Responding to calls for studies to examine the cross-level influence of team personality composition, we hypothesized a cross-level mediation model of the effects of different operationalizations of team conscientiousness (i.e., mean, minimum, maximum, and variance) on individual safety performance through team safety climate. We tested our model using a three-wave longitudinal design with a sample of 451 employees and 70 supervisors nested within 70 teams from two branches of one hospital. The results of our multilevel path analyses indicated that the mean, minimum, and variance—but not maximum—operationalizations of team conscientiousness at time 1 were significantly related to team safety climate at time 2. Further, team conscientiousness (i.e., mean, minimum, and variance) at time 1 exerted a top-down influence on both self-ratings and supervisor ratings of individual safety compliance and safety participation at time 3 through team safety climate at time 2, suggesting that team personality composition can influence outcomes at different levels of analyses. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
We thank the editor and the anonymous reviewers for their suggestion of considering different operationalizations of team conscientiousness and several alternative models.
We also measured internal and external locus of control. The results indicated that team minimum internal locus of control (γ = − 0.03, SE = 0.01, p = 0.007), team variance internal locus of control (γ = 0.33, SE = 0.12, p = 0.006), and team minimum external locus of control (γ = −0.012, SE = 0.006, p = 0.046) were significantly related to team safety climate. Other operationalizations of team internal and external locus of control were not significantly related to team safety climate. Further, when controlling the effects of team internal and external locus of control, our results regarding different operationalizations of team conscientiousness did not change.
We tested several alternative models that were suggested during the review process. First, we ran models with team mean/variance conscientiousness excluding the focal individual’s conscientiousness score. Specifically, team mean conscientiousness excluding the focal individual’s conscientiousness score was significantly related to team safety climate (γ = 0.39, SE = 0.11, p < 0.001), which significantly influenced both safety compliance (self-ratings: γ = 0.39, SE = 0.14, p < 0.01; supervisor-ratings: γ = 0.40, SE = 0.17, p < 0.05) and safety participation (self-ratings: γ = 0.60, SE = 0.14, p < 0.001; supervisor-ratings: γ = 0.45, SE = 0.20, p < .05). However, although team variance conscientiousness excluding the focal individual’s conscientiousness score was still negatively related to team safety climate (γ = − 0.26, SE = 0.17, p = 0.12), this linkage was no longer significant. Prewett et al. (2018) suggested that the variance operationalization of team personality excluding the focal individual’s personality score lacks construct validity. Further, the variance scores of team conscientiousness for the teams with only two individuals will completely lose its conceptual meaning of heterogeneity (variance or diversity) by excluding the focal individual’s score, as these teams will become “one-person” teams. Second, the results were identical between the models with individual conscientiousness and the models without individual conscientiousness. Third, we tested whether team conscientiousness moderated the relationship between individual conscientiousness and safety performance. However, the results did not support the moderation role of team conscientiousness. Fourth, we examined whether safety climate strength moderated the relationship between safety climate and individual safety performance, however, the results did not support the moderation role of safety climate strength. Finally, team conscientiousness regardless of its operationalizations was not significantly related to the strength of team safety climate.
Antonioni, D., & Park, H. (2001). The effects of personality similarity on peer ratings of contextual work behaviors. Personnel Psychology, 54, 331–360.
Bandura, A. (2001). Social cognitive theory: An agentic perspective. In S. T. Fiske (Ed.), Annual review of psychology (pp. 1–26). Palo Alto: Annual Reviews, Inc..
Barker, J. R. (1993). Tightening the iron cage: Concertive control in self-managing teams. Administrative Science Quarterly, 38, 408–437.
Barrick, M. R., & Mount, M. K. (1991). The big five personality dimensions and job performance: A meta-analysis. Personnel Psychology, 44, 1–26.
Barrick, M. R., Stewart, G. L., Neubert, M. J., & Mount, M. K. (1998). Relating member ability and personality to work-team processes and team effectiveness. Journal of Applied Psychology, 83, 377–391.
Becker, T. E. (2005). Potential problems in the statistical control of variables in organizational research: A qualitative analysis with recommendations. Organizational Research Methods, 8, 274–289.
Bell, S. T. (2007). Deep-level composition variables as predictors of team performance: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92, 595–615.
Bentler, P. M. (1990). Comparative fit indices in structural models. Psychological Bulletin, 107, 238–246.
Berry, C. M., Carpenter, N. C., & Barratt, C. L. (2012). Do other-reports of counterproductive work behavior provide an incremental contribution over self-reports? A meta-analytic comparison. Journal of Applied Psychology, 97, 613–636.
Beus, J. M., Dhanani, L. Y., & McCord, M. A. (2015). A meta-analysis of personality and workplace safety: Addressing unanswered questions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 100, 481–498.
