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Occupational commitment from a life span perspective: An integrative review and a research outlook

Daniel Spurk (Department of Work and Organizational Psychology, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland)
Annabelle Hofer (Department of Work and Organizational Psychology, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland)
Anne Burmeister (Department of Organisation and Personnel Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands)
Julia Muehlhausen (Department of Work and Organizational Psychology, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland)
Judith Volmer (Department of Work and Organizational Psychology, University of Bamberg, Bamberg, Germany)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 29 July 2019

Issue publication date: 29 July 2019

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this review is to integrate and organize past research findings on affective, normative and continuance occupational commitment (OC) within an integrative framework based on central life span concepts.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors identified and systematically analyzed 125 empirical articles (including 138 cases) that examined OC with a content valid measure to the here applied definition of OC. These articles provided information on the relationship between OC and four distinct life span concepts: chronological age, career stages, occupational and other life events, and occupational and other life roles. Furthermore, developmental characteristics of OC in terms of construct stability and malleability were reviewed.

Findings

The reviewed literature allowed to draw conclusions about the mentioned life span concepts as antecedents and outcomes of OC. For example, age and tenure is more strongly positively related to continuance OC than to affective and normative OC, nonlinear and moderating influences seem to be relevant in the case of the latter OC types. The authors describe several other findings within the results sections.

Originality/value

OC represents a developmental construct that is influenced by employees’ work- and life-related progress, associated roles, as well as opportunities and demands over their career. Analyzing OC from such a life span perspective provides a new angle on the research topic, explaining inconsistencies in past research and giving recommendation for future studies in terms of dynamic career developmental thinking.

Keywords

Citation

Spurk, D., Hofer, A., Burmeister, A., Muehlhausen, J. and Volmer, J. (2019), "Occupational commitment from a life span perspective: An integrative review and a research outlook", Career Development International, Vol. 24 No. 3, pp. 190-221. https://doi.org/10.1108/CDI-07-2018-0184

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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