Career self-management behaviour

However, organizations expect and graduates as individuals recognize that they can and perhaps should play a role in managing their own careers. This may mean they have to be more proactive about their own career development, for example, getting to know influential people, seeking out career advice, and drawing attention to their achievements.

Since career self-management can serve two purposes -to further one’s career within an organization or outside it, depending on the individual’s career goals and strategy (Kossek, Roberts, Fisher, & Demarr, 1998; Noe, 1996)-different kinds of activities are likely to be appropriate, depending on the intention (Stickland, 1996).

For example, networking activities, aimed at cultivating influential contacts at work, and visibility activities, aimed at drawing attention to one’s achievements at work, might be particularly useful for furthering a career within the organization. On the other hand, other types of career management activity, such as gaining marketable knowledge and experience and monitoring job advertisements, are most likely to be suited to furthering a career outside an individual’s current employer.

Less is known about the relationship between these different kinds of activity and organizational commitment. Indeed, while engagement in any form of career self-management may reflect an acceptance by the individual that their career is not bounded by one organization, implying a lack of commitment to their employer (Mirvis & Hall, 1994), career self-management activities aimed at furthering the career within or outside the organization seem likely to relate to organizational commitment in different ways.

In particular, consistent with the literature showing a close link between organizational commitment and intention to leave (Jaros, 1997; Hackett, Bycio, & Hausdorf, 1994), we would expect to find a negative relationship between organizational commitment and externally oriented career self-management practices. Furthermore, doing things to manage one’s career outside the organization is likely to undermine further an individual’s commitment to their employer, as they actively consider a career with another employer (Jaros, 1997).

Hypothesis 2: Low levels of organizational commitment will result in graduates practising more career self-management behaviour aimed at furthering their career outside the organization. Hypothesis 3: Graduates’ engagement in career self-management behaviour aimed at furthering their career outside the organization will result in lower levels of organizational commitment. Conversely, organizational commitment might encourage individuals to perform the kind of career management practices, such as seeking out an influential mentor, which will help further their career in their current organization (Arnold, 1997).

This is especially likely to be the case at the present time, where many organizations indicate that they expect their staff to play a role in managing their careers (Adamson, Doherty, ; Viney, 1998; Gratton ; Hope Hailey, 1999). Hypothesis 4: Higher levels of organizational commitment will result in graduates practising more career self-management behaviour aimed at furthering their career within the organization.

Since organizational career management and career self-management activities aimed at furthering the career within the organization can be complementary activities (Orpen, 1994), both intended to aid the career development of an individual within the organization, it is probable that there is a close relationship between them. Indeed, earlier research has suggested that, if graduates are to manage their own career successfully, they need assistance from their employers to give them the skills and confidence to do so (Noe, 1996; Fournier, 1997).

Therefore, one would expect there to be a positive link between getting career management help from the organization and practice of internally focussed career selfmanagement. In turn, this type of career management activity, if successful, is likely to bring graduates to the attention of influential, more senior, managers, putting them in position where they are likely to attract even more help from the organization in the future (Arnold, 1997).

Hypothesis 5: Graduates who receive career management help from their employer will be more likely to practise career management behaviour aimed at furthering their career within the organization. Hypothesis 6: Graduates who practise career management behaviour aimed at furthering their career within the organization will receive more career management help from their employer.

However, if graduates do not receive adequate career management help from their employer, this is likely to be a source of dissatisfaction (Pitcher ; Purcell, 1997; Mabey, 1986). As a result, they may have little option but to take the management of their career into their own hands and do things aimed at finding a new job in another organization. Hypothesis 7: Graduates who do not receive career management help from their employer will be more likely to practise career management behaviour aimed at furthering their career outside the organization.