RESEARCH AND PRACTICE
IN HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

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Puah, P. & Ananthram, S. (2006). Exploring the Antecedents and Outcomes of Career Development Initiatives: Empirical Evidence from Singaporean Employees, Research and Practice in Human Resource Management, 14(1), 112-142.

Exploring the Antecedents and Outcomes of Career Development Initiatives: Empirical Evidence from Singaporean Employees

Priscilla Puah & Subramaniam Ananthram

Abstract

The notion of empowering human capital to onset creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, and innovation through planning the careers of institutional members using HRM policies and practices to develop different mindsets, skills and competencies with the ultimate aim to provide a range of innovative products and services is attracting attention. This paper explores the link between career planning and career management as antecedents of career development and job satisfaction, and career commitment as its outcome. A sample of 505 employees of a leading international Singaporean hotel revealed the significant link between the variables of career planning and career management, and career development, and in turn, with job satisfaction and career commitment. The paper discusses the implications of these findings for career development.

Introduction

The globalised business world is undergoing unprecedented change. Organisations operating in this complex business environment are constantly engaged in restructuring and downsizing processes, facilitating mergers and acquisitions and embracing technological advancements to cope with the dynamic pressures of globalisation (Greenhaus, Callanan & Godshalk 2000, Appelbaum, Ayre & Shapiro 2002, Baruch 2004). These changes at the organisational level have elevated the importance of managing people at work, and in particular, the planning and managing of their careers (Baruch 2004). Arguably, people are the most valuable resource in contemporary organisations, and providing them with a long term stable career is a win-win situation for both organisations and their employees.

In this context, a ‘career’ has been defined as a lifelong process made up of a sequence of activities and related attitudes or behaviours that take place in a person’s work life (Hall & Associates 1986). It is also viewed as: a pattern of work related experiences, such as job positions, jobs duties or activities, work related decisions; and subjective interpretations of work related events, such as work aspirations, expectations, values, needs and feelings about particular work experiences, that span the course of a person’s life (Greenhaus, et al. 2000). Clearly, a career is not just a job, but evolves around a process, an attitude, behaviour and a situation in a person’s work life to achieve set career goals. Baruch (2004) points out that career is the property of individuals, but for the employed, it is organisations that will plan and manage employee careers. However, during the last few decades the notion that individuals are also responsible to cater to and build their own careers, instead of leaving it entirely to the organisation to manage, has been well documented (Baruch 2004). Hence, career management requires initiative from both organisations as well as individuals in order to provide maximum benefit for both.

Career development is about the development of employees that is beneficial to both the individual and organisation, and is a complex process. Theories surrounding the complex career development process emerged in 1950s in the work of Eli Ginzberg, Donald Super, Anne Roe, John Holland and David Tiedeman (Herr & Shahnasarian 2001). In the last fifty years, major career development theories and practices were created, tested, and subsequently, defined (Leibowitz, Farren & Kaye 1986, McDaniels & Gysbers 1992, Herr 2001). Leibowitz, Farren and Kaye (1986) contend that career development involves an organised, formalised, planned effort to achieve a balance between the individual’s career needs and the organisation’s work force requirements. In the 1990s, the research focus was more on the practices of career development across a wide range of career issues, settings and populations and, according to Herr (2001), in the emerging world of the present and the future, the practices of career development are being challenged to find new paradigms and new scientific bases. Herr (2001) argued that this phenomenon was necessarily occurring as the inherent dynamism in the complex global business environment was increasingly affecting individual career choice. Moreover, Herr highlighted that in recent years there was a consolidation on the works of career behaviour with discussion on how it can be used to guide planned programmes of career interventions and, ultimately, to impact on organisational effectiveness.

Naturally, with proper career planning and career management, an individual expects to reap the result of such investment by attaining career development. According to McDaniels and Gysbers (1992), career development is the total constellation of psychological, sociological, educational, physical, economic, and chance factors that combine to shape the career of any given individual over the life span. Greenhaus, Callanan and Godshalk (2000) suggests that career development is an ongoing process by which individuals progress through a series of stages, each of which is characterised by a relatively unique set of issues, themes, and tasks. Hall and Associates (1986) define career development as the outcomes emanating from the interaction of individual career planning and institutional career management processes.

