Adaptable behaviours for successful work and career adjustment

Barbara Griffin*, Beryl Hesketh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Citations (Scopus)


This paper proposes a conceptual approach to the construct of behavioural adaptability in work contexts and illustrates the application of the approach in two organisations. Behavioural adaptability is an important construct in both individual and organisational career development with practical value in strategic career planning. Using the Minnesota Theory of Work Adjustment, adaptable behaviours are described as being either proactive, reactive or tolerant. Two Australian civilian organisations participated in the research presented in this study (involving 257 respondents), thereby extending previous research on adaptive performance that has primarily focused on military personnel in the United States. Factor analytic results of self-reported behaviour and supervisor-rated performance offer initial support for the proposed framework. In addition, the validity of a set of predictors, including self-efficacy, work-requirements biodata, cognitive flexibility and personality traits, was examined. Results suggest that self-efficacy for adaptable behaviour was related to adaptive performance. Work requirements biodata and adaptability-related personality traits were also significant predictors in one of the organisations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-73
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian Journal of Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2003
Externally publishedYes


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