An initial examination of the work as calling theory

Ryan D. Duffy, Richard P. Douglass, Nicholas P. Gensmer, Jessica W. England, Haram J. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Over the past decade, research on work as a calling has seen a rapid growth, with hundreds of empirical articles on the topic having been published. Until recently, however, there has been no comprehensive theoretical model of work as a calling to guide research. Duffy, Dik, Douglass, England, and Velez (2018) published the Work as Calling Theory (WCT), which provides a comprehensive model of the predictors and outcomes of living out a calling. The present study provides the first empirical examination of the 20 propositions outlined within the predictor portion of this model. Using data collected from a sample of 424 employed adults living in the United States, from diverse social class backgrounds and occupations, we conducted latent variable structural equation modeling to evaluate the model propositions. Overall, we found full (17) and partial (1) support for 18 of the 20 model propositions, which included direct effects along with mediating and moderating effects. Person- environment fit, career commitment, and work meaning appear to be critical in helping to translate a perceived calling and access to opportunity into a lived calling. Additionally, calling motivation, organizational support, and job crafting may play a key role in helping employees with a calling experience more fit with their work environments. Taking these findings into consideration, we explore practical implications for career counselors and employers and highlight future directions for scholars using the WCT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)328-340
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of counseling psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Calling
  • Career commitment
  • Person- environment fit
  • Volition
  • Work meaning

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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