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

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103312
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
Volume117
Early online date30 May 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020

Keywords

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

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