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Advanced Application: Individual Differences and Work

The aim of this course is to give students insights in how individual differences impact important causes, processes and consequences in the applied area of work. The role of individual differences at work is evident both in the short term and in the long term. In the short term, workers need to be able to perform their job while coping with any demands and circumstances the work entails, thus enabled by their personal resources and personality. In the long term, people’s work careers are shaped by personality-based factors that relate to ability (e.g., strengths), motivation and resilience. Students will be introduced into several of these subareas of application.

After a brief introduction on the field of Human Resource Studies, we will zoom in on individual differences at work. Here, we emphasize a person-environment fit perspective on individual differences in the work context. We take a look at the different timescales at which individual differences influence work. Individual differences at work involve personal resources (e.g., psychological capital, strengths, brain differences), perceptions (e.g., on ICT-use at work), evaluations (e.g., of the work context), and responses to the work context, including responses to unfavorable work contexts (e.g., job crafting, employee resilience). Further, individual differences in work motivation will be discussed, as well as age-related changes in these variables.