Background of Study
The nature of work has undergone numerous transformations, which are evident in infrastructure, technology and work processes. It is therefore essential that organisations rely on the proactive contributions of their employees (Salanova & Schaufeli, 2008). Thus, employee proactivity has developed into a general concern in today’s unpredictable and interdependent work environments (Frese & Fay, 2001; Grant & Ashford, 2008; Parker, Williams, & Turner, 2006). Traditional models of performance that require employees to follow laid down instructions, task descriptions, and orders are inadequate in our contemporary work environment. As a result, it is incumbent on organisations to encourage a corporate environment susceptible to proactive work behaviour. A number of organisations have been kicked out of business due to their lack of proactivity. These companies were kicked out of the race because they failed to move ahead. A notable example is a powerful mobile phone brand in the 90s and early 2000s, Nokia. Nokia has now been acquired by one of the top companies in the technology industry, Microsoft. During the press conference to announce Nokia being acquired by Microsoft, Nokia CEO ended his speech by saying that Nokia didn’t do anything wrong, but somehow the company lost. Although Nokia may not have done anything wrong, but they were too comfortable. In the middle of abrupt changes and developments in the industry, Nokia was unable to keep up. This shows that Nokia, once a respected brand, missed out on learning and keeping up with the fast changes in the field of technology, hence they lost. This teaches us that, it is not enough to just follow the rules of the game but to anticipate, be forward looking and be ready to adapt to any changes or advancements that surface along the way.
Crant (2000) conceptualized proactive behaviour as taking an initiative to improve current situations or initiating new ones; it involves challenging the status quo rather than passively adapting to current conditions. Grant and Ashford (2008) also referred to proactive behaviour as anticipatory action that employees take to impact themselves and/or their environments. Moreover, it is agreed among some researchers (e.g., Frese, 2006; Frese, Kring, Soose, & Zempel, 1996) that anticipating and looking forward are core dimensions of proactive behaviour as highlighted by some renowned organisational scholars. This is because the shift from production economies to knowledge economies has necessitated the need for employees to engage in proactive behaviour to promote creativity, innovation, and change (Crant, 2000; Parker, 2000; Unsworth, 2001; Frese & Fay,2001; Rank et al., 2004; Shalley, Zhou, & Oldham, 2004; Howell, 2005). Organisational research on the precursors and repercussions of proactive behaviour has surfaced in several different literatures and has taken different viewpoints toward defining, measuring, and comprehending proactivity. Many practitioner-oriented publications argue that managers should be more proactive on the job, and that proactive behaviour is an increasingly important component of job performance (Crant, 2000).
As such, researchers are proposing both individual differences and contextual factors as antecedents to proactive work behaviour (e.g. Crant, 2000; Parker, Bindl & Strauss, 2010). With regards to individual differences, there is the need to consider the personality traits of the individual. A considerable number of researches show consistent positive relationships between proactive personality and two of the components of the big five personality traits: conscientiousness and extraversion (Bateman & Crant, 1993; Crant, 1995; Crant & Bateman, 2000). On the other hand, contextual factors such as job control (Sonnentag & Spychala, 2012), work engagement (Caesens et al., 2016) and leadership (Unsworth & Parker, 2003) have been investigated and proven to have positive influence on proactive
behaviour. Proactivity is undoubtedly beneficial for organisations, as Kirkman and Rosen (1999) found that proactive teams experience higher levels of job satisfaction as compared to less proactive ones. Ashford and Black (1996) also found proactive work behaviour to be positively related to individual job satisfaction. Essentially, it has also been recorded to result in increased organisational effectiveness (Bateman & Crant, 1999). Proactivity appears to be related to a good number of desirable behaviour that encourage efficiency, effectiveness and safety in the work arena. Research also shows that, people who exhibit proactive behaviour are more successful over the course of their careers because they use initiative and acquire greater understanding of how politics works within companies (Seibert, 1999; Seibert, Kraimer, & Crant, 2001).
Personality traits and proactive behaviour
According to Denham (2010), personality is conceptualized as the distinguishing qualities or characteristics that are the embodiment of an individual. They are one’s habitual patterns of behaviour, temperament and emotion. The big five model has been used to explain personality and why people behave the way they do and why they react differently to various situations. The big five personality traits are: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism. Openness refers to traits such as how disposed a person is to comply with societal or cultural norms, how concretely or abstractly someone thinks about things, and how open someone is to accept or be resistant to change. A person who is a creative thinker and is always looking for avenues to do things better would likely score high on measures of openness. Conscientiousness has to do with a person’s degree of organisation, level of discipline, and how prone he or she is to taking risks. Extraversion is a personality characteristic that describes things like how social a person is or how warm, caring and loving they tend to be. Extraverts are people who would typically prefer to go out to parties and places of fun with lots of friends, contrary to staying in and watching a
movie with one or two friends at home. Agreeableness takes into account how kind, dependable, and cooperative a person is. People who score high on scales of agreeableness are typically more interested in doing things for the common or greater good, rather than fulfilling or satisfying their own self-interests or desires. Neuroticism is a personality characteristic that describes how nervous or anxious a person tends to be, as well as the degree of self-confidence and self-contentment that the individual possesses. Individuals who score high on levels of neuroticism will often be preoccupied with the ‘what ifs’ of life. They tend to be worrisome and preoccupied with things that might not be within their control or influence.
