Constructing alignment for sustainable careers: Insights from the career narratives of management consultants

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

While prior literature identifies a person's alignment of their career with the interests of their employing organization as a source of career sustainability, we still know little about how individuals construe such alignment. Our study contributes to understanding of the sustainable career framework by conceptualizing individual career alignment as a narrative accomplishment. Building on an interview study of 34 consultants from a large management consulting firm, we identify four narrative approaches for construing alignment within this challenging organizational context: overidentifying, conforming, creating symbiosis, and moving on. Our findings elaborate the sustainable career framework by suggesting alignment narratives as a contextually situated expression of agency in people's striving for sustainable careers. We discuss implications for theory and practice.
LanguageEnglish
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
Early online date30 May 2019
DOIs
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 30 May 2019

Keywords

  • Sustainable career
  • Alignment
  • Construing career
  • Narrative
  • Tension
  • Management consultant

Cite this

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title = "Constructing alignment for sustainable careers: Insights from the career narratives of management consultants",
abstract = "While prior literature identifies a person's alignment of their career with the interests of their employing organization as a source of career sustainability, we still know little about how individuals construe such alignment. Our study contributes to understanding of the sustainable career framework by conceptualizing individual career alignment as a narrative accomplishment. Building on an interview study of 34 consultants from a large management consulting firm, we identify four narrative approaches for construing alignment within this challenging organizational context: overidentifying, conforming, creating symbiosis, and moving on. Our findings elaborate the sustainable career framework by suggesting alignment narratives as a contextually situated expression of agency in people's striving for sustainable careers. We discuss implications for theory and practice.",
keywords = "Sustainable career, Alignment, Construing career, Narrative, Tension, Management consultant",
author = "Katharina Chudzikowski and Stefanie Gustafsson and Svenja Tams",
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doi = "10.1016/j.jvb.2019.05.009",
language = "English",
journal = "Journal of Vocational Behavior",
issn = "0001-8791",
publisher = "Elsevier Academic Press Inc",

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AU - Gustafsson, Stefanie

AU - Tams, Svenja

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N2 - While prior literature identifies a person's alignment of their career with the interests of their employing organization as a source of career sustainability, we still know little about how individuals construe such alignment. Our study contributes to understanding of the sustainable career framework by conceptualizing individual career alignment as a narrative accomplishment. Building on an interview study of 34 consultants from a large management consulting firm, we identify four narrative approaches for construing alignment within this challenging organizational context: overidentifying, conforming, creating symbiosis, and moving on. Our findings elaborate the sustainable career framework by suggesting alignment narratives as a contextually situated expression of agency in people's striving for sustainable careers. We discuss implications for theory and practice.

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KW - Sustainable career

KW - Alignment

KW - Construing career

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KW - Tension

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