To read this content please select one of the options below:

Early career attitudes and satisfaction during recession

Deirdre O'Shea (Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland)
Sinead Monaghan (Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland)
Timothy D. Ritchie (Department of Psychology, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 14 March 2014




The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of protean and boundaryless career attitudes in early career employees during a time of economic recession in Ireland, specifically regarding their relationship to work characteristics, job satisfaction and career satisfaction.


Using a quantitative design, data were obtained from a variety of Irish organizations. Employees in the trial career stage (aged between 18 and 29) responded to questions pertaining to their career attitudes, perceived work context and satisfaction.


Skill variety was related to higher job satisfaction for those with a strong organizational mobility preference, and skill specialization was related to lower job satisfaction for those with a weak organizational mobility preference. Autonomy and skill specialization were positively related to career satisfaction for those who held a strong self-directed career attitude.

Research limitations/implications

For researchers, this study contributes to our understanding of the boundary conditions of the work design-satisfaction relationship, and provides further insights into how these findings extend to career satisfaction.

Practical implications

For managers, they demonstrate the importance of considering career attitudes when considering the relationship between job design and satisfaction during recessionary times.


The research extends past findings on careers attitudes during times of recession, and provides insights into psychological and contextual variables that contribute to satisfaction during such economic periods.



This research was kindly supported by an Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher granted to OMT Group Ireland for research conducted by the Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick.The authors express thanks to three anonymous reviewers for their suggestions.


O'Shea, D., Monaghan, S. and D. Ritchie, T. (2014), "Early career attitudes and satisfaction during recession", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 29 No. 3, pp. 226-245.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles