Personality and career decisiveness: An international empirical comparison of business students' career planning



Publication Details

Gunkel, M., Schlaegel, C., Langella, I. M. & Peluchette, J. V. (2010). Personality and career decisiveness: An international empirical comparison of business students' career planning. Personnel Review, 39 (4), 503-524.


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is two-fold: first, the degree to which career adaptability, career optimism, and career knowledge predict career decisiveness in China, Germany, and the US is to be examined; second, the effect of the five personality traits on the determinants of career decisiveness, on career decisiveness, and on the relation between career decisiveness and its determinants in the three countries is to be investigated.

Design/methodology/approach – A survey was conducted using a structured questionnaire. The sample consists of 555 business students from three countries: China (196), Germany (210), and the USA (149). A two-stage OLS regression analysis was applied for assessing the relation between career decisiveness, its determinants, and the personality traits.

Findings – The results show that personality traits have direct and moderating effects on career decisiveness and its antecedents. In addition, the influence of personality and the antecedents of career decisiveness differ in the three countries examined.

Research limitations/implications – The conclusions of this study may be subject to several limitations that suggest further possibilities for empirical research, e.g. the study does not examine the influence of cultural traits on career decisiveness, its determinants, and their relation.

Practical implications – The identified cross-country differences lead to the need for diverse career counseling for students with different personalities in different countries.

Originality/value – So far research on students' career decisiveness has focused only on national samples. The explorative paper examines the influence of personality traits on business students' career decisiveness in three countries.

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