Occupational Commitment From a Life Span Perspective: An Integrative Review and a Research Outlook

Spurk, Daniel; Hofer, Annabelle; Burmeister, Anne; Muehlhausen, Julia; Volmer, Judith (2019). Occupational Commitment From a Life Span Perspective: An Integrative Review and a Research Outlook. Career development international, 24(3), pp. 190-221. Emerald 10.1108/CDI-07-2018-0184

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Purpose: The purpose of this review is to integrate and organize past research findings on affective, normative and continuance occupational commitment (OC) within an integrative framework based on central life span concepts.

Design/methodology/approach: The authors identified and systematically analyzed 125 empirical articles (including 138 cases) that examined OC with a content valid measure to the here applied definition of OC. These articles provided information on the relationship between OC and four distinct life span concepts: chronological age, career stages, occupational and other life events, and occupational and other life roles. Furthermore, developmental characteristics of OC in terms of construct stability and malleability were reviewed.

Findings: The reviewed literature allowed to draw conclusions about the mentioned life span concepts as antecedents and outcomes of OC. For example, age and tenure is more strongly positively related to continuance OC than to affective and normative OC, nonlinear and moderating influences seem to be relevant in the case of the latter OC types. The authors describe several other findings within the results sections.

Originality/value: OC represents a developmental construct that is influenced by employees’ work- and life-related progress, associated roles, as well as opportunities and demands over their career. Analyzing OC from such a life span perspective provides a new angle on the research topic, explaining inconsistencies in past research and giving recommendation for future studies in terms of dynamic career developmental thinking.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Work and Organisational Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Spurk, Daniel, Hofer, Annabelle, Mühlhausen, Julia


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology








Annabelle Hofer

Date Deposited:

30 Jun 2020 08:52

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:39

Publisher DOI:






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