Career adaptivity, adaptability, and adapting: A conceptual and empirical investigation
The literature on career adaptation is vast and based on a range of different measurement approaches. The present paper aims to explore how different operationalizations of career adaptability in terms of concern, control, curiosity, and confidence are related from a conceptual and empirical standpoint. Based on a cross-sectional analysis with 1260 German university students, we established that the adaptability resources of concern, control, curiosity, and confidence are significantly related to, but empirically distinct from, measures representing adapting in terms of career planning, career decision-making difficulties, career exploration, and occupational self-efficacy. In a follow-up survey six months later, we found that the career adaptability dimensions partially mediated the effects of adaptivity (i.e., core self-evaluations and proactivity) on planning, decision-making difficulties, exploration, and self-efficacy. Interestingly, in both analyses, there was no clear match between adaptability resources and theoretically corresponding aspects of career adapting in terms of behaviors, beliefs, and barriers. The results suggest that psychological career resources in terms of concern, control, curiosity, and confidence partially mediate the effects of more context-general, trait-like adaptivity on different career-specific behavioral forms of adapting.