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career research blog

The latest career research insights to grow your career

The (not so) new career paradigm

Noemi Nagy

The “new career paradigm” is a popular concept in organisational literature and posits that today’s career has significantly changed in comparison to the last century, with careers being more diverse and people engaging in more downward and lateral job changes and changes of occupation. Canadian researchers now tested these assertions by comparing career mobility patterns across four generations of workers. They observed significant differences in job mobility and organisational mobility across generations, with younger generations being more mobile. However, despite the increased mobility of younger employees, the diversity of career patterns has not undergone a significant shift.

Lyons, S.T., Schweitzer, L., Ng, E.S.W. (2015) "How have careers changed? An investigation of changing career patterns across four generations", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 30(1), 8–21.

 

 

 

Emotional intelligence as career resource

Noemi Nagy

Emotional intelligence seems to play an important role in the career progress of young people, as the findings of a recent study from Italy show. The researchers explored the career development of Italian high school students and found that those students with high teacher support and high levels of emotional intelligence were more resilient and felt more employable than their fellow students.

Di Fabio, A., & Kenny, M. E. (2015). The contributions of emotional intelligence and social support for adaptive career progress among Italian youth. Journal of Career Development42(1), 48-59.

Career advice: Encouraging mums and discouraging friends

Noemi Nagy

A recent study from the USA investigated college students’ perceptions of their most influential sources of career related information. The researchers investigated encouraging as well as discouraging career messages and found that mothers, followed by teachers/professors, friends and fathers, were perceived to be the most influential sources of encouraging career messages. Mothers were most often described as telling their children to pursue a passion for their career while teachers/professors were frequently reported as providing career detail messages. Friends were identified as the most influential source of discouraging messages.

Powers, S. R., & Myers, K. K. (2016). Vocational Anticipatory Socialization College Students’ Reports of Encouraging/Discouraging Sources and Messages. Journal of Career Development, online before print, August 1, 2016.

 

The downside of helping colleagues at work

Noemi Nagy

Helping out work colleagues is usually associated with positive outcomes such as higher satisfaction and commitment at work and a better team climate. A recent study uncovered a less beneficial side of helping. Researchers from the USA found that responding to numerous help requests during the day is increasingly depleting for employees and manifests itself as reduced willpower and ability to focus, manage emotions or persist at difficult tasks. Responding to many help requests was particularly problematic for people who value helping others and who help on a regular basis. 

Koopman, J., Lanaj, K., & Scott, B. A. (2016). Integrating the bright and dark sides of OCB: A daily investigation of the benefits and costs of helping others. Academy of Management Journal, 59(2), 414-435.

The costs of job insecurity: Deviant behavior and turnover

Annabelle Hofer

Deviant behavior directed toward individuals and the organizational workplace (e.g., aggression, taking company property) as well as turnover can turn workplaces into hostile environments and cost companies a lot of money. A new study found that employees who experience more job insecurity also show a higher amount of deviant behavior and intention to leave. Job insecurity is the subjective perception of being threatened by job loss, and concerns about the continued existence of the job in the future. Companies should thus have an incentive to reduce perceived job insecurity among their employees in order to prevent negative behaviors at work and unwanted job exits by employees. 

Huang, G.-h., Wellman, N., Ashford, S. J., Lee, C., & Wang, L. (2016, September 12). Deviance and exit: The organizational costs of job insecurity and moral disengagement. Journal of Applied Psychology. Advance online publication.

Nonwork orientations are related to higher career and life satisfaction

Andreas Hirschi

When planning a career, many people take nonwork orientations into account, such as family, personal interests and civic engagement. Our team has conducted a study among over 500 employees in German and found that people who strongly consider the role of the family in career planning report more satisfaction with their career and their lives in general. Surprisingly, nonwork orientations also showed no negative effects on earnings.

Read the full media release at the University of Bern Media Relations Website

Hirschi, A., Herrmann, A., Nagy, N., & Spurk, D. (2016). All in the name of work? Nonwork orientations as predictors of salary, career satisfaction, and life satisfaction. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 95–96, 45-57, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2016.07.006.

Genetics play a role in job changes

Noemi Nagy

New research suggests that genetic predisposition interacts with early life environmental factors in predicting job change frequency in adulthood. An international research team found that employees with a special genetic marker had in general higher rates of job change: employees with a family background of high socioeconomic status and high educational achievement had more voluntary job changes and less involuntary job changes. In contrast, employees with low socioeconomic background and lower educational achievement had more involuntary job changes and less voluntary job changes. The study demonstrates that molecular genetics can bring new insights to enhance our understanding of career development.

