Contemporary Career Development Issues

Contemporary Career Development Issues

Contemporary Career Development Issues

Contemporary Career Development Issues


Based on the thesis that individuals develop not in isolation, but in a direction consistent with both personal needs and the needs of the surrounding environment, this volume concentrates on the development of adults in their careers within organizations. The organizational and individual perspectives offered provide practical guidance and examples for human resource development specialists to use in the evaluation of their current career development programs and the design of new ones. Key issues receiving prime attention include the necessity of reward systems to the success of any career development program, career transitions, and five critical career development research areas.


There is a compelling need for innovative approaches to the solution of many pressing problems involving human relationships in today's society. Such approaches are more likely to be successful when they are based on sound research and applications. This Series in Applied Psychology offers publications that emphasize state-of-the-art research and its application to important issues of human behavior in a variety of societal settings. The objective is to bridge both academic and applied interests.

Twenty years ago, there was little career development theory, even less research, and probably no applications beyond traditional training and management development that fell within the adult-life context. With a nagging feeling that adult life was not just a plateau in which a career decision made in late adolescence or early adulthood was played out until retirement, Robert Morrison left the industrial world of human resources management. He soon became embroiled in activities designed to satisfy his curiosity about how adults grow and develop throughout their life-long careers. Because of his experience with industry's leadership problems, foreign subsidiaries, organization start-ups, mergers and acquisitions, minority issues, and so on, he felt that the context within which an individual worked throughout an entire career strongly influenced the continuity of the growth and development process in concert with the individual's personal factors. His research has focused on these reciprocal concerns in career development.

Operating on a parallel path for more than 15 years, Jerome Adams has been a "student" trying to understand better the organizational career management and individual career development issues. The beginnings of that "student" learningjourney involved work within the public sector where he observed and studied the changing values toward career success. Individuals were benchmarking career success and being influenced by new values: dual careers, heightened sense of work and family, and the general health and balance of quality of life. As the journey led to new opportunities involving work in the private section, the student was a witness to the new turbulence taking place in the business environment. Global competitiveness ushered in delayering, mergers, acquisitions, and the accelerated rate of change that redefined the importance of careful career management and creative career development. Over that 15-year journey, he has come to the realization that the successful linking of our research understanding of career issues with effective management practice provides a competitive advantage for the surviving organizations in the 1990s.

Morrison and Adams have both worked in and taught leadership, manage-

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