This notion of career planning and development initiatives fostering organisational effectiveness depends on the organisation’s ability to transit employees from a traditional pattern of expectation to one of increased responsibility for their own career growth and development (Martin, Romero, Valle & Dolan 2001). A well designed career development system enables organisations to tap their wealth of inhouse talent for staffing and promotion by matching the skills, experience, and aspirations of individuals to the needs of the organisations. In addition, it enables them to make informed decisions around compensation and succession planning to attract, retain and motivate the employees, resulting in a more engaged and productive workforce (Thite 2001, Kapel & Shepherd 2004, Kaye 2005). Furthermore, career development must be an ongoing system linked with the organisation’s human resource (HR) structures and not a one time event (Leibowitz, et al.1988). These arguments concerning nexus between the organisation and the individual in defining and maintaining a sustainable career development process call for theorising and testing the antecedents and outcomes of career development practices across different contexts. This paper develops a conceptual framework of key variables that link to career development, and discusses its empirical testing in a Singaporean context. The following discussion explores some of the antecedents and outcomes of career development that inform the development of conceptual model.

A Model of Career Development

Figure 1 presents the conceptual model depicting the relationships of the variables. It illustrates that career planning and career management, two primary independent variables, lead to career development. Career development, in turn, links with the two outcome variables of job satisfaction and career commitment. In other words, the hypothesis is that career development is an intervening variable depicting the association of career planning and career management on job satisfaction and career commitment. The following discussion presents a detailed explanation of the hypotheses.

Figure 1
A Conceptual Model of Career Development
A Conceptual Model of Career Development

Career Planning and Career Development

Career development is a long term complex process. Indeed, organisations and individuals understand and appreciate the inherent longevity in this complex phenomenon. Often career development is reported as an organisational initiative whereby organisations set up mechanisms, processes, structures and systems to foster career development initiatives among individuals (McDaniels & Gysbers 1992, Herr 2001). However, in recent years, the notion of individuals pursuing their careers and shaping, moulding and developing ithem in order to get maximum advantage has received widespread attention. For instance, Hall and Associates (1986), and Granrose and Portwood (1987) emphasise the importance of career planning as the first step towards the career development process. Indeed, individuals need to explore career development areas and make decisions about personal objectives and development plans. Hall and Associates (1986) define career planning as a deliberate process for becoming aware of self, opportunities, constraints, choices and consequences, as well as identifying career related goals, and programming for work, education, and related developmental experience to provide the direction, timing and sequence of steps to attain a specific career goal. Leibowitz, Farren and Kaye (1988) concur with this definition when they define career planning as a process by which individuals determine their skills, interests, and values. Moreover, these authors contend that people consider which options ‘fit’ them, and set goals and establish plans for achieving their expectations. Furthermore, Leibowitz, Farren and Kaye (1986) argue that individuals are responsible for initiating their own career planning as well as identify their skills, values and interests, and seek out their career options in order to set goals and establish their career plans.

In summary, career planning is viewed as an initiative where an individual exerts personal control over their career and engages in informed choices as to his occupation, organisation, job assignment and self development (Hall & Associates 1986). Nevertheless, organisations can assist by providing career planning tools or workshops through vocational counselling, or by using workbooks or career resource centres to guide employees to conduct self assessment, analyse and evaluate their career options and preference, write down their development objectives and prepare the implementation plan (Hall & Associates 1986, Leibowitz, et al. 1988, Appelbaum, et al. 2002). These arguments provide underpinning for the first hypothesis H1.

H1: Career planning has a positive effect on achievement of career development.

Career Management and Career Development

Career management is another commonly cited antecedent of career development. Once individuals have planned their career goals, they require skills, competencies and values to execute their career goals with appropriate career management practices. In other words, the next step after career planning will be carrying out the plans through appropriate career management practices. Career management is an ongoing process of preparing, developing, implementing and monitoring career plans and strategies undertaken by the individual alone or in concert with the organisation’s career system (Hall & Associates 1986, Greenhaus, et al. 2000). Indeed, career management is a continuous process of work life. Furthermore, a satisfying career can promote feelings of fulfilment while poor career decisions can have a devastating effect on a person’s sense of well being (Greenhaus, et al. 2000).

