Loughborough University
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Career helpers and career hinderers : a qualitative study exploring the role of others in shaping individuals' careers

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posted on 2012-10-19, 10:52 authored by Sara Bosley
This study identifies, characterises and contextualises the role of others in shaping the careers of non-managerial employees. Seeking individuals' perspectives, the qualities and characteristics that employees value in their helpers are identified and discussed in relation to those expected of professional careers advisers. In so doing the study addresses limitations that arise from: the dominance of traditional differentialist theories; philosophical differences between positivist career research and constructivist guidance practice; and the division between sociological and psychological perspectives. From a constructionist perspective, qualitative data were gathered using semi-structured interviews with 28 non-managerial employees in 6 different organisations. Participants were asked to give accounts of their career from the time they left school to the present day. Particular attention was paid to their sense-making about the role of others. Both narrative and thematic analysis were used in order that the role of career helpers and hinderers could be understood in both the diachronic and synchronic context. Two conceptual frameworks that develop understanding of career help and career helpers, along with the paired concepts of career self-view and career world-view are proposed. First, a typology of career helpers distinguishes and contrasts helper categories according to their roles and impact on individuals' career world-view and career selfview. Second, an 'anatomy of credibility' shows the interrelationship between valued qualities and characteristics of career helpers. In discussing credibility, knowledge and impartiality are conceptualised, a distinction proposed between power and influence, and the concept of 'care' is introduced. It is suggested that valued careers helpers are those who are aware of their subjective frame of reference, their position on partiality, and of external pressures and internal beliefs that may shape their practice.



  • Business and Economics


  • Business


© Sara Bosley

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


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