Project

Back to overview

Reference groups as constraints and enablers in individual careers

English title Reference groups as constraints and enablers in individual careers
Applicant Grote Gudela
Number 149696
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Departement Management, Technologie und Ökonomie D-MTEC ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Psychology
Start/End 01.10.2013 - 31.10.2015
Approved amount 212'158.00
Show all

Keywords (4)

reference groups; career transition; career success; career boundaries

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Anforderungen an Berufslaufbahnen steigen aufgrund sich wandelnder gesellschaftlicher und wirtschaftlicher Rahmenbedingungen. Insbesondere wächst das Erfordernis, Grenzen zu überschreiten, indem z.B. Organisationen, Berufe und Branchen gewechselt werden. Anhand der Berufslaufbahnen von Führungskräften wird untersucht, welche persönlichen und externen Faktoren solche Wechsel unterstützen und welche Rolle dabei eigene Wertmassstäbe wie auch die Normen verschiedener sozialer Gruppen spielen.
Lay summary

Soziale Gruppen wie die eigene Familie, Freunde oder Berufskollegen können die persönliche Berufslaufbahn unterstützen, indem Ratschläge gegeben oder Normen für eine erfolgreiche Laufbahn verdeutlicht werden. Sie können aber auch belastend für die eigene Entwicklung sein, wenn beispielsweise sehr hohe Erfolgsmassstäbe angelegt werden oder Schranken aufgebaut werden, die die Zugehörigkeit erschweren. im Projekt werden diese Einflussfaktoren in den Berufsverläufen von über 600 Führungskräften untersucht. Dazu werden die Berufsverläufe danach kategorisiert, welche Arten von Wechsel stattgefunden haben, welche sozialen Gruppen und auch externen Faktoren (z.B. Arbeitsmarktlage) dabei relevant waren, und wie erfolgreich die Berufslaufbahn von den Personen selbst eingeschätzt wird. Zusätzlich werden bei einer Untergruppe der befragten Personen detaillierte Interviews geführt, um spezifische Einflüsse genauer zu erfassen. Diese Untersuchungen erlauben, die Einflüsse sozialer Gruppen in der Entwicklung beruflicher Identität vertieft zu verstehen sowie individuelle und strukturelle Barrieren für "grenzüberschreitende" Laufbahnen und die Möglichkeiten ihrer Überwindung zu erfassen. Indem die Bedeutung von persönlichen Netzwerken, Rollenmodellen und beruflichen Bezugsgruppen für die Unterstützung der eigenen Laufbahn, aber auch für die Entwicklung von Wertvorstellungen und Vergleichsmassstäben gesamthaft betrachtet wird, können sowohl fördernde wie hinderliche Einflüsse sozialer Gruppen identifiziert werden. Diese Erkenntnisse sind relevant für die individuelle Laufbahnberatung und -förderung, aber auch für politische Entscheidungsträger im Bildungsbereich und in der Wirtschaft.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 05.11.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
How career anchors differentiate managerial career trajectories: A sequence analysis perspective
Gubler Martin, Biemann Torsten, Tschopp Cécile, Grote Gudela (2015), How career anchors differentiate managerial career trajectories: A sequence analysis perspective, in Journal of Career Development, 42(5), 412-430.
Reference groups: A missing link in career studies
Grote Gudela, Hall Douglas T. (2013), Reference groups: A missing link in career studies, in Journal of Vocational Behavior, 83(3), 265-279.
Are support and social comparison compatible? Individual differences in the multiplexity of career-related social networks
Tschopp Cécile, Unger Dana, Grote Gudela, Are support and social comparison compatible? Individual differences in the multiplexity of career-related social networks, in Journal of Applied Social Psychology.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof. Dr. Michael Arthur: Suffolk University Boston, Prof. of Strategy and International Business United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof. Dr. Amy Wrzesniewski, Yale School of Management, Associate Prof of Organizational Behavior United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Dr. Martin Gubler, PH Schwyz Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Dr. Douglas T. Hall: Boston University School of Management, Prof. of Organizational Behavior United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
14th SSP/SGP Conference Talk given at a conference The interplay of career anchors and career behavior – A sequence analysis perspective 08.09.2015 Geneva, Switzerland Tschopp Cécile;
31th European Group for Organizational Studies Colloquium Talk given at a conference Are support and social comparison compatible? Individual differences in the multiplexity of career-related social networks 02.07.2015 Athens, Greece Grote Gudela; Unger Dana; Tschopp Cécile;
17th Congress of the European Assocation of Work and Organizational Psychology Talk given at a conference How age relates to the understanding of career success among Swiss MBA-alumni – A visual data elicitation approach 20.05.2015 Oslo, Norway Unger Dana; Grote Gudela;
49th Congress of the German Society of Psychology Talk given at a conference Money can’t buy happiness or all career paths lead to meaningfulness – the impact of career transitions on career success criteria 21.09.2014 Bochum, Germany Haase Mareike; Grote Gudela;
74th Academy of Management Meeting Talk given at a conference Linking social networks and identity development in career research 01.08.2014 Philadelphia (PA), United States of America Grote Gudela;
IWP International Conference 2014 on Work, Wellbeing and Performance Talk given at a conference Supportive and comparative functions of social networks in career development 24.06.2014 Sheffield, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Haase Mareike; Grote Gudela; Tschopp Cécile;


