The Type to Train? Impacts of Psychological Functioning on Further Training Participation

Monday, July 14, 2014: 11:15 AM
Room: Booth 42
Distributed Paper
Judith OFFERHAUS , Sociology and social psychology, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
Evidence is plentiful that especially level of formal schooling and occupational rank determine access to and participation in employment-related training. However, this paper shows that human capital acquisition during adulthood is not only stratified by classic markers of social inequality, but also by indicators of psychological functioning, namely personality characteristics. Research shows that personality traits drive attitudes and behaviors, and determine socio-economic life outcomes like educational attainment, labor market participation and income. Thus, I conceptualize participation in further training as stratified by intra-individual differences in the Big Five and Locus of Control beyond socio-economic markers; generally I ask what sorts of individual personality traits lead to successful psychological career-related functioning over time.

This research proceeds in two stages using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel from 2000 to 2010. Following the debate on stability or change, I first show that intra-individual personality characteristics are remarkably stable between two measurement points in 97% of the population sampled. In a second step, I apply random-effects logistic panel regression models to 39,833 observations of 4,981 individuals. Findings reveal that those who are more open to new experiences and have high internal control beliefs are more likely to participate in further training, and this holds true under different model specifications. Contrary to the predictions of personality hypotheses, Agreeableness, Extraversion and Neuroticism do not impact training, whereas the training effect of Conscientiousness is more complex. I also show, regarding reverse causality, that further training does not lead to significant changes in psychological functioning. I conclude that in addition to the classical determinants of further training such as education and occupational status, there are personality traits which characterize healthier psychological functioning at work, meaning that personality differences lead to stratified training and career outcomes.