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Dissecting work commitment: the role of Machiavellianism

Ingo Zettler (University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany)
Niklas Friedrich (University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany)
Benjamin E. Hilbig (University of Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany and Max‐Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn, Germany)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 22 February 2011




The aim of this paper is to refine the concept of work commitment by proposing a dissociation between self‐related work commitment (namely, employees' career commitment) and other‐related work commitment (pertaining more strongly to others such as team members or supervisors). The dissociation is demonstrated empirically through the differential predictive validity of Machiavellianism, which holds when the influence of broad personality dimensions is controlled for.


Personality characteristics (Machiavellianism and the six factors of the HEXACO model of personality) as well as organizational, supervisor, team, and career commitment of 154 employees were assessed via self‐reports.


Results support the hypotheses that Machiavellianism is related positively to self‐related work commitment (career commitment) and negatively to other‐related work commitment (organizational, supervisor, and team commitment), and explains unique variance in all criteria above the six broad dimensions of personality.


Although meta‐analyses have indicated strong overlaps between diverse work commitment foci, it is argued and shown that there are core differences between self‐related career commitment and other‐related commitment foci. Additionally, Machiavellianism as well as the HEXACO dimensions are investigated as predictors of work commitment foci for the first time.



Zettler, I., Friedrich, N. and Hilbig, B.E. (2011), "Dissecting work commitment: the role of Machiavellianism", Career Development International, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 20-35.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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