The Nomological Network of Classic and Contemporary Career Preferences

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The Nomological Network of Classic and Contemporary Career Preferences

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This dissertation presents two studies examining the nature, structure, and nomological nets of two dominant domains of career preferences. In study 1, I conduct a large-scale systematic review and meta-analysis of vocational interests to examine the structure of vocational interests, their relations with personality and cognitive ability, and their criterion-related validity for job performance, job satisfaction, and other work attitudes (including their incremental validity over other traits). I propose Differential Engagement Model of Vocational Interests (DEMVI) that unifies interests with other individual differences by arguing that the general factor of interests reflects the personality metatrait Plasticity (Exploration) and the interest circumplex is individuals’ relative tilt toward Extraversion versus Openness in expressing their exploration tendencies. In study 2, I examine the structure of a more recent development in career preferences research—protean and boundaryless career orientations. These constructs have become central to theory and research on career development in contemporary work organizations. This study consists of a comprehensive meta-analysis of the relations among the dimensions of these career orientations, their relations to proactive personality and other traits, and their impact on career outcomes. Together, these studies represent a substantial contribution to our understanding of the nature of career preferences and their impact on work outcomes.


University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. 2016. Major: Psychology. Advisors: Deniz Ones, John Campbell. 1 computer file (PDF); 744 pages.

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Wiernik, Brenton. (2016). The Nomological Network of Classic and Contemporary Career Preferences. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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