Beyond personality: The impact of GMA on performance for entry/level service employees

Michael J. Tews, John W. Michel, Brian D. Lyons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Purpose – While personality is often deemed important, few studies have examined the relationship between general mental ability (GMA) and job performance for entry/level service employees. As such, the present study aims to examine the impact of GMA, along with the Big Five personality dimensions, on performance in this context. Design/methodology/approach – Data were collected on servers from multiple units of two large restaurant chains. The employees completed GMA and personality assessments. Managers in Sample 1 provided ratings of service performance and two dimensions of contextual performance – interpersonal facilitation and job dedication. In Sample 2, sales performance data were obtained from company records. Findings – Unlike the Big Five taxonomy, GMA was the only variable to significantly predict all performance criteria. Research limitations/implications – Successful job performance requires more than habits and motivation rooted in personality; it also requires knowledge acquisition and ongoing problem solving facilitated by GMA. Practical implications – Managers should consider GMA along with personality in hiring decisions to maximize the prediction of employee performance. Originality/value – The paper demonstrates that GMA impacts multiple dimensions of server performance, including task and contextual performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)344-362
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Service Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 22 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management


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