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Future uncertain: expected versus attained job mobility among managers

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date1985
JournalJournal of Occupational Psychology
Number of pages8
Original languageEnglish


How good are managers at predicting their own job mobility? A one-year follow up (n = 1082) to a large scale survey of British managers allowed respondents' original predictions of their own likely job changes over the coming year to be tested. Results showed expectations were predictive of actual attainments well above chance level, more so for employer changes than for promotions and other job changes, but the level of prediction in general was not high, only equivalent to correlations of between 0·2 and 0·3. Most managers, it seems, have inaccurate perceptions of their short-term career futures. The implications are considered for the relationship between intention and behaviour, ‘the illusion of control’ and biases affecting judgement under uncertainty. It is suggested that career development practice would be enhanced by a more realistic and open analysis of uncertainty and its causes. The findings also carry a cautionary message about statistical inference from contingency tables.