When and why proactive employees get promoted: A trait activation perspective

Ying Zhang, Fuxi Wang, Guodong Cui, Jinzhao Qu, Yanyuan Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although there is a consensus that workplace proactivity is vital for both employees and organizations, little is known as whether proactivity is beneficial for employees to develop leadership capabilities. Drawing from trait activation theory, we theorize that proactive personality could enhance employee promotability through taking charge behavior. We also propose that task structure determines the odds that proactive employees might be promoted. We tested the theoretical model with data from 226 employees and their direct leaders in 26 teams at three time points. The results of multi-level path analysis indicated that the positive relationship between proactive personality and taking charge was stronger in more organic work unit, which in turn, positively related to employees’ promotability. These findings provide new knowledge in understanding the impacts of proactive personality and offers important empirical practices for proactivity management for organizations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31701-31712
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2022


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