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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter calls for the endorsement of a ‘career perspective’ when theorizing identity in organizations. It argues that especially the concept of ‘career identity’ can be instructive for settling an ongoing controversy among scholars concerning temporal aspects of ‘continuity’ and ‘change’ in narrative identity construction. Since continuity and change are integral to the career notion, a career perspective helps to explain the under-explored coexistence of dynamic and at the same time stable dimensions of identity. This insight is particularly relevant in light of the changing relationships between organizations and their employees, where career paths are increasingly becoming more discontinuous and therefore unpredictable, protean, and boundaryless. Moreover, the chapter argues that a career perspective on identity helps to raise critical questions regarding how widely dispersed career imperatives influence people’s career choices, and how these imperatives can be resisted.

Keywords: career identity, narrative identity, continuity, change, career imperatives, meritocracy, boundaryless career, protean career

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