Handbook of Research on Sustainable Careers
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Handbook of Research on Sustainable Careers

Edited by Ans De Vos and Beatrice I.J.M. van der Heijden

What is a sustainable career and how can individuals and organizations develop pathways that lead to them? With current levels of global unemployment and the need for life-long learning and employability enhancement these questions assume a pressing significance. With twenty-eight chapters from leading scholars, the Handbook of Research on Sustainable Careers makes an important contribution to our understanding of sustainable careers and lays the foundation for the direction of future research.
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Chapter 12: Psychological mobility during unemployment: an outplacement study

Marijke Verbruggen, Nicky Dries, Anke Milissen and Sarah Vansteenkiste


To date, little is known about the value of psychological mobility for unemployed job seekers. In this study, we examined a specific set of antecedents (career competences) and outcomes (perceived employability) of two aspects of psychological mobility (boundaryless mindset and organizational mobility preference) among 306 unemployed job seekers participating in outplacement counseling. We found that in this specific population, psychological mobility was only to a certain extent related to self-perceived employability. Furthermore, boundaryless mindset appeared to have little impact at all, which is an unexpected result when we compare our findings to those of earlier studies done in working populations. Another remarkable finding was the lack of a relationship between self-awareness – generally considered to be an important career competence – and psychological mobility. Perhaps self-awareness relates first and foremost to people’s readiness to be mobile, or to their capability to handle changes, rather than to their mobility preferences. Further research into the role of self-awareness in how psychological mobility shapes sustainable careers seems warranted. Overall, our findings imply that the relationship between psychological mobility and career outcomes may be markedly different for different groups in the labor market.

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