Beus, J. M., Munoz, G. J., & Arthur, W., Jr. (2015). Personality as a multilevel predictor of climate: An examination in the domain of workplace safety. Group & Organization Management, 40, 625–656.
Beus, J. M., Munoz, G. J., Arthur, W., Jr., & Payne, S. C. (2013). A multilevel construct validation of safety climate. In L. A. Toombs (Ed.), Proceedings of the Seventy-third Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management (CD), ISSN 1543-8643 (Vol. 2013, p. 10843).
Beus, J. M., Payne, S. C., Bergman, M. E., & Arthur, W., Jr. (2010). Safety climate and injuries: An examination of theoretical and empirical relationships. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95, 713–727.
Bliese, P. D., & Jex, S. M. (2002). Incorporating a multilevel perspective into occupational stress research: Theoretical, methodological, and practical implications. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 7, 265–276.
Brislin, R. W. (1970). Back-translation for cross-cultural research. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 1, 185–216.
Bryk, A. S., & Raudenbush, S. W. (1992). Hierarchical linear models: Applications and data analysis methods. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Buck, M. A. (2011). Proactive personality and big five traits in supervisors and workgroup members: Effects on safety climate and safety motivation. Doctoral dissertation, Portland State University.
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2018). Workplace injuries and illnesses in 2017. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/osh.pdf.
Chan, D. (1998). Functional relations among constructs in the same content domain at different levels of analysis: A typology of composition models. Journal of Applied Psychology, 83, 234–246.
Chao, G. T., Kozlowski, S. W. J., Major, D. A., & Gardner, P. (1994). The effects of organizational tactics and contextual factors on newcomer socialization and learning outcomes. In S. W. J. Kozlowski (Chair), Transitions during organizational socialization: Newcomer expectations, information seeking, and learning outcomes. Symposium conducted at the 9th Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Nashville, TN.
Christian, M. S., Bradley, J. C., Wallace, J. C., & Burke, M. J. (2009). Workplace safety: A meta-analysis of the roles of person and situation factors. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94, 1103–1127.
Clarke, S., & Robertson, I. (2005). A meta-analytic review of the Big Five personality factors and accident involvement in occupational and non-occupational settings. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 78, 355–376.
Clarke, S., & Robertson, I. (2008). An examination of the role of personality in work accidents using meta-analysis. Applied Psychology, 57, 94–108.
Conway, J. M., & Lance, C. E. (2010). What reviewers should expect from authors regarding common method bias in organizational research. Journal of Business and Psychology, 25, 325–334.
Costa, P. T., Jr., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). Four ways five factors are basic. Personality and Individual Differences, 13, 653–665.
Costa, P. T., Jr., McCrae, R. R., & Dye, D. A. (1991). Facet scales for agreeableness and conscientiousness: A revision of the NEO Personality Inventory. Personality and Individual Differences, 12, 887–898.
Dong, X. S., Wang, X., Largay, J. A., & Sokas, R. (2015). Long-term health outcomes of work-related injuries among construction workers—findings from the National Longitudinal Survey of youth. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 58, 308–318.
Donnellan, M. B., Oswald, F. L., Baird, B. M., & Lucas, R. E. (2006). The Mini-IPIP Scales: Tiny-yet-effective measures of the Big Five Factors of Personality. Psychological Assessment, 18, 192–203.
Felps, W., Mitchell, T. R., & Byington, E. (2006). How, when, and why bad apples spoil the barrel: Negative group members and dysfunctional groups. Research in Organizational Behavior, 27, 175–222.
Fisher, C. D. (1986). Organizational socialization: An integrative review. In K. Roland & G. Feris (Eds.), Research in personnel and human resource management (pp. 101–145). Greenwich, CT: JAI.
Friswell, R., & Williamson, A. (2010). Work characteristics associated with injury among light/short-haul transport drivers. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 42, 2068–2074.
Gevers, J. M., & Peeters, M. A. (2009). A pleasure working together? The effects of dissimilarity in team member conscientiousness on team temporal processes and individual satisfaction. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 30, 379–400.
Gonzalez-Mulé, E., DeGeest, D. S., McCormick, B. W., Seong, J. Y., & Brown, K. G. (2014). Can we get some cooperation around here? The mediating role of group norms on the relationship between team personality and individual helping behaviors. Journal of Applied Psychology, 99, 988–999.
Griffin, M. A., & Neal, A. (2000). Perceptions of safety at work: A framework for linking safety climate to safety performance, knowledge, and motivation. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 5, 347–358.
Hackman, J. R. (2003). Learning more by crossing levels: Evidence from airplanes, hospitals, and orchestras. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 24, 905–922.
