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Human Capital

1.   How to be a Success: 10,000 Hours
Malcolm Gladwell, author of ‘The Tipping Point’ talks with Kate Fillion about what it takes to be successful
Maclean’s. Dec 1, 2008

Becoming skillful requires practice and training.

For example: when looking at music students
  Average students had invested 4000 hours towards practice
  Good students had invested 8,000 hours towards practice
  Excellent students had invested 10,000 hours and had mastered the skill

To master a skill, you need:

  1. A minimum of 10,000 hours of training.
  2. Free time to focus on the skill.
  3. People who support you, and your cause.

Reaching 10,000 hours is nearly impossible to do by yourself, and there is no such thing as a self-made man, is what Malcolm Gladwell states. The solution to finding the time to invest is to search for and claim opportunities. Ask those close to you to keep you in mind. These opportunities should be perceived as time slots reserved as an investment towards the personal hours of practice needed to master the skill.

Gladwell, M. (2008). Being Successful Is all about whether you have the skills to impose your will on the world. Maclean’s, 57-61.


2.   The Big Five Personality Traits: General Metal Ability, and Career Success Across the Life Span
By Timothy A. Judge, Chad A. Higgins, Carl J. Thoresen, & Murray R. Barrick
Personnel Psychology. 1999, 52.

The 5-factor personality trait model includes:

  1. Neuroticism
  2. Extraversion
  3. Openness to experience
  4. Agreeableness
  5. Conscientiousness

Neuroticism, extraversion, and conscientiousness brought positive results to career success.

Traits that enhance career success:

Extraversion (Outgoing)

  • Tends to be socially oriented, but also dominant and ambitious.
  • Closely linked to the experience of positive emotions, moods and rewarding interpersonal experiences.
  • More likely to take on leadership roles, and have good job performance.


  • Positively related to performance across jobs in achievement orientated people.
  • Is manifested in achievement orientation, dependability, and orderliness.
  • Is most related to the degree of self-control within a person.

Traits that have the potential to hinder career success:


  • Breaks down into six factors: anxiety, hostility, depression, self-consciousness, vulnerability, and impulsiveness.
  • Leads to a lack of positive psychological adjustment, and emotional stability.
  • Has a significant negative relation to career success.
  • Tend to experience frequent negative emotions at work, dwell excessively on failures, and act in ways that estranges them from coworkers.
  • Negative impact on job performance, and lack of career success.


  • Cooperative, trusting and caring.
  • Good natured, likable and cheerful.

Openness to experience

  • Nonconforming, imaginative personalities.
  • Philosophical and intellectual.


3.   The Role of Human Capital, Motivation and Supervisor Sponsorship in Predicting Career Success
by Sandy J. Wayne, Robert C. Liden, Maria L. Kraimer, & Isabel K. Graf Journal of Organizational Behavior. September 1999, 577-595.

To understand the factors that contribute to an individual’s career success, it is suggested that there is a relationship between contest-mobility and sponsored-mobility in predicting career success.

Contest-mobility: Assumes a level playing field for everyone. Each individual has an equal opportunity for career success based on their education level, experience, abilities, motivation, personal skills, and how hard they work.

Sponsorship-mobility: The amount of support towards career success employees receive from their supervisors through mentoring or recognition, or special selection.

Contest Mobility
All can compete
Sponsored Mobility
Only the selected can compete
Factors to success:
  • Receive higher education in field of study related to career.
  • Attend training programs offered by company.
  • Gain experience for career from internships, lower-level jobs, and outside of work.
  • Show motivation and effort in the workplace.
  • Set career goals.
  • Apply for open upper level positions in the company when available.
Factors to success:
  • Build a relationship with your supervisor.
  • Accept favorable treatment and opportunities.
  • Apply for employer mentoring programs when offered.
  • Utilize personal capital.
  • Contest mobility may be more effective for employees at the beginning of their career.
  • Attending company-sponsored training has a plus effect on career success in addition to education and experience.
  • Contest and sponsored mobility combined are positively correlated to career success.