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Fear of being exposed: the trait-relatedness of the impostor phenomenon and its relevance in the work context

Jasmine Vergauwe UGent, Bart Wille, Marjolein Feys, Filip De Fruyt UGent and Frederik Anseel UGent (2015) JOURNAL OF BUSINESS AND PSYCHOLOGY. 30(3). p.565-581
abstract
Purpose – The Impostor Phenomenon (IP) refers to the intense feelings of intellectual fraudulence, often experienced by high achieving individuals. The purpose of this study is threefold: (1) examine the trait-relatedness of the IP; (2) investigate the potential impact of impostor tendencies on relevant work attitudes (i.e., job satisfaction and organizational commitment) and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB); and (3) explore whether workplace social support can buffer the potential harmful effects of impostor tendencies. Design/methodology/approach – Belgian employees (N=201) from three different sectors participated in a cross-sectional survey study. Findings – Hierarchical regressions revealed that Big Five personality traits, core self-evaluations, and maladaptive perfectionism explain large proportions of the variance in impostor tendencies (∆R²=.59). A relative weight analysis indicated self-efficacy as the most important predictor, followed by maladaptive perfectionism and Neuroticism. Further, results showed that employees with stronger impostor tendencies indicate lower levels of job satisfaction and OCB, and higher levels of continuance commitment. However, workplace social support buffered the negative effects of impostor tendencies on job satisfaction and OCB. Implications – Employees hampered by impostor tendencies could benefit from coaching programs that focus on the enhancement of self-efficacy and the alleviation of maladaptive perfectionistic concerns. Impostor tendencies have an impact on career attitudes and organizational behavior. Extra attention could be devoted to the assessment of this specific trait constellation in selection or development contexts. Interventions designed to increase social support are particularly relevant in this regard. Originality/value – Despite its relevance for contemporary work settings, the IP has barely been investigated in adult working samples.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
journalArticle (original)
publication status
published
subject
keyword
5-FACTOR MODEL, NORMATIVE COMMITMENT, JOB-SATISFACTION, ORGANIZATIONAL CITIZENSHIP BEHAVIOR, personality, organizational citizenship behavior, impostor phenomenon, workplace social support, organizational commitment, CORE SELF-EVALUATIONS, job satisfaction, PERSONALITY-TRAIT, PHENOMENON SCALE, PERFECTIONISM, METAANALYSIS, PERFORMANCE
journal title
JOURNAL OF BUSINESS AND PSYCHOLOGY
JOBU
editor
Steven G Rogelberg
volume
30
issue
3
pages
565 - 581
publisher
Springer
place of publication
New York
Web of Science type
Article
Web of Science id
000359454100010
JCR category
PSYCHOLOGY, APPLIED
JCR impact factor
2.25 (2015)
JCR rank
18/79 (2015)
JCR quartile
1 (2015)
ISSN
0889-3268
DOI
10.1007/s10869-014-9382-5
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
A1
copyright statement
I have transferred the copyright for this publication to the publisher
id
5964945
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-5964945
date created
2015-05-26 11:07:00
date last changed
2017-01-25 13:41:31
@article{5964945,
  abstract     = {Purpose -- The Impostor Phenomenon (IP) refers to the intense feelings of intellectual fraudulence, often experienced by high achieving individuals. The purpose of this study is threefold: (1) examine the trait-relatedness of the IP; (2) investigate the potential impact of impostor tendencies on relevant work attitudes (i.e., job satisfaction and organizational commitment) and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB); and (3) explore whether workplace social support can buffer the potential harmful effects of impostor tendencies. 

Design/methodology/approach -- Belgian employees (N=201) from three different sectors participated in a cross-sectional survey study. 

Findings -- Hierarchical regressions revealed that Big Five personality traits, core self-evaluations, and maladaptive perfectionism explain large proportions of the variance in impostor tendencies (\unmatched{2206}R{\texttwosuperior}=.59). A relative weight analysis indicated self-efficacy as the most important predictor, followed by maladaptive perfectionism and Neuroticism. Further, results showed that employees with stronger impostor tendencies indicate lower levels of job satisfaction and OCB, and higher levels of continuance commitment. However, workplace social support buffered the negative effects of impostor tendencies on job satisfaction and OCB.

Implications -- Employees hampered by impostor tendencies could benefit from coaching programs that focus on the enhancement of self-efficacy and the alleviation of maladaptive perfectionistic concerns. Impostor tendencies have an impact on career attitudes and organizational behavior. Extra attention could be devoted to the assessment of this specific trait constellation in selection or development contexts. Interventions designed to increase social support are particularly relevant in this regard.

Originality/value -- Despite its relevance for contemporary work settings, the IP has barely been investigated in adult working samples.},
  author       = {Vergauwe, Jasmine and Wille, Bart and Feys, Marjolein and De Fruyt, Filip and Anseel, Frederik},
  editor       = {Rogelberg, Steven G},
  issn         = {0889-3268},
  journal      = {JOURNAL OF BUSINESS AND PSYCHOLOGY},
  keyword      = {5-FACTOR MODEL,NORMATIVE COMMITMENT,JOB-SATISFACTION,ORGANIZATIONAL CITIZENSHIP BEHAVIOR,personality,organizational citizenship behavior,impostor phenomenon,workplace social support,organizational commitment,CORE SELF-EVALUATIONS,job satisfaction,PERSONALITY-TRAIT,PHENOMENON SCALE,PERFECTIONISM,METAANALYSIS,PERFORMANCE},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {565--581},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  title        = {Fear of being exposed: the trait-relatedness of the impostor phenomenon and its relevance in the work context},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10869-014-9382-5},
  volume       = {30},
  year         = {2015},
}

Chicago
Vergauwe, Jasmine, Bart Wille, Marjolein Feys, Filip De Fruyt, and Frederik Anseel. 2015. “Fear of Being Exposed: The Trait-relatedness of the Impostor Phenomenon and Its Relevance in the Work Context.” Ed. Steven G Rogelberg. Journal of Business and Psychology 30 (3): 565–581.
APA
Vergauwe, J., Wille, B., Feys, M., De Fruyt, F., & Anseel, F. (2015). Fear of being exposed: the trait-relatedness of the impostor phenomenon and its relevance in the work context. (S. G. Rogelberg, Ed.)JOURNAL OF BUSINESS AND PSYCHOLOGY, 30(3), 565–581.
Vancouver
1.
Vergauwe J, Wille B, Feys M, De Fruyt F, Anseel F. Fear of being exposed: the trait-relatedness of the impostor phenomenon and its relevance in the work context. Rogelberg SG, editor. JOURNAL OF BUSINESS AND PSYCHOLOGY. New York: Springer; 2015;30(3):565–81.
MLA
Vergauwe, Jasmine, Bart Wille, Marjolein Feys, et al. “Fear of Being Exposed: The Trait-relatedness of the Impostor Phenomenon and Its Relevance in the Work Context.” Ed. Steven G Rogelberg. JOURNAL OF BUSINESS AND PSYCHOLOGY 30.3 (2015): 565–581. Print.