Individual differences in job‐related relocation readiness

Kathleen Otto (Martin Luther University of Halle‐Wittenberg, Halle‐Wittenberg, Germany)
Claudia Dalbert (Martin Luther University of Halle‐Wittenberg, Halle‐Wittenberg, Germany)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Publication date: 18 May 2012



Previous research has demonstrated the positive impact of relocation mobility on career success. Based on conservation‐of‐resources theory and knowledge about resistance to change, this study aims to explore the role of personality dispositions and social orientations in explaining job‐related relocation readiness.


A total of 380 German employees (study 1), unemployed individuals (study 2), and apprentices (study 3) were surveyed on their relocation readiness, personality dispositions (neuroticism, openness to experience, uncertainty tolerance), and social orientations (individualism, collectivism, social norms –i.e. the perceived social endorsement of relocation mobility) in three cross‐sectional studies and one longitudinal study (study 4).


Findings show that high levels of neuroticism (study 1) and collectivism (studies 1‐3) made individuals less ready to relocate, whereas high levels of openness to experience (study 2), uncertainty tolerance (studies 1‐2), and individualism (study 3) were positively associated with relocation readiness, as was the perceived social endorsement of relocation mobility (studies 1‐4).

Research limitations/implications

Personality dispositions and social orientations should be considered when relocation decisions are at stake. The research focused on relocation readiness and did not investigate actual relocation mobility.

Practical implications

Human resources management and career counseling aiming to foster relocation readiness should take account of the social environment. Moreover, uncertainty‐intolerant individuals should be offered systematic, step‐by‐step guidance on how best to deal with relocation.


The study is the first to show that personality dispositions and social orientations by far outweigh socio‐demographic factors in explaining relocation readiness.



Otto, K. and Dalbert, C. (2012), "Individual differences in job‐related relocation readiness", Career Development International, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 168-186.

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