Proactive behaviors matter for my job! The roles of career decidedness and career stress in face of VUCA

Huong Le*, Joohan Lee, Neena Gopalan, Beatrice Van der Heijden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: Drawing on the conservation of resources theory, this study examines how proactive skill development (PSD) influences job performance and mediating and moderating mechanisms underlying the above relationship. Design/methodology/approach: Data were collected from a sample of 261 full-time workers in three waves, spaced by a six-week interval (Time 1, N = 360; Time 2, N = 320; Time 3, N = 261). Findings: The results confirmed that career stress mediated the relationship between PSD and job performance. Additionally, high career decidedness strengthened this negative relationship between stress and performance. Furthermore, career decidedness significantly moderated the indirect PSD–performance relationship via career stress, accentuating the indirect effect when decidedness is higher. Originality/value: This study sheds light on the important role of proactive skills development in influencing job performance and what factors can affect this relationship. It offers practical implications by highlighting how targeted training can boost employees' proactivity and performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-266
Number of pages16
JournalCareer Development International
Issue number2
Early online date2024
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2024


  • Career decidedness
  • Career stress
  • Conservation of resources theory
  • Job performance
  • Proactive skill development
  • VUCA


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