Cognitive-behavioural training to change attributional style improves employee well-being, job satisfaction, productivity and turn-over

Judith G. Proudfoot, Philip J. Corr, David E. Guest, Graham Dunn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report, for the first time in the literature, a cognitive-behavioural training waiting-list controlled study that changed employees’ attributional style, reduced turnover, increased productivity, and improved a number of individual differences measures of well-being. One hundred and sixty-six financial services sales agents (98% male, mean age 36.2 ± 9 years) were randomly assigned to either (a) a seven-week cognitive-behavioural training program or (b) a waiting-list.

Significant improvements resulted in employees’ attributional style, job satisfaction, self-esteem, psychological well-being and general productivity. A significant reduction in employee turnover over a 4.5 month period was observed. The waiting-list control group replicated these results when they subsequently went through the same program. These findings demonstrate that work-related attitudes and behaviours, especially in motivationally challenging occupations, can be changed with cognitive-behavioural training to improve attributional style. The study is also valuable for personality and individual differences research because it shows how psychological variables can be changed by effective intervention in applied settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-153
Number of pages7
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009

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