Chi, W., Li, W., Wang, N., & Song, Z. (2016). Can genes play a role in explaining frequent job changes? An examination of gene-environment interaction from human capital theory. Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol 101(7), 1030-1044.  

What values guide your career?

Francisco Wilhelm

What motivates us to work and what we value in our work are tricky problems. Back in the old days, you would simply do what your father (and it was mostly men who entered occupations) did. Why you work wasn’t even a serious question. Born a peasant, you simply had no choice; for nobles, it was only starting in the 19th century that following a ‘regular’ occupation was a valid pursuit and not something reserved for lower classes. The question was only a concern to the middle classes, and their choices were limited by rather rigid systems of guilds and societies evolving at a slow pace.

But that is no longer our world: Both the what and why of working get more complicated everyday. The range of occupations to choose from is exploding; even more so, to stay valuable on the labor market you now have to craft a niche for yourself and proactively manage your own career. Thus, to navigate our complex world, questions about what and why you work are also becoming more important everyday.

Researchers have identified that career identity, or “being clear on one’s needs, motivation, abilities, values and interests” (Hall 2002; Gubler, Arnold & Coombs, 2014) is a key ingredient for successful careers in the 21st century. But finding out what your needs, motivations, abilities, values and interests are is a daunting task, even for highly self-reflexive persons. Fortunately, we at CRESOGO are here to help you. In today’s post we are going to explore the values aspect of work identities.

What are work values? Simply put, they “answer the question of what is important to individuals in their working lives” (Lyons, Higgins & Duxbury, 2010). Researchers have been looking for underlying criteria that people use, implicitly or explicitly, when choosing or evaluating jobs. For example, when a person prefers a job that is secure, provides a good life-work-balance and offers benefits such as health insurance, that person values instrumental aspects in her/his work.  There has been an ongoing debate on just how many and which categories are the best to classify people’s preferences. In a large-scale study with over 100.000 people, Lyons and colleagues have found that the best classification of work values consists of four types, which are: instrumental, cognitive, social/altruistic, prestige.

The Instrumental work value type emphasizes aspects of security and comfort and how one can gain things from work which can be used for other purposes, like salary and moderate hours of work. The cognitive work value type is about the aspects of work which are fulfilling in themselves, like variety and doing interesting and intellectually stimulation work that challenges your abilities and from which you can learn. The social work value type entails the relations we foster at work and the social interactions, as well as altruistic aspects like helping people and contributing to society through your work. The prestige work value type is about enhancing yourself through gaining authority, influence and status.

What work aspects are dear to you? What work values do you hold? We hope this article will help you to reflect on your values. Maybe it will even help you when your next career decision comes up.

 

References

Gubler, M., Arnold, J., & Coombs, C. (2014). Reassessing the protean career concept: Empirical findings, conceptual components, and measurement. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 35, 23–40. doi:10.1002/job.1908

Hall, D. T. (2002). Careers in and out of organizations. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc.

Lyons, S. T., Higgins, C. A., & Duxbury, L. (2010). Work values: Development of a new three- dimensional structure based on confirmatory smallest space analysis. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 31(7), 969–1002. doi:10.1002/job.658

Creative workers and lonely spouses?

Noemi Nagy

Creativity is most often thought of as a predominantly beneficial behavior for employees and organizations: creative workers produce new products for the organization and are generally more satisfied with their work. Recent research from the USA however explored the potential downsides of creativity. The authors found that creative work can have deleterious consequences for private relationships: creative behaviors during the work day predicted less time spent with a spouse at home. The results raise questions about the possible relational costs of creativity.

 Harrison, S., & Wagner, D. T. (2015). Spilling outside the box: The effects of individuals' creative behaviors at work on time spent with their spouses at home. Academy of Management Journal, 59(3), 841-859.

How career preferences reflect gender stereotypes

Anja Ghetta

An Israeli study investigated how career-decisions depend on gender. When women and men named their aspired occupations, women preferred professions that were more “feminine” and men more “masculine” ones. Similarly, when study participants rated how important different aspects of work were to them (e.g., working indoors, working with numbers and figures) and then matched those job aspects with suitable occupations, men’s aspired occupations were still more “masculine” than women’s. However, these indirect occupational preferences expressed by ratings of work aspects were less gender-typical than the directly named aspired occupations. This suggests that gender bias in professional aspirations can be reduced when focusing on work aspects (e.g., autonomy, field of work, working outdoors) instead of job titles. 

Readers of our blog might also be intereested to check out a free career decision-making platform that is based on the work of the authors of the above presented study: www.cddq.org

Gadassi, R., & Gati, I. (2009). The effect of gender stereotypes on explicit and implicit career preferences. The Counseling Psychologist, 37(6), 902-922.