<Previous Lesson

Human Resource Management

Next Lesson>




After studying this chapter, students should be able to understand the following:

L. Career


In this lecture, we first discuss the concept of career, career planning and development. Next, we distinguish

between job security and career security. Then, we identify several factors that affect career planning and

discuss both individual and organizational career planning. We next address career paths and discuss career

development, then, career planning and development methods are described. We devote the last part of the

chapter to a discussion of developing unique segments of the workforce.

L. Career:

Career can be defined as a general course of action a person chooses to pursue throughout his or her

working life

I. Career planning:

Career planning is an ongoing process through which an individual sets career goals and identifies the

means to achieve them. The process by which individuals plan their life’s work is referred to as career

planning. Through career planning, a person evaluates his or her own abilities and interests, considers

alternative career opportunities, establishes career goals, and plans practical developmental activities.

Usually, career planning programs are expected to achieve one or more of the following objectives:

1. More effective development of available talent.

2. Self-appraisal opportunities for employees considering new or nontraditional career paths.

3. More efficient development of human resources within and among divisions and/or geographic


4. A demonstration of a tangible commitment to EEO and affirmative action.

5. Satisfaction of employees’ personal development needs.

6. Improvement of performance through on-the-job training experiences provided by horizontal and

vertical career moves.

7. Increased employee loyalty and motivation, leading to decreased turnover.

8. A method of determining training and development needs.

a. Individual career planning — Career planning begins with self-understanding. Then, the

person is in a position to establish realistic goals and determine what to do to achieve these

goals. Learning about oneself is referred to as self-assessment. Some useful tools include a

strength/weakness balance sheet and a likes and dislikes survey.

1. Strength/weakness balance sheet: A self-evaluation procedure assists people in

becoming aware of their strengths and weaknesses.

2. Likes and dislikes survey: A procedure that assists individuals in recognizing

restrictions they place on themselves.

b. Career Assessment on the Web — The Web has numerous tests and assessments sites

available to assist job seekers.

c. Organizational Career Planning — The process of establishing career paths within a


II. Career Paths

Career paths have historically focused on upward mobility within a particular occupation. One of four types

of career paths may be used: traditional, network, lateral, and dual.

a. Traditional Career Path—An employee progresses vertically upward in the organization

from one specific job to the next.

b. Network Career Path—A method of career pathing that contains both a vertical

sequence of jobs and a series of horizontal opportunities.

c. Lateral Skill Path—Traditionally, a career path was viewed as moving upward to higher



levels of management in the organization. The availability of the previous two options has

diminished considerably in recent years. But this does not mean that an individual has to

remain in the same job for life. There are often lateral moves within the firm that can be

taken to allow an employee to become revitalized and find new challenges.

d. Dual-Career Path— A career-path method, that recognizes that technical specialists can

and should be allowed to continue to contribute their expertise to a company without

having to become managers.

e. Adding Value To Retain Present Job—Regardless of the career path pursued, today’s

workers need to develop a plan whereby they are viewed as continually adding value to the

organization. If employees cannot add value, the company does not need them, and much

of the evolving work environments cannot use them either. Workers must anticipate what

tools will be needed for success in the future and obtain these skills. These workers must

look across company lines to other organizations to determine what skills are transferable,

and then go and get them. Essentially, today’s workers must manage their own careers as

never before.

f. Demotion—Demotions have long been associated with failure, but limited promotional

opportunities in the future and the fast pace of technological change may make them more

legitimate career options.

III. Career Development

A formal approach taken by an organization to help its people acquire the skills and experiences needed to

perform current and future jobs is termed as career development. Company’s policies especially policies

regarding promotion, counseling the employees, opportunities to excel in future help employees to develop

their career. Career development consists of skills, education and experiences as well as behavioral

modification and refinement techniques that allow individuals to work better and add value.

Career development is an ongoing organized and formalized effort that recognizes people as a vital

organizational resource. It differs from training in that it has a wider focus, longer time frame, and broader

scope. The goal of training is improvement in performance; the goal of development is enrichment and

more capable workers.

Recently, career development has come to be seen as a means for meeting both organizational and

employee needs, as opposed to solely meeting the needs of the organization as it had done in the past.

Now, organizations see career development as a way of preventing job burnout, providing career

information to employees, improving the quality of work lives and meeting affirmative action goals. That is,

career development must be seen as a key business strategy if an organization wants to survive in an

increasingly competitive and global business environment.

IV. Career Planning and Development Methods

There are numerous methods for career planning and development. Some currently utilized methods, most

of which are used in various combinations, are discussed next.

a. Discussions with Knowledgeable Individuals—In a formal discussion, the superior

and subordinate may jointly agree on what type of career planning and development

activities are best. In other instances, psychologists and guidance counselors provide this

service. In an setting, colleges and universities often provide career planning and

development information to students. Students often go to their professors for career


b. Company Material—Some firms provide material specifically developed to assist their

workers in career planning and development. Such material is tailored to the firm’s special

needs. In addition, job descriptions provide valuable insight for individuals to personally

determine if a match exists with their strengths and weaknesses and specific positions


c. Performance Appraisal System—The firm’s performance appraisal system can also be a

valuable tool in career planning and development. Noting and discussing an employee’s

strengths and weaknesses with his or her supervisor can uncover developmental needs. If

overcoming a particular weakness seems difficult or even impossible, an alternate career

path may be the solution.

d. Workshops—Some organizations conduct workshops lasting two or three days for the

purpose of helping workers develop careers within the company. Employees define and

match their specific career objectives with the needs of the company. At other times,

workshops are available in the community that the company may send the worker to or

workers may initiate the visit themselves.

e. Personal Development Plans (PDP)—Many employers encourage employees to write

their own personal development plans. This is a summary of a person’s personal

development needs and an action plan to achieve them. Workers are encouraged to analyze

their strengths and weaknesses.

f. Software Packages—Some software packages assist employees in navigating their careers.

g. Career Planning Web Sites—There are numerous Web sites available that provide career

planning and career counseling as well as career testing and assessment.

V. Challenges in Career Development

While most business people today agree that their organizations should invest in career development, it is

not always clear exactly what form this investment should take. Before putting a career development

program in place, management needs to consider three major challenges.

a. Who will be Responsible?

Many modern organizations have concluded that employees must take an active role in planning and

implementing their own personal development plans. Situations have led companies to encourage their

employees to take responsibility for their own development; these may include mergers, acquisitions,

downsizing, and employee empowerment. However, employees need at least general guidance regarding the

steps they can take to develop their careers, both within and outside the company.

b. How Much Emphasis is Appropriate?

Too much emphasis on career enhancement can harm an organization's effectiveness. Employees with

extreme career orientation can become more concerned about their image than their performance. Some

warning signs a manager should be on the lookout for include a heavy focus on advancement opportunities,

managing impressions, and socializing versus job performance.

Serious side effects of career development programs include employee dissatisfaction, poor performance,

and turnover in the event that it fosters unrealistic expectations for advancement.

c. How Will the Needs of a Diverse Work Force be Met?

Companies need to break down the barriers some employees face in achieving advancement in order to

meet the career development needs of today's diverse work force. In 1991, a government study revealed

that women and minorities are frequently excluded from the informal career development activities like

networking, mentoring, and participation in policy-making committees.

Perhaps the best way a company can ensure that women and minorities have a fair chance at managerial and

executive positions is to design a broad-based approach to employee development that is anchored in

education and training.

Another employee group that may need special consideration consists of dual-career couples. Common

organizational approaches that are becoming increasingly popular in dealing with the needs of dual career

couples are flexible work schedules, telecommuting, and the offering of child-care services. Some

companies have also been counseling couples in career management.

