No, it’s not International Talk Like a Pirate Day (that’s Sept 19th for any of you that are interested) but recently I’ve been asked to be a participant in a study based around career anchors. A PhD student from New Zealand is looking into how Schein’s Career Anchor model (1975), may now be expanded and updated.
Edgar Schein‘s model proposed that everyone has a different set of values and qualities which they employ with regards to their work life. These values make up their career anchors. A better understanding of one’s motivations (or limits) will lead to a clearer self concept and this will facilitate better career choices.
Schein proposed eight key categories of anchors:
- Technical/functional competence — desire to be the best, like challenges and enjoy using their skills
- Managerial competence — like managing and dealing with people including problem solving and high responsibility
- Autonomy/independence — like to do work by themselves, to their own timetable and without rules
- Security/stability — risk and change adverse, often see a job as something for life
- Entrepreneurial creativity — like to invent creative solutions, or products and run their own work schedule, generally like dealing with people and see wealth as a sign of success
- Service/dedication to a cause — driven by helping other people and giving back to society
- Pure challenge — constantly seeking a challenge and easily bored
- Lifestyle — focus on their life as a whole and often try to integrate their work and life, as opposed to balancing them.
Schein’s original model has come under a lot of scrutiny. It evolved out of a longitudinal study of about 44 Sloan Graduates over a period of more than a decade. This is a pretty narrow subject group, but the key anchors he proposed seem to have caught on, with many companies creating (and charging a lot of money for) ‘tests’ for clients to help them in the search for their perfect career.
The PhD study I referred to is exploring whether anchors focusing on globalisation might now be added to Schein’s original eight. Which is where I’ve come in, providing my experience as a global ‘boomeranger’ (jumping between NZ and the UK). By looking into my and other’s motivations for their moves, the researcher hopes to develop a better understanding of whether globalisation within a career is a unique anchor and what attributes people with this value display. I will let you know how the research turns out!
- How valid to you think Schein’s anchors are today in relation to the clients you work with?
- How do you go about linking a client’s understanding of their career anchors to an actual career?
- On Sept 19th, who is going to show their true pirattitude and attempt a careers discussion in piratese?
- Schein, E.H. (1990 & 1996). Career Anchors (Discovering Your Real Values), Jossey-Bass Pfeiffer.
- Schein, E.H. (1996) Career anchors revisited: Implications for career development in the 21st Century. The Academy of Management Executive, 10(4) 80-88.