Major Incongruence and Career Development Among American and South Korean College Students

Joo Yeon Shin, Michael F. Steger, Ki Hak Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The present study examined whether college students who have academic majors that are incongruent with their career aims experience diminished career development. Because the value placed on self-expression differs across cultures, we tested hypotheses in both the United States (N = 301) and South Korea (N = 200). Similar proportions of American (20.2%) and South Korean students (25.5%) reported having an incongruent major. In both samples, students with incongruent majors reported significantly lower levels of career decision self-efficacy, meaningful work, and calling, with medium effect sizes. Potential moderators and mediator in the link of major incongruence to calling and meaningful work were also examined. The patterns of relations among major incongruence and career development indicators (i.e., career decision self-efficacy, meaningful work, and calling) did not differ by nationality or the levels of collectivism, indicating no significant moderating effects. Career decision self-efficacy was found to partially mediate the relation of major incongruence to calling and meaningful work in both samples. These results indicate that major incongruence relates to lower sense of calling and meaningful work in part because of decreased career decision self-efficacy. Directions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-450
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Career Assessment
Volume22
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Aug 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychology(all)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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