Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Effect of Proactive Personality and Decision-Making Self-Efficacy on Career Adaptability among Chinese Graduates

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Effect of Proactive Personality and Decision-Making Self-Efficacy on Career Adaptability among Chinese Graduates

Article excerpt

Currently, university graduates are experiencing severe employment pressure because of the slow recovery of the global economy and the continuing slump of the labor market (Tolentino et al., 2014). This situation is particularly serious in China. Recent graduates often require an extended period of time to find a suitable job. Given this situation, it is very important for graduates to develop the ability to adapt to career changes. Based on the current employment situation and the need for career flexibility, in this research we examined the effect of proactive personality and career decision-making self-efficacy of Chinese graduate students on their career adaptability under employment pressure.

Career Adaptability

Career adaptability (CA) refers to the ability of an individual to respond to career role transitions. CA is regarded as the key ability through which an individual achieves career success in fast-changing modern society. Individuals with high CA may take measures to improve their career environment and prepare for upcoming changes in that environment (Savickas, 2013).

The concept of CA originates from the revision of career maturity theory proposed by Super and Knasel (1981). Savickas, influenced by the construction theory, further developed the theoretical construction of CA by gradually substituting the concept of CA, with psychological significance, in place of career maturity, with biological significance (Savickas, 1997). In today's dynamic career milieu, CA is already considered indispensable in an individual's career development (Klehe, Zikic, van Vianen, Koen, & Buyken, 2012). CA represents change from static views, and paying more attention to human flexibility and adaptability (van Vianen, Klehe, Koen, & Dries, 2012). Therefore, CA has become a new focal point in the career psychology field, although there has, to date, been little in-depth integrated research into the relationships among the factors influencing CA.

Proactive Personality as a Predictor of CA

Proactive personality (PP), a concept first put forward by Bateman and Crant (1993), is a stable tendency describing the likelihood of individuals taking initiative to influence their surroundings.

Indeed, researchers have noted the important relationship between PP and CA (McArdle, Waters, Briscoe, & Hall, 2007). PP has a significant positive correlation with CA. Proactive individuals are more successful in actively shaping their own work environment and developing their CA resources than are individuals who are not proactive (Tolentino et al., 2014). Proactive individuals are not only more successful in their career but also adapt more readily to their environment (Brown, Cober, Kane, Levy, & Shalhoop, 2006). Bateman and Crant (1993) suggested that proactive individuals are more likely than are nonproactive individuals to have initiated preparation to cope with career-related changes, to identify promotion opportunities, and to create a work environment that conforms to career needs. Based on the above literature, we proposed:

Hypothesis 1: Proactive personality will positively predict career adaptability.

The Role of Career Decision-Making Self-Efficacy as a Mechanism Intervening Between Proactive Personality and Career Adaptability

Scholars have discussed the direct relationship between PP and CA, but the intervening mechanism has not been elucidated (Hirschi, Lee, Porfeli, & Vondracek, 2013). Researchers have theorized that the effect on career behavior of the basic personality traits is exerted via self-efficacy belief (Parker, Bindl, & Strauss, 2010). According to this viewpoint, self-efficacy is regarded as the main dynamic mechanism of self-regulation (Zikic & Saks, 2009). Thus, self-efficacy is often seen as a proximal, powerful, and important premise in the relationship between personality and career behavior (Stajkovic & Luthans, 1998), highlighting self-efficacy as an important variable worth studying in the context of this relationship. …

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