Even the best laid plans sometimes go askew: Career self-management processes career shocks, and the decision to pursue graduate education

Scott E. Seibert, Maria L. Kraimer, Brooks C. Holtom, Abigail J. Pierotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations

Abstract

Drawing on career self-management frameworks as well as image theory and the unfolding model of turnover, we developed a model predicting early career employees' decisions to pursue graduate education. Using a sample of 337 alumni from 2 universities, we found that early career individuals with intrinsic career goals, who engaged in career planning, who were less satisfied with their career, or who experienced impactful positive career shocks were more likely to intend to go to graduate school. In contrast, individuals with extrinsic career goals who were highly satisfied with their careers were less likely to intend to go to graduate school. Graduate education intentions, career planning, and the impact of having one's mentor leave the organization positively related to actual applications to graduate school. However, having extrinsic career goals, an impactful sooner than expected raise or promotion (a positive career shock), and a negative organizational change (a negative career shock) negatively related to the likelihood of applying. The career shocks' direct relationship to applications to graduate school, regardless of one's intentions, suggests that "the best laid plans" can sometimes be altered by unplanned events. This study contributes to the literatures on career self-management and graduate education and extends the application of the shock construct from the unfolding model of turnover to other careerrelated decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-182
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Volume98
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology

Keywords

  • Career management
  • Management education
  • Voluntary turnover

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