Carnegie Mellon University
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Cohen, T. R. & Panter, A. T. (2011-2012). The WECT Project: Workplace experiences and character traits [project information]. Available at: Open Science Framework https://osf.io/w3hgr/.
The Work Experiences and Character Traits (WECT) project investigates how character, personality, emotions, and treatment by managers and co-workers affect the frequency with which workers engage in ethical and unethical behavior at their jobs. This interdisciplinary research is at the intersection of social/personality psychology and organizational behavior. In this project, U.S. adults with full-time employment participated in a three-month online diary study about “weekly experiences in the workplace.” They first provided detailed information about their jobs and completed a battery of measures assessing various dimensions of character and personality. To measure character, we assessed a variety of individual differences that have been linked to ethical and unethical choices in prior research (e.g., guilt proneness, honesty-humility, empathic concern, moral identity, cognitive moral development). Following the initial survey, participants completed an online survey once a week for 12 week in which they reported the frequency with which they performed organizational citizenship behaviors (OCB) and counterproductive work behaviors (CWB). The OCB items assessed ethical organizational behaviors (e.g., helping co-workers with work and personal responsibilities, coming in early or staying late without pay), whereas the CWB items assessed unethical organizational behaviors (e.g., verbally or physically abusing co-workers, stealing from one’s employer). The weekly surveys also asked participants about the extent to which they experienced various emotions during the previous week, and how they were treated by managers and co-workers (e.g., the frequency of interpersonal conflict, workplace ostracism, and abusive supervision). In addition to collecting self-reports of personality and behavior, we also collected observer-reports by surveying co-workers of the participants. By examining the factor structure of and longitudinal relations among character, personality, emotions, and workplace experiences, we hope to be able to determine the ways in which these individual differences and situational influences affect ethical and unethical behavior in the workplace.
The WECT Project’s Principal Investigators are: Taya R. Cohen, Ph.D. (Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior & Theory, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University) and Abigail T. Panter, Ph.D. (Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education & Professor of Psychology, L. L. Thurstone Psychometric Laboratory, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill).
The WECT project was made possible through the support of Grant 15519 from The Character Project at Wake Forest University and the John Templeton Foundation to Taya R. Cohen and A. T. Panter. http://thecharacterproject.com/winners.php
Publications that have used or described data from the WECT Project:
--Cohen, T. R., & Panter, A. T. (2015). Character traits in the workplace: A three-month diary study of moral and immoral organizational behaviors. In C. B. Miller, R. M. Furr, A. Knobel, & W. Fleeson. (Eds.), Character: New Directions from Philosophy, Psychology, and Theology. Oxford University Press: New York.
--Cohen, T. R., & Morse, L. (2014). Moral character: What it is and what it does. Research in Organizational Behavior, 34, 43-61. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.riob.2014.08.003
--Cohen, T. R., Panter, A. T., Turan, N., Morse, L. A., & Kim, Y. (2014). Moral character in the workplace. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 107(5), 943-963. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0037245
--Cohen, T. R., Panter, A. T., Turan, N., Morse, L. A., & Kim, Y. (2013). Agreement and similarity in self-other perceptions of moral character. Journal of Research in Personality, 47, 816-830. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2013.08.009
--Halevy, N., Cohen, T. R., Chou, E. Y., Katz, J. J., & Panter, A. T. (2014). Mental models at work: Cognitive causes and consequences of conflict in organizations. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40(1), 92-110. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0146167213506468
--Cohen, T. R., Panter, A. T., & Turan, N. (2012). Guilt proneness and moral character. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 21, 355-359. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0963721412454874