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Factors Influencing Career Transition in Middle Adulthood

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Psychology
Wordcount: 1251 words Published: 19th Apr 2018

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The article aims to deliver a theoretical model highlighting the factors influencing career transition (CT) of the middle adulthood population on an individual level and challenges faced by them. The factors include personality, job satisfaction, motivation and lifelong employability mindset. This essay will discuss the theoretical perspectives that are crucial to the study and highlights how factors in theoretical model affect and conflict one another. Strengths and weaknesses will be identified followed by assessing the reliability sources cited. Lastly, assumptions will be highlighted with recommendations for future research.

Theoretical Perspectives

The model was constructed based on the individual level of analysis thus all factors are internal. “Networking” was highlighted as key factor in successful CT. However, it was not included and according to (Leskinen.R,2009), networking played a pivotal role in successful CT. I would suggest networking to be included linking to motivation. Applying (TPB), intentions capture motivational factors and indicate how hard people are willing to perform the behaviour (Ajzen,1991).Thus, a person knowing the benefits of networking will motivate him to engage in it.

However, the author’s exclusion of networking can be explained by the information processing model, selective processing when one intentionally focuses on factors that are most relevant to the situation. Excluding networking may be optimal to the author because to be consistent with the individual level of analysis.

The factors in the model are linked because they are interdependent. Motivation triggers one to search for job which requires skills and the job allows the individual to build new networks (DeFillippi&Arthur,1996).

Contrastingly, personality and lifelong employability contradicts therefore it explains why lifelong employability is not directly linked to personality. An individual with low adaptability may not have lifelong employability mindset due to low openness to changes (Fugate & Kinicki,2008). Finally,all factors contribute to successful CT thus the arrows are pointing towards it.

Quality of Supporting Data

CT consists of voluntary or involuntary, inter or intra-organisational (NadyaA.Fouad; J.Bynner,2008;Ashforth,2001,p.7) however, the interviewees only went through inter-organisation involuntary CT.

The sample of similar demographics leads to a biased sample because job dissatisfaction differs among gender and educational level (Gesthuizen,2008). Also, semi-structured questions may limit the range of information shared in the open-ended portions. One recommendation would be to use mixed approach for an accurate result (K.Niglas,2004).

Portions of this article contradict one another for example, it was mentioned that the focus was to study challenges faced by mature workers who inherited lifelong employability mindset however, lifelong employability is just one of the factors and not the focus.

The factors includes resilience and planning is true and evident from Morrissey (1992) as he identified one behavior that contributes to resilience of CT is preparation. Individuals should have career strategic plans so they know what to do if they are laid off.

The author’s use of Subjective and Objective approach as indicators of successful CT is accurate. However, adopting merely Objective approach and its claimed successfulness seem doubtful. The individual perception is most crucial thus subjective approach is more important (Endler & Magnusson,1976). The reason is objective characteristics may differ depending on the individual’s perception. (Endler&Magnusson,1976).

Key assumptions

This research generalises the characteristics of mid-life population based on the small sample thus not accurate. The information gathered is assumed to be true however they were verbal therefore may be exaggerated. For example, Lim’s account of his difficulties faced in his workplace may be biased due to his displeasure with his boss. Therefore statements have to be verified before taking them into account for the model.

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Trends in other countries such as job change and motivational mechanism are assumed to be similar to Singapore. However, trends in America may differ from Singapore due to the difference in culture. In the Chinese culture, individuals attribute to CT externally while in America, it is internally (Chudzikowski,2009). Motivational mechanisms also differ in culture (Harvey et al,2000;Pemgini&Bagozzi,2001;Schwartz,1990;1994a Hofstede,1984) as motivation drive personal goals in Individualistic cultures however, countries with high collectivism is motivated in groups.

Mid-lifers are assumed to face difficulties and lack training opportunities. This is not true because it is found that there are many cases of successful CT among mid-lifers and they are extremely resilient and versatile (Rosen&Paul,1999). According to a study by MOM in 1999, it says that companies would benefit more from sending older workers for training as they can integrate what they have learnt in their work better.

Implications and Conclusion

The existing model is supported by numerous evidences as found in this critique. However, there are limitations to the above findings and they will be discussed below.

Firstly, the mixed approach would face a possibility of conflicting results due to technical and theoretical content (Niglas.K,2004). If the mixed approach is chosen, the reason and benefits it gives to the research has to be stated. (Miller,2003:450). Also, the ability of the researcher is crucial due to the difficulty of the method.

Secondly, the research is limited to the individual factors thus not fulfilling a holistic perspective of CT. I would suggest the model to include group and organisational level of analysis such as social support including family or organisational culture as these factors may add pressure to the individual (Schlossberg,1984).

Thirdly, with many uncovered areas of CT, future research may investigate intra-organisational and voluntary CT with a larger sample of 40. An in-depth investigation on how different gender and educational level contributes to CT can be also done.

Fourthly, although it is found that subjective approach is more optimal, there are limitations. Since the model attempts to provide a holistic perspective, it should not restrict its approach to either approach because the relationship between Objective and Subjective is important (Ashforth, 2001;Hall,2002;Hall & 23 Chandler,2005).

Lastly, CT has an increasing emphasis in other countries with similar studies such as (Kim,2004) done recently in Korea. Despite that, their accuracy is limited due to the different cultural context. This study will open up a new research field in Singapore and provide a new theoretical perspective benefitting HR officers planning to lay-off employees. Career counselling can use this to know more of the broader changes that take place in society (Herr,2001). Finally, students in this field now have new data that can deepen their understanding of successful CT.


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