Year

2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

School of Management, Operations and Marketing

Abstract

The current study aims to examine the direct and indirect effects of psychological empowerment in the relationship between career anchors and job satisfaction within the context of public universities in Indonesia. Schein’s (1978) single career anchors theory, Feldman and Bolino’s (1996) multiple career anchors model, Spreitzer’s (1975) psychological empowerment concept and Locke’s (1976) job satisfaction model were used to form the framework for the study. Concurrent embedded mixed-methods (Creswell & Plano Clark 2011) were employed, in which both quantitative and qualitative data were gathered and analysed. Full-time academics from Indonesian public universities formed the sample for this study. Using web-based and paper-based surveys, data were gathered from 585 academics of 11 universities across three geographical regions (western, central and eastern) of Indonesia. Twenty academics participated in structured face-to-face interviews. Quantitative data were gathered using a survey questionnaire that comprised items from Igbaria and Baroudi’s (1993) career anchor inventory, Sprietzer’s (1995) psychological empowerment scale and Hackman and Oldham’s (1975) general job satisfaction scale. Finally, Schein’s (1990) protocol interview and two open-ended questions were used to collect qualitative data.

Exploratory factor analysis was employed to examine the factor structure underlying the three constructs. Twelve factors emerged from the quantitative data, with the analyses finding two new anchors, which were labelled work dedication and balanced-lifestyle. Overall, the other factors were the same as originally constructed from past research. The final factor clusters were used to determine the dominant career anchors using frequency count, and were also used in subsequent hierarchical multiple regression analysis when testing the proposed hypotheses. Thematic analysis was employed to identify themes from the qualitative data.

The data analyses revealed several significant results. First, the economic security and service anchors emerged as the most dominant career anchors. Second, the needs-based anchors category was the most preferred groups-based anchor among the respondents. Third, the study found that multiple career anchors existed amongst the participants. Finally, the study also found that all career anchor relationship pairs were grouped in complementary relationship pairing anchors. Statistically, the results indicate that work dedication, managerial competence and pure challenge predicted job satisfaction. Furthermore, meaning and impact predicted job satisfaction. Meaning mediated partially and significantly the effects of work dedication, balanced-lifestyle, managerial competence and pure challenge on job satisfaction; impact mediated partially and significantly the effects of both work dedication and managerial competence on job satisfaction. Meaning and competence moderated balanced-lifestyle and job satisfaction relationship; impact moderated service and job satisfaction relationship; selfdetermination moderated the service, balanced-lifestyle and pure challenge effect on job satisfaction. Meaning mediated and moderated the balanced-lifestyle effect on job satisfaction. Thematic analysis identified academic atmosphere, academic freedom and creativity, work-family lifestyle, flexible working schedule, skill orientation, running a business, spiritual value and intangible recognition as new anchors. Personal integrity, and motivation and goal orientation were found to reflect the psychological empowerment facets while happiness reflected the job satisfaction dimension. Organisational factors were identified as most influential themes in career development. Based on the findings, a modified framework was proposed.

The findings support and extend the existing knowledge in several ways. First, the new anchor categories, the dominant career anchors, the existence of multiple anchors and complementary anchors contribute to the value of the career anchors concept, and the prediction of a shift in anchor structures. Therefore, more studies are needed to help explicate the value of the career anchors concept as well as help in understanding the shift in career anchors structures. Second, findings from this study help extend the understanding of the concepts of career anchors, psychological empowerment and job satisfaction within a non-Western context, that is, public universities of Indonesia. Third, using data gathered from academics working in public universities adds to the understanding of the three concepts and the existing theories related to self-concept at the workplace. Fourth, the identification of new themes and the emergence of psychological empowerment and job satisfaction dimensions show that the qualitative study supports the quantitative analysis findings. Fifth, cultural values are evident throughout the results showing the need to take into consideration the role and effects of culture during future research on career anchors. Sixth, the identification of the spiritual values theme needs an in-depth exploration to see whether it adds to career anchors concept or is just a reflection of the influence of the participants’ religious inclinations. Finally, the current study extends the career anchor, psychological empowerment and job satisfaction theories used by recommending a need to investigate more job outcomes, such as job stress and strain, disciplines, organisational commitment and job performance.

The current study also suggests several future research directions. Future researchers are encouraged to test the proposed modified framework. The emergence of a new career anchor and the identified themes need to be analysed in greater detail. To enable generalisability of this study across a variety of organisational contexts, it is recommended that future studies on career anchors are carried out across many public and private universities and across many geographical locations. Finally, the current study encourages researchers to test a comparative model by treating career anchors as mediators or moderators to find out what roles career anchors might play.

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