Schein’s eight career anchors

Schein (1978) identified eight ‘career anchors’ which can be used to describe the different values people hold, and how they try to find a way to live according to these values. This list gave me an important insight into how some of my colleagues think and operate.

  • Technical/functional competence
  • General managerial competence
  • Autonomy/independence
  • Security/stability
  • Entrepreneurial creativity
  • Sense of service/dedication
  • Pure challenge
  • Lifestyle

I can relate to several of these myself as being personal values I hold, but I can also recognise them in others I work with. This helps me understand behaviours that may seem odd on the outside, but when the values of the individual are considered, it becomes obvious that they are behaving consistently according to those values.

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