The purpose of this research was to investigate the validity of personality for predicting training and job performance in a sample of firefighters, and to determine if motivation could act as a moderator in the personality-performance relationship. Personality and motivation inventories were administered to 109 firefighter candidates from three academy classes. At the termination of each academy, all candidates were assessed on their overall performance.
Correlation coefficients were used to measure the relationship between personality inventory scales, motivation inventory scales, and the overall training performance measures. A multiple regression procedure was used to investigate the relationship between personality, motivation, and performance to determine if motivation had a moderation effect on performance.
None of the correlations were statistically significant at the 0.05 level. The two highest were sociability (r = 0.13, p = .189) and school success (r = 0.11, p .262). With regard to the multiple regression, for the sample of low thrill-seeker subjects, the r- for the motivation and thrill-seeking variables was .0578 (F = .7665). Adding the combined variable (thrill-seeking x motivation) into the equation provided a Ar2 of .0217 (AF = .5652). For the sample of high thrill-seeker subjects, the r2 for the motivation and thrill-seeking variables was .0513 (F = 1.6226). Adding the product variable (thrill-seeking x motivation) into the equation provided a Ar2 of .0004 (AF = .0215). Although motivation seemed to moderate personality when predicting training performance to a greater extent in the low thrill-seeker sample than it did in the high thrill-seeker sample, the results were not significant.
Since the personality and motivation inventories had been previously shown to be related to performance, a possible explanation for the current results is that the measure used in the study was a poor indicator of performance. Future studies should use performance measures specifically designed to measure the objectives of the academy, which should stem from the essential functions of the job as determined by a job analysis.