Agency Beliefs Over Time and Across Cultures: Free Will Beliefs Predict Higher Job Satisfaction

Gilad Feldman (First Author), Jiing-Lih Farh (Participant Author), Kin Fai Ellick Wong (Participant Author)

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In three studies, we examined the relationship between free will beliefs and job satisfaction over time and across cultures. Study 1 examined 252 Taiwanese real-estate agents over a 3-months period. Study 2 examined job satisfaction for 137 American workers on an online labor market over a 6-months period. Study 3 extended to a large sample of 14,062 employees from 16 countries and examined country-level moderators. We found a consistent positive relationship between the belief in free will and job satisfaction. The relationship was above and beyond other agency constructs (Study 2), mediated by perceived autonomy (Studies 2-3), and stronger in countries with a higher national endorsement of the belief in free will (Study 3). We conclude that free-will beliefs predict outcomes over time and across cultures beyond other agency constructs. We call for more cross-cultural and longitudinal studies examining free-will beliefs as predictors of real-life outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-317
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Corresponding author email


  • agency
  • belief in free will
  • job satisfaction

Indexed by

  • ABDC-A*
  • Scopus
  • SSCI


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