In addition, changing environments, such as change of business strategies and direction, organisation downsizing, mergers and acquisitions and technological changes, will demand ongoing career management, resulting in the need to revisit career option and modify career paths (Greenhaus, et al. 2000). Research work by Greenhaus, Callanan and Godshalk (2000) supports the contention that effective career management can enable individuals to make informed decisions that are consistent with their talents, aspirations and values and improve organisation effectiveness. Many researchers argue that the career management initiative is a nexus between organisations and individuals where organisations endeavour to match individual interests and capabilities with organisational opportunities through a planned programme encompassing activities such as career systems, career counselling, job rotation and other career management tools and resources (Hall & Associates 1986, Martin, et al. 2001). Moreover, Brown (1998) contends that career management practices must support individuals in their efforts to develop the knowledge, skills, and behaviours that will enable them to be successful. The integration of both individual career planning and institutional career management processes results in career development when the individual attains the career goals set (Hall & Associates 1986).

Morrison and Hock (1986) contend that career management represents the organisational perspective in the career development process. This feature is demonstrated when organisations endeavour to match individual interests and capabilities with organisational opportunities through a planned programme encompassing such activities as the design of effective internal career systems, employee counselling, job rotation opportunities and a blend of positional experiences with on and off the job training assignments (Hall & Associates 1986). Gutteridge (1986) agrees that career management involves specific HR activities, such as job rotation, potential appraisal, career counselling, and training and education designed to help match employee interests and capabilities with organisational opportunities. An effective career management practices will help promote employee insight, goal and strategy development and gather appropriate feedback and assist employees in using and developing skills and knowledge that will benefit the organisation and the growth and self esteem of its employees (Greenhaus, et al. 2000, Martin, et al. 2001).

There are few studies on the association of career management and career development. A notable exception is the study by Noe (1996) who attempted to demonstrate the relationships between career management, employee development and employee performance. The study results indicated a voluntary increase in development activities and exploratory behaviour with age, institutional position and a manager’s support for development, as significant contributors to the career management process. However, this research did not provide conclusive evidence for the model (Appelbaum, et al. 2002). These contentions provide support for the next hypothesis H2.

H2: Career management has a positive effect on achievement of career development.

Career Development and Job Satisfaction

Organisations that invest in career management are more likely to increase employee’s job satisfaction (Lee 2000). A number of researchers, who provided alternative views of job satisfaction, have appreciated this notion. Firstly, numerous authors describe job satisfaction as a state of mind and provide different interpretations. For instance, Gregson (1987) defines job satisfaction as the positive emotional state resulting from the individual appraisal of one’s job or experience. Chay and Bruvold (2003) define job satisfaction as an individual’s affective response to specific aspects of the job. Noe (1996) defines it as a pleasurable feeling that results from the perception that one’s job fulfils or allows for the fulfilment of one’s important job values (Appelbaum, et al. 2002).

Secondly, job satisfaction is a form of attitude towards work related conditions, facets or aspects (Wiener 1982). Jepsen and Sheu (2003) observe that such an attitude, either in the form of liking, or disliking a job, is a universal and an essential aspect of career development. Clearly, theorists and practitioners seem to accept the assumption that nearly everybody seeks satisfaction in his or her work (Jepsen & Sheu 2003). According to Jepsen and Sheu (2003), if a person becomes engaged in work that matches his occupational choices, he is likely to experience job satisfaction. Lastly, Herzberg’s two factor theory posits that hygiene factors are necessary to keep employees from feeling dissatisfied, but only motivators can lead workers to feel satisfied and motivated (Herzberg, Mausner & Sydenham 1959, Bartol & Martin 1998). Motivators include achievement, responsibility, work itself, recognition, growth, and achievement (Bartol & Martin 1998).

