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Emic vs etic frame of reference personality assessment in the prediction of work-related outcomes

Vlad Burtaverde (Department of Psychology, University of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania)
Dragos Iliescu (University of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 19 September 2019

Issue publication date: 25 October 2019




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect of both work-related and emic contextualization of personality measurement in the prediction of work-related outcomes.


In total, 224 employees completed work-contextualized and non-contextualized Big Five model measures, as well as contextualized emic personality measures, together with a number of measures for work-related outcomes.


Results showed that, after controlling for demographic variables and non-contextualized etic factors, etic contextualized factors predicted occupational stress, work engagement, job satisfaction, work frustration, turnover intention, career satisfaction and organizational citizenship behavior. After controlling for demographic variables, non-contextualized etic factors and contextualized etic factors, emic contextualized personality factors predicted work engagement, job satisfaction, absenteeism, counterproductive workplace behaviors and organizational citizenship behaviors.

Research limitations/implications

The study has a number of limitations. First, the sample contained participants recruited from a low number of professional areas. Second, the sample consisted mostly of women, and relying on unbalanced samples may lead to construct irrelevant variance.

Practical implications

By using a combination of etic personality measures and contextualized emic personality measures, organizations can better predict a number of organizational outcomes related to extra-role performance, such as those considered in the present study.


This research showed that, in the case of personality assessment, using a double form of contextualization – frame of reference and culture – an increment in the prediction of organizational behaviors can be obtained.



Burtaverde, V. and Iliescu, D. (2019), "Emic vs etic frame of reference personality assessment in the prediction of work-related outcomes", Career Development International, Vol. 24 No. 7, pp. 686-701.



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