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Article
Publication date: 13 February 2017

Kathleen Otto, Robert Roe, Sonja Sobiraj, Martin Mabunda Baluku and Mauricio E. Garrido Vásquez

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between career ambition – defined as high achievement motivation and strong career orientation – and both…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between career ambition – defined as high achievement motivation and strong career orientation – and both extrinsic (salary, position) and intrinsic success (job satisfaction, goal attainment) of psychologists. Over and above this, the authors explore whether extrinsic success predicts intrinsic success or vice versa.

Design/methodology/approach

In order to analyze the impact of career ambition on extrinsic and intrinsic success, the authors conducted two online studies with psychology graduates – a cross-sectional study (Study 1; n=119) and a longitudinal one (Study 2; n=63; two-three years interval between assessment points). The authors applied regression and cross-lagged analyses to investigate the interplay of career ambition and career success.

Findings

The results show that career ambition impacts on both extrinsic and intrinsic success. More specifically, extrinsic success was positively predicted by career orientation in Study 1. In contrast, achievement motivation was negatively related to intrinsic success (Study 1) and even diminished it over time (Study 2). Findings of the cross-lagged analysis further underlined that intrinsic success predicts extrinsic success.

Originality/value

The study contributes by separately investigating two aspects of career ambition and showing their different effects on career success in the specific profession of psychologists. As cross-lagged findings revealed that psychologists’ intrinsic success predicted their extrinsic success and not vice versa, the authors discuss whether psychologists might be worsening their career development in the long run by showing high achievement motivation.

Details

Career Development International, vol. 22 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1362-0436

Keywords

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