In this regard, Chen, Chang and Yeh (2004) surveyed the capability of career development programmes in responding to career needs at different career stages and the influence on job satisfaction, professional development and productivity among the R&D personnel. One of the major findings of the research was that career development programmes positively influence job satisfaction, professional development and productivity. The current study attempts to further corroborate the linkage between career development and job satisfaction, and thereby, tests the next hypothesis, H3.

H3: Job satisfaction will positively relate to career development.

Career Commitment and Career Development

Career commitment is another outcome of career development initiatives. Hall (1971) defines career commitment as the strength of one’s motivation to work in a chosen career role (Noordin, Williams & Zimmer 2002). Colarelli and Bishop (1990) contend that career commitment is characterised by the development of personal career goals, the attachment to, identification with, and involvement in those goals. Organisations that provide career relevant information and assistance will narrow employees’ career focus and bind them more closely to an organisation, leading to commitment (Granrose & Portwood 1987).

Both personal predispositions and organisational interventions influence commitment (Wiener 1982). Commitment to an internally defined career may become an important source of occupational meaning and continuity as organisations become more fluid and less able to guarantee employment security (Colarelli & Bishop 1990). Perrow (1986) highlight that career commitment is also important to the development of ability, because commitment to a career helps one persist long enough to develop specialised skills and also provides the staying power to cultivate business and professional relationships (Colarelli & Bishop 1990, Noordin, et al. 2002). Therefore, career commitment would seem to be essential for career progression and development (Noordin, et al. 2002).

Career development opportunities support career commitment initiatives among employees. King (1999) points out that psychological force of self identity, self insight and resilience in pursuing career goals represent core components for career motivation and commitment, and for building cooperation, cohesiveness and consensus in organisation. Career commitment forms a centripetal force inward, protecting the organisation from outside influence, drawing human resources toward countless acts of cooperation with each other (King 1999). Lee (2000) cites that employees’ job satisfaction, organisational commitment and morale levels are important measures of the return on the efforts of HR function. These comments provide underpinning for hypothesis H4.

H4: Career commitment increases with the level of satisfaction with career development.

Overall, this research explores the influence of career planning and career management on career development and the subsequent effect on job satisfaction and career commitment. This integrated perspective assumes that career development can increase job satisfaction and career commitment.

Methodology

Site and Respondents

A Singaporean hotel was the site for the research. This hospitality venue, established in 1986, is a five star international hotel and the third largest hotel in Singapore. This hotel was chosen as the employees had rated ‘Opportunities for career development’ as the second lowest satisfaction factor in two consecutive, annual (2003, 2004) Employee Satisfaction Surveys. Moreover, currently, the hotel is experiencing a period of rising turnover rates. Furthermore, exit interview data of 2004 demonstrated that one of the first three reasons for leaving the employment of the hotel was a perception of better employment opportunity elsewhere.

The primary respondents were full time hotel employees. A figure of 523 employees, who were working across a wide spectrum of jobs within the hotel, participated in the survey. These participants were employed in a variety of roles, which ranged from managerial functions to a variety of customer oriented duties (e.g., reception, housekeeping, administration, kitchen, security and financial activity). This number represented a participation rate of 95.6 per cent. However, eighteen questionnaires were invalid, leaving 505 valid questionnaires (92.3 per cent of the total hotel cadre) for data analysis.

Procedure

All of the participating employees in the hotel received a survey questionnaire. The administration of the survey instrument occurred in the hotel premises over a span of three days. With the employees assembled in groups, they had a specific given period in which to complete the questionnaire. An explanation for the key objective of the study preceded the participants responding to the survey questions, with the voluntary nature and anonymity to participation emphasised. Respondents were assured that the information they provided would be treated with confidentiality. The questionnaire was completed and returned during the same session.

Two versions of the questionnaire employed included an English version and a Mandarin version, delineating the same set of questions. Encouragement was given to the staff, who were less comfortable with English to complete a Mandarin version of the questionnaire, which was developed through a back translation procedure that employed three independent bilingual translator groups.

