Using Protean Career Attitude to Facilitate a Positive Approach to Unemployment

  • Lea WatersEmail author
  • Jon Briscoe
  • Douglas T. Hall


The rise in unemployment rates associated with the global financial crisis mean that a timely understanding is needed of the ways in which a person’s career attitude influences their reactions to job loss. Much of the research into unemployment has focused on what people lose during unemployment rather than what people can potentially gain during unemployment. In this paper, we deliberately adopt a “positive deviance” approach (Marsh et al., British Medical Journal, 329:1177–1179, 2004) to unemployment and study the attitudes and behaviors that enable people to find successful solutions during job loss. Specifically, we suggest that protean career attitude is a positive factor that can be built upon during unemployment to enhance successful re-employment. The chapter outlines a 6-month longitudinal study that assesses the influence of protean career attitude on self esteem, job search, re-employment, career growth and job improvement. By studying the positive processes through which people positively deviate during unemployment, we can offer unemployed people new ways to create change for themselves.


Protean career attitude Unemployment Re-employment Job search Self-esteem Positive approach Career growth Job improvement 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Northern Illinois UniversityIllinoisUSA
  3. 3.Boston UniversityBostonUSA

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