ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2023, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (12): 2219-2231.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2023.02219

• Conceptual Framework •     Next Articles

The conceptualization, antecedents and interventions of occupational calling in Chinese context

XIE Baoguo1,2, ZHANG Xiaowen1, MIAO Jialing3(), ZHANG Xinrou1, XU Jia4   

  1. 1School of Management, Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan 430070, China
    2Research Institute of Digital Governance and Management Decision Innovation, Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan 430070, China
    3School of Entrepreneurship, Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan 430070, China
    4Department of Psychology, School of Philosophy, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072 China
  • Received:2023-03-20 Online:2023-12-15 Published:2023-09-11


Under the dual impact of the digital transformation of enterprises and individuals’ increasingly strong pursuit of deeper work meaning, a good grasp of occupational calling is an important prerequisite for improving organizational performance and human resource management practices. Existing research on occupational calling neglects the uniqueness of Chinese context, of which there is also little research on the antecedents for dynamics, and interventions of occupational calling. This research attempts to fill these important gaps in the Chinese context. Specifically, this research attempts to enrich and expand the theoretical research in the following three ways: (a) drawing on the collective self-fulfillment perspective of Chinese culture, this research identifies the core components of occupational calling, and develops an indigenous occupational calling scale, (b) based on the self-determination theory, this research adopts a rigorous longitudinal research design to explore the antecedents for dynamics of occupational calling, and (c) based on micro-management practices, this research adopts a journaling intervention to examine the roles of social impact and social worth interventions in stimulating employees’ occupational calling.

Theoretically, this study enriches and extends calling literature on the conceptualization, antecedents, and micro-interventions. First, it provides a new perspective for understanding the connotation and structure of occupational calling. Occupational calling is a concept with strong cultural dependence, and different cultural groups may have different understandings. Considering the cultural differences between the East and the West, and the rich interpretation of China culture itself, this study takes the emic orientation to deeply explore the connotation and structure of the occupational calling in the context of China, and develops a measurement tool. Second, this study expands and enriches the research on the antecedents of occupational calling. Generally, there are few researches on the antecedents and influencing mechanisms of occupational calling. To date, limited studies mostly use cross-sectional research, and the causal relationship between variables is difficult to determine. Moreover, the existing research mainly investigates the positive factors of the dynamic change of occupational calling from the facilitation perspective, neglecting the negative factors of calling from the inhibitory perspective. The investigation of the negative factors that cause the dynamic change of occupational calling greatly deepens people’s theoretical understanding of the protective factors of occupational calling. Third, it fills the research gap of the stimulating mechanism of occupational calling. Literature shows that the occupational calling can be stimulated through micro-management practice. However, to date, only two studies have explored the stimulation of occupational calling. In this study, the effects of social worth and social value interventions on occupational calling were examined, which fills the important theoretical and practical gap in this field.

In practice, this study provides organizations with practical implications for how to protect and improve employees’ occupational calling. First, it is conducive to solving the management problem that it is difficult to integrate personal goals with organizational goals. How to achieve the integration of personal goals and organizational goals has always been one of the core issues in organizational management. The application of the research results is conducive to the effective integration of organizational goals and employee goals, and to achieve a win-win situation for both organizations and employees. Secondly, the results provide a reliable organizational tool for human resource management studies and practices. On the one hand, it provides an effective cross-cultural empirical tool for scholars to empirical study occupational calling. On the other hand, it provides a reliable personnel selection and evaluation tool for human resource management. Third, this study provides an important scientific support for all kinds of organizations on how to protect, promote and stimulate their employees’ occupational calling.

Key words: Chinese context, occupational calling, conceptualization, antecedents, interventions

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