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Bounded or boundaryless? An empirical investigation of career boundaries and boundary crossing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)669-686
Number of pages18
JournalWork, Employment and Society
Issue number4
Early online date18 May 2015
Accepted/In pressDec 2014
E-pub ahead of print18 May 2015
Published1 Aug 2016


King's Authors


The article argues that the long-running debate between organizationally bounded and boundaryless careers has been too narrow and neglects the variety and distinctive characteristics of career boundaries. Drawing on boundary theory, it investigates the main career-relevant domains and boundaries, and the motivations and structural conditions that influence boundary crossing or having a career within a specific domain among a sample of professional pharmacists. The qualitative study shows that careers are enacted within a number of relevant domains and are shaped by a range of boundaries such that boundarylessness and embeddedness are co-existing career dimensions. It also reveals how even within a professional population careers are embedded within diverse social and cultural contexts that impose differing constraints on career mobility. The article therefore provides a fuller, more nuanced understanding of career boundaries and contemporary careers.

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