Cracking the Fortune Cookies: Influencing Factors in Career Success across 11 Countries

  • Barbara Demel (Contributor)
  • Yan Shen (Contributor)
  • Douglas T. Hall (Contributor)
  • Mayrhofer, W. (Contributor)
  • Chudzikowski, K. (Contributor)
  • Julie Unite (Contributor)
  • Jon P. Briscoe (Contributor)
  • Rohayu Abdul-Ghani (Contributor)
  • Biljana Bogicevic Milikic (Contributor)
  • Ociel Colorado (Contributor)
  • Zhangfeng Fei (Contributor)
  • Mireia Las Heras (Contributor)
  • Enrique Ogliastri (Contributor)
  • Asya Pazy (Contributor)
  • June M. L. Poon (Contributor)
  • Dana Shefer (Contributor)
  • Mami Taniguchi (Contributor)
  • Jelena Zikic (Contributor)

Activity: Talk or presentationScience to science


Are there universal factors leading to career success around the world, or is success defined in
particular ways in different cultures? This exploratory study aims to identify how people conceptualize
career success and what factors influence their career success.
This is one of the first studies that look at career success and corresponding influencing factors
from a qualitative, theory-generating perspective across all the seven culture clusters identified
by Schwartz (2004). It consists of 224 semi-structured interviews in three occupational
groups (i.e. business, nursing, and blue collar) across 11 countries, spanning two generations of
workers (under 35 and over 50). Findings from this study facilitate the understanding of the
global perception of career success and related influencing factors.
This study shows that individuals, regardless of the cultural contexts, tend to define career
success from both objective and subjective perspectives, with achievement as the most important
indicator of career success across all countries. However, the relative importance of objective vs.
subjective meanings of career success varies across countries. The context of work (e.g., support
from one’s employing organization, superiors, and peers) is perceived as the most critical factor
influencing one’s career success at the aggregated level. But each country demonstrates different
patterns in terms of the salience of different influencing factors. Findings from the study further
suggest that although there are very few factors in success that are universal, there is clear evidence
of some commonalities across the countries.
Period7 Aug 200911 Aug 2009
Event titleAcademy of Management
Event typeUnkonwn
Degree of RecognitionInternational

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 502026 Human resource management
  • 501003 Occupational psychology