Measures

Three types of variables were measured. The first sought the demographic properties of gender and age. The second assessed perceptual responses to career planning, career development, and career development. The last evaluated the two dependent variables, namely, job satisfaction, and career commitment.

Career Planning

The respondents provided perceptual information about the existence of career planning, setting of career goals and importance of career planning in the career development process. The questions used to assess this variable were adapted from King (1999), Gould (1979), and Coachline’s career development needs survey (Available: http://www.orghealth.com/cdn/). A seven point Likert scale that ranged from (1) strongly disagree to (7) strongly agree was used. Factor analysis, generally, supported the construct validity of the instrument. The reliability estimate of the 11 items was 0.94.

Career Management

Career management practices were assessed by adapting measurement scales from Chen, Chang and Yeh (2004), and Chay and Bruvold (2003). The measurements were about the importance and availability of career management practices. A seven point Likert scale was used (1 = strongly disagree to 7 = strongly agree). The measurements confirmed reasonable instrument validity with factor analysis. The reliability estimates of the six items had a coefficient alpha of 0.87.

Career Development

The intervening variable assessed both the importance of career development to the respondents, and whether career planning and career management were important elements to attain career development. The questions were developed by adapting from Coachline’s (available: http://www.orghealth.com/cdn/) career development needs survey, with a seven point Likert scale. Factor analysis confirmed construct validity of the five items, and the coefficient alpha was 0.90.

Job Satisfaction

An adaptation of questions from the Job Diagnostic Survey, as developed by Hackman and Oldham (1980), assessed job satisfaction. A seven point Likert scale, with responses that ranged from (1) strongly disagree to (7) strongly agree, was used. The seven items produced an arithmetic mean of job satisfaction score. Construct validity was confirmed with factor analysis, and the reliability estimate was 0.92.

Career Commitment

An adaptation of the eight items from the work of Chay and Bruvold (2003), and Colarelli and Bishop (1990) assessed career commitment with a seven point Likert scale. Factor analysis supported the validity of the scale, and the alpha exceeded 0.90.

Analysis

The analyses consisted of four stages using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software. First, data robustness was established by principal component factor analysis employing the varimax rotation option to uncover the underlying factors associated with the independent, dependent, mediating and intervening variables measured. Questions that were cross loaded were excluded from analysis. The second stage of the analyses was the conducting of reliability estimates to ensure consistency and stability of data (Cavana, Delahaye & Sekaran 2001). Cronbach’s coefficient alpha, which measures how well the variables positively relate to one another, was generated by using SPSS software. The third stage conducted correlation analyses. The results gave an indication of the strength of the relationship between the variables to evaluate the construct relativities. The fourth key stage of the analysis of the conceptual model was regression analysis. This procedure enabled an examination of the hypothesised relationships shown in the conceptual model of Figure 1.

Results

Demographic Profile of Respondents

Table 1 presents the frequency of respondents by age and gender. Out of a total figure of 505 participants, 48.5 per cent were male and 51.5 per cent were female demonstrating the large extent of female participation in the assessed Singaporean hotel. Furthermore, the largest age group (over 36 percent) was represented by participants in the 25 to 34 age category, while the smallest age group (less than 6 percent) was represented by participants over 55 years of age. It was interesting to note that almost 60 per cent of the participants were under the age of 35 highlighting the employment of younger workers in the assessed Singaporean hotel.

Table 1
Demographic Profile of Respondents % (N = 505)
Gender
Male 48.5
Female 51.5
Age (in years)
Less than 24 21.8
25 to 34 36.4
35 to 44 22.0
45 to 54 13.9
More than 55 5.9

Factor Analyses and Reliability Analyses

Career planning and career management were examined for its construct validity employing factor analysis using SPSS software. Two factor constructs were expected, but three constructs were derived. Questions that were cross loaded were excluded from the factor analysis resulting in order to avoid any overlap in the results. A second round of factor analysis (after deletion of the leaked items) resulted in two distinct factor structures. Appendix 1 presents the factor scores of the retained items, their eigenvalues, percentage of variance and the cumulative percentage of variance scores. Furthermore, estimates of the reliabilities for the two variables used the Cronbach alpha coefficient with career planning scoring 0.94 and career management scoring 0.87. These alpha scores provided a degree of confidence in utilising the factor scores obtained in the factor analysis.

