Synchrony Preference: Why Some People Go With the Flow and Some Don't

Sophie Leroy*, Abbie J. Shipp, Sally Blount, John Gabriel Licht

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


As work in organizations becomes more fluid and fast paced the effective execution of tasks often requires people to be temporally adaptable in working with others. This paper brings to light the importance of understanding how people relate to time in the context of social interactions. By integrating the research on time and social motives, we develop a relational perspective about time. We introduce the construct of synchrony preference, an individual difference that describes a willingness to adapt one's pace and rhythm within social interactions for the purpose of creating synchrony with others. We develop a measure of synchrony preference that we validate using multiple methods across 4 studies and 7 samples, which include over 1,400 individuals. In particular, we establish a nomological network and show that synchrony preference predicts flexible pacing behaviors, interpersonal facilitation, contribution to team synchrony, contribution to team performance, and job dedication. Our results reveal that both scholars and practitioners can benefit from considering people's preference for synchrony when working with others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)759-809
Number of pages51
JournalPersonnel Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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