Journal of Applied Psychology 2001, Vol. 86, No. 5. 984-996
Copyright 2001 by the American Psychological Association, Inc. 0021-9010/01/S5.00 DOI: 10.1037//0021-9010.86.5.984
The Relative Importance of Task and Contextual Performance Dimensions to Supervisor Judgments of Overall Performance Jeff W. Johnson Personnel Decisions Research Institutes
Although evidence supports the unique contribution of task performance and contextual performance to overall evaluations, little is known about the relative contribution that specific dimensions of contextual performance make to overall performance judgments. This study evaluated the extent to which supervisors consider task and contextual performance by using relative weights (J. W. Johnson, 2000) to statistically describe the relative importance of specific dimensions of each type of performance to overall performance ratings. Within each of 8 job families in a large organization, each of 4 dimensions of contextual performance made not only a unique contribution but a relatively important contribution to the overall evaluation. Evidence also supports the adaptive performance dimension of handling work stress as an aspect of contextual performance and job-task conscientiousness as an aspect of both task and contextual performance.
A great deal of attention has recently been paid to the distinction between task performance and contextual performance (cf. Borman & Motowidlo, 1993). Task performance consists of activities that (a) directly transform raw materials into the goods and services produced by the organization or (b) service and maintain the technical core by replenishing supplies; distributing products; and providing planning, coordination, supervising, and staff functions that allow for efficient functioning of the organization (Motowidlo, Borman, & Schmit, 1997). Contextual performance (also called citizenship performance; Coleman & Borman, 2000; Organ, 1997) consists of activities that support the broader environment in which the technical core must function. Contextual performance includes behaviors such as volunteering for task activities that are not formally part of the job, demonstrating effort, helping and cooperating with others, following organizational rules and procedures, and supporting organizational objectives (Borman & Motowidlo, 1993, 1997). Some research has shown that both task performance and contextual performance are taken into consideration when supervisors evaluate others' performance (e.g., Borman, White, & Dorsey, 1995; Kiker & Motowidlo, 1999; MacKenzie, Podsakoff, & Fetter, 1991; Orr, Sackett, & Mercer, 1989; Werner, 1994). For example, Motowidlo and Van Scotter (1994) found that ratings of contextual performance made by one supervisor accounted for variance in another supervisor's overall performance ratings of Air Force mechanics beyond that accounted for by a third supervisor's ratings of task performance, and vice versa. Van Scotter and Motowidlo (1996) split contextual performance into two dimensions
An earlier version of this article was presented at the 15th Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, April 2000, New Orleans, Louisiana. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Jeff W. Johnson, Personnel Decisions Research Institutes, 43 Main Street, SE, Riverplace, Suite 405, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55414. Electronic mail may be sent email@example.com.
(interpersonal facilitation and job dedication) and found that each contributed significantly to the prediction of overall performance ratings beyond ratings of task performance. After correlations were corrected for interrater unreliability, however, the job dedication dimension did not account for significant variance beyond task performance and interpersonal facilitation. In a meta-analysis of managerial jobs, Conway (1999) found both interpersonal facilitation and job dedication contributed...
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