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Career theory - Organisational Perspectives

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1 Career theory - Organisational Perspectives

2 Overview The Individual & the Organisation
Schein’s theory of Organisational Career The Psychological Contract Model of the Career Management system psychological contracting identity process theory Women, careers and the work/family interface Minority group careers Future directions

3 Schein (1971) Theory of the Organisational Career
The ‘organisational career’ is about how individuals move through an organisation. Individuals (micro-level) ~ Organisation (macro-level) ‘Career’ denotes a decision making process regarding who to move, when, how and at what speed. The Self is conceptualised as ‘socially constructed’ - an actor whose behaviour/roles are influenced by the socio-cultural demands of the organisation. Analysis of organisational careers uses concepts of: structural variables (the stable elements of the organisation) process variables (org. ~ indv’l via ‘socialisation’ + indv’l ~ org. via ‘innovation’)

4 Schein’s ‘Structural Variables’
Individuals move along 3 dimensions, movement controlled by boundaries : Hierarchical boundaries (vertical levels) Inclusion boundaries (centrality) Functional boundaries (dept, functional gp) Types of movement : Vertical (across hierarchical boundaries) Radical (across inclusion boundaries) Circumferential (across functional boundaries) ADAPTION + SOCIALISATION >>> ‘SELF’

5 Schein’s ‘Process Variables’
Career Movement is a repetitive process, each incorporating 3 broad stages Learning/Socialisation (N.B. Organisational subcultures) Performance Obsolescence or Learning New Skills Career = sequence of ‘boundary passages’ Sources of career problems relate to boundary movements i.e. career movement is in one direction (i.e. lateral) inability to gain acceptance, thus centrality to new group sub-culture norms are incompatible with the organisation’s

6 Schein’s ‘Career Process’ hypotheses :
Organisational socialisation will occur primarily in connection with the passage through hierarchical and inclusion boundaries, efforts at education and training will occur primarily with passage through functional boundaries Innovation (the individual's influence on the org.) will occur in the middle of a given stage of the career, at a maximum distance from past or future boundary passage The process of socialisation (the org’s influence on the individual) will be more prevalent in early stages of the org career; innovation more prevalent in later stages - although it is possible both will be present in all stages Socialisation will involve the unstable social selves, innovation will involve the stable social selves Changes in stable social selves from socialisation will occur under coercive persuasion.

7 Evaluation of Schein’s model
Useful heuristic for understanding the reciprocity of influence between the individual and the organisation Raises the notion that pursuit of a career requires self-reflection. Perception of ‘boundaries’ used as a basis for research into ‘glass ceiling’, psychological contracting etc. Other, related ‘organisational career’ theories Kanter (1989) Entrepreneurial Careers (new values/org. capacity) Gunz (1989) Routes through an organisation BUT Assumes only one type of organisation (static, hierarchical) Socialisation is a one-way process Role Innovation Vs Organisational Innovation Is descriptive, not predictive, with regard to Movement

8 Characteristics of a ‘Psychological Contract’
Psychological Contract Model of Career Management (Herriot, 1992; Herriot & Pemberton, 1996) Psychological Contract : ‘the beliefs and expectations individuals hold about the nature of the ‘exchange relationship’ between themselves and the organisation’ Psychological Contracting : ‘the invisible glue that binds individuals to the organisation over time’ (Herriot, 1992) Characteristics of a ‘Psychological Contract’ They are generally implicit They undergo continual re-negotiation over time ‘Organisational Career’ is ‘the sequence of renegotiations of the psychological contract which the individual and organisation conduct during the period of that individual’s employment’ Psychological Contract is the key interfacing concept between the individual and the organisation

9 Herriot (1992); Herriot & Pemberton (1996) continued...
Changes in organisations (less hierarchical, fewer ‘jobs for life’) has impacted upon the contractual balance (i.e. benefits to individual Vs. organisation) of the psychological contract >>> ‘psychological deals’ How can an organisation continually adapt to its environment, yet maintain its central continuity? Herriot (1992) suggests org’s should operate within two overarching frameworks : Diversity of Values different career anchors, temporal changes in values (life-stage, career stage) Psychological Contracting Individuals and Organisations take each other’s needs and viewpoints into consideration

10 Herriot (1992); Herriot & Pemberton (1996) continued...
How an organisation can manage employees’ psychological contracts : career audits - expectations & beliefs provide info. systems about internal vacancies & their requirements career counselling (career anchors) work shadowing mentoring schemes (aid socialisation) development opportunities (nurturing expertise, not just professional expertise) systems geared to individual needs (part-time, job share, career breaks, child-care, paternity leave, secondments)

