Time orientation in organizations: Polychronicity and multitasking

Kristin Ruth Sanderson, Florida International University


This dissertation consists of four studies examining two constructs related to time orientation in organizations: polychronicity and multitasking. The first study investigates the internal structure of polychronicity and its external correlates in a sample of undergraduate students (N = 732). Results converge to support a one-factor model and finds measures of polychronicity to be significantly related to extraversion, agreeableness, and openness to experience. The second study quantitatively reviews the existing research examining the relationship between polychronicity and the Big Five factors of personality. Results reveal a significant relationship between extraversion and openness to experience across studies. Studies three and four examine the usefulness of multitasking ability in the prediction of work related criteria using two organizational samples (N = 175 and 119, respectively). Multitasking ability demonstrated predictive validity, however the incremental validity over that of traditional predictors (i.e., cognitive ability and the Big Five factors of personality) was minimal. The relationships between multitasking ability, polychronicity, and other individual differences were also investigated. Polychronicity and multitasking ability proved to be distinct constructs demonstrating differential relationships with cognitive ability, personality, and performance. Results provided support for multitasking performance as a mediator in the relationship between multitasking ability and overall job performance. Additionally, polychronicity moderated the relationship between multitasking ability and both ratings of multitasking performance and overall job performance in Study four. Clarification of the factor structure of polychronicity and its correlates will facilitate future research in the time orientation literature. Results from two organizational samples point to work related measures of multitasking ability as a worthwhile tool for predicting the performance of job applicants.

Subject Area

Psychology|Occupational psychology|Personality psychology

Recommended Citation

Sanderson, Kristin Ruth, "Time orientation in organizations: Polychronicity and multitasking" (2012). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3554209.