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Motivating and Managing Employees

Bauer Doctoral Candidate Analyzes Relationship Between Employee Career Success and Life Satisfaction

Published on January 13, 2022

Motivating and Managing Employees

Researchers have long concluded that people fall into one of two categories when it comes to goal orientation: Those whose motivation is driven by a desire to out-perform everyone else, and those who instead are more driven by the mastery of new skills.

Not surprisingly, individuals derive career and life satisfaction differently, too, and understanding such motivation is key to organizations' success in managing the employees who work for them.

New research from the C. T. Bauer College of Business analyzes the relationship between employees' career success, life satisfaction, and goal orientation.

Eun Young Nae, a doctoral a candidate in Management & Leadership from the Bauer College, is one of the co-authors of “When Career Success Enhances Employees' Life Satisfaction: Different Effects of Two Types of Goal Orientations,” published by Personnel Review.

“Using salary and promotion as indicators of objective career success, we collected data from 188 employment surveys in local Korean firms and revealed that employees' perception of salary and promotion increased their satisfaction with career goals and progress,” Nae writes. “For employees who pursue challenging goals and difficult tasks as highly learning goal-oriented, their perception of salary for objective career success did not affect their career and life satisfaction. On the other hand, for employees who are highly performance goal-oriented, their pay consideration in their career was significantly related to their career satisfaction, and thus their overall life satisfaction.

“These results imply that a higher salary and frequent promotions in organizations may not always lead to employees' satisfaction with career and personal life. Thus, organizations should consider individuals' various goal orientations and their influence on both objective and subjective career success and life satisfaction.”

Nae's research focuses on employees' trust in organizational contexts, trust-control dynamics and peer relations, and intergroup leadership in organizations. Prior to joining the Bauer College Ph.D. program, she worked as a researcher at Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education & Training in South Korea.