Career development, job satisfaction and career commitment were examined for their construct validity. Three factors were expected, but five constructs were obtained. Items that leaked across factors were removed and a second round of factor analysis was conducted. Appendix 2 shows the results of the second round of factor analysis for the three variables. The estimation of reliabilities for the three variables used the Cronbach alpha coefficient with all the three variables values exceeding 0.9.

Descriptive Statistics and Correlation Analysis

Table 2 presents the means and standard deviations of the examined variables. The mean scores for career planning, career development, job satisfaction and career commitment were greater than five indicating a high degree of agreement from the respondents (the variables were measured on a 7 point Likert scale where 7 denoted “strongly agree”). Moreover, the standard deviations for the five variables ranged from 1.090 to 1.189 indicating that the data were reasonably homogeneous.

Table 2 displays the Pearson correlation result for all the variables in this study. As predicted in the conceptual model, all the variables correlated positively. The two assessed antecedent variables of career development, namely career planning and career management strongly related to career development. In addition, the two hypothesised dependent variables of career development, namely job satisfaction and career commitment, had a positive correlation with the career development variable.

Table 2
Descriptive Statistics and Correlations (N = 505)
Variables Mean S.D. 1 2 3 4 5
1 Career Planning 5.325 1.090 0.94
2 Career Management 4.756 1.200 0.605* 0.87
3 Career Development 5.543 1.120 0.703* 0.547* 0.91
4 Job Satisfaction 5.442 1.170 0.649* 0.608* 0.658* 0.90
5 Career Commitment 5.062 1.189 0.580* 0.662* 0.596* 0.732* 0.92

Notes: a. S.D. = Standard deviation.
b. * = p<0.01 (2 tailed).
c. Bold values across the diagonal are reliability alphas.

Regression Analysis

Regression analyses tested the postulated hypotheses, with each hypothesis tested independently. To test hypothesis H1, whether career planning has a positive effect on achievement of career development, regression analysis examined the effect of the assessed linkage. Table 3 presents the result of career planning as an antecedent of career development for the Singaporean sample. Table 3 shows that 49.4 per cent of the variance in the assessed linkage was explained by the independent variable career planning providing some degree of confidence in interpreting the result. The significant result at the p<0.001 level provides strong support for the relationship.

Regression analysis tested hypothesis H2, whether career management has a positive effect on achievement of career development. Table 3 shows that almost 30 per cent of the variance in the independent variable, career management was explained. The significant relationship at p<0.001 level provides empirical support for H2 that career management as an antecedent of career development.

Table 3
Regression Analysis for the Effect of Career Planning and Career Management on Career Development (N=505)
Dependent Variable Independent Variable Adjusted R2 F t
Career Development Career Planning 0.494 491.477 22.169*
Career Management 0.299 214.761 14.655*

Notes: a. F = F statistic, t = t statistic.
b. * p<0.001.

In Table 4 the results of regression analysis for hypotheses H3 and H4 indicate that job satisfaction and career commitment positively relate to career development and that both are outcomes of career development. The amount of variance explained for the two assessments were approximately 43 per cent and 35 per cent respectively providing some degree of confidence in interpreting the results. Both the relationships were significant at the p<0.001 level providing support for H3 and H4. However, career development has a larger effect on job satisfaction than career commitment, which is consistent with the result of correlation analysis.

Table 4
Regression Analysis for the effect of career development on job satisfaction and career commitment (N=505)
Dependent Variable Independent Variable Adjusted R2 F t
Job Satisfaction Career Development 0.433 383.997 19.596
Career Commitment 0.355 277.126 16.647

Notes: a. F = F statistic, t = t statistic.
b. * p<0.001.

