Importance Of Career Anchors

Edgar Schein, one of the founders in the field in modern organizational psychology, pointed out that, every one of us has a particular orientation towards work. As a result of which, we all approach our work with a set of priority and certain values. This concept is known as ‘Career Anchors’. It represents one’s combination of perceived career competence and includes talents, motives, values and attitudes that give stability and direction to a person’s career. It is regarded as the ‘motivator’ or ‘driver’ of that person. The Career Anchor depicts one’s highest priority needs and the factors of work lives one may not be willing to give up. Many people are not really clear about their need and competencies and make an inappropriate career choice, that lead to dissatisfaction and frustration at work. Knowing their Career Anchor properly, people develop sufficient insight to make intelligent and appropriate career choices.

Importance of Career Anchors

Almost all organisations claim to serve the best interests of employees. In practice, they “manage” their workers’ careers with the best interest of the organization, not the employees. Very often, people tend to select a wrong career and find it incompatible at workplaces with their true values, resulting in feelings of unrest and discontent and lost in productivity. This necessitates becoming self-reliant, to choose and manage one’s career.

Career Anchors help an individual in conceptualising his own perceived career. It encompasses one’s core areas of competence, motives, and career values. Very often, this perceived career anchor goes against organisational career plans and employees develop a sense of dissonance or certain incongruity about their career plans. Therefore, many organisations seek to identify perceived career anchors of their employees to develop matching career development programmes. Edgar H.Schein has identified eight such career anchors. These eight career anchor categories were discovered in longitudinal research. Subsequently, it was confirmed and corroborated in a variety of studies of different occupation, in different countries (Schein, 1971, 1975, 1977, 1978):

1. Technical/Functional Competence (TF):

The persons anchored in technical or functional competence are quite knowledgeable. They are primarily motivated to produce highly effective work in some particular field of specialization. Persons with such competencies prefer to take technically satisfying job such as engineering, systems analysts or it could be different functional areas of management like finance, production and marketing. Primarily, these types of people are motivated by the work content. They tend to identify and establish themselves with their expertise very strongly. The ability to succeed and get recognized in their own areas of specialty determines their self concept. People with this anchor seldom prefer generalist position. They prefer to be challenged and use their skill to meet the challenges by doing the job properly, better than the others.

2. General Managerial Competence (GM):

The advancement up in the corporate ladder to take higher levels of responsibility is the key motivation for people anchored in managerial competence. Unlike technical/functional people, fundamental characterstics of these folks are, they prefer to rise to the top, want to be manager. Managerial competence anchored people need to excel in the skills in three basic areas of management i.e analytical, interpersonal, and emotional.

Analytical competence is the ability to identify, analyze, and resolve problems under uncertain conditions and with incomplete information. Analytical competence helps them to identify and analyse problems and develop situations to resolve the same. They thrive on taking higher responsibility. Interpersonal competence is characterised by the ability to supervise and influence people, lead and control and motivate them towards achievement of organizational goals. They possess the ability and desire to handle a variety of interpersonal and group situations like problem-solving and tackling unfavourable situations. Emotional competence refers to the capacity to remain energized and proactive and to maintain calm without excessive anxiety or guilt at the time of high stress, emotional and interpersonal crises and at appearances of failure. They become competent and exert leadership powers to gain control over such type of situations, without much of problem. The persons anchored with managerial competence is characterised with all three attributes.

3. Autonomy/Independence (AU):

People who are anchored by this competence have a primary and overriding need to work with their own rules and procedure. They like to work under their own pace, follow their own format, take their own time, and remain independent of others to the greatest extent possible. Usually, they tend to avoid standards and are more comfortable to work alone. The autonomy-anchored person lacks in terms of loyalty and obligation to the employer organization. They would prefer to refuse promotion or transfer, if their independence is given up. They strive to be free, independent, and self-reliant. For which, these type of autonomous people seek to attain high level of education. Fixed working hours, lack of variety of work, defined work rule etc, prevent them from becoming functionally autonomous and independent for which they leave the job t and start their own consultancy and freelancing. Teachers, professors, advertising professionals, management professionals belong to this category.

4. Security/Stability (SE):

Persons with a primary need of security and stability seek and prefer to choose secure and stable employment over challenging and riskier employment. Greater stability and continuity is the primary determinant factor for these types of people to lead their lives. They tend to avoid risks and uncertainty and are generally are ‘lifers’ in their jobs. This career anchored people prefer to work in Government and public sector undertakings.

5. Entrepreneurial Creativity (EC):

The individual driven by entrepreneurial anchor has a strong inner urge to create a new business of his own. He has all the motivation and courage to run the risk by overcoming all the obstacles. He is driven by a strong desire to get personal gain and recognition for his own accomplishment. Being anchored for creativity, such type of people prefers to take challenging work assignments. Through innovative product and process design, they create scope for their own identification.

