Situating career agency in the everyday practice of management consulting: a being-in-the-world perspective

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The emphasis on individual agency in popular career discourse has increasingly been criticised by organization scholars, who have called for greater consideration to context. Prior literature responds to this call by proposing career agency as constituted by shared meanings at the macro-level of organizations, institutions and society (e.g., shared cognitive schema, institutional scripts). We extend this literature by examining the ways by which people constitute career agency from within their experience of working in organizations. We build on organization scholars’ growing engagement with Martin Heidegger’s existential phenomenology. Heideggers’ writings about intentionality suggest career agency as a persons’ non-deliberate and deliberate relating to their entwinement in practice worlds. Using semi-structured interviews with 30 members of a management consulting firm, we find that consultants’ ways of understanding their being-in-their-career is entwined with both their involvement with and disclosing of their being-in-their-consulting-work, being-with-others, being-with-equipment and being-in-time. Thereby, involvement and disclosing are constituted in pluritemporal versus linear horizons of time. Our findings contribute to knowledge by suggesting people’s constitution of career agency as an ongoing process of disclosing the world. Thus, viewing careers as entwined with other aspects of one’s situation at work also constitutes organizational practice.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2016
Event32nd EGOS Colloquium 2016 (Naples, Italy) - Naples, Italy
Duration: 6 Jul 20169 Jul 2016


Conference32nd EGOS Colloquium 2016 (Naples, Italy)


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