A meta-analysis of the relationship between general mental ability and nontask performance

J Appl Psychol. 2014 Nov;99(6):1222-43. doi: 10.1037/a0037547. Epub 2014 Aug 18.


Although one of the most well-established research findings in industrial-organizational psychology is that general mental ability (GMA) is a strong and generalizable predictor of job performance, this meta-analytically derived conclusion is based largely on measures of task or overall performance. The primary purpose of this study is to address a void in the research literature by conducting a meta-analysis to determine the direction and magnitude of the correlation of GMA with 2 dimensions of nontask performance: counterproductive work behaviors (CWB) and organizational citizenship behaviors (OCB). Overall, the results show that the true-score correlation between GMA and CWB is essentially 0 (-.02, k = 35), although rating source of CWB moderates this relationship. The true-score correlation between GMA and OCB is positive but modest in magnitude (.23, k = 43). The 2nd purpose of this study is to conduct meta-analytic relative weight analyses to determine the relative importance of GMA and the five-factor model (FFM) of personality traits in predicting nontask and task performance criteria. Results indicate that, collectively, the FFM traits are substantially more important for CWB than GMA, that the FFM traits are roughly equal in importance to GMA for OCB, and that GMA is substantially more important for task and overall job performance than the FFM traits. Implications of these findings for the development of optimal selection systems and the development of comprehensive theories of job performance are discussed along with study limitation and future research directions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Employee Performance Appraisal*
  • Humans
  • Intelligence*
  • Organizational Culture
  • Personality*
  • Social Behavior
  • Work / psychology*