Career commitment refers to identification with and involvement in one’s occupation (Mueller et al., 1992, p. 212) and is characterized by the development of and commitment to career goals (Colarelli and Bishop, 1990). In brief, it refers to one’s motivation to work in a chosen vocation (Hall, 1971).
People who are committed to their careers should experience more subjective career success (e.g. have more positive feelings for the career) than those who are less committed. Past studies, for example, have found that employees who commit to a job or career tend to develop attitudes consistent with that commitment (e.g. Carson et al., 1999; Kiesler, 1971). In a study of the influence of career commitment and organizational commitment on work-related outcomes, Carson et al. (1999) found medical librarians high on career commitment to have higher career satisfaction than those low on career commitment. In addition, Lee et al. (2000) in their meta-analytic study of occupational commitment found this variable to correlate positively with career satisfaction.
People who are committed to their careers should also experience more objective career success than those who are less committed. Committed individuals should be willing to make significant investments in their careers (e.g. put forth more effort, acquire new knowledge and skills). One study, for example, found career commitment to predict learning motivation and learning transfer (Cheng and Ho, 2001). In addition, people who are committed to their career will likely set high career goals for themselves and put forth effort as well as persist in pursuing these goals even in the face of obstacles and setbacks (Colarelli and Bishop, 1990). Greater effort and perseverance generally leads to higher performance (Bandura, 1993; Locke and Latham, 1990a). High performance, in turn, should result in extrinsic rewards such as higher salaries or promotions (e.g. Greenhaus and Parasuraman, 1993) as well as intrinsic rewards such as self-satisfaction, which stem from positive appraisals that people make of themselves when their performance is successful relative to their internal standards (Bandura, 1986; Locke and Latham, 1990b).
In sum, career commitment should lead to more successful careers in the form of other-administered rewards (e.g. salary attainment) or self-administered rewards (e.g. career satisfaction). Therefore, I propose:
H1a. Career commitment will be positively related to salary level.
H1b. Career commitment will be positively related to career satisfaction.