Macquarie University
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Developing experimental methodologies for examining the proactivity process

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posted on 2022-03-28, 15:01 authored by Laura C. Kirby
A number of different concepts and approaches toward measuring proactivity and identifying antecedent factors have been adopted by proactivity researchers (Crant, 2000). More recently, proactivity has been conceptualised as a process, whereby proactivity is understood as a goal-driven and motivated ‘way of behaving’ (Grant & Ashford, 2008; Parker, Bindl, & Strauss, 2010). To empirically test the relationships and processes identified by this concept, the present dissertation research focuses on the development of experimental methods for examining key relationships within this conceptualisation. Following the literature review of research investigating proactive work behaviour, the first paper describes an experimental study using a computer-simulated rail control task to explore discretionary behaviour, including proactivity and organisational citizenship behaviours. Due to the opportunity to manipulate contextual variables in the laboratory setting, the study also explores the influence of task complexity and its relationship with proactive action directed towards future impact and citizenship behaviours, given the proposal that complexity is a key antecedent of proactivity (Grant & Ashford, 2008). The second paper consists of two studies that test a proof-of-concept methodology to explore motivational drivers of proactivity. Both studies in the second paper use an in-basket problem-solving task (Shalley, 1991) to provide a context in which proactive planning and anticipation through problem solving can be assessed. A set of observer evaluation criteria was developed as an independent assessment of proactivity in solutions to these in-basket problems. A final chapter discusses common findings and implications for experimental studies of proactivity.


Table of Contents

1. A review of the nature and measurement of proactivity -- 2. Introduction to paper: The impact of complexity on discretionary behaviour: an experimental simulation study -- 3. Introduction to paper: Proactivity and motivation in solving work problems: a test of methodology -- Final conclusion.


Bibliography:pages 192-194 Thesis submitted in partial fullfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Organisational Psychology

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis DPsych


DPsych, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology

Department, Centre or School

Department of Psychology

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Ben Searle

Additional Supervisor 1

Mark Wiggins


Copyright Laura C. Kirby 2014. Copyright disclaimer:




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