11 Herriot (1992); Herriot & Pemberton (1996) continued...
Conditions required for satisfactory psychological contracting full knowledge of terms & conditions of employment accurate representation of the current ‘situation’ by both parties neither party should be coerced or put under duress neither party should be expected to commit an immoral act as a consequence of the contract Successful psychological contracting >>> impacts on human resource strategy (active participation and collaboration of ALL employees in support of the strategic business plan)

12 Women & Careers Assumptions about Women & Work in ‘traditional’ career literature women are fundamentally different from men in their interface with the workplace (Gallos, 1989); they do not pursue a ‘career’ Work and organisational life seen to be more central to the male identity than females’ (females priorities being non-economic i.e. domestic) Women interface with the workplace in a transactional terms (short-term, supplementary relationships to central ‘domestic’ role); men’s interface is relational There are differences between sexes in careers, because men and women are intrinsically different in their basic needs and interests (Bakan, 1966; Chodorow, 1978) Women : affiliative Vs Men : upward progression, status, power

13 rapid changes in educational policy - more women are highly educated >>> more women in skilled/professional roles (Nicholson & West, 1988) blurring of boundaries between home and work (teleworking) blurring of traditional ‘male’ and ‘female’ roles. Smaller families, more labour saving household devices >>> reduced need for ‘home-maker’

14 Research on Womens’ Careers
Very little done! Women as ‘honorary men’ : Millward & Brewerton (in press) : psychological contracts of full-time female Vs male workers (5 orgs). Found females were largely relational. Women are more heterogeneous in employment patterns and biographical profiles than men (Hakim, 1996) The extent to which work is the primary source of identity for women may depend on the extent to which they can reconcile needs with the masculine nature of organisational responsibilities (David & Hearn, 1996) Different kinds of jobs afford different ‘identities’.... Tajfel (1978) ‘Social Identity Theory’ : Individuals identify with groups and organisations partly to enhance self-esteem >>>> high profile women in male dominated professions often develop attitudes, needs and values on a par with male counterparts (Terborg, 1977).

15 Work~Family Interface
Work~Family interface critical to understanding ‘career’ (thus developmental perspectives on career development also relevant) Emphasis in early literature on (a) description and (b) problem-focused (identifying adjustment and interface difficulties) Dual Career Families (Hall & Hall, 1979) Where both partners in a relationship are in pursuit of career development. Issue : children! Sequential Career - man continues, woman either (a) stops pursing career, looks after children (b) career break (c) pursues career after children Simultaneous Career - man and woman continue careers and have children >>> stress from allocation of home tasks.

16 Hall & Hall (1980) : Home Task Allocation Patterns
Each party is highly involved in different spheres (e.g. woman at home, man at work) Each party is highly involved in their own career without concern for perfection in the home domain (e.g. employ nannies, cleaners) Each party is highly involved in their own career, and wants the other person to do more at home Each party is highly involved in both home and work Benefits of Dual Careers (Rosin, 1990) Greater financial security Children have role models of both sexes Men - alternative source of success and satisfaction outside of work Share experiences with partner :similar career/life stages NB. Redefine ‘career success’

17 Minority Group Careers
Thomas & Alderfer, 1989 : very little research, as minority groups excluded from managerial/professional careers (focus of traditional careers literature) Organisations are not meritocracies (Tharenou, 1997) Wells & Jennings (1983) : processes by which minority employees are prevented from attaining higher org levels ‘white entitlement’ - mgmt insistence of right to control resource allocation, perpetuating privilege. ‘scandalous paradox’ - minority employee who achieves is seen as scandalous; achievements are illegitimate ‘legitimist impulse’ - status anxiety and fear of mgmt that their ‘rightful’ position is being undermined. Small amount of research conducted focuses almost exclusively on Black Americans.

18 The Future... Both objective and subjective faces of ‘career’ are essential to its analysis; subjective increasingly more relevant Objective notions of career still predominate perceptions of ‘career success’, but alternatives are being contemplated Increasingly flexible, fluid org structures allow more opportunity for employees to ‘make’ their own career. But, increased autonomy and personal responsibility for careers are coupled with less security Need for further interdisciplinary research into the concept of career & career development (i.e. sociology, economics..) Need for further research on women, minority groups, non-managerial/non-professional careers.

19 Additional References
Davidson, M.J. (1997). The Black and Ethnic Minority Woman Manager : Cracking the concrete ceiling. Paul Chapman Publishing, London. [ ] Haslett, B., Geis, F.L., Carter, M.R. (1996). The Organizational Woman : Power and paradox. Ablex Publishing Corporation, New Jersey. [ ] Mayo, A. (1991) Managing Careers :Strategies for organizations. IPM, London [ ]

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