These anchors are “a syndrome of motives, values, and self-perceived competencies which function to guide and constrain an individual’s entire career.” An anchor can be thought of as a “master motive,” or the thing the person will not give up under any circumstances.
Anchor 1: Managerial Competence. The career is organized around the competencies and values inherent in the managerial process. The most important components of this concept are the ability to influence and supervise, the ability to analyze and solve complex problems, and emotional stability.
Anchor 2: Technical-Functional Competence. The career is organized around the challenge of the actual work being done, whether it is related to marketing, financial analysis, corporate planning, or some other area of business or management. The anchor is the technical field or functional area rather than the managerial process itself. Individuals with this anchor don’t want to be promoted out of the kind of work they are now doing.
Anchor 3: Security. The individual has an underlying need for security and tries to stabilize the career by tying it to a given organization. More than others, individuals with this anchor are likely to accept an organizational definition of their careers. They rely on the organization to recognize their needs and competencies and to do what is best for them.
Anchor 4: Creativity. Individuals with this anchor have a strong need to create something. This anchor is most evident among entrepreneurs, but corporate employees may also hold it.
Anchor 5: Autonomy and Independence . The concern here is with freedom and autonomy. Individuals with this anchor often find organizational life too restrictive or intrusive into their personal lives and seek careers that offer more autonomy.
These five anchors reflect predominant concerns. An employee may still care about other things, but the anchor is overriding. , to the extent that these anchors are stable, it is crucial for employing organizations to identify them early and to create appropriate career opportunities. For instance, a person with a technical-functional anchor may not welcome a promotion to a management position. Instead, organizations will have to learn to think about the kinds of contributions people with various anchors can make. They will also have to develop multiple reward systems and career paths to permit the full development of diverse kinds of individuals.