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The role of career-self-management in determining employees' perceptions and evaluations of their psychological contract and their esteemed value of career activities offered by the organization

Listed author(s):
  • Veroniek De Schamphelaere


  • Ans De Vos


  • Dirk Buyens


    (Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School)

The development of a career is subject to an interaction and exchange process between employer and employee. In addition, the changing nature and meaning of a career in todays competitive labor market has stimulated researchers to relate this with the psychological contract theory (e.g. Herriot, 1998; Sparrow & Cooper, 1998). However, the research domain of career self-management and the potential influence on the perception and evaluation of the psychological contract and on career activities offered by the organization in particular, has not been explicitly explored yet. Studies of Kossek et al. (1998) and Sturges et al. (2000) show that employees who actively manage their own career, hold higher expectations towards their employer, since they develop a clear idea on what their career objectives are and on how they want to achieve them. Hence, hypotheses are formulated that address the relationship between career self-management and (1) the perception and evaluation of the psychological contract, (2) the esteemed value and perception of career activities offered by the employer. To test our hypotheses, a cross-sectional survey among 491 employees of six Belgian organizations has been conducted. Our results suggest that the extent to which employees manage their own career has a significant impact on (1) the perception and evaluation of promises exchanged with their employer and (2) the importance they attach to career activities and the evaluation they make of the career activities offered by the company. First, employees who actively manage their own career, believe their employer has made more promises to them relating to different content domains of the psychological contract. Secondly, employees who actively manage their own career, are more positive on the fulfillment of their psychological contract. More specifically, this conclusion can be applied to the two dimensions of the psychological contract that are job-related, i.e. career development opportunities, job content. Thirdly, employees who actively manage their own career, attach more importance to the career activities offered by the company. In particular those career activities that consist of real guidance and steering from the organization. Furthermore, these employees also evaluate the provision of career management practices in the organization more positively. Our findings are discussed in view of the literature on career self-management and psychological contracts and they add new important insights.

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Paper provided by Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School in its series Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School Working Paper Series with number 2004-11.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 11 Jun 2004
Handle: RePEc:vlg:vlgwps:2004-11
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