Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Business Administration

First Advisor's Name

Galen Kroeck

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Sungu Armagan

Third Advisor's Name

Nancy Borkowski

Fourth Advisor's Name

Nathan Hiller


personality, performance, mental models, training, knowledge transfer, learning, the big 5, general self-efficacy

Date of Defense



Personality has long been linked to performance. Evolutions in this relationship have brought forward new questions regarding the true nature of how personality impacts performance. Both direct and indirect relationships have been proven significant. This study further investigated potential indirect relationships by including a mediating variable, mental model formation, in the personality-performance relationship. Undergraduate students were assessed in a 6-week period, Time 1 - Time 2 experiment. Conceptualizations of personality included measures of the Big 5 model and Self-efficacy, with performance measured by content quiz and overall course scores. Findings showed that the Big 5 personality traits, extraversion and agreeableness, positively and significantly impacted commonality with the instructor’s mental model. However, commonality with the instructor’s mental model did not impact performance. In comparison, commonality with an expert mental model positively and significantly impacted performance for both the content quiz and overall course score. Furthermore, similarity with an expert mental model positively and significantly impacted overall course performance. Hypothesized full mediation of mental model formation for the personality-performance relationship was not supported due to a lack of direct effect relationships required for mediation. However, a revised conceptualization of results emerged. Findings from the current study point to the novel and unique role mental models play in the personality-performance relationship. While personality traits do impact mental model formation, accuracy in the mental models formed is critical to performance.




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