Careers and climate change: A Bourdieusian perspective on climate change initiatives and its impact on careers

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Research on the dynamic interplay between climate change and careers is still underdeveloped. This paper explores how professionals’ involvement in employee-led climate change initiatives (CCIs), i.e., initiatives separate from organisationally-led CSR activities, impacts their careers. Specifically, we adopt a Bourdieusian perspective to understand how the professionals develop career capitals through their activism in this field and use these to a varying degree to shape their careers. To explore this, we draw on 58 qualitative semi-structured interviews with professionals involved in CCIs in one professional service firm. Our findings show that while participants expand their cultural and social capital, the influence on their symbolic career capital is ambiguous. We identify two different profiles to show these ambiguities: Sustainability Integrators and Hidden Activists. We see differences in their career disposition (self/career and self/society) as well as varying practices that either facilitate the transition to symbolic capital or hinder it. Our findings contribute to theory on the relationship between careers and climate change, employee activism and professional service firms.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAcceptance date - 2022
EventHuman Relations 75th Anniversary Conference - Bayes Business School, London, UK United Kingdom
Duration: 19 Apr 202321 Apr 2023


ConferenceHuman Relations 75th Anniversary Conference
Country/TerritoryUK United Kingdom


  • Careers
  • Career capital
  • Bourdieu
  • climate change initiatives
  • Employee activism
  • Professional service firms


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