E. Lee Bernick
Anchoring Legislative Careers
Legislative Studies Quarterly

A general theory developed in industrial psychology, career anchor theory, can be used to aid in understanding legislators’ orientations toward their careers. To determine if legislative anchors exist, I used data from a survey conducted in 1995 of North Carolina legislators. I employed factor analysis of thirteen closed-ended items previously associated with career anchors and the results showed that three legislative anchors do exist: power, service, and specialization. I then assigned factor scores to legislators. A cluster analysis uncovered five groups of legislators, each with a different pattern of association toward the three anchors. Legislative career orientation was associated with attainment of a leadership position, political ambition, and acceptance of legislative norms.

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