Behavioral Intentions, Actual Behavior and the Role of Personality Traits. Evidence from a Factorial Survey Among Female Labor Market Re-Entrants.

Katrin Drasch


Factorial surveys (FS) are used frequently to draw conclusions about behavior. However, in FS only behavioral intentions are measured and answering fictive situations are likely to be connected with individual personality traits. Therefore, it is unclear to what extent behavioral intentions as measured by FS and actual behavior are related. It is also unclear whether and how personality traits influence intentions and actual behavior. This paper addresses this subject matter by analyzing these research questions. The theory of planned behavior serves as the theoretical basis (Ajzen, 1991).
The research questions are addressed with data from a factorial survey collected among 395 prospective female labor market re-entrants. They were asked about their willingness to accept lower wages if compensated by “positive” nonmonetary job characteristics. A follow-up study after one year also included information on actual behavior, i.e., whether
the woman has found a job. The analysis reveals that women who are willing to accept “negative” job characteristics are more likely to re-enter employment, suggesting a high correlation between results from the factorial survey and actual behavior and thus external validity. Furthermore, personality traits only have a minor influence on behavioral intentions and behavior. This confounds previous non-experimental research results. However, some individual effects are different in the intentions and behavioral model, which also indicates differences between experimental and real-world settings.


factorial survey, vignette study, personality traits, intentions and actual behavior, mother’s labor market re-entry

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Copyright (c) 2017 Katrin Drasch

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