Why Do Careers Plateau?

business-graphics-1428662-mWhen faced with a plateau in their career, why do some employees feel stuck and others content? What causes this plateau in the first place? Veronica M. Godshalk and C. Melissa Fender discuss in their article “External and Internal Reasons for Career Plateauing: Relationships With Work Outcomes” from Group and Organization Management.

The abstract:

Career plateauing has received little attention in the literature of late, even when employees are retaining their positions longer with little likelihood for GOM 39(6)_Covers.inddadvancement or increased job responsibilities. Relationships between reasons for structural and content plateauing and work outcomes are investigated among professional accounting association members. Contributing to the literature, our findings confirm existence of external and internal plateauing reasons and various relationships with outcomes. External reasons for structural plateauing were negatively related to job and career satisfaction, while content plateauing for external reasons was negatively related to job involvement and work motivation. Structural plateauing for internal reasons lowered job involvement, but increased job and career satisfaction, as well as intention to stay. Job involvement and work motivation mediated relationships between several reasons and job satisfaction, career satisfaction, and intention to stay. Managerial implications and future research opportunities are noted.

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