Career transitions and their causes: a country-comparative perspective

Katharina Chudzikowski, Barbara Demel, Wolfgang Mayrhofer, Jon P. Briscoe, Julie Unite, Biljana Bogićević Milikić, Douglas Tim Hall, Mireia Las Heras , Yan Shen, Jelena Zikic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (SciVal)


This empirical paper investigates how individuals conceptualize causes of career transitions, focusing on the three European countries of Austria, Serbia, and Spain in comparison to the USA and China. Collectively, these countries represent four separate cultural regions according to Schwartz. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with members of three occupational groups: business people, nurses, and blue-collar workers. Analysis of the data generates greater insight about the existence of both region-specific patterns as well as potentially universalistic tendencies regarding perceived causes of career transitions. Perceptions of internal (to the person) drivers of career transitions as activating forces are evident in all five countries. The overall results support contemporary notions of occupational careers that are highly individualized, a characterization strongly emphasized in the current career literature. In the European culture clusters, causes of career transitions are attributed internally and externally. China, representing the Confucian cultural region, stresses external causes for career transitions. By contrast, in the USA only internal attributions of causes are reported.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)825-849
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009


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