Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Protean Career Development: Exploring the Individuals, Organizational and Job-Related Factors

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Protean Career Development: Exploring the Individuals, Organizational and Job-Related Factors

Article excerpt


Due to dynamics on both external and internal business environments, new forms of career management and career progression are increasingly being adopted at the individual level to maximize career success. Employees are now more inclined to setup their own career agendas and establish benchmarks in measuring career success in a new trend as emphasized in protean career. Based on the SCCT and JCM models, the study provides a theoretical framework that examines the predictive potential of the individual, organizational and job-related factors in explaining protean career among professional employees. The study is exploratory on the grounds of literature review. Professional employees may gain insights of the importance of protean career in career development process. Practical interventions for HRD professionals are suggested to assist individuals and organisations towards protean career management. Future research could provide a more holistic view of protean career and develop additional propositions.

Keywords: career development, protean career, professional employees, social cognitive career theory, career management

1. Introduction

Changes in economic, social and technological spheres are affecting organizational flexibility and responsiveness in meeting competitive global market requirements. In an effort to trim cost and improve efficiency, organizations are now downsizing, restructuring and delayering their workforce. As such, employment insecurity and career discontinuity are increasingly being felt by employees at all levels (Park & Rothwell, 2009). These changes have led to the gradual transformation of the employment contract from being long term relational understanding to short term transactional relationships (Rousseau, 1995; Hall & Chandler, 2005). Such changes in employment psychological contract and career landscape have prompted individuals to be more proactively in taking charge of their individual career development rather leaving it to their respective organizations. Hall and Mirvis (1996) contended that protean career is a particularly well-suited adaptation to current career landscapes. De Vos and Scons (2008) added that wide range of terms were used to explain protean career such as career self-management, proactive career behavior, and individual career management (Sturges, Conway, Guest, & Liefooghe, 2005; King, 2004). The notion of proactivity is vital to develop protean careers.

Protean career is defined as a career where the individual is experiencing greater responsibility for their career choices and career opportunities. The core values of protean career are freedom and growth, and subjective career success is recognized as the main success criteria (Hall, 1976). This study aims to develop a theoretical framework for measuring professionals' protean careers. Specifically, the study attempts to identify the predictors of professionals' protean career. Previous empirical studies have explored the relationship between protean career and career related outcomes such as career decision, career satisfaction and career advancement. Mixed results were found as the studies were conducted in different environmental contexts and sample population (Sullivan & Arthur, 2006; Enache, Sallan, Simo, & Fernandez, 2011). Moreover, the previous literatures have mainly focused on protean career as a predictor of career-related outcomes, whereas, there is lack of protean career literature studies that examines theoretically based variables to predict the protean career (Gubler, Arnold, & Coombs, 2013). To the individual, the findings of this study highlight critical personal attributes for protean career management. Whereas at organizational level, the study stresses on the important role of organizational in influencing the individual career. To human resource practitioners, they stand to benefit in accessing a broader spectmm of perspectives and tools in developing effective human resource programs. …

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