Career self-management perceptions reflected in the psychological contract of virtual employees: a qualitative and quantitative analysis

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4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: The question of responsibility for career development is critical for virtual employees who work remotely. The purpose of this paper is to (1) compare the perceptions of virtual and on-location employees in the high-tech industry about where responsibility lies for career management, as reflected in their psychological contract (PC) and (2) evaluate the ability of virtual employees to exercise behaviors capable of enhancing their career development. Design/methodology/approach: A mixed-methods approach was used for this study. Study 1 consisted of semi-structured interviews (N = 40) with virtual and on-location employees working for the same high-tech organization, exploring perceptions responsibility for career self-management as captured by their PCs. Study 2, a quantitative survey of virtual and on-location employees (N = 146) working for various organizations in the high-tech sector, examined perceptions of career self-management through the perceived PC, as well as the perceived ability to exercise behaviors that would enhance career development. Findings: Both categories of employees assumed that they, together with their direct manager, had responsibility for managing their career development. Nevertheless, virtual employees had lower expectations of support from their managers in this respect (Study 1) and felt that they actually received less support from their managers (Study 2). The results of both studies show, however, that virtuality does not have any significant effect on employees’ self-reported proactive career-influencing behaviors. Originality/value: The study contributes to existing research by highlighting the perceived joint responsibility for career management and the critical role played by line management in this regard and by showing that virtuality does not have a significant effect on employees’ self-reported proactive career-influencing behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)786-805
Number of pages20
JournalCareer Development International
Volume26
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 14 Oct 2021

Keywords

  • Career self-management
  • High tech
  • Knowledge workers
  • Proactive behaviors
  • Psychological contracts
  • Virtual management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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