chapter  4
29 Pages

Career Success Around the World: Its Meaning and Perceived Influences in 11 Countries

Research and theory on career success are closely connected with literature on career per se and revert to its definitions (Arthur, Khapova & Wilderom, 2005). Careers have been regarded as an “evolving sequence of work experience over time” (Arthur, Hall & Lawrence, 1989a: 8) or a “sequence of positions occupied by a person during the course of a lifetime” (Super, 1980: 282). The two definitions show a duality between two perspectives on careers, a subjective and an objective one (Hughes, 1937, 1951). Similarly, career success, often defined as “the positive psychological or work-related outcomes or achievements one has accumulated as a result of one’s work experiences” (Judge, Cable, Boudreau & Bretz, 1995: 486; see also London & Stumpf, 1982), covers a dichotomy of objective and subjective elements (Hughes, 1937, 1951). Objective career success denotes components of career success such as income or hierarchical advancement that are visible and “objectively” measurable (e.g. Gattiker & Larwood, 1988; Judge & Bretz, 1994). On the other hand, subjective career success heavily depends on individuals’ (re)construction of their career according to subjective and individualized patterns. Subjective career success is mostly operationalized as career or job satisfaction (e.g. Aryee, Chay & Tan, 1994; Judge et al., 1995; Judge, Higgins, Thoresen & Barrick, 1999), since it is often defined as “individuals’ feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction with their careers” (Judge et al., 1995: 2).