Gender differences in career planning and success

Yuhee Jung*, Norihiko Takeuchi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, it attempts to examine how employees’ career planning (CP) interacts with the quality of leader-member exchange (LMX) to explain subjective career success. Second, the authors investigate how the pattern of such interactions differs between male and female employees. Design/methodology/approach – To increase the generalizability, the study tested hypotheses in two studies whose data were collected in different national settings. Study 1 was designed to analyze 144 Korean employees and Study 2 investigated 140 Japanese employees. Both groups of employees worked for privately owned firms. Findings – The authors found a three-way interaction effect between gender, CP, and LMX quality in predicting subjective career success. As hypothesized, the positive relationship between quality of LMX and subjective career success was stronger for males with high CP, whereas for females such a stronger relationship was found for women with low CP. Research limitations/implications – This study contributes to the literature in two ways. First, it extends career research by considering the interactive effects of individual and interpersonal factors on employees’ subjective career success. Second, it combines the research streams of social exchange theory (LMX), career theory (the boundaryless career), and gender theory (agentic and communal personality traits). This suggests that the ideas of the three theories could serve together as a useful framework for explaining gender differences in subjective career success through setting career goals and building relationships with supervisors. Practical implications – The findings have important practical implications for managers and leaders, who generally seek to motivate their employees toward career achievement. Originality/value – This study is one of the first to provide a new perspective for understanding the process by which men and women perceive their subjective career success differently with regard to social exchange relations with their supervisors and CP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-623
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Managerial Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Mar 14
Externally publishedYes


  • Career planning
  • Gender
  • Leader-member exchange
  • Subjective career success
  • Three-way interaction effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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