ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2022, Vol. 54 ›› Issue (5): 516-528.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2022.00516

• Reports of Empirical Studies • Previous Articles     Next Articles

“Attraction of the like”: How does coworkers’ proactive behavior stimulate employees’ motivation and job performance?

ZHANG Ying, DUAN Jinyun2(), WANG Fuxi3(), QU Jinzhao1, PENG Xiongliang1   

  1. 1School of Labor and Human Resources, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China
    2School of Psychology and Cognitive Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
    3College of Economics and Management, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100083, China
  • Published:2022-05-25 Online:2022-03-23
  • Contact: DUAN Jinyun,WANG Fuxi
  • Supported by:
    the National Natural Science Foundation of China(72002035);the National Natural Science Foundation of China(72002017);the National Natural Science Foundation of China(72058);Supported by the Outstanding Innovative Talents Cultivation Funded Programs 2020 of Renmin University of China.


Previous studies on proactivity usually focus on employees themselves, ignoring the important management practice and theoretical perspective that coworkers in teams or organizations will have an impact on employees’ behaviors. Therefore, based on social learning theory, this study explores the influence of coworkers’ proactive behavior on employees’ autonomous motivation and job performance, and the moderating effect of employees’ proactive personality. Through two studies, including a multi-time, leader-subordinate dyads questionnaire (Study 1) and a situational experiment (Study 2), this paper finds that coworkers’ proactive behavior can stimulate employees’ autonomous motivation, and then improve job performance. Moreover, employees’ proactive personality strengthens the positive effect of coworkers’ proactive behavior on employees’ autonomous motivation. This study not only shifts the existing research perspective on proactive behavior to coworkers in theory, but also provides practical guidance on how to better motivate employees.

Key words: coworker proactive behavior, autonomous motivation, job performance, proactive personality, social learning theory