Entrepreneurial need people differ from autonomy driven people. The entrepreneurship is firmly rooted and dedicated for ownership. Creating a marketable and profitable product or service regardless of the technology and irrespective of intellectual discipline is the objective of entrepreneurial activity. Basically, it aims at making large amount of money. These types of individuals seldom work for others for long periods of time. They are much eager to be fully active to work for an enterprise of their own. They put heavy weight to ownership and for them success is characterised by wealth.

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6. Service/Dedication to a Cause (SV):

Service anchored people are principally motivated to dedicate their work and even if sometimes lives in the service of others. They may dedicate their service by working in a position, in which they get opportunities to serve others directly. The counsellors, physicians, therapists, nurses or other helping or supportive occupations and professions belong to this category. Service may also include providing comfort, entertainment, athletic training, extending personal or business support activities, personal or administrative assistant or any other such type of support services that represents a contribution to others.

These people have a commitment for the preservation and realization of certain set of values, that they consider much important for their own lives as well as for the larger world. That causes the manifestation of dedication among them. Usually, money is not an important motivator for these types of people. They seek recognition for their work and cause along with along with financial and working support. Dedication to a charitable cause is not the only option for this anchor. A scientist having strong desire and concern for the environment may take up a job and serve the cause.

7. Pure Challenge (CH):

People driven by challenge often seek difficult problems as they can tackle it. Challenges matter at the highest possible level for these type of people. They define success in terms of winning the war or getting success over the game, bidding the contract or the sale. Overcoming obstacles, being the best, ranking the first, beating the competition, reaching at the highest, surpassing previous goals and such is the mantra they follow in their life.

Experiencing challenge is primary concern for these type of people than that of area of work or specific job. Most often, they seek variety in their careers as well as in their lives. In the absence or lack of challenge make them highly dissatisfied. They tend to change their jobs with getting bored in the current one and add variety in their career.

8. Lifestyle (LS):

Work is not the primary vehicle of self-expression for life-style anchored people. They are basically interested in ensuring a life balanced with various interests. They consider family, friends, hobbies, recreational and leisure activities as well as study and learning and other such work related subjects much significant in their career and life. They tend to develop their self-concepts in consideration of their total life style. The way they define and perceive their life style is the major determinant factor in choosing their careers. They prefer to take jobs, careers, occupations and organizations, that allow them to put all the major sectors of their lives together into an integrated whole. Usually, career decisions do not take over their lives.

Other anchors

The complexity of behaviour has identified several other categories of career concerns, though none have shown up consistently as “anchors”. “Variety,” “status or identity,” and “power” have been proposed as additional anchors. For example, the prefixes such as Major, Colonel, Brigadier used before the names of military personnel implicate a specific variety of career anchor. Such identification is so visible that they get special uniforms matching their levels in the organisation. Affiliate needs and interpersonal talents to work for a cause yet another anchor predominantly found in some persons. The search for power, influence, control and job variety are examples of other career anchors which people try to achieve in their occupational roles.

People are “concerned” much with each of these issues and most occupations fulfil these set of needs in several of those areas in different degrees in consideration of their relative importance by different people. Employees nurturing specific career anchors are required to make it explicit to the organisation in order to find a matching occupational role without much of behavioural dissonance. Knowledge of these all career anchors are essential for any organisation in order to plan career development.

Management Development Programme:-

Management development programme is an attempt to improve managerial effectiveness through a planned and deliberate learning process. Unlike general purpose of training management development programme aims at developing conceptual and human skills of managers and executives through organized and systematic procedures. In India, many professional institutes like Administrative staff college of India, Management Development Institute, Indian Institute of Management, Quality Management International, National Institute of Personnel Management, Indian Society of Training and Development etc, conduct different management development programmes to sensitize managers and executives to various emerging problems of the corporate world. Management Development is defined by different authors as follows–

At the personal level “management development” is the process by which you and others gain the skills and abilities to manage yourself and others (Margerison, 1991).

I define management development as the management of managerial careers in an organisational context (Burgoyne, 1998).

“Management development” has a deceptively simple sound to it. Clearly it means, developing the ability of people to manage in their own organisational environment (Sadler, 1998). Management development is the entire system of corporate activity with the espoused goal of improving the managerial stock in the context of organisational and environmental changes (Lees, 1992).

Components of MDP are:

1. Selection: To identify innate potentiality or managerial abilities of executives.

2. Intellectual conditioning: To educate executives and managers on different managerial tools & techniques.

3. Supervised training: To guide executives and managers on application and use of knowledge in the course of day to day activities.

