Original Research

Factor and item response theory analysis of the Protean and Boundaryless Career Attitude Scales

Gideon P. de Bruin, Morné Buchner
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 36, No 2 | a932 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v36i2.932 | © 2010 Gideon P. de Bruin, Morné Buchner | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 August 2010 | Published: 03 December 2010

About the author(s)

Gideon P. de Bruin, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Morné Buchner, University of Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: The concepts of the Protean Career and the Boundaryless Career show potential as frameworks for research and practice in the contemporary world of work. Briscoe, Hall and DeMuth (2006) developed the Protean and Boundaryless Career Attitude Scales, which consist of the Self-Directed Career Management, Values Driven, Boundaryless Mindset and Mobility Preference subscales. However, the standardisation and replication studies conducted by Briscoe et al., left some questions unanswered in terms of the psychometric properties of the subscales.

Research purpose: This study examines the psychometric properties of the Protean and Boundaryless Career Attitude Scales with the aim of clarifying the structure of the scales, examining the quality of the items and evaluating the measurement precision of the scales.

Research design, approach and method: Responses of adults to the items of the Protean and Boundaryless Career Attitude Scales were analysed with factor analytic and Rasch item response model techniques.

Main findings: Factor and Rasch analyses revealed that three of the four postulated dimensions were replicated, but the Values Driven dimension split into two factors. Misfitting items were identified and sources of their misfit were uncovered. The Rasch analysis showed that three of the four subscales provide most of their psychometric information at the lower ends of their respective latent traits (where relatively few persons are located). Hence, the trait estimates of persons with low scores are more precise than those of persons with high scores.

Practical/managerial implications: Overall, the quality of the Protean and Boundaryless Career Attitude Scales is satisfactory, but some aspects that may be improved are identified. Researchers may use at least three of the four subscales with confidence, but more work is possibly needed on the Values Driven subscale.

Contribution/value-add: The study provides researchers with information on the psychometric properties of the Protean and Boundaryless Career Attitude Scales. The study also highlights ways in which the scales may be improved.


Keywords

Contemporary careers; Rasch analysis; South Africa; dimensionality

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