Pathways to success for moderately defined careers: a study of relationships among prestige/autonomy, job satisfaction, career commitment, career path, training and learning, and performance as perceived by project managers
New emerging career paths for professionals are often non-linear, dynamic, and boundary-less (Baruch, 2004) and have resulted in undefined professional advancement opportunities for managers and employees in a variety of contexts. Career paths help individuals make meaning in their job contexts and provide avenues to meet intrinsic and extrinsic rewards, including economic and social status (Adamson, 1997; Callanan, 2003). As a result, individual perceptions of career paths may impact job satisfaction, career commitment, and performance. The purpose of this study was to test a career development model examining the path of relationships amongst autonomy/prestige, career path, training and learning, job satisfaction, career commitment, and performance for moderately defined career professionals. Based on a systematic categorization of careers, from well defined to less well defined, project managers were determined to have moderately defined careers. The researcher employed a survey resulting in 644 project manager respondents. Path analysis was effectuated as a modeling technique to determine whether there was a pattern of intercorrelations among variables. A career development model framing the relationship between project managers?????? perceptions of their career paths on their respective performance was explored. The direct path relationships included: (a) frequency of participation in training and learning activities was negatively related to performance, (b) career path was positively related to performance, (c) autonomy/prestige was positively related to performance, and (d) career commitment was negatively related to performance. The indirect path relationships included (a) autonomy/prestige was mediated by career commitment and performance; (b) the connection between career path and performance was mediated by frequency of participation in training and learning (c) career path to performance, was mediated by job satisfaction and career commitment, and (d) career path to performance was mediated by job satisfaction, career commitment, and autonomy/prestige. Study findings supported the tested model and contributed to increased understanding regarding the importance of career paths to individual job satisfaction, career commitment, and performance. Opportunities for new research and implications for individuals and organizations are outlined.