Organizational Behavior

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Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 89 (2002) 1119–1139


Understanding the dynamic relationships among personality, mood, and job satisfaction: A field experience sampling study Remus Ilies* and Timothy A. Judge
Department of Management, Warrington College of Business Administration, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA

Abstract This study investigated the within-individual relationship between mood and job satisfaction, and examined the role of personality characteristics in moderating this relationship. The design of the study involved an experience sampling methodology (ESM); 27 employees completed mood and job satisfaction surveys at four different times during the day for a period of four weeks, resulting in a total of 1907 observations. Results showed that within-individual variance comprised 36% of the total variance in job satisfaction, and mood explained 29% of the within-individual variance in job satisfaction. Second, mood and job satisfaction were related both within and across individuals. Third, two personality traits—Neuroticism and Extraversion—were associated with average levels of mood. Fourth, within-individual variability in mood was significantly related to within-individual variability in job satisfaction, and variability in both mood and job satisfaction was predicted by Neuroticism. Finally, personality impacted the degree of association between mood and job satisfaction within individuals. Ó 2002 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved. Keywords: Job Satisfaction; Mood; Affect; Dispositions; Personality; Experience sampling

1. Introduction One major goal of job satisfaction research has been to discover causes of job satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Fisher and Locke (1992), in their assessment of the state of job satisfaction research, noted that substantial progress has been made in understanding the causes of job satisfaction. Though great progress has been made in this area, advances in understanding the psychological processes that connect those causes to individualsÕ satisfaction with their job have been much slower (Judge, 1992). Further progress may come from studying the relationships between job satisfaction and its dynamic correlates in the work environment (i.e., studying job satisfaction as a dynamic process over time).


Corresponding author. E-mail address: (R. Ilies).

0749-5978/02/$ - see front matter Ó 2002 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved. PII: S 0 7 4 9 - 5 9 7 8 ( 0 2 ) 0 0 0 1 8 - 3


R. Ilies, T.A. Judge / Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 89 (2002) 1119–1139

A major reason for the lack of insight into mechanisms that influence peopleÕs job satisfaction is the typical research design employed in organizational research. Traditional cross-sectional, between-subjects designs assume that constructs are stable over time and that variations around the average level of a variable are randomly distributed across occasions as transient errors. This approach ignores the distinct possibility that much of the variation in job satisfaction across time is not stochastic error, but corresponds to substantive changes in feelings related to the job. If that is the case, using ‘‘single-shot’’ measures of job satisfaction and its possible causes will prevent researchers from identifying patterns of job satisfaction changes and their causes. Idiosyncratic interpretations of anchoring points of the scales, alternative rating strategies that individuals use, and acquiescence response biases can also lead to systematic distortions in between-subjects analyses (Watson, 2000). Though cross-sectional designs have provided important insights in job satisfaction research (see Brief, 1998; Spector, 1997 for reviews), past research designs limit our understanding of the dynamic mechanisms that explain the relation of...
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