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J Appl Psychol. 2010 Jan;95(1):92-107. doi: 10.1037/a0017594.

Time is on my side: time, general mental ability, human capital, and extrinsic career success.

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Department of Management, Warrington College of Business, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA.


The present study linked general mental ability (GMA) to extrinsic career success using a multilevel framework that included time and 3 possible time-based mediators of the GMA-career success relationship. Results, based on a large national sample, revealed that over a 28-year period, GMA affected growth in 2 indicators of extrinsic career success (income and occupational prestige), such that the careers of high-GMA individuals ascended more steeply over time than those of low-GMA individuals. Part of the reason high-GMA individuals had steeper growth in extrinsic success over time was because they attained more education, completed more job training, and gravitated toward more complex jobs. GMA also moderated the degree to which within-individual variation in the mediating variables affected within-individual variation in extrinsic career success over time: Education, training, and job complexity were much more likely to translate into career success for more intelligent individuals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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