work behaviors are best understood when considered in conjunction with more proximal motivational processes such as regulatory focus. Using a distal-proximal approach, we identify personality antecedents and work-related consequences of regulatory foci in a framework that considers both general and work-specific regulatory foci as proximal motivational processes. We present meta-analytic results for relations of regulatory focus with its antecedents (approach and avoid temperaments, conscientiousness, openness to experience, agreeableness, self-esteem, and self-efficacy) and its consequences (work behaviors and attitudes). In addition to estimates of bivariate relationships, we support a meta-analytic path model in which distal personality traits relate to work behaviors via the mediating effects of general and work-specific regulatory focus. Results from tests of incremental and relative validity indicated that regulatory foci predict unique variance in work behaviors after controlling for established personality, motivation, and attitudinal predictors. Consistent with regulatory focus theory and our integrative theoretical framework, regulatory focus has meaningful relations with work outcomes and is not redundant with other individual difference variables.

(PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for American Psychological Association
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk