Last Updated 08 May 2020

Methods for career management

Category Career
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All societies design various laws and institutional mechanisms and programs that in their turn create the incentives structure in the labor market. Recruitment and career development systems generally reflect the dominant cultural values of the society in which they operate ( Schein, 1984). Identification of these values is an important human resource management function. The career development system that focuses on recruitment, socialization, growth and development, retirement, and replacement of human resources, should be adequately integrated with the organization's performance appraisal and reward distribution system.

However, rarely does an organization's performance appraisal and reward processes reflect its strategic views of the future ( Stonich, 1984). Moreover, the career development system is also left unexamined and unintegrated with the organization's strategic management process. These three systems must be made to function with some degree of harmony with respect to each other in order to enhance long-term effectiveness in all of these processes. In many organizations, the focus of the appraisal and reward systems is often on short-term objectives (e.g. , annual, and even quarterly, profits).

Such an orientation discourages unit managers from initiating actions that would be strategically effective in the long term but might adversely affect their unit's short-term performance as well as their own personal compensations and immediate opportunities for advancement ( Stonich, 1984). Unless the performance appraisal and development systems are made consistent with the long-term strategic view of the organization, such short-term practices are likely to endure.

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For example, the military is a retention organization that is not generally interested in helping its officers to assimilate with the corporate world in their later careers. Vast sums of money are spent in recruiting competent individuals as well as in training and developing them. New organizations are likely to harness the energies of young and growing employees, whereas mature, stable organizations tend to have more older, mid-career employees. The maximum career development is likely to occur only when a person's career cycle is in tune with his or her organizational life cycle.

However, if there is some degree of challenge or "stretch" in matching of these two cycles, then it can facilitate even further career growth. The structure of different types of new rewards that exist in different lifecycle stages of an organization is likely to have a profound impact on its career development processes. However, currently there is very little recognition of the complementary nature of these two important organizational processes. Take total compensation as a case in point. It encompasses the various ways an organization rewards employees.

These compensation rewards include direct payments such as wages, salaries, and bonuses; fringe benefits such as vacations, pensions, insurance and medical coverage; and indirect nonmonetary ones such as company cars, various club memberships, and status symbols in the case of many private corporations. Noncompensation rewards may include key assignments, opportunities for attending various training programs, promotion, security, and the like. One can adopt two distinctly different views in examining these rewards.

One view is that they should be designed to primarily enhance future performance levels in the organization. The second view is that employees should be compensated fairly for past contributions to the organization. The first view focuses on the incentives, whereas the second is concerned with the notion of equity. Although these two approaches are not entirely contradictory, they do lead to different emphases on different types of rewards and to different criteria for distributing them. They also have implications for distribution of rewards for different life cycles in the organization.

For many individuals, compensation in different forms serves as incentives for certain career decisions such as organizational entry, continued involvement in the organizational role, and so on, irrespective of considerations of continued commitment to a given organization. It is indeed true that rewards that serve as incentives for career entry, such as subsidy for an undergraduate or a graduate program of education, serve as good incentives in enhancing one's future performance as well.

The administration of direct type of compensations can take two forms and it depends on the primary orientation of the key managers at a given life cycle of the organization. If the incentive-based approach is emphasized then one must decide on appropriate methods of tying rewards to career development as well as future job performance, and devise some effective means for assessing progress in both areas. On the other hand, if the equity approach is taken, one must identify relevant employee inputs to the job, weight their importance, and find ways to measure them.

The plan should also indicate how comparisons are to be made among employees with similar skills and other inputs. It is important to separate compensation and noncompensation rewards especially when making comparisons. Interorganizational comparisons of noncompensation rewards do not appear to be done, but perceptions of fairness in intraorganizational comparisons could play an important role in affecting career development approaches in declining organizations.

For example, when some individuals are chosen without any prior justification for certain skill-retraining programs, it does affect the morale of those not chosen who remain unclear as to why and on what basis they were not selected to participate in such programs. An important feature of this practice is that individuals become aware of more complete and accurate information about career opportunities in their own organizations. As various new jobs are announced in various company publications and individuals nominate themselves for these openings, information about typical career paths into key jobs in the organization is made more salient.

Many organizations do not have a well-developed career information system even though it is not costly to put in place. This practice enables individuals to develop their careers in the context of their present organization. It also conveys a clear managerial commitment for the development of internal candidates for job openings that provides higher levels of challenge, feedback, and extrinsic rewards--the elements that can enhance the psychological success cycle.


Anderson J. C. , Milkovich G. T., & Tsui A. ( 1981). "A model of intra-organizational mobility". Academy of Management Review, 6( 4) 529-538. Ashford S. J. , Lee C. , & Bobko P. ( 1989). "Content, causes and consequences of job insecurity: A theory-based measure and substantive test". Academy of Management Journal, 32( 4),803829. Badawy M. W. ( 1983). "Managing career transitions". Research Management, 26( 4), 28 - 31. Blau B. ( 1989). "How IBM technical professionals perceive their work environment. Research Management, 32"( 1), 27 - 30.

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