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Title: The career frustration model : a conceptual and empirical analysis of worker motivation theory
Author: Guest, D. E.
Awarding Body: Birkbeck (University of London)
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 1980
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This thesis presents and partially tests a model of career frustration. The model suggests firstly that for middle class managerial and professional workers, career-related issues will be among their most important concerns and their major sources of dissatisfaction and frustration; and secondly that responses to career frustration can be analysed in terms of the extent to which they reflect positive problem-solving behaviour, adjustment or defence mechanisms. The importance of career success is linked to the societal value placed on growth and progress which is also reflected in growth theories of worker motivation presented by writers such as Maslow, Alderfer and Herzberg. An analysis of these theories identifies a number of key conceptual problems and suggests that they describe dominant social values rather than instinctive needs. It also highlights a tendency in organisations to operationalise them in the form of short-term task-based growth rather than long-term career-related growth. Several surveybased tests of the theories of Maslow, Alderfer and Herzberg on a range of U.K. populations show them to be invalid; but they do reinforce the primacy of the desire for growth among middle class employees. The career frustration model is itself tested on four samples, ranging along a continuum from those expected to be very satisfied to very dissatisfied with their careers. Its propositions concerning the importance of and dissatisfaction with career progress are strongly supported and the utility of the classification of responses to career frustration is confirmed. In discussing the findings, it is argued that opportunities for career success are likely to decline in the 1980's and that short-term attention must be directed to ways of tackling the resulting frustration while long-term efforts must be made to direct the energies of middle-class employees away from the desire for career success.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Psychology Psychology Management