Conscientiousness and cognitive skills in security sphere: Associations and configurations

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In balancing the mission of state security forces and bodies, private security guards are expected to provide partial fulfillment to society’s sturdy desire for safety and security. They exert responsibility for protecting housing and commercial communities, as well as institutions and critical infrastructure systems, including manufacturing, utilities, transportation, and health and educational facilities. Acknowledging that these individuals must possess specific capabilities for a satisfactory level of performance, this study aims to empirically explore how those capabilities interact to obtain a good fit for their job. In order to accomplish this objective, the paper scrutinizes the insights of 94 Colombian security guards. It examines the potential associations (through a partial least squares-structural equation modeling) and configurations (through a fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis) between the personality trait of conscientiousness and two relevant cognitive skills: mental agility and visual memory. The findings revealed coincidences and contradictions between techniques and addressed constructs’ arrangements to understand how individual capabilities are associated with work outcomes. Even though conscientious individuals tend to perceive strong compatibility with the security job, the skills under study display signs of being contingent on obtaining the same work attachment effect. This study concludes that a security guard’s job specification must privilege the possession of a conscientiousness trait and, if possible, self-perception of proficiency in cognitive skills, such as mental agility and visual memory, to obtain a correct fitting for the job.

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    • Figure 1. Correlational model
    • Figure 2. Configurational model
    • Table 1. Respondents’ profile
    • Table 2. Measurement model (loadings, reliability, and model determination)
    • Table 3. PLS-SEM research model results
    • Table 4. fsQCA consistency and coverage
    • Table 5. fsQCA results
    • Conceptualization
      Orlando E. Contreras-Pacheco, Hugo E. Martínez-Ardila
    • Formal Analysis
      Orlando E. Contreras-Pacheco, Hugo E. Martínez-Ardila
    • Funding acquisition
      Orlando E. Contreras-Pacheco, Hugo E. Martínez-Ardila
    • Investigation
      Orlando E. Contreras-Pacheco
    • Methodology
      Orlando E. Contreras-Pacheco, Juan Camilo Lesmez-Peralta
    • Software
      Orlando E. Contreras-Pacheco
    • Writing – original draft
      Orlando E. Contreras-Pacheco, Juan Camilo Lesmez-Peralta
    • Data curation
      Juan Camilo Lesmez-Peralta
    • Project administration
      Juan Camilo Lesmez-Peralta
    • Supervision
      Juan Camilo Lesmez-Peralta
    • Resources
      Hugo E. Martínez-Ardila
    • Visualization
      Hugo E. Martínez-Ardila