Managerial career success is largely a function of two important career experiences: human capital, including hard work, and organizational support sponsorship. Whereas attracting and obtaining sponsorship reflects a more political explanation for career success, hard work represents a merit based and psychological explanation. However, little attention has been given to research that explores internally generated facets and psychological factors of hard work which facilitate career success. Using qualitative approach, this study was therefore conducted to explore managers’ conceptualization of hard work for career progression and success. Fifty-eight managers drawn from twelve public and private organizations in Ghana completed an open ended questionnaire on what it means to work hard for their career progression. Thematic content analysis of the data showed that four main themes underlie hard work for career progression: motivation and goal/achievement orientation; work capability/efficacy; work commitment/perseverance; and investing maximum input/extra effort. Findings are discussed within the frameworks of career achievement motivation, goal setting, self-efficacy and self-regulation theories.
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