Organizational programs and policies are important facilitators of employees’ career development. However, organizations face a developmental paradox: Their career-aiding programs and policies might increase the employability of their employees, who might then leave the company. Guided by organizational support theory, we propose a theory-driven reciprocation view that explains why organization-sponsored career development practices might actually strengthen the current employment relationship. We argued that by offering career aids and resources, an organization can promote its employees’ perceptions of organizational support. These perceptions evoke reciprocation, manifested in strengthened organizational attachment that enhances job performance and lowers turnover. In a meta-analysis of over 1,000 articles, we found that employer-sponsored career development practices were related to employees’ job performance and turnover via the mechanisms of perceived organizational support and organizational attachment. Further, this relationship was even stronger when career development practices signaled greater care by being available (vs. used), institutionally embedded (vs. relational), and career focused (vs. job focused).
- career development
- organizational support