Conclusion

The study empirically investigated the effects of two antecedents and two outcomes of career development as outlined in the conceptual model (Figure 1) with a sample of 505 employees of a Singaporean hotel. Specifically, the research tested the hypothesis that career planning and career management were the antecedents of career development, and assessed the variables of job satisfaction and career commitment as outcomes of career development. The study results reveal that both antecedent variables have an influence on career development. The findings revealed that the existence of career development has a direct influence on the achievement of job satisfaction and career commitment. Collectively, these results establish that the variables used in the conceptual model are variables that contribute to the achievement of career development. Overall, the findings have implications on the field of career development and, more specifically, for the hotel industry in Singapore.

One important implication is the design of career development model. The study findings suggest that the prediction of a positive association of career planning and career management with career development is significant. This study supports the working model of organisational career development drawn up by Hall and Associates (1986). Regression analysis shows a stronger relationship between career planning and career development as compared to the relationship between career management and career development. The study sample findings suggest that career planning is relatively more important than career management in achieving career development.

The second finding supports the hypothesis that career development has an influence on job satisfaction and career commitment. The results show that career development had a stronger linkage with job satisfaction than career commitment. Considering the lack of empirical investigation that integrates these variables together to form a comprehensive career development model, this finding provides an important contribution to the field of career development. Although Lee (2000) confirmed that career planning, management and development are important HR management initiatives that have potential to increase employees’ job satisfaction and organisational commitment, an empirical study has not been applied to develop and test a comprehensive model of these relationships. Many studies investigated career stages and career paths (Kerka 1992, Jepsen & Dickson 2003, Jepsen & Sheu 2003, Baruch 2004), but few studies have examined factors beyond those associated with career development (Granrose & Portwood, 1987, Paul 1996, Baruch 1999). Similarly, few studies examine the organisational and individual outcomes resulting from career development (Appelbaum, et al. 2002, Chen, et al. 2004).

These significant findings also have implications for the human resource management (HRM) and human resource development (HRD) departments of the assessed Singaporean hotel. For instance, HR managers at the Singaporean hotel might be encouraged to develop a schema that fosters the career commitment expectations of employees. Furthermore, organisational level programmes providing continuous guidance to employees on managing their respective careers might assist in shaping their long term career development objectives. These organisational level initiatives engender positive motivation levels and can lead to employees feeling ‘valued’. In turn, these initiatives might also assist in reducing the existing high turnover rates and help increase the levels of job satisfaction in the Singaporean hotel. Indeed, commitment towards employee maintenance and welfare in a career oriented society, such as Singapore, demands that employees discuss their short term and long term career expectations with the respective organisations, and these organisations, in turn, develop measures to assist their employees develop and nurture their respective careers.

Suggestions for Future Research

This study ‘opens the doors’ for scholars across the globe to conduct further research. First, researchers are encouraged to test empirically the conceptual model developed by this study (Figure 1) across different industries in Singapore and overseas. Secondly, conducting indepth interviews and focus group sessions with representative employees to corroborate the findings and provide anecdotal evidence in support of the assessed significant linkages would be useful in providing a better understanding of the results. Thirdly, an assessment of the implications of demographic factors such as age, gender, educational and professional qualification, managerial level and tenure by conducting Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and t-tests as mediating variables is likely to provide a better understanding of the demographic effects on the assessed linkages. Lastly, scholars are encouraged to further research into the rationale behind career planning being more important than career management to attain career development across different contexts.

Authors

Priscilla Puah is a Manager of People Innovation & Education at Pan Pacific Hotel Singapore. She received a Bachelor of Arts and a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration from the National University of Singapore. She also holds a Diploma in Human Resource Development from the Singapore Institute of Management. Her research interests include human research management practices and policies in South East Asia.

Email : ppuah@singnet.com.sg

Subramaniam Ananthram lectures in management at the School of Management, Curtin Business School at Curtin University of Technology. His research interests include global strategy, global mindset development and cross-cultural issues impacting on management in services.

