Profiles of career adaptivity and their relations with adaptability, adapting, and adaptation

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Journal of Vocational Behavior



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Career adaptivity is the first factor in a chain of putative effects posited in the career construction theory (CCT): Adaptivity → Adaptability → Adapting → Adaptation. Hitherto, research on adaptivity has chiefly used variable-centered strategies to investigate the independent effects of adaptivity-related traits on adaptability, adapting, and adaptation averaged over all individuals constituting a sample. The present research, comprising two studies, seeks to extend this work by using person-centered analytic strategies to identify distinct profiles of adaptivity based on combinations of the Big-Five personality dimensions. We also examine the associations of profile membership with adaptability, adapting, and adaptation from the CCT perspective. Latent profile analyses revealed that a comparable 3-profile solution, comprising so-called “adaptive ready”, “ordinary”, and “rigid” adaptivity profiles, fit best in both studies using distinct measures of the Big-Five. Furthermore, across both studies, the latent subgroups were found to differ on levels of adaptability measured using two distinct instruments. Adaptability was highest in the “adaptive ready” subgroup followed by the “ordinary” and “rigid” subgroups, respectively. Finally, Study 2 showed that the adaptivity profiles differed with respect to indices of adapting (viz., organized study behaviors) and adaptation (viz., academic and career-choice satisfaction) in line with expectations from the CCT. The present findings constitute the first evidence showing that career adaptivity can be adequately represented via trait interactions. The findings also add to the empirical literature underpinning the CCT. Furthermore, this research is an informative demonstration of the utility of finite mixture analyses.

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