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The Meanings of Career Revisited: Implications for Theory and Practice

The Meanings of Career Revisited: Implications for Theory and Practice In everyday conversation, the term ‘career’ is generally understood to refer to the sequence of work‐related experiences one has over the course of one's working lifetime. For many people, a career is distinct from a job, since it also conjures up images of steady, even logical, progression up organizational hierarchies. It is not simply about what one does for a living, but about what one has done, does now and might do in the future; the notion of career therefore embraces the dimension of time. In light of widespread organizational restructuring and economic uncertainty since the late 1980s, many of the taken‐for‐granted assumptions which have underpinned traditional notions of career, and in particular the organizational career, no longer seem valid. Both individuals and organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to conceptualize the idea of a logical, long‐term sequence of work‐related experiences; there is thus no longer a clear and mutual understanding of what the career means to both. This paper argues that individuals and organizations can meaningfully redefine the notion of career by reconsidering its broader, theoretical underpinnings. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png British Journal of Management Wiley

The Meanings of Career Revisited: Implications for Theory and Practice

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
British Academy of Management 1998
ISSN
1045-3172
eISSN
1467-8551
DOI
10.1111/1467-8551.00096
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In everyday conversation, the term ‘career’ is generally understood to refer to the sequence of work‐related experiences one has over the course of one's working lifetime. For many people, a career is distinct from a job, since it also conjures up images of steady, even logical, progression up organizational hierarchies. It is not simply about what one does for a living, but about what one has done, does now and might do in the future; the notion of career therefore embraces the dimension of time. In light of widespread organizational restructuring and economic uncertainty since the late 1980s, many of the taken‐for‐granted assumptions which have underpinned traditional notions of career, and in particular the organizational career, no longer seem valid. Both individuals and organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to conceptualize the idea of a logical, long‐term sequence of work‐related experiences; there is thus no longer a clear and mutual understanding of what the career means to both. This paper argues that individuals and organizations can meaningfully redefine the notion of career by reconsidering its broader, theoretical underpinnings.

Journal

British Journal of ManagementWiley

Published: Dec 1, 1998

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