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The meaning of career success Avoiding reification through a closer inspection of historical, cultural, and ideological contexts

The meaning of career success Avoiding reification through a closer inspection of historical,... Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the extent to which the concept of career success has been subject to reification, and identify potential implications for individuals, organizations, and societies. Design/methodology/approach – The current paper offers an in‐depth analysis of the different contextual forces contributing to the reification of careers (i.e. history, culture and ideology), and how these have impacted on the social reality of career and the definitions of career success held by different relevant actors. Findings – In total, eight research propositions are identified that need to be addressed in future research in order to advance knowledge and understanding of career success in context. Social implications – One manifest outcome of career reification is the establishment of collective norms prescribing what a “normal”, “successful” career is – and what is not. Consequently, all careers not conforming to these norms are devaluated, which is inappropriate given the present‐day climate of workplace diversity. Originality/value – Career theory, in general, has been criticized for overemphasizing individual agency while neglecting contextual issues. Furthermore, more conceptual development is necessary in relation to the career success construct. The current paper aims to address both of these gaps by presenting in‐depth analyses of the historical, cultural, and ideological contexts impacting on the meaning of career and career success. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Career Development International Emerald Publishing

The meaning of career success Avoiding reification through a closer inspection of historical, cultural, and ideological contexts

Career Development International , Volume 16 (4): 21 – Aug 16, 2011

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1362-0436
DOI
10.1108/13620431111158788
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the extent to which the concept of career success has been subject to reification, and identify potential implications for individuals, organizations, and societies. Design/methodology/approach – The current paper offers an in‐depth analysis of the different contextual forces contributing to the reification of careers (i.e. history, culture and ideology), and how these have impacted on the social reality of career and the definitions of career success held by different relevant actors. Findings – In total, eight research propositions are identified that need to be addressed in future research in order to advance knowledge and understanding of career success in context. Social implications – One manifest outcome of career reification is the establishment of collective norms prescribing what a “normal”, “successful” career is – and what is not. Consequently, all careers not conforming to these norms are devaluated, which is inappropriate given the present‐day climate of workplace diversity. Originality/value – Career theory, in general, has been criticized for overemphasizing individual agency while neglecting contextual issues. Furthermore, more conceptual development is necessary in relation to the career success construct. The current paper aims to address both of these gaps by presenting in‐depth analyses of the historical, cultural, and ideological contexts impacting on the meaning of career and career success.

Journal

Career Development InternationalEmerald Publishing

Published: Aug 16, 2011

Keywords: Career success; Subjective career; Career reification; Boundaryless career; Career theory; National cultures; Globalization

References