Neuartiger Beitrag auf der Karrierekonferenz CARCON 2020 in Wien

Do good work relationships matter? An investigation of leader-member exchange (LMX) as an antecedent of proactive career behaviors (Volmer, von Ochsenstein, & Göritz, 2019)

Contemporary careers unfold in increasingly volatile, dynamic, and unpredictable occupational environments (Briscoe & Hall, 2006; Fugate, Savickas, 2012). Proactive career behaviors represent an active development of one’s career (Hirschi, Freund, & Herrmann, 2014) and include career planning, networking, skills development, or career exploration. Proactive career behaviors are substantially associated with numerous positive outcomes (e.g., career satisfaction, job satisfaction, and career success; Parker & Collins, 2010; Seibert, Kraimer, & Crant, 2001). Although research on antecedents of proactive career behavior is growing, knowledge on leadership as contextual variable is limited (Kim & Beehr, 2018; Schüßlbauer, Volmer, & Göritz, 2016, Xu & Yu, 2019). In this longitudinal study on employees from diverse occupations we throw a light on the quality of the supervisor-subordinate relationship by investigating the role of leadership (i.e., leader-member exchange (LMX)) as an antecedent of career proactive behaviors. Furthermore, we examined occupational self-efficacy as a mediator in our path analyses. Occupational self-efficacy is defined as the extent to which one believes “in one’s own ability and competence to perform successfully and effectively in situations and across different tasks in a job” (Schyns & von Collani, 2002, p. 5). Lent and Brown´s (2013) Social Cognitive Model of Career Self-Management (CSM) will serve as theoretical framework to incorporate the constructs of interest. Lent and Brown (2013) consider characteristics of current work environments, such as increased uncertainty about economic developments or job insecurity and conclude that new models and approaches are needed to support employees in managing their careers. Therefore, the focus of our study lays on adaptive behaviors and the underlying factors that enable employees to cope successfully with unpredictable challenges. Structural equation models (N = 685 German employees; two measurement points with a time lag of three months) yield support for the important role of a good LMX-relationship as a stimulator for proactive career behaviors, fully mediated by occupational self-efficacy. Our findings point to the importance of considering contextual factors (here: LMX) to help employees manage their careers in turbulent times.