An Investigation of Fatal Attractions in Careers (2010)
AuthorsMcLean, Alice Margaretshow all
Fatal attraction is defined as those qualities which initially attract, but are later deemed unattractive and repellent. Fatal attraction has been predominantly examined and supported to exist in the area of romantic relationships. The current study extended a theory of love and applied this idea to work, and represents the first application of this concept in relation to careers. In Study 1, the fatal matches between attractive and unattractive qualities of jobs (e.g. ‘challenging’ fatally matched with ‘stressful’) were obtained. Study 2 asked 110 participants who had either left a job or were contemplating leaving it to complete a questionnaire in which they nominated attractive and unattractive qualities of the job. Study 1’s matches were used to examine whether fatal attraction to careers occurred. The results supported the existence of fatal attraction to jobs. Fatal attraction was found to vary significantly with occupation and the nature of the attractive quality sought in a job. These findings add to both the understanding of career and job decision processes; and the knowledge of fatal attraction as a construct. Further exploration is encouraged due to the relevance for both organisations and individuals.