The communication and management of career change: a study of individuals' experiences or the social process of voluntary downward career change in Singapore
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] This qualitative study examined the voluntary career change experiences of thirty individuals in Singapore. Situated in a society that values conformity and encourages risk avoidance, this study explored how individuals managed the social process of changing careers that involve voluntarily taking a pay cut. Using the social identity theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1979, 1986) as a framework, this study demonstrates the central role that communication plays in the process of these individuals' unconventional career move. From the five functions that communication fulfills during the decision-making process, to the three strategies used in the communication of one's decision, and the three methods employed to manage one's social identity in the new career, central to management of the process is the strategic way communication is used to facilitate social approval and acceptance from those around regarding a career change that many find difficult to comprehend. Applications for other forms of organizational exits (e.g., involuntary exit, upward career change, etc.), both from the perspective of organizations and individual career changers are discussed. Implications for communication management in other non-organizational contexts are also highlighted.
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