Measuring career anchors and investigating the role of career anchor congruence

  • Catherine Ann Steele

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    This thesis empirically examines the career orientations inventory (COI) as a measure of career anchors and then, using this measure, it goes on to investigate the relationship between career anchor congruence and work related outcomes, specifically job satisfaction and organisational commitment.

    The psychometric properties of the 40 item COI (presented by Igbaria and Baroudi, 1993) were explored by the administration of the measure to a sample of 658 individuals from 27 organisations in the UK. Through factor analysis an eight factor structure was demonstrated in line with that proposed by Schein (1993). The factor structure was replicated with a second sample. The COI demonstrated good levels of internal consistency (.59-.83) and test retest reliability (.68-.90). Similarly it was deemed to have acceptable levels of face validity and construct validity when compared to Mantech’s (1983) Work Values Questionnaire (WVQ).

    An analysis of the prevalence of career anchors and the demographic differences within the current sample was undertaken. This analysis provided evidence to suggest that certain career anchors may be increasing in prevalence while others are decreasing. These findings are in line with current research on the way in which workplace changes are impacting upon careers (Baruch, 2004). Evidence was found that indicated gender differences in scores on the COI subscales. Specifically women were found to score higher on the lifestyle anchor and men to score higher on the general management anchor. Differences were also found between the age groups considered in this study in the general management, creativity, pure challenge and lifestyle anchors. Interaction effects for age and gender were found for the general management and sense of service anchors.

    The COI was then used to develop a commensurate measure of job career anchors. This job career anchor measure discriminated between jobs within one police organisation. The measure was then used to explore the relationship between career anchors, career anchor congruence (congruence between individual and job career anchors), job satisfaction and organisational commitment. Evidence was found to suggest that career anchors and career anchor congruence have a direct effect on job satisfaction (predicting 10% and 4% of the variance respectively). The analysis also showed support for the role of career anchor congruence as a moderator to the relationship between career anchors and job satisfaction.

    This thesis makes full consideration of the academic contributions and practical implications of the research presented whilst also considering its limitations. A number of suggestions for the direction of future research have been made.
    Date of Award2009
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    • University of Worcester
    SupervisorJan Francis-Smythe (Supervisor)


    • Occupational psychology
    • career orientations
    • career anchors
    • job satisfaction
    • police organisation

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