Exploring career success with the new paradigm of career crafting
With the key objective of testing the new paradigm of career crafting, this study examined the main questions about career decisions – how do people choose careers, what motivates and guides their decision-making with regard to exploration, growth and change, and how do they define career success? These are important issues given the rapid pace of the far-reaching changes that have taken place over the past few decades, resulting in a paradigm shift in the personal and work spheres. A qualitative research approach was adopted utilising semi-structured in-depth interviews with 36 accounting professionals in New Zealand – 15 from accounting academia and 21 from large accounting firms. Built on the job crafting model (Wrzesniewski & Dutton, 2001), this study has created the new paradigm of career crafting by enhancing the principles of cognitive, task and relational crafting. While capturing the agentic spirit of individuals in developing their careers, it is acknowledged that an individual’s choices do not completely reside within the person. The external factors play a vital role in the shaping of career pathways, either by offering support and facilitating growth, or by creating and imposing constraints. However, the central principle of career crafting is that individuals create new opportunities or utilise the opportunities provided by the positive changes or mitigate the negative impact of the adverse situation through invention/adaptation strategy. A figure depicting a crafting triad represents the close association between the three crafting practices – cognitive, task and relational crafting. These factors are interlinked and interdependent; they have to act together cohesively in order to attain the desired effect of career crafting. It was identified that career crafting played an important role in achieving personal success which is determined by satisfaction in personal and professional spheres. It was also recognised that the desired outcomes varied for different individuals. Finally, career crafting paradigm confirmed the association between crafting skills, external factors and personal success. Gender and the redefinition of gender-based roles added new dimensions to the analysis of these career decisions. Investigation of career orientation revealed distinct gender differences. It was noted that women had an adaptive focus on career whereas men could focus on their careers to a greater extent confirming the traditional career patterns. This study comments on the other side of the glass ceiling, wherein it is observed that women chart their career pathways mainly through the perception of their roles and the behaviours that comprise them. Married women were able to focus on careers when they garnered support from their spouse and organization though their crafting practices. While this study focussed on the accounting profession, it is believed that the awareness of career crafting practices would benefit individuals in charting their career pathways. This information could also be embedded in the process of building better work designs where organizations could consider these issues while planning human resource policies for mutual benefits. The eventual outcome of career crafting is that individuals can develop their possible selves and build capabilities to achieve personal success.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordspersonal success; development of possible selves; gender; career crafting triad; career crafting paradigm; career development; spousal support; career clarity; career focus; paradigm shift; career crafting
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