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Resilience in the modern career

Sean T. Lyons (Department of Management, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada)
Linda Schweitzer (Sprott School of Business, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada)
Eddy S.W. Ng (Rowe School of Business, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 10 August 2015




Career resilience (CR) is an increasingly important, but under-researched aspect of modern careers. The purpose of this paper is to examine the mediating effect of CR on the relationships between personality factors, career self-evaluations and modern career orientation and the outcome of career satisfaction (CS). The authors hypothesized that CR would be positively associated with the “big-5” personality factors, career self-evaluations (self-efficacy and external locus of control) and modern career orientations (protean and boundaryless orientations) and that CR would mediate those variables’ relationships with CS.


The participants in the study were 1,988 employed managers and professionals. Structural equation modeling was used to test the proposed relationships and mediation model.


CR mediated the relationships between CS and emotional stability, conscientiousness, emotional stability, openness to experience, internal work locus of control, career self-efficacy and protean career attitudes. Contrary to expectations, being values-driven was negatively associated with CR, producing a negative net indirect effect on CS.

Research limitations/implications

The study extends previous work concerning CR by examining the role of CR as a mediator between various psychological career factors and CS (i.e. subjective career success). An important issue is whether CR is a unique construct relative to psychological resilience. The results suggest that this may be the case, but direct comparison between the two constructs is required to answer the question definitively.

Practical implications

Strengthening CR through career development interventions can have important impacts on CS, particularly for those individuals who are values-driven or have boundaryless mindsets and preferences for organizational mobility.


This is the first study to examine the relationship between CR and “new career” attitudes (i.e. boundaryless and protean career orientations), which have been the topic of much research. The authors contribute to the career success research by linking CR and modern career orientation to CS and demonstrating that CR mediates the relationships between career-related psychological factors (personality, self-evaluation and modern career orientation) and CS.



Preparation of this manuscript is supported in part by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada grant.


Lyons, S.T., Schweitzer, L. and Ng, E.S.W. (2015), "Resilience in the modern career", Career Development International, Vol. 20 No. 4, pp. 363-383.



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