Zettek, Patricia Dietrich
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The purpose of this study was to explore the nature and correlates of career change among MBA alumni. In order to accomplish this broad purpose five research questions were addressed. (1) To what extent do MBA alumni experience specific career transitions? (2) For those who experienced specific career transitions, what impact did those transitions have on their careers? (3) To what extent did MBA Alumni experience career turbulence? (4) To what extent did MBA alumni report an orientation toward self-directedness in regard to career management? (5) To what extent did the personal characteristics, contextual factors and an orientation toward self-directedness predict the career turbulence MBA alumni experienced? The study proposed Career Turbulence, a conceptual model that takes into consideration the vibrant and interesting career experiences that suggest a new normal in the American managerial career. A questionnaire was developed that included 14 items to measure the frequency of specific career transitions, 14 items to measure the impact of those transitions on the respondents’ careers, nine items to measure career self-directedness, and ten items to collect demographic information. The survey was completed by 206 MBA alumni. The following primary findings resulted from this study: 1. Taking on additional responsibilities with no change in salary or title has become a common practice in the modern managerial career, and is rated as the highest producer of career turbulence. 2. Overall, career transitions were considered positive occurrences, even when the transitions themselves were rated less than positive. 3. Career turbulence is more a product of the number of transitions experienced than the self-reported impact of those transitions. 4. MBA alumni in this study reported a high degree of self-directedness in their career management behavior and attitudes.
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