Date of Award

8-2006

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Debora Baldwin

Committee Members

Warren Jones, Jacob J. Levy

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate potential non-linear relationships between competitiveness as measured by the Revised Competitiveness Index and performance in both college students (Study 1) and insurance agents (Study 2). In addition, relationships between competitiveness and personality were explored. All participants completed the 16PF Fifth Edition to measure personality and the Revised Competitiveness Index to measure self-reported competitiveness. Study 1 consisted of 188 undergraduate students, and performance was defined as college GP A. Study 2 consisted of 30 licensed insurance agents and performance was measured by raw sales, sales efficiency, cross sell, average commission earned, and commission efficiency. Results of Study 1 showed that within a quadratic equation with an inverted-U shape, competitiveness explained significant observed variance in college GP A. In Study 2, competitiveness explained significant observed variance in average monthly sales. This equation in this study was cubic and was U-shaped. No gender differences in self-reported competitiveness were found in either study. With regard to personality measured via the 16PF, competitiveness was found to be related to self-control in Study 2 but no significant correlations were found between competitiveness and any factor of personality in Study 1. An investigation into competitiveness, self-efficacy, and performance found that, in the discovered polynomial equations, competitiveness explained significant variance beyond that accounted for by self-efficacy in both studies. Overall, this study was the first to investigate a non-linear relationship between competitiveness and objective performance, and it was the first to detect significant findings of this type. Because different relationships were found in each study, it is likely that those who are extremely high and low in competitiveness have outcomes different from those of average competitiveness, though similar to each other. The non-linear relationship was independent of self-efficacy and should serve to re-open investigation into competitiveness as a predictor of performance outcomes.

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