The relationship between career commitment and career success among university staff: The mediating role of employability

Beatrice Van der Heijden, E.M.M. Davies, Dimitri van der Linden, Nikos Bozionelos, Ans de Vos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Across Europe, ongoing changes in higher education, such as the stagnating (even decreasing) percentage of permanent or tenure-track jobs, and the reduced government budgets impress on us the need to conduct empirical research on the dynamics of the careers in this sector. In this study, we focussed on career success in higher education, and specifically examined the relationship of career commitment with objective and subjective career success, and the mediating role of employability in this relationship. Participants were drawn from across occupational roles including academic and support staff (N = 354) in a large Dutch university. Process macro's for SPSS were used to test our hypothesized model. We found that career commitment was particularly related to three out of the five dimensions of employability (i.e., anticipation and optimisation, personal flexibility, and corporate sense). There also was positive association between employability and objective and subjective career success. Furthermore, personal flexibility and corporate sense fully mediated the relationship between career commitment and objective career success. Corporate sense partially mediated the relationship between career commitment and subjective career success. Unexpectedly, staff status was not a moderator. Different explanatory mechanisms seem to operate between career commitment and forms of career success. Our study implies that for university staff, it is important to actively invest in their employability, with a special focus on one's corporate sense, and to be supported in this by their surrounding stakeholders (i.e., their family, friends, peers, direct supervisor, and employer). In this way, they will be able to increase their career success and add to the sustained competitive advantage of their employers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)564-580
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Management Review
Issue number4
Early online date3 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022


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