Email: Subramaniam.Ananthram@cbs.curtin.edu.au

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Appendices

Appendix 1

Rotated Components Factor Analysis for Career Planning and Career Management
Descriptions Factors
1 2
Eigenvalues 8.738 1.991
Percentage of Variance explained 51.401 11.712
Cumulative percentage of variance explained 51.401 63.113
Reliabilities (Cronbach’s Alpha) 0.9401 0.8709
Career Planning (CP)
CP1 I have a plan for my career. 0.776 0.141
CP2 I know my career goals and objectives. 0.814 0.159
CP3 I know my career interests and how to apply these to my job. 0.810 0.137
CP4 I spend time reviewing my career plan. 0.779 0.208
CP6 I am able to analyse and assess my abilities, interests and values to determine my career options. 0.774 0.214
CP7 I have identified areas where I need to improve my skill and knowledge level. 0.749 0.242
CP10 I know about general economic and societal trends that affect my career. 0.633 0.298
CP11 My awareness of career alternatives has helped to clarify my career goals and means for achieving them. 0.710 0.388
CP12 Having an accurate view of my strengths, weaknesses and career direction helps me to have realistic expectations for career outcomes. 0.780 0.271
CP13 Using information about how well I am doing at work, I formulate plans to achieve specific career goals. 0.654 0.420
CP14 I have a strategy for achieving my career goals. 0.744 0.305
Career Management (CM)
CM3 I regularly engage in developmental activities related to my profession/job. 0.352 0.589
CM4 Besides my supervisor, I know who in the Hotel has formal responsibility for helping me with career and development issues. 0.247 0.701
CM6 Having processes and programs in place will help to assist me with my career development. 0.485 0.517
CM7 The Hotel considers and plans the career paths of all employees. 0.137 0.858
CM8 The Hotel provides opportunities for job enrichment, job rotation and job assignments. 0.160 0.843
CM9 The Hotel provides tool for evaluation of performance to provide an understanding of promotional prospects and career routes and help employees to adjust their efforts accordingly. 0.219 0.829

Notes: a. N = 505.
b. Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis. Rotation Method: Varimax with Kaiser Normalisation.

Appendix 2

Rotated Components Factor Analysis for Career Development, Job Satisfaction and Career Commitment
Descriptions Factors
1 2 3
Eigenvalues 10.402 1.837 1.307
Percentage of variance explained 52.009 9.187 6.533
Cumulative percentage of variance explained 52.009 61.196 67.728
Reliabilities (Cronbach’s Alpha) 0.9044 0.9187 0.9055
Career Development (CD)
CD1 A formal process to attain career development is important to me. 0.190 0.228 0.778
CD2 Career development is important to me. 0.291 0.211 0.772
CD5 I understand the need for continuous career development. 0.323 0.220 0.719
CD8 Career planning tools are essential to support my career development. 0.241 0.194 0.825
CD9 Career management programs are essential to support my career development. 0.206 0.228 0.795
Job Satisfaction (JS)
JS1 Generally speaking, I am very satisfied with my job. 0.641 0.481 0.043
JS2 Most of the things I do on this job is useful and important. 0.747 0.275 0.292
JS3 The work I do on this job is very meaningful to me. 0.793 0.278 0.266
JS4 I feel a very high degree of personal responsibility for the work I do on this job. 0.780 0.236 0.338
JS5 I feel a great sense of personal satisfaction when I do my job well. 0.751 0.138 0.397
JS8 I feel a sense of achievement in my career. 0.685 0.368 0.185
JS9 I feel satisfied and happy when I discover that I have performed well on this job. 0.603 0.175 0.486
Career Commitment (CC)
CC1 I am happy to develop my career with the Hotel. 0.465 0.566 0.354
CC4 I believe this career is a great career to work in. 0.507 0.607 0.223
CC5 I would be very happy to spend the rest of my career with the Hotel. 0.278 0.701 0.210
CC6 I enjoy sharing about the work in the hotel with people outside of it. 0.303 0.633 0.263
CC7 I feel bonded to the hotel. 0.208 0.743 0.215
CC8 One of the major reasons I continue to work for this hotel is that another organisation may not match the overall career opportunities I have here. 0.157 0.795 0.148
CC10 I am proud to tell others about my career. 0.429 0.611 0.319
CC11 I am not thinking of shifting to another career. 0.109 0.714 0.127

Notes: a. N = 505.
b. Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis. Rotation Method: Varimax with Kaiser Normalisation.