The notion of individual differences informs us that, two individuals carrying out the same functions will behave or react differently towards various situations. These individual differences we experience in our daily lives are as a result of personality traits.
Organisational Culture and Proactive behaviour
Organisational culture is an example of a contextual factor that influences the proactive behaviour of an individual in an organisation. This concept looks at the way of life of a group of people in an organisation. These are also referred to as the traditions of the people in an organisation after a long period of time; or a system of shared assumptions, values, and beliefs, which govern how people behave in organisations. These shared values have a strong and significant influence on the individuals in the organisation and dictate how they dress, act, and perform their jobs or various duties in the organisation. Every organisation develops and maintains a unique culture, which provides guidelines and boundaries for the behaviour of the members of the organisation. Corporate or organisational cultures are viewed as very powerful even though many organisations may not even realize that they have one because the management of the organisation may not have put it into thought. The
values were just formulated around the founders and core personalities in the organisation. In contrast, other companies pay much attention to it and take time to plan, strategize and develop their culture in order to promote certain values, attitudes and beliefs, such as having proactive workers. Feigenbaum (2017) argues that, a work or organisational culture where there is empowerment of workers to become the best and excel in every duty or activity, effective communication between managers and employees, support and reinforcement of employees upon excellent or outstanding performance and an ideal culture where employees are given the opportunity to think freely and think ahead, promotes proactivity of employees in the organisation.
With respect to the security sector, some scholars (Hintsa et al., 2009; Kean et al., 2004; Prenzler & Sarre, 2008) recommend that intelligence agencies be on the lookout and anticipate threats to annihilate them before they become detrimental. The Kean Commission, investigators assigned to the 9/11 attack, advised that security personnel should be proactive and aggressive (Kean et al., 2004) in its activities.
Earlier research on proactive behaviour described the construct as an extra role (Bateman & Crant, 1993). The key criterion for identifying proactive behaviour is not whether it is in- role or extra-role, but rather whether the employee anticipates, plans for, attempts to and is willing to create a future outcome that has an impact on the self or the environment (Grifﬁn, Neal, & Parker, 2007; Parker et al., 2006).
The focus is not always on what is done but how it is done. Routine jobs can also be executed in a proactive manner. In other words, proactive behaviour can also be an in-role phenomenon (Crant, 2000) as organisations today are providing higher levels of autonomy, larger spans of control, and expanded discretion (Parker, 2000). These organisations will therefore need individuals who are critical thinkers, problem-solvers, open to change, eager
to do what is required or expected and are willing to think outside the box. This study seeks to look at the concept of proactive behaviour through two (2) lenses namely; individual difference (big five personality traits) and context (organisational culture). The individual difference will be the innate and natural state of an individual’s likelihood to portray proactive behaviour. Context on the other hand, will take into consideration, how the environment or work promotes or encourages proactive behaviour.
Statement of Problem
The aviation industry suffers from several terrors including smuggling, drug trafficking and money laundering (Norman et al., 2014; Amoore & De Goede, 2005). There has not been any major terrorist attack in Ghana, although Ghana has its fair share of drug trafficking, smuggling and money laundering. Unfortunately, there has been evidence of these attacks in other parts of Africa. Al-Shabaab’s attack on the Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya (Patterson, 2014), Boko Haram’s kidnapping of school girls in Chibok, Nigeria’s North- Eastern Borno State (Zenn, 2014) have been two of the most devastating attacks in Africa. Attacks in other parts of the world include the 9/11 attack (Kean et al., 2004) in the United States of America, suicide bombings, hijacking as well as the shooting down of planes conveying innocent people to different destinations. It will be wise for Ghanaians to prepare for such likely disasters. In view of this, there is a need to ensure that the security personnel at the aviation sector are proactive. This calls for the need to assess proactive behaviour among security personnel in the aviation industry. A sizeable amount of research has been conducted on proactive behaviour in association with other variables including leadership (Crant & Bateman, 2000), careers (Claes & Ruiz-Quintanilla, 1998), entrepreneurship (Becherer & Maurer, 1999), work teams (Kirkman & Rosen, 1999), feedback (VandeWalle & Cummings, 1997). However, very few have tried to understand how personality traits as well as the work place culture influence proactive behaviour. Studies on proactive behaviour
in Ghana have been done mainly on the manufacturing industry and have largely neglected the security personnel specifically those in the aviation sector.
Aim and Objectives of the Study
The aim of this research is to assess proactive behaviour and determine how personality traits and domains of organisational culture predict proactive behaviour among aviation security personnel. Specifically, the objectives of this study are:
- To examine whether the big five personality traits predict proactive behaviour among the security personnel in the aviation industry in Ghana.
- To determine whether organisational culture predicts proactive behaviour among the security personnel in the aviation industry in Ghana.
- To establish whether the dimensions of personality trait and organisational culture will predict proactive behaviour among the security personnel in the aviation industry in Ghana.