How romantic relationships affect individual career goal attainment: A transactive goal dynamics perspective

Angelika Kornblum, Dana Unger, Gudela Grote

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


Despite the importance of career goals for career self-management, we know little about the self-regulatory processes underlying career goal attainment. In this study, we draw on transactive goal dynamics theory to investigate whether and how romantic relationships impact career goal attainment. For testing our research model, we focused on the career goal of being successful in a political election, and gathered survey and objective data from politicians at three measurement points (N = 108). As hypothesized, our path analysis showed that relationship closeness facilitated career goal attainment through shared career goals and an increase in the available shared pool of resources. We further explored the moderating role of goal coordination in this process, and found that a high goal conflict undermined the indirect effect of relationship closeness on career goal attainment whereas goal facilitation had no moderating effect. Finally, we found no support for the hypothesized effect of relationship duration on shared career goals and career goal attainment. Our findings indicate that romantic relationships can facilitate career goal attainment and that partners' goal coordination is a relevant boundary condition of this process. Our study thus highlights the value of integrating career research and work-home research. Practically, our results imply that individuals should gain their partner's support for their career goals, and that supervisors can facilitate employees' career development by enabling them to capitalize on home-domain resources such as their romantic relationship. According to our findings, career counselors can assist their clients' career self-management by preventing goal conflicts with their partner.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103523
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
Early online date11 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

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