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Can you manage shocks? An investigation of career shocks on proactive career behavior: a COR theory perspective

Zulqurnain Ali (Department of Economics and Business Administration, Division of Management and Administrative Sciences, University of Education, Lahore, Pakistan)
Aqsa Mehreen (Business School of Sichuan University, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 13 December 2021

Issue publication date: 8 April 2022




Considerable research has been done to link career-development strategies to career-management success, but little is known about how career shocks (CSs) relate to proactive career behavior (PCB). Furthermore, the study investigates the mediation mechanism of personal resources (i.e. perceived self-efficacy (PSE) and perceived employability (PEMP)) in the linkage between CSs and PCB using the tenets of conservation of resources (COR) theory.


Using the survey approach, the authors recruited 322 banking professionals and validated the proposed model and hypotheses in AMOS.


The outcome shows that CSs are significantly related to PSE and PEMP (personal resources), subsequently linked to PCB. Moreover, personal resources mediate the linkage between CSs and PCB. Thus, CSs cannot be ignored but can be minimized through proactive efforts.

Practical implications

The findings support the banks' management to protect their personnel career by not giving CSs and build their PCB through personal resources. The employees should strive for enhancing personal resources through organizational development opportunities (i.e. training and development) to rescue themselves from sudden CSs.


Shocks cannot be ignored but can be managed through PCB. This research is the first that successfully adds to the career-development literature by empirically establishing the direct and indirect association between CSs and PCB through personal resources.



The authors are thankful to the Editor (Prof. Amanuel Tekleab), Associate Editor (Dr. Frankie J. Weinberg), Methodological Expert of JMP editorial team and two anonymous reviewers for their continuous constructive feedback and valuable suggestions throughout the review process to improve the earlier versions of this manuscript.

Declaration of conflict of interest: This research has no conflict of interest.


Ali, Z. and Mehreen, A. (2022), "Can you manage shocks? An investigation of career shocks on proactive career behavior: a COR theory perspective", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 37 No. 4, pp. 346-360.



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