Being proactive is about making things happen, anticipating and preventing problems, and seizing opportunities. It involves self-initiated efforts to bring about change in the work environment and/or oneself to achieve a different future. The authors develop existing perspectives on this topic by identifying proactivity as a goal-driven process involving both the setting of a proactive goal (proactive goal generation) and striving to achieve that proactive goal (proactive goal striving). The authors identify a range of proactive goals that individuals can pursue in organizations. These vary on two dimensions: the future they aim to bring about (achieving a better personal fit within one’s work environment, improving the organization’s internal functioning, or enhancing the organization’s strategic fit with its environment) and whether the self or situation is being changed. The authors then identify “can do,” “reason to,” and “energized to” motivational states that prompt proactive goal generation and sustain goal striving. Can do motivation arises from perceptions of self-efficacy, control, and (low) cost. Reason to motivation relates to why someone is proactive, including reasons flowing from intrinsic, integrated, and identified motivation. Energized to motivation refers to activated positive affective states that prompt proactive goal processes. The authors suggest more distal antecedents, including individual differences (e.g., personality, values, knowledge and ability) as well as contextual variations in leadership, work design, and interpersonal climate, that influence the proactive motivational states and thereby boost or inhibit proactive goal processes. Finally, the authors summarize priorities for future research.
PARKER, S.K., BINDL, U.K. et STRAUSS, K. (2010). Making things happen: A model of proactive motivation. Journal of Management. Journal of Management, 36(4), pp. 827-856.