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
130035 Beyond organization and self: The importance of reference groups in career transitions 01.04.2010 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

In much of older career literature, the employing organization is considered to be the dominant social context in which careers unfold, while "new" models of career like the protean and boundaryless career point to the necessity to consider a much larger array of possibly relevant contexts. However, in recent career research usually organization-led careers have been contrasted with self-directed careers, thereby applying a rather restricted perspective on the multifaceted relationships between individuals and the surrounding social systems. This may be partly due to the fact that newer career concepts have postulated a growing need for personal agency in overcoming structural constraints, especially organizational and occupational boundaries. As a consequence, research has focused more on the individual than on contextual factors. In order to develop a more balanced perspective the impact of social reference groups needs to be better understood, both as social drivers of agentic behavior and as social constraints that, for instance, reduce the permeability of career boundaries. In the proposed project we aim to systematically study supportive, normative and comparative influences of reference groups - including also possible negative influences, such as creating and maintaining boundaries that limit career mobility - and to explore the impact of a broader set of referents, including abstract social categories and occupational communities, in the construction of individual career identities and specific career trajectories. We will build on and expand the data obtained in our previous SNF-project. Semi-structured interviews with a subgroup from our survey sample of 610 alumni and students from ten management education programs in Switzerland will permit to further explore the dynamics underlying the individual career histories, personal social networks and career assessments reported on in the survey. Sequence analysis will be used to identify general career patterns and factors underlying these patterns. Especially, we are interested in the impact of industry- and occupation-specific boundaries on individual career trajectories. Each half-year segment of the individual career histories will be coded according to hierarchical level, occupation, industry sector, and geographic region. Per time segment, unemployment rates for occupation, industry sector, and region will be added. Information on education requirements and educational diversity per occupation will also be included. Because our sample represents a mix of university level and university of applied sciences alumni with very different educational backgrounds, further comparisons of influencing factors embedded in different educational trajectories will be possible. By addressing both micro-level processes embedded in individual constructions of career identity and macro-level processes creating structural career boundaries within the common framework of reference group influences a fuller understanding of individual career trajectories will be developed. By shedding light on the broad variety of supportive, normative and comparative influences of personal networks, role models and occupational communities, a detailed picture of enabling and constraining forces acting on people's career-related aspirations, assessments and decisions will emerge. These findings may also inform the design of further education programs, individual and organizational career management, and even labor policy more generally.
-