Against the backdrop of only a few empirical studies on the topic of up-or-out career models in professional service firms (PSFs), we highlight the importance of an explicit applicant perspective on the topic of up-or-out and develop a quantitative approach to analyze the perception and effects of up-or-out models in practice. Our empirical study is based on an online practitioner survey as well as on a two-by-two between-subjects-experiment with law and management students. The practitioner sample shows that the interviewed classic PSFs (law firms and accounting firms) have predominantly implemented alternative career positions in favor of up-or-out models while the interviewed Neo-PSFs (management consulting firms) show a more balanced implementation of up-or-out models and extended career models. However, results of our experimental applicant study reveal that the potential employee groups have different preferences: Law students (and hence potential applicants of classic PSFs in the future) show a higher likelihood to apply in connection with the up-or-out-model, whereas management students (and hence potential applicants of Neo-PSFs in the future) show a higher likelihood to apply in connection with the alternative career model.
- applicants’ perceptions, career models, job advertisements, likelihood to apply, organizational attractiveness, professional service firms, up-or-out model
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Psychology
- Strategy and Management
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
- Management of Technology and Innovation