Hansen, C. P. (1989). A causal model of the relationship among accidents, biodata, personality, and cognitive factors. Journal of Applied Psychology, 74, 81–90.
Hofmann, D. A., & Jones, L. M. (2005). Leadership, collective personality, and performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90, 509–522.
Hsu, H. Y., Kwok, O. M., Lin, J. H., & Acosta, S. (2015). Detecting misspecified multilevel structural equation models with common fit indices: A Monte Carlo study. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 50, 197–215.
Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling: a Multidisciplinary Journal, 6, 1–55.
Humphrey, S. E., Hollenbeck, J. R., Meyer, C. J., & Ilgen, D. R. (2007). Trait configurations in self-managed teams: A conceptual examination of the use of seeding for maximizing and minimizing trait variance in teams. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92, 885–892.
Humphrey, S. E., Hollenbeck, J. R., Meyer, C. J., & Ilgen, D. R. (2011). Personality configurations in self-managed teams: A natural experiment on the effects of maximizing and minimizing variance in traits. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 41, 1701–1732.
International Labor Organization. (2017). Safety and health at work. Retrieved from http://www.ilo.org/global/topics/safety-and-health-at-work/lang%2D%2Den/index.htm.
James, L. R., Demaree, R. G., & Wolf, G. (1984). Estimating within-group interrater reliability with and without response bias. Journal of Applied Psychology, 69, 85–98.
Kaplan, S., & Tetrick, L. E. (2011). Workplace safety and accidents: An industrial and organizational psychology perspective. In S. Zedeck (Ed.), APA handbook of industrial and organizational psychology (Vol. 1, pp. 455–472). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Kenrick, D. T., & Funder, D. C. (1988). Profiting from controversy: Lessons from the person-situation debate. American Psychologist, 43, 23–34.
Kohn, L. T., Corrigan, J. M., & Donaldson, M. S. (1999). To err is human: Building a safer health system. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
Kozlowski, S. W. J., & Bell, B. S. (2013). Work groups and teams in organizations: Review update. In N. Schmitt & S. Highhouse (Eds.), Handbook of psychology: Industrial and organizational psychology (2nd ed., pp. 412–469). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Kozlowski, S. W. J., & Klein, K. J. (2000). A multilevel approach to theory and research in organizations: Contextual, temporal, and emergent processes. In K. J. Klein & S. W. J. Kozlowski (Eds.), Multilevel theory, research, and methods in organizations: Foundations, extensions, and new directions (pp. 3–90). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Kristof-Brown, A., Barrick, M. R., & Stevens, C. K. (2005). When opposites attract: A multi-sample demonstration of complementary person-team fit on extraversion. Journal of Personality, 73, 935–958.
LePine, J. A., Buckman, B. R., Crawford, E. R., & Methot, J. R. (2011). A review of research on personality in teams: Accounting for pathways spanning levels of theory and analysis. Human Resource Management Review, 21, 311–330.
Levine, J. M., & Moreland, R. L. (1990). Progress in small group research. Annual Review of Psychology, 41, 585–634.
Louis, M. R. (1980). Surprise and sense making: What newcomers experience in entering unfamiliar organizational settings. Administrative Science Quarterly, 25, 226–251.
Mathieu, J. E., Tannenbaum, S. I., Donsbach, J. S., & Alliger, G. M. (2014). A review and integration of team composition models: Moving toward a dynamic and temporal framework. Journal of Management, 40, 130–160.
Mathisen, G. E., Martinsen, O., & Einarsen, S. (2008). The relationship between creative personality composition, innovative team climate, and team innovativeness: An input-process-output perspective. Journal of Creative Behavior, 42, 13–31.
McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T., Jr. (1999). A five-factor theory of personality. In Handbook of personality: Theory and research (Vol. 2, pp. 139–153).
Moreland, R. L., & Levine, J. M. (1992). The composition of small groups. Advances in Group Processes, 9, 237–280.
Moynihan, L. M., & Peterson, R. S. (2001). A contingent configuration approach to understanding the role of personality in organizational groups. Research in Organizational Behavior, 23, 327–378.
Muchinsky, P. M., & Monahan, C. J. (1987). What is person-environment congruence? Supplementary versus complementary models of fit. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 31, 268–277.
Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (1998–2012). Mplus user’s guide (7th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén.
Nahrgang, J. D., Morgeson, F. P., & Hofmann, D. A. (2011). Safety at work: A meta-analytic investigation of the link between job demands, job resources, burnout, engagement, and safety outcomes. Journal of Applied Psychology, 96, 71–94.
