The role of line managers in employee career management: an attachment theory perspective

Jonathan R. Crawshaw*, Annilee Game

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Line managers increasingly play a key role in organizational career development systems, yet few studies have examined the nature of this role or its implications for employee career attitudes and behaviors. In two studies, we used attachment theory to explore this issue. In Study 1, in-depth interviews (N = 20) showed that employees viewed career management as a relational process in which line managers are expected to act as ‘caregiver’ to support individualized career development. Study 2 was a large-scale international survey (N = 891). Participants scoring higher on attachment avoidance in their line manager relationships reported more negative perceptions of career growth opportunities, lower participation in organizational career development activities and higher turnover intentions. Trust in the organization partially mediated the relationship. Theoretical and practical implications for HRM are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1182-1203
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number9
Early online date14 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in The International Journal of Human Resource Management on 14/7/14, available online:


  • attachment
  • careers
  • career management
  • line manager
  • trust


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