Improving Individual Learning for Trainees with Low Conscientiousness


Management and Entrepreneurship

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of situational factors in improving learning for trainees with low conscientiousness.

Design/methodology/approach – A sample of 117 employees completed a survey questionnaire in the context of a training intervention. Perceptions of conscientiousness, legitimacy, and accountability were used to predict employee learning in a training context. Moderated multiple regression was used to test the hypotheses.

Findings – Results support interactions of conscientiousness and perceived accountability to predict learning such that learners who are low in conscientiousness showed higher levels of learning when perceived accountability was considered strong than when perceived accountability was considered weak. There was no support for the proposed interaction of conscientiousness and perceived legitimacy to predict learning.

Practical implications – Results support the view that organizations should implement formal controls to increase perceived accountability and improve learning. Trainees with low conscientiousness had higher levels of learning in situations with strong accountability perceptions.

Originality/value – The study is one of the few to evaluate perceived accountability in a field study, whereas most previous research has evaluated this concept in lab experiments. Therefore, the findings support the wide range of perceived accountability that exists in most organizations. The results imply the need for more accountability controls within an organization to increase learning in a training context.