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Organisational Careers Versus Boundaryless Careers: Insights From The Accounting Profession

Theresa Smith, A. Sheridan
Published 2006 · Sociology

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Much of careers research in recent times has focused on the so called move away from traditional ‘organisational careers’ to what Arthur (1994) coined the ‘boundaryless career’. This paper discusses research that challenges the applicability of the boundaryless career and the claim that ‘organisational careers are dead’. Drawing on interviews with nearly 60 accountants in Australia, the research demonstrates that employees are pursuing an organisational career. For this occupational group, the lack of proactive HR involvement in career development and the emphasis on self-direction was not appreciated. Rather, the research highlighted that the lack of organisational career management had negative implications for employee attitudes and motivation. The issues raised by the participants suggest it is timely to consider whether the unique characteristics of the accounting profession represent an ideal environment for the maintenance of an ‘organisational career’.
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