The effect of career plateauing on job satisfaction and motivation.
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New and latest technologies have traditionally been the overwhelming competitors in the workplace. With the economy .shrinking and foreign investment and confidence in the market waning, companies not meeting their expected profit and with cheap labour crossing the borders, or goods being able to be secured cheaper, jobs are not totally secure. At the same time people change their careers at least once in their lifetime: an everlasting career does not exist any longer. Some people peak in their careers, some stay satisfied, while others reach an impasse or a career "doldrum". The subject for my study is the state referred to as "plateauing", and rightfully the perception of plateauing, which is clearly misunderstood. The dissertation sets the tone for the topic by introducing concepts such as the career, familiarity with career maturity, career success, career anchors and other relevant methodology. In understanding the sources of career behaviour, it is important to establish what factors shape our values, thoughts and choices. It is these factors surrounded with environmental constrains that lead to the outcomes for individuals both successes and failures. Over the years, certain consistent trends in the audit of attitudes and perceptions have emerged. Sociological studies in essence have shown whites tended to be more positive than blacks; men tended to be more positive than women; and higher job grades tended to be more positive than lower job grades. If that was not enough, then came government legislation in terms of Employment Equity, which added to the problems associated with plateauing, intended to correct the imbalances from the past. Addressing historical problems of job preservation for whites, and organisations that were dominated by white men. Adding to this myriad of developments, many argue this is "reverse racism" as Indians, Coloureds and white women suffer the bitter end of affirmative action policies not properly implemented. This again today exacerbates to the problem of the "glass ceiling syndrome", job dissatisfaction and low morale. This dissertation gathers insight to the concept of the career as traditionally known and its developments. The theory of Herzberg is discussed which is important to the research as it shows intrinsic and extrinsic motivating factors that determine the individual's motivation to work and to perform. Super's (Career Pattern Study, 1990,Columbia University) life stages theory is compared to stages in one's career. The parallel between the two stages shows how a career is a very real and integrated part of a person's life. This discussion gives the reader more insight into the subject matter. From hereon, the thesis introduces the topic of plateauing and the definition that embodies what plateauing entails. The thesis goes on to advise what causes plateauing. To exemplify this state even further, the life cycle theories of plateauing and succession are discussed. This cycle is broken down into four types of employees and details how organisations should deal with these four types of individuals at various career stages. The discussion is important to show a distinction between individuals and hence their motivation levels at various stages of their life cycles. For example, "deadwood or stars" have different motivation levels and aspirations and must be considered differently, bearing this in mind. The dissertation goes on to substantiate the methodology used in order to confirm the hypothesis tested. The surveys are discussed in detail, their contents and results are analysed in the interpretation section.