MDP objectives

For top management MDP intends to develop better comprehension & decision-making power, while for middle level it is meant to develop their intellectual capability besides awareness of managerial problems. For specialists MDP is to increase functional knowledge in specific fields and proficiency in various management techniques. One of the interesting study of management development (MD) comparing the processes of UK and Japan by Storey et al (1994), suggested a number of objectives of MDP

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As a device to engineer organisational change -particularly in cultural change

As a tool in pursuit of quality, cost reduction and profitability

To structure attitudes

To contribute to the development of learning a organisation

To assist with self development

Characteristics of Management Development:-

Continuous Process

Management development is continuous process and required to look after the entire professional career of managers and executives. In India management development is considered as a sporadic activity, resulting in failure to meet the organisational requirements. In Japan, UK, management development is a systematic and continuous activity of any organisation.

Knowledge updating activity

The need of management development is imperative and appreciated in filling up gap between actual and potential performance. Management development provides scope for continuous improvement in all functional areas. It bridges the gap by enriching the functional capacity of executives and managers by continuously updating their knowledge and skill.

A vehicle for attitudinal activity-

Human behaviour is dynamic and complex. Management development programmes attempt to understand the behavioural and attitudinal aspects of human behaviour through simulating sessions, ensure better interpersonal skill as an important prerequisite for managerial success.

Stimulant to higher competence-

Managers and executives are stimulated to bear the intricacies of managerial stress and strain through different management development programmes in order to exert their potential for the benefit of the organisation. Management development programme must be designed considering issues like employees’ motivation, habits, age mix, pattern of conflict and chaos. and this can enable elevation of managerial functions of the executives during the post training phase.

Deficiency improver-

Management development programmes are catered to the individual requirements to improve functional as well as personal deficiencies of the individual managers, thereby enabling the organisation to derive immediate benefit from such programmes.

A self -development process-

Management development facilitates self development of managers, as they learn many things through action learning methods, sharing the experience of each other in a simulated classroom atmosphere.

Steps of Management Development Programme

To look at the Organization’s objective.

To ascertain the development needs

To appraise the present performance of managerial staff.

To propose manpower Inventory.

To plan & establish trainings development Programme.

To evaluate different programmes

Benefits of management development –

There are different benefits the MDP seek for different stakeholders like individual employee, managers and organisation itself.

Benefits for individual employee include-

An increased ability to develop individual performance

A reduction in stress about un-tackled gaps in personal performance requirements

An increased chance of holding on to a desired present job

An increased chance of developing potential for other job

A clearer process for establishing personal aspirations

A clearer process for establishing commitment of my manager and the organisation to my development

Benefits for the manager of the individual include-

A reduction in performance problems

An increased use of additional opportunities for effective work in the unit

A reduction in the belief that my manager does not believe in development

More individuals capable of dealing with new or difficult tasks or complete jobs

Benefits for the organisational unit include—-

Increased ability to meet current and organisational needs

Increased effectiveness for the unit, through improved performance

Increased likelihood that development for individual is based on organisational need

Improved motivations for individuals leading to greater commitment to the organisations

Increased provision of continuous learning rather than one off-training


The two categories of development methods are on-the-job development, and off-the-job development. Some of the widely used on-the-job development methods are, coaching, job rotation, under study assignments and multiple management. Off-the-job development methods include simulation exercises, sensitivity training, transactional analysis, conferences and lecturers. To ensure the success of the management development programs, they have to be evaluated from time to time.

Dilemmas in Management Development

Firstly, most of the times management development programme gives more attention to formally designed structured learning than that of informal and accidental learning. That dilemma needs to be reconciled. Management development programme has to embrace both informal and accidental learning opportunities as well as formally created one. A HR director may desire management development programmes, systems and policy primarily to take care of the organisation requirements than that of individual need like easier job mobility, which needs reconciliation to a great extent by sharing views and finding common ground.

Secondly, very often management development seems to be looking back even at yesterday’s need rather than today’s.

Somehow management development agenda needs to take balance view of yesterday’s need with that of tomorrow’s. The short-term / long-term dilemma was one identified by Taylor, in 1994 requiring managers to learn to operate across a range of skills at a same time.

At the end management development programme always act on a large number of mangers. With the large group there will be a significant difference of need in respect to different functional groups and job requirements which needs to be taken care of. Again management development programme very often ignores relevance of individual difference. Hence an organisation must balance and reconcile all the management dilemmas and take a contingent approach in order to be effective.


OD is a strategy or an effort, which is planned and managed from the top, to bring about planned organisational changes in order to enhance the effectiveness of organization as well as bring individual well-being through planned interventions based on social philosophy.

The Core Characterstics of OD are

Planned intervention for comprehensive long term organisation change:

It involves identification of the problem, diagnoses the organisation and a planned intervention in the existing organisation that helps to become more viable. Therefore examines present working norms, values and possible areas of conflict of the organisation and develops alternatives for better health. The interventionist needs to diagnose different sub-system of the organisation and develops alternatives in the area of planning, decision making processes, goal setting, team development, organisation structure, culture, value and upgrading employee’s skill and abilities as well. OD takes months or years to implement.

