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Considerations in organizational career advancement: what really matters

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Purpose ‐ This study attempts to expand the literature on organizational career advancement (career mobility and promotion prospects) by examining work factors (withdrawal behaviors, contextual performance and job performance) that managers consider when making decisions regarding their employees' career mobility and promotion prospects. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The research population consists of employees working in both service and non-service organizations in Israel. Data were collected from three sources: employees, managers and organizational records. Regression analyses were used to assess the research hypotheses. Findings ‐ The results show that career mobility is significantly associated with withdrawal behaviors (lateness and absenteeism), overtime dedication and job performance. Interestingly, however, the results did not show a significant relationship between organizational career advancement and the two dimensions of contextual performance (altruism and compliance). We also found that job performance is the only major predictor of promotion prospects. Research limitations/implications ‐ This research is an effort to systematically examine the effects of various work behaviors and job performance as well as demographic data on two aspects of career advancement: career mobility and career prospects. The findings shed light on the criteria used in making decisions on career mobility and career prospects, the consistency and inconsistency of these criteria, and their relative importance with respect to each aspect of career advancement. However, future research should apply a longitudinal design to fully understand the dynamics of the career advancement process. Practical implications ‐ Individual employees and their managers may benefit from a close, systematic examination of the criteria that are important for the career advancement process. Employees may benefit from a better understanding of what managers consider when they make decisions regarding promotions within the organization; thereby, better directing their efforts to meet these expectations. Managers may learn that some inconsistencies exist between their employees' genuine prospects and their own actual decision to promote them. This may lead to exploring practices that might overcome these inconsistencies, as well as a developing ways to use this mechanism in order to advance specific values, attitudes, behaviors and outcomes that are of importance to the viability of the organization. Originality/value ‐ This study is part of a growing research interest on organizational career advancement, with a specific focus on promotion decisions and their underlying reasons. It contributes to a better understanding of what managers tend to consider when making promotion decisions and evaluating their employees' career prospects.
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Keywords: Behaviour; Careers; Israel; Job satisfaction; Performance measures; Promotion

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-02-13

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