Running the penultimate lap of the race: a multi-method analysis of growth, generativity, career orientation and personality amongst men in mid/late career

2015-07-31T12:23:20Z (GMT) by John Arnold Michael G. Clark
The dynamics of development in mid/late career are relatively uncharted territory in empirical research and represent a point of intersection between work/organizational psychology and lifespan developmental psychology. Using multimethod data from a study of 41 men aged between 45 and 55, we investigated the correlates and compatibility of two key developmental phenomena at this career stage: personal growth and generativity. We found that a forward momentum career orientation (not necessarily in the form of hierarchical advancement) was positively associated with personal growth and generativity, whereas a preoccupation with career maintenance had strong negative relationships with both. However, men's orientation towards their career did not uniquely predict growth or generativity when these variables were also regressed on the personality traits of ego resiliency and ego development, suggesting that personality more than subjective career stage is the root of a positive experience of mid/late career. We also conclude that the importance of personal growth is not confined to the first half of career and that contributing to others (i.e., generativity) is compatible with the ostensibly self-focused concerns of growth. Differences between findings from self-report questionnaire and coded interview narratives suggest that method matters in the investigation of these constructs.