Based on Lent & Brown’s (2013) career self-management model, Anne-Kathrin Kleine, Antje Schmitt, and Barbara Wisse investigated antecedents and outcomes of students’ career exploration as the exploration of the environment and the self with the aim of gathering career-related information.
The meta-analytic results suggest self-efficacy for career exploration and decision-making to be the strongest predictor of career exploration. As predicted, career exploration was positively related to favourable career-related outcomes, such as perceived employability and career decidedness. While most of the hypotheses were supported, some surprising patterns emerged, such as a stronger link between many career-related variables with environment exploration compared to self-exploration and a moderation of multiple effects by sample (e.g., age, percentage female) and study characteristics (e.g., publication year and status). The findings highlight implications for the further development of the career self-management model, future research on students' career exploration, and career development practice.
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Career exploration refers to the exploration of the environment and the self with the aim of gathering career-related information. On the basis of Lent et al.'s (2013) model of career self-management (CSM), the current meta-analysis examined the antecedents and outcomes of career exploration among college students (K = 109, N = 34,969 students). We found support for the applicability of the CSM model to the context of students' career exploration. Specifically, positive associations were found for the association of the three core person-cognitive variables self-efficacy for career exploration and decision-making (rc = 0.52), outcome expectations (rc = 0.31), and career-exploratory goals (rc = 0.42) with career exploration. Results of path analyses suggest that the effects of both self-efficacy and outcome expectations on career exploration are mediated by career-exploratory goals. Further, in line with the CSM model, career exploration was positively related to career-related support (rc = 0.33) and negatively related to barriers (rc = −0.15). Moreover, career exploration was associated with important career-related outcomes, such as career decidedness (rc = 0.22), and perceived employability (rc = 0.35). Exploratory moderator analyses revealed that some relationships are influenced by sample (i.e., age, gender, cultural background) and measurement (e.g., publication date) characteristics. The findings of this meta-analysis highlight several implications for the further development of the CSM model, future research on students' career exploration, and career development practice.