The article for the critical review is “Personality, intelligence, and counterproductive academic behaviors: A meta-analysis” by Cuadrado, Moscoso, and Salgado, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2021. The authors explore the widespread phenomenon of counterproductive academic behaviors (CAB) and aim to define their potential predictors. CAB is a relevant issue and a major area of research interest among contemporary psychologists and social scientists, as it negatively impacts the functioning of educational institutions and the academic performance of students. Cuadrado et al. (2021) raise the question of CAB’s correlation with personality traits and approach the problem using a quantitative method of meta-analysis. The following critical review will summarize the article’s main ideas, evaluate its positive features and weaknesses, and include recommendations for further research.
The article begins with the definition of CAB and the discussion of seven related categories: cheating, absenteeism, plagiarism, deception, breach of rules, low effort, and misuse of resources. The study’s main objectives are the examination of the correlation between the Big Five personality dimensions, intelligence, and CAB, estimation of their validity, and assessment of the moderating effects of different educational levels. Cuadrado et al. (2021) also aim to discover the best combination of personality/intelligence variables for accurate CAB prediction.
Furthermore, the researchers evaluate the global prevalence of CAB, support their findings with quantitative evidence, and analyze the impact of personality dimensions (the Big Five) and cognitive factors on behavior. The meta-analysis includes 64 studies related to conscientiousness and 41 studies of openness to experience, with total sample sizes of 31,473 and 23,420 students, respectively (Cuadrado et al., 2021). The results of the analysis suggest that conscientiousness and agreeableness are reliable predictors of CAB, while personality measures are cost-effective instruments for enhancing educational and occupational recruitment strategies.
The study is a valuable source of information that effectively summarizes existing research on the topic and has two major strengths. First, the research might be regarded as a reputable source because it is relevant, peer-reviewed, and based on evidence from previous studies, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses. The authors claim that it is “the largest meta-analytic cumulation of primary studies carried out to examine the relationships between CAB, the Big Five personality factors, and intelligence” (Cuadrado et al., 2021, p. 521).
The review of current peer-reviewed scholarly articles proves that idea, as their authors have different perspectives. For instance, similar research by Rusdi (2017) also approached the topic of CAB but focused on mitigation strategies, while Islam et al. (2018) aimed to predict CAB in terms of academic citizenship. Second, the division of CAB into seven facets allowed Cuadrado et al. (2021) to examine the relationships between the correlates and expand the knowledge of the phenomenon. The classification provides the foundation for further research of the academic setting since the existing typology established by Robinson and Bennett covers counterproductive behaviors at the workplace.
In addition to the quality of evidence used in the article and its relevant research problem, the study contains a bias assessment of the publications used for meta-analysis. Publication bias is a significant concern in systematic reviews and meta-analyses because it negatively affects the validity of conclusions (Lin & Chu, 2018). Cuadrado et al. (2021) recognized that the research design of the article involved bias potential and included diverse sources from different countries, applying six methods of bias analysis. The estimates reveal that publication bias can impact the calculated value for emotional stability but does not have any practical significance.
Alternatively, the authors might have used a funnel plot method specifically designed for research in psychology and education (Higgins & Thomas, 2021). The tool can help identify asymmetry, quantify publication bias, and demonstrate effect estimates from individual studies.
The analysis of the article reveals the limitations, which were not indicated by the authors. The main weakness of the study is the method of a psychometric meta-analysis conducted via outdated, closed-source software that restricts further research, according to Dahlke and Wiernik (2018). The experts recommend the use of psychimeta program, which can address these concerns by providing open access to scientific knowledge and allowing flexible psychometric corrections. Another limitation is the inclusion of outdated sources from “several decades of research,” which might have caused statistical heterogeneity leading to invalid conclusions (Cuadrado et al., 2021, p. 508). The approach ignores the differences in CAB, requiring the researchers to focus on heterogeneity rather than the summary effect (Lee, 2019). Therefore, it might be worth investigating the issue by preparing a heterogeneity statistics report to explain the differences between the estimates in current and outdated publications.
Future studies should be conducted to compensate for the article’s limitations discussed above and to analyze the problem in detail. For the purpose of continuous research, further references can be divided into method-improving and problem-developing sources. The meta-analytic method of studying CAB might be improved using the innovative psychimeta research conducted by Dahlke and Weirnik (2018) and the findings on heterogeneity offered by Lee (2019). The research problem can be extended by including the concept of academic citizenship proposed by Islam et al. (2018). Alternatively, it might be reasonable to analyze the link between the student’s CAD and their teachers’ counterproductive work behaviors based on the findings by Mahdi et al. (2018). CAB undermine the efforts to achieve social sustainability and compliance with ethical standards in academic institutions, which means that further research needs to focus on the current state of negative behavior in educational settings.
To sum up, the study has a practical potential for academic recruitment managers and theoretical implications for the researchers working in the fields of psychology and education. The authors provided an extensive meta-analysis and developed a classification to demonstrate the correlation between CAB, intellect, and personality dimensions. The strengths and limitations of the study might be considered to improve further research and focus on the relevant problems and settings associated with counterproductive behaviors.
Cuadrado, D., Salgado, J. F., & Moscoso, S. (2021). Personality, intelligence, and counterproductive academic behaviors: A meta-analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 120(2), 504–537. Web.
Dahlke, J. A., & Wiernik, B. M. (2018). Psychmeta: An R Package for Psychometric Meta-Analysis. Applied Psychological Management, 43(5), 415–416. Web.
Higgins, J., & Thomas, J. (Eds.). (2021). Cochrane handbook for systematic reviews of interventions. Cochrane Training. Web.
Islam, S., Permzadian, V., Choundhury, R. J., Johnson, M., & Anderson, M. (2018). Proactive personality and the expanded criterion domain of performance: Predicting academic citizenship and counterproductive behaviors. Learning and Individual Differences, 65, 41–49. Web.
Lee, Y. H. (2019). Strengths and limitations of meta-analysis. The Korean Journal of Medicine, 94(5), 391–395. Web.
Lin, L., & Chu, H. (2018). Quantifying publication bias in meta-analysis. Journal of the International Biometric Society, 74(3), 785–794. Web.
Mahdi, S., Ibrahim, M., & Armia, S. (2018). The role of negative emotions on the relationship of job stress and counterproductive work behavior (research on public senior high school teachers). International Journal of Asian Social Science, 8(2), 77–84. Web.
Rusdi, Z. M. (2017). The influence of self-control and mindfulness on counterproductive academic behavior. AFEBI Management and Business Review, 2(1), 1–7.