Journal of Business and Psychology

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 297–310 | Cite as

Popularity Procurement and Pay Off: Antecedents and Consequences of Popularity in the Workplace

  • Rebecca Garden
  • Xiaoxiao Hu
  • Yujie Zhan
  • Xiang Yao
Original Paper



This study examines agreeableness and work knowledge as predictors of employees’ popularity above and beyond core self-evaluation (CSE), and the moderating role of these constructs on the CSE–popularity relationship. We also investigate popularity’s effects on supervisor-rated task performance and promotion potential, and the conditional indirect effects of CSE on these outcomes via popularity.


Multi-source data were collected from 213 employees, their coworkers, and direct supervisors in a Chinese mine trading company.


Agreeableness predicted popularity above and beyond CSE and moderated the CSE–popularity relationship, although the direct and moderating effects of work knowledge were nonsignificant. Popularity positively influenced performance ratings but not promotion potential. Results also supported conditional indirect effects of CSE on performance ratings via popularity.


The current findings underscore the importance of examining workplace popularity. Discovering agreeableness as an additional predictor of popularity and its moderation effects on the CSE–popularity link suggests that communal qualities are important for employees’ attainment of popularity. The discussion also focuses on expanding the scope of workplace popularity to include performance-related outcomes. Lastly, this study considers how employee characteristics connect to performance ratings through popularity.


Workplace popularity is relatively unexplored but has tremendous organizational implications. This research advances the understanding of how to attain workplace popularity and the boundary conditions for the relationship between CSE and popularity. It also extends consequences associated with workplace popularity beyond interpersonal outcomes and assesses the role of popularity, a construct rooted in collective perception, in explaining links between employee characteristics and performance-related outcomes.


Popularity Core self-evaluation Agreeableness Work knowledge Task performance ratings Promotability 



This research was supported in part by National Natural Science Foundation of China, Grant No. 31671121.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyOld Dominion UniversityNorfolkUSA
  2. 2.School of Business and EconomicsWilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterlooCanada
  3. 3.School of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences and Beijing Key Laboratory of Behavior and Mental HealthPeking UniversityBeijingChina

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