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Humanistic Values:

It involves Positive beliefs about the potential of employees (McGregor’s Theory Y). Therefore, focuses primarily on the human and social side of the organization making the organisation employee friendly and adapts business to employee (B2E) approach of management.

Managed from the top.

To be effective, OD must have the support of top-management. Top management has to model it, not just espouse it. The OD process also needs the buy-in and ownership of workers throughout the organization.

Systems Orientation:

All parts of the organization including structure, technology, and people, must work together in order to make the OD effective. It views organizations as complex social systems.

Experiential Learning:

The learner’s experiences in the training environment should be the kind of human problems they encounter at work. It should not be all theory and lecture.

Problem Solving:

The approach of OD is the process of identifying the organisations’ specific problems, gathering and analysing organisational data and taking corrective action are is taken, progress is assessed, and needed adjustments are made to resolve problems. This process is known as Action Research.

Contingency Orientation:

OD recognises that each organisation is different from all other and problem solving processes vary across organisation. Therefore, actions are selected and adapted to fit to the need and priorities of the organisation.

Change Agent:

The services of an outside expert are generally retained to implement the OD process. Active intervention of change agent stimulates, facilitate, and coordinate change.

Levels of Interventions:

Problems can occur at one or more level in the organization so the strategy will require one or more interventions.

Collaborative approach:

OD uses a collaborative approach and involves all those affected by the change in the change process unlike the traditional management structure in which orders are issued at upper levels and simply carried out by lower levels.


Human resources — People of an organisation certainly make the difference between organizational success and failure. Therefore, how to manage them better is crucial for any organisation.

Changing nature of the workplace– Modern day workers want feedback on their performance, a sense of accomplishment, feelings of value and worth, and commitment to social responsibility. They need to be more efficient, to improve their time management and of course, to continue doing more work with less people, the processes need to be more efficient.

Global markets– Our environments are changing, and our organizations must also change to survive and prosper. We need to be more responsible to and develop closer partnerships with our customers. In order to survive and grow, the organisations need to attack the problems, not the symptoms, in a systematic, planned, humane manner.

Accelerated rate of change– Taking an open-systems approach, the organisations can easily identify the competitions on an international scale for people, capital, physical resources, and information.


Organization Development (OD) is the systematic application of behavioural science knowledge at various levels, such as group, inter-group, organization, etc., to bring about planned change. Its objectives are a higher quality of work-life, productivity, adaptability, and effectiveness. It accomplishes this by changing attitudes, behaviours, values, strategies, procedures, and structures so that the organization can adapt to competitive actions, technological advances, and the fast pace of change within the environment (Cunningham, 1990). The important goals of OD are as follows:

To develop or enhance the organization’s mission statement or vision statement

To help in aligning functional structures in an organization for a common purpose

To create a strategic plan for the organization is going to meet its future

To put in place processes that will help improve the ongoing operations of the organization on a continuous basis

To assist in the development of policies and procedures that will improve the ongoing operation of the organization

To assess the working environment, to identify strengths on which to build and areas in which change and improvement are needed

To emphasise the need for changing from closed system to open system by inculcating various social changes

To create more congenial work environment

To build mutual trust and confidence and to minimise conflict

To make structure and role in consonance with goal accomplishment

To promote a sense of ownership and pride in the organisation

To decentralise decision making close to the source of activity

To emphasise on feedback, self control and self-direction

To develop the spirit of co-operation, and interdependency

To develop a reward system based upon achievement of goals and development of people


Organizational development (OD) is a change management strategy, is based on the understanding of behavioural sciences and is concerned with how people and organizations function and how they can be made to function better through effective use of human and social processes. Robert Black and Jane S. Mouton (1963) suggested a six-phase approach to organisational development as under:

Investigation by each member of the organisation of his own managerial styles.

Examination of boss-subordinate relationship.

Analysis of work team action.

Exploration of co-ordination issues of interrelated teams.

Identifying and defining major organisational problem areas.

Planning for executing agreed upon solutions that result in changes in the organisation.

However, the OD effort progresses through a series of well designed stages, which can be enumerated as follows:

Problem identification and diagnosis-problems that required changes in relation to various units in the organisation should be identified and diagnosed duly examining the feedback from employees.

Developing strategy-appropriate strategy is developed by studying people, various sub-systems and organisation as a total system.

Implementing the programme-OD programme should be implemented in a phase manner. At the outset it should be tried in a small part of the organisation and on getting positive results only, it should be implemented in total organisation.

Reviewing the progress of the programme-review of OD programme should be preferably done by an expert who was not involved in designing and developing the OD programme, for getting an unbiased opinion.

However the effectiveness of the OD programme


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