III. Meeting the Challenges of Effective Career Development

Creative decision making is a must in designing and implementing an effective development program. The

three phases of development often blend together in a real_life program. These three phases include the

assessment phase, the direction phase, and the development phase.

a. The Assessment Phase

The assessment phase involves activities ranging from self-assessment to organizationally provided

assessment. The goal of both of these types of assessment is to identify employees' strengths and


b. The Direction Phase

This involves determining the type of career that employees want and the steps they must take to make their

career goals a reality. It involves:

1. Individual career counseling

2. Information services

c. The Development Phase

The development phase is taking actions to create and increase skills to prepare for future job opportunities

and is meant to foster this growth and self-improvement. The methods are

1. Mentoring & Coaching : It has become increasingly clear over the years that employees who aspire

to higher management levels in the organization often need the assistance and advocacy of someone higher

up in the organization. When senior employee takes an active role in guiding another individual, we refer to

this activity as mentoring and coaching. This can occur at any level and can be most effective when the two

individuals do not have any type of reporting relationship.

2. Job Rotation: Involves moving employees from one job to another for the purpose of providing

them with broader experience.

3. Tuition Assistance Programs: To help individuals plan their careers, organizations try to provide

additional information in order to have better choice of the career.


When an employer does not routinely offer development programs, it is essential that employees work out

their own development plan. Planning for your career should include a consideration of how you can

demonstrate that you make a difference to the organization.

Development Suggestions

Development suggestions focus on personal growth and direction. These suggestions include statements

such as "Create your own personal mission statement."

Advancement Suggestion

Advancement suggestions focus on the steps that employees can take to improve their chances of being

considered for advancement. These suggestions include statements such as "Remember that performance

in your function is important, but interpersonal performance is critical."

IV. Career-Impacted Life Stages

Each person’s career goes through stages that influence an individual’s knowledge of, and preference for,

various occupations. People change constantly and, thus, view their careers differently at various stages of

their lives. Some of these changes result from the aging process and others from opportunities for growth

and status. The main stages of the career cycle include the growth, exploration, establishment, maintenance,

and decline.

a. Growth Stage: The growth stage is roughly from birth to age 14 and is a period during

which an individual develops a self-concept by identifying and interacting with other

people. Basically, during this stage an individual establishes his or her identity.

b. Exploration Stage: The exploration stage is the period roughly from ages 15 to 24, during

which an individual seriously explores various occupational alternatives. The person

attempts to match these occupational alternatives with his or her own interests and abilities

resulting from education, leisure activities, and work.

c. Establishment Stage: The establishment stage is roughly from ages 25 to 44 and is the

primary part of most people’s work lives. Hopefully, during this period, a suitable

occupation is found and the person engages in those activities that help earn a permanent

career. During this period, the individual is continually testing personal capabilities and

ambitions against those of the initial occupational choice.

d. Maintenance Stage: Between the ages of 45 to 65, many people move from the

stabilization sub stage into the maintenance stage. During maintenance, the individual has

usually created a place in the work world, and most efforts are directed at maintaining the

career gains earned.

e. Decline Stage: As retirement becomes an inevitable reality, in the decline stage, there is

frequently a period of adjustment, where many begin to accept reduced levels of power

and responsibility.

Key Terms

Career: Career can be defined as a general course of action a person chooses to pursue throughout his or

her working life

Career planning: Career planning is an ongoing process through which an individual sets career goals and

identifies the means to achieve them.

Career Paths: Career paths have historically focused on upward mobility within a particular occupation.

Career Development: A formal approach taken by an organization to help people acquire the skills and

experiences needed to perform current and future jobs is termed as career development.

Mentoring & Coaching: When senior employee takes an active role in guiding another individual, we refer

to this activity as mentoring and coaching

Dual-Career Path: A career-path method, that recognizes that technical specialists can and should be

allowed to continue to contribute their expertise to a company without having to become managers.

<Previous Lesson

Human Resource Management

Next Lesson>


Lesson Plan


Go to Top

Copyright © 2008-2013 zainbooks All Rights Reserved
Next Lesson
Previous Lesson
Lesson Plan
Go to Top