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Time Perspective and Procrastination in the Workplace: An Empirical Investigation

Abstract

In the workplace, procrastination is typically viewed as a sub-optimal behavior that undermines productivity. As a construct, psychologists typically conceptualize procrastination as a stable and enduring personality trait. It has recently been argued that time perspective is also a personality trait, which has an important influence on procrastination behavior (Ferrari and Díaz-Morales, 2007 Journal of Research in Personality 41:707–714). Time perspective helps to guide not only employees’ judgments and decisions, but also their actions at the individual level. In this study, we examine the extent to which five qualitatively different types of time perspective (defined by Zimbardo and Boyd, 1999 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 77:1271–1288) predict the tendency to procrastinate in the workplace. Participants were 236 managers and executives sampled from seven major information technology and financial organizations in India. Regression analyses revealed that of the five time dimensions, two were significantly positively related to procrastination, whereas two others showed negative relationships. From a basic science perspective, these findings help to extend our theoretical understanding of both time perspective and procrastination. From an applied standpoint, the results suggest an important individual difference dimension that might be considered during the personnel selection process.

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Correspondence to Douglas A. Hershey.

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Gupta, R., Hershey, D.A. & Gaur, J. Time Perspective and Procrastination in the Workplace: An Empirical Investigation. Curr Psychol 31, 195–211 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-012-9136-3

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Keywords

  • Procrastination
  • Time perspective
  • Personality
  • Temporal orientation
  • Organizations