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Who benefits from independent careers? Employees, organizations, or both?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ricardo Rodrigues, David Edmund Guest, Teresa Oliveira, Kerstin Alfes

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-34
JournalJournal Of Vocational Behavior
PublishedDec 2015

King's Authors


The traditional organizational career has been depicted as the classic example of how employers and employees can develop a mutually beneficial relationship; but changes in the competitive landscape and in individual work values have challenged its viability. Commentators have argued that a ‘new career’ deal, encapsulated by the notions of the protean and the boundaryless career, has emerged suggesting a shift in control of careers from organizations to individuals. Research has explored the implications for individuals' careers while largely neglecting consequences for organizations. Our paper seeks to remedy this by exploring both the individual and the organizational outcomes of independent career orientations and the extent to which organizations can manage these through high commitment human resource management (HRM) practices. Our study, conducted with 655 employee–supervisor dyads, indicates that a protean career orientation results in gains for both employees and organizations, whereas a boundaryless career orientation is associated with mutual losses. In addition, our findings suggest that high commitment HR practices play an important role in managing the outcomes of employees seeking traditional careers but have only a limited impact on those with a boundaryless career orientation.

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