Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Psychology

Major Professor

Paul E. Spector

Keywords

Meaningful Work, Occupational Callings, Scale Development

Abstract

There is a limited body of research that illuminates the various positive life-, health-, and work-related outcomes that an individual may experience through the pursuit of his or her occupational calling. An occupational calling is defined as an occupation that a person feels drawn to, finds intrinsically enjoyable and meaningful, and identifies as a central part of his or her identity. The extant literature on occupational callings, however, rarely considers the possible detrimental effects of having an occupational calling other than to explain unexpected study results. These unexpected study results hint at adverse psychological and job-related outcomes when an individual fails or does not have the ability to pursue an occupational calling, a concept this paper refers to as an "Unanswered Occupational Calling." An Unanswered Occupational Calling is specifically defined as an occupational calling that an individual perceives, but is not currently pursuing. Scholarly work is needed to explore the individual and organizational consequences of an individual's experience of an Unanswered Occupational Calling.

Consequently, the purpose of this research was twofold: (1) to develop and generate preliminary construct validity evidence for a newly developed Unanswered Occupational Calling instrument; and (2) to explore the nomological network of the Unanswered Occupational Calling construct. To that end, I conducted two studies, the first of which was required for initial scale construction. The central purpose of the second was to explore the nomological network of Unanswered Occupational Callings.

Overall, Study 1 and 2 supported the construct validity of the newly developed Unanswered Occupational Calling instrument. As expected, the Unanswered Occupational Calling instrument was shown to relate positively to intrinsic work motivation and negatively to work engagement, job involvement, career commitment, and answered occupational callings. Also as expected, those who more strongly endorsed an Unanswered Occupational Calling also tended to experience more physical symptoms, psychological distress, and withdrawal intentions and less job and life satisfaction. These results are consistent with previous research that suggested that there may be detrimental effects of perceiving, but not pursuing, an occupational calling.

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