Doctor of Philosophy
Konrad, Alison M.
Careers are increasingly understood to be agentic. Therefore, individual motivation is now critically important to career development. Yet, the motivational, agentic, aspect of career development is still under-theorized. Existing concepts that refer to agentic control combine motivation, values, behaviours, emotions, and even contextual factors. These compound constructs are effective for predicting career outcomes, but they do not allow a direct examination of motivation alone. By conceptualizing motivation as a strictly cognitive construct following the established understanding of psychological empowerment, I develop a new scale of career empowerment that predicts additional variance above and beyond several existing career scales.
Based on a multi-stage study and data from seven samples (N = 1240), I establish a measure to capture individual cognitions of agentic control over one’s career. The results of a series of analyses reveal the multidimensional nature of the construct, which consists of seven factors: self-determination, competence, impact, meaning, focus, growth, and relationships. I demonstrate the convergent and discriminant validity of the instrument, as well as its criterion-related incremental validity. Finally, I explore the antecedents and outcomes of career empowerment, including proactive career behaviours as well as subjective and objective career success. Overall, this work presents a new multidimensional cognitive-motivational construct that contributes to career theory and practice.
Summary for Lay Audience
Individual motivation is now critically important to career development, yet it is still under-theorized. In this thesis I develop and test of a new construct named career empowerment, which is a motivational cognitive construct which predicts proactive career behaviours and careers outcomes. Career empowerment consists of seven factors: self-determination, competence, impact, meaning, focus, growth, and relationships. In my research program I conducted a series of qualitative and quantitative studies where I first developed the construct, then I created and tested a reliable and valid instrument to measure it. Finally, I identified the cognitive factors that predict career empowerment and its consequences, namely self-management career behaviours, and career outcomes including employability, mental health and subjective and objective career success. The practical and theoretical implications of these findings are discussed.
Kastelman Grabarski, Mirit, "I’ve Got the Power! Agency, Empowerment, and Motivation in Career Management" (2021). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 7751.