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The role of citizenship performance in academic achievement and graduate employability

Arthur E. Poropat (School of Psychology, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 16 August 2011




Employability is a major educational goal, but employability programmes emphasise skill development, while employers value performance. Education acts as a model for employment, so educational performance assessment should be aligned with employment models. Consequently, the aim of this paper is to examine the relationship between educational and workplace performance, especially the role of Citizenship Performance within educational settings.


Students in an introductory university course rated their own personality, and weeks later assessed one another's Citizenship Performance. The relationship of these ratings to academic Task Performance was analysed with structural equation modelling.


Citizenship Performance was correlated with academic Task Performance, at a similar level to that found in workplace studies. Further, Citizenship Performance mediated the prediction of Task Performance by the personality dimension Conscientiousness, a major predictor of academic performance.

Research limitations/implications

Use of separate raters for the various ratings and the study's longitudinal design provides assurance that results are not inflated due to measurement arteficiality, instead probably underestimating correlation strength.

Practical implications

Rather than treating employability skills as an additional educational component, university teachers should actively foster student Citizenship Performance within their courses. This will better prepare students for employment and in the short term will aid their studies. Attending to Citizenship Performance also provides benefits to students who are higher on Conscientiousness without restricting access to education based on personality.


This is the first study to demonstrate the relevance of Citizenship Performance within educational settings, or to explain how Conscientiousness affects academic performance.



Poropat, A.E. (2011), "The role of citizenship performance in academic achievement and graduate employability", Education + Training, Vol. 53 No. 6, pp. 499-514.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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