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The design of a job is deeply consequential for employees’ psychological experiences at work. Jobs are collections of tasks and relationships that are grouped together and…
The design of a job is deeply consequential for employees’ psychological experiences at work. Jobs are collections of tasks and relationships that are grouped together and assigned to an individual (Ilgen & Hollenbeck, 1992), and scholars have long been interested in the way these elements come together to constitute the experience of a job (Griffin, 1987; Hackman & Oldham, 1980). Research in this area has traditionally built on a core assumption that managers design jobs in a top-down fashion for employees, which places employees in the relatively passive role of being the recipients of the jobs they hold.
A work orientation represents a person’s beliefs about the meaning of work – the function work plays in the person’s life and the constellation of values and assumptions…
A work orientation represents a person’s beliefs about the meaning of work – the function work plays in the person’s life and the constellation of values and assumptions the person holds about the work domain. Research has suggested that adults tend to favor one of three primary work orientations: job, career, or calling. Empirical studies have shown that adults with different primary work orientations tend to experience different work and career outcomes; however, scholars have not analyzed how or why an individual first develops a work orientation. In this study, we take a first step toward investigating the origins of adults’ work orientations.
We propose hypotheses drawing on extant literature on the development of work values and occupational inheritance. We test hypotheses using a retrospective research design and survey methodology, with a sample of working adults.
Work orientations are developed through socialization processes with parents during adolescence. There are different patterns of development across the three work orientation categories: stronger calling orientations are developed when both parents possess strong calling orientations; stronger career orientations develop in accordance with fathers’ career orientations; and job orientations are related more to the nature of the adolescent’s relationship with parents than with parents’ own work orientations.
This research provides the first empirical study of the origin and development of work orientations.
This research offers insight into ways generations are connected through the perceived meaning of their work, even as the nature of work changes. We encourage future scholars to use this as a starting point for research on the development of work orientations, and to continue exploring these questions using additional methods, particularly longitudinal study designs.
Multiple forces that shape the identities of adolescents and young adults also influence their subsequent career choices. Early work experiences are key among these…
Multiple forces that shape the identities of adolescents and young adults also influence their subsequent career choices. Early work experiences are key among these forces. Recognizing this, youth service programs have emerged worldwide with the hope of shaping participants’ future trajectories through boosting engagement in civically oriented activities and work. Despite these goals, past research on these programs’ impact has yielded mixed outcomes. Our goal is to understand why this might be the case.
We rely on interview, archival, and longitudinal survey data to examine young adults’ experiences of a European youth service program.
A core feature of youth service programs, namely their dual identity of helping others (i.e., service beneficiaries) and helping oneself (i.e., participants), might partly explain the program’s mixed outcomes. We find that participants focus on one of the organization’s identities largely to the exclusion of the other, creating a dynamic in which their interactions with members who focus on the other identity create challenges and dominate their program experience, to the detriment of a focus on the organization and its goals. This suggests that a previously overlooked feature of youth service programs (i.e., their dual identity) might prove both a blessing for attracting many diverse members and a curse for achieving desired outcomes.
More broadly, our results suggest that dual identity organizations might attract members focused on a select identity, but fail to imbue them with a blended identity; thus, limiting the extent to which such organizations can truly “redirect” future career choices.
Simon L. Albrecht is a registered psychologist and has a PhD and a master’s degree in Organizational Psychology. Simon’s PhD focused on identifying the dimensions, antecedents, and consequences of organizational trust. Simon is a Senior Lecturer within the Organizational Psychology program at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. Teaching, research, and practice interests are in the areas of work engagement, organizational development and change, leadership development, culture and climate, and organizational politics. Simon has published in numerous international journals, has numerous book chapters in print, and has presented at international conferences. In addition to his academic and research interests Simon also has considerable consultancy experience. He has previously been a director of a human resource consultancy engaged in delivering a broad range of organizational development activities and programs.