About the special issue

Deadline for submitting papers to this Special Issue: December 1, 2017.
The submission portal will be open from 16 October – 1 December 2017.

Recent years have generated many signals of a growing cultural emphasis on careers that provide not only income and passion, but also a deep sense of meaning (Weir, 2013). To capture careers that provide meaning, many scholars have turned to the construct of calling. Accordingly, research addressing what calling means and its effects on individual careers has increased exponentially during the last decade. Despite a lack of consensus regarding the definition of calling in the literature, different research efforts have been undertaken to relate calling to diverse individual career-related outcomes, showing it not only to be associated with positive individual outcomes but also to serve as a “double-edged sword” (e.g., Duffy, Dik, & Steger, 2011; Dobrow & Tosti-Kharas, 2012; Bunderson & Thompson, 2009). Yet, the conditions and mechanisms governing when a calling leads to positive outcomes, vulnerabilities, or both are still poorly understood.

With the goals of 1) extending knowledge related to the career and personal consequences of a calling and 2) providing career counselors and managers with information to more effectively assist individual clients and employees, we propose a Special Issue on Calling and Careers. As the study of calling within individuals’ lives and careers continues to unfold, we propose that progress related to theory building around the concept of calling is very much needed (Duffy, Douglass, Autin & Allan, 2014). In particular, introducing novel theory and leveraging existing career development theory both show promise as strategies for establishing a more comprehensive understanding of calling. This calls for more research that focuses on generating a better theoretical understanding of how calling relates to diverse outcomes in different occupational contexts and for various social groups.

With this special issue we would like to provide an opportunity for an interdisciplinary conversation about calling, which we think is crucial for developing a better understanding of the concept and its relation to various outcomes. Integrating insights from vocational psychology, organizational behavior and management, as well as from social psychology and sociology would help to consolidate knowledge about calling developed by these different disciplines and to overcome disciplinary silos that seem to have emerged in the studies of calling.

We invite scholars from various disciplines to submit their conceptual and empirical papers that would address one or more of the following topics (although topics need not be limited to these):
  1. What do we know and what do we still need to learn about individual predictors of calling and its career-related consequences?
  2. Which factors and conditions determine positive and negative outcomes of calling?
  3. How does calling evolve over time? And, through what mechanisms does calling influence career development over time?
  4. How do others in our work context and outside the work context influence individuals’ experience and definition of calling?
  5. How do different societies (professional, cultural, or regional/national) define and experience calling, and what implications does this have for individual careers?
  6. How does social context, including working in teams, working in specific industries, and/or working in flexible or traditional work spaces, influence individual experiences of calling, and consequently their careers?
Interested authors should submit their manuscripts online to the Journal of Vocational Behavior via ees.elsevier.com/jvb. Please ensure you select the correct special issue as the article type when submitting your paper. Please refer to the Guide for Authors before submission.

Manuscripts deemed appropriate for the special issue will go through a full peer review and will be evaluated using the following criteria: a) the fit of the paper to the overall theme of the proposed Special Issue; b) fresh insights on the topic of the Special issue, contributing to bridging the gap between insights from different research disciplines; c) theoretical contribution to the development of the understanding of calling and/or its implications for individual career development; d) the use of rigorous data collection and analysis techniques (empirical papers); e) consideration of the implications of findings for career development practice.

Any questions with regard to this Special Issue, please address to Evgenia Lysova (e.lysova@vu.nl), Bryan Dik (Bryan.Dik@ColoState.edu), Ryan Duffy (rduf@ufl.edu), or Svetlana Khapova (s.n.khapova@vu.nl).


Bunderson, J. S., & Thompson, J. A. (2009). The call of the wild: Zookeepers, callings, and the double-edged sword of deeply meaningful work. Administrative Science Quarterly, 54(1), 32–57. 

Dobrow, S. R., & Tosti-Kharas, J. (2012). Listen to your heart? Calling and receptivity to career advice. Journal of Career Assessment, 20(3), 264–280.

Duffy, R. D., Dik, B. J., & Steger, M. (2011). Calling and work-related outcomes: Career commitment as a mediator. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 78(2), 210–218.

Duffy, R. D., Douglass, R. P., Autin, K. L., & Allan, B. A. (2014). Examining predictors and outcomes of a career calling among undergraduate students. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 85 (3) (2014), 309–318. 

Weir, K. (2013, December). More than job satisfaction. APA Monitor on Psychology, 44(11), 39. Retrieved January 2, 2017, from http://www.apa.org/monitor/2013/12/job- satisfaction.aspx