Neal, A., & Griffin, M. A. (2006). A study of the lagged relationships among safety climate, safety motivation, safety behavior, and accidents at the individual and group levels. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91, 946–953.
Ployhart, R. E., & Schneider, B. (2005). Multilevel selection and prediction: Theories, methods, and models. In A. Evers, N. Anderson, & O. Voskuijl (Eds.), Blackwell handbook of personnel selection (pp. 495–516). Oxford, UK: Blackwell.
Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., Lee, J. Y., & Podsakoff, N. P. (2003). Common method biases in behavioral research: A critical review of the literature and recommended remedies. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88, 879–903.
Postlethwaite, B., Robbins, S., Rickerson, J., & McKinniss, T. (2009). The moderation of conscientiousness by cognitive ability when predicting workplace safety behavior. Personality and Individual Differences, 47, 711–716.
Prewett, M. S., Brown, M. I., Goswami, A., & Christiansen, N. D. (2018). Effects of team personality composition on member performance: A multilevel perspective. Group & Organization Management, 43, 316–348.
Raju, N. S., & Brand, P. A. (2003). Determining the significance of correlations corrected for unreliability and range restriction. Applied Psychological Measurement, 27, 52–71.
Rogelberg, S. G., & Stanton, J. M. (2007). Introduction: Understanding and dealing with organizational survey nonresponse. Organizational Research Methods, 10, 195–209.
Schmidt, F. L., & Hunter, J. E. (1998). The validity and utility of selection methods in personnel psychology: Practical and theoretical implications of 85 years of research findings. Psychological Bulletin, 124, 262–274.
Schmidt, F. L., & Hunter, J. E. (2004). General mental ability in the world of work: Occupational attainment and job performance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86, 162–173.
Schneider, B. (1987). The people make the place. Personnel Psychology, 40, 437–453.
Schneider, B., Ehrhart, M. G., & Macey, W. H. (2011). Perspectives on organizational climate and culture. In S. Zedeck (Ed.), APA handbook of industrial and organizational psychology: Building and developing the organization (pp. 373–414). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Schneider, B., & Reichers, A. E. (1983). On the etiology of climates. Personnel Psychology, 36, 19–39.
Shaw, L., & Sichel, H. S. (1971). Accident proneness. Oxford, UK: Pergamon Press.
Steiger, J. H. & Lind, J. C. (1980). Statistically-based tests for the number of common factors. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the psychometric society, Iowa City, IA.
Stewart, G. L. (1999). Trait bandwidth and stages of job performance: Assessing differential effects for conscientiousness and its subtraits. Journal of Applied Psychology, 84, 959–968.
Stewart, G. L. (2003). Toward an understanding of the multilevel role of personality in teams. In M. R. Barrick & A. M. Ryan (Eds.), Personality and work: Reconsidering the role of personality in organizations (pp. 183–204). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Stewart, G. L., Fulmer, I. S., & Barrick, M. R. (2005). An exploration of member roles as a multilevel linking mechanism for individual traits and team outcomes. Personnel Psychology, 58, 343–365.
Viswesvaran, C., Schmidt, F. L., & Ones, D. S. (2005). Is there a general factor in ratings of job performance? A meta-analytic framework for disentangling substantive and error influences. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90, 108–131.
Wallace, C., & Chen, G. (2006). A multilevel integration of personality, climate, self-regulation, and performance. Personnel Psychology, 59, 529–557.
Wallace, J. C., & Vodanovich, S. J. (2003). Workplace safety performance: Conscientiousness, cognitive failure, and their interaction. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 8, 316–327.
West, R., Elander, J., & French, D. (1993). Mild social deviance, type-a behavior pattern and decision-making style as predictors of self-reported driving style and traffic accident risk. British Journal of Psychology, 84, 207–219.
Zohar, D. (2000). A group-level model of safety climate: Testing the effect of group climate on microaccidents in manufacturing jobs. Journal of Applied Psychology, 85, 587–596.
Zohar, D. (2003). Safety climate: Conceptual and measurement issues. In J. C. Quick & L. E. Tetrick (Eds.), Handbook of occupational health psychology (pp. 123–142). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Zohar, D., & Luria, G. (2003). The use of supervisory practices as leverage to improve safety behavior: A cross-level intervention model. Journal of Safety Research, 34, 567–577.
Zohar, D., & Tenne-Gazit, O. (2008). Transformational leadership and group interaction as climate antecedents: A social network analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93, 744–757.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Xu, X., Le, N., He, Y. et al. Team Conscientiousness, Team Safety Climate, and Individual Safety Performance: a Cross-Level Mediation Model. J Bus Psychol 35, 503–517 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-019-09637-8
- Team composition
- Safety climate
- Safety performance
- Cross-level analysis