Original Research

A review of four decades of research in organisational career psychology by academia in South Africa

Dries Schreuder, Melinde Coetzee
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 10, No 2 | a474 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v10i2.474 | © 2012 Dries Schreuder, Melinde Coetzee | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 April 2012 | Published: 03 December 2012

About the author(s)

Dries Schreuder, Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, University of South Africa, South Africa
Melinde Coetzee, Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, University of South Africa, South Africa


Orientation: Career research in organisations has increased in importance since the 1970s, which heralded new directions for organisational career research and practice both globally and nationally.

Research purpose: The study critically reviewed trends in organisational career psychology research in South Africa from 1970 to 2011 in terms of global and present national challenges that require empirical investigation in the contemporary South African world of work context.

Motivation for the study: The increasingly complex contexts, in which people have been pursuing their careers since the catalytic 1970s, demand the continuous generation and development of knowledge for the benefit of the discipline and practice of careers.

Research design, approach and method: A broad systematic review was carried out to analyse documented academia research (N = 110) on careers from 1970 to 2011, which was published in six accredited South African scientific journals.

Main findings: Much of the research addressed issues pertaining to career theory and concepts, the world of work and career assessment and technology. Career development, professional issues and organisational career interventions in the multi-cultural South African context appear to be under-researched.

Practical/managerial implications: The insight derived from the findings can be employed by academia and researchers, in this field, to plan future research initiatives that will contribute to the profession and practice of career guidance and counselling in the contemporary workplace.

Contribution/value-add: The findings provide preliminary insight that adds to the body of knowledge concerned with career studies in the South African organisational context.


professional issues; career theory; career concepts; developmental life stages; world of work; career assessment; career technology; multi-cultural career interventions


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