Cognitive ability predicts objectively measured counterproductive work behaviors

Dilchert, S., Ones, D. S., Davis, R. D., & Rostow, C. D.
Journal of Applied Psychology, 92, 616-627.

Over the past 2 decades, increasing attention has been directed at the relationship between individual differences and counterproductive work behaviors (CWB). However, most of this research has focused on personality variables as potential predictors of CWB; surprisingly little research has investigated the link between counterproductivity and cognitive ability. This study presents the first focal investigation of the cognitive ability-CWB relationship. The authors measured organizational and interpersonal CWB using organizational records of formally recorded incidents (e.g., destruction of property, physical violence). In a predictive study, for a large sample of law enforcement job applicants, a standardized psychometric test of cognitive ability predicted CWB, whereas educational attainment did not.