The importance of being humble: A meta-analysis and incremental validity analysis of the relationship between honesty-humility and job performance

J Appl Psychol. 2019 Dec;104(12):1535-1546. doi: 10.1037/apl0000421. Epub 2019 Jun 13.


The HEXACO model presents a conceptualization of personality that includes the trait honesty-humility (H-H) in addition to 5 other personality traits (i.e., agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotionality, extraversion, openness) that closely approximate the ubiquitous five-factor model (FFM) of personality. A substantial literature has accumulated supporting the structure of the HEXACO model and the construct validity of the H-H trait in particular. A newer development is the appearance of H-H in the applied psychology literature. This begs the question of whether H-H exhibits significant criterion-related validity with respect to job performance and whether H-H accounts for incremental validity over other established individual differences predictors of job performance. Accordingly, the purpose of this study is to conduct a meta-analysis of the relationship between H-H and 3 major dimensions of job performance (counterproductive work behavior [CWB], organizational citizenship behavior [OCB], and task performance) and compare the incremental validity of H-H with other established individual differences predictors (general mental ability, the FFM, and integrity tests). Our results indicate that H-H correlates -.44 with CWB, .13 with OCB, and .15 with task performance (each correlation corrected for unreliability in both the independent and dependent variables). Further, H-H demonstrated incremental validity over the other individual differences predictors in the case of CWB but not OCB and task performance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Personality*
  • Social Desirability*
  • Work Performance / statistics & numerical data*