Self-estimates of job performance and learning potential
Wolman, Stacey D.
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In the organizational domain, it is well established that a significant relationship exists between cognitive ability and job performance (e.g., Hunter, 1986); however, there is less research surrounding the relationship between how intelligent people think they are and expectations of job performance. Although self-estimates have been used in the educational domain since the early 1900s (e.g., self-estimates of ability; Koerth & Rush, 1923; Schutte, 1929; personality traits; Cogan, Conklin, & Hollingworth, 1915; Shen, 1925) they have only recently been applied to the workplace as predictors of job search behavior and occupational choice (e.g., Prediger, 1994; Tracey & Hopkins, 2001). As a result of changing technologies and organizational structures, an employee's ability to learn new job skills is critical to his/ her continued success in the workplace. However, an employee's perception of his/ her learning potential may be as informative as or more informative than objectively measured ability for subsequent decision making (e.g., job choice). The purpose of this study was to investigate prospective estimates of job performance and learning potential, including gender differences in self-estimates, the determinants of self-estimates, and the predictive validity of self-estimates for decisions about engaging in career-related tasks. The goal of the current study was to evaluate self-estimates of job performance and learning potential for 20 jobs. A total of 153 participants watched short video clips depicting each of the 20 jobs and answered a series of questionnaires, assessing future-oriented estimates of job performance, estimates of learning potential, task interest, task value, task experience, and task engagement. Significant gender differences were found in estimates of job performance across job domains, as well as interactions of gender and self-estimates of job performance over anticipated time-on-task. Some significant relations were found between non-ability traits and self-estimates of job performance and learning potential, while significant relations were found between prior job experience and decisions about task engagement. The practical utility of this research is an understanding of how individual differences in non-ability traits such as personality, interest, and motivation may impact an individual's expectations of future job performance, and consequently, an individual's career choice decisions and job pursuits.