The contemporary career literature or ‘new career’ theory emphasizes the importance of individual agentic career management processes in which individuals manage their careers to achieve career satisfaction by flexibly adjusting to the dynamic environment. There is limited research, however, on how individuals strategize their careers as they age, by utilizing or balancing organizational career management factors, including developmental human resource (HR) practices and organizational support. This study, therefore, documents how age, career self-management and organizational career management factors interactively influence career satisfaction, integrating conservation of resources (COR) and socioemotional selectivity (SES) theories. Using time-lagged data collected from 364 Japanese employees, the results supported the predicted three-way interaction effects. For young employees, the positive relationship between career self-management and satisfaction was stronger when developmental HR practices and organizational support were high, and thus a synergistic effect was salient. For middle-aged employees, the positive relationship was stronger when these factors were low, and thus a compensatory effect was manifested. Interestingly, middle-aged employees who perceived a lack of developmental practices or support showed marked improvements in career satisfaction by engaging in career self-management behaviors. We discuss the changing nature of career management strategies across an individual’s lifespan from both vocational and managerial viewpoints.
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