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Sources of development and mobility: an empirical test of the boundaryless career concept


Organisational Behaviour

Publishing details

Authors / Editors

Zaleska K J;Gratton L;de Menezes L M


Publication Year



This study explored the relevance of the boundaryless career concept to the experiences of development offered to the workforce of seven different organizations. In specific it examined the meaning of the boundaryless career as developmental process and its link to different types of mobility. Measures of propensity to mobility were constructed via factor analysis and the hypotheses were tested using correlation and regression procedures using a sample of 1592 employees. The results provided some evidence as to how careers can be described by the boundaryless career concept. The relationship between propensity to mobility and career development was found to be stronger in the groups of females and clerical/administrative staff for whom both intra and inter-organizational mobility was associated with experiences of mentoring and coaching. Among groups with long tenure and over 50 years of age intra-organizational mobility was associated with training experiences. The results demonstrated the growing role of work relationships deriving from coaching, mentoring and job challenge which are more crucial resources for career development than training and lateral moves. Also the role of self-motivation and one's own wishes and interests was the most significant drive in generating career opportunities. However, the average employee did not expect to move between organizations and did expect to stay up to 10 years with their employers, which suggests the preference for the old model of career based on upward progression within one employer rather than for more flexible the boundaryless model.

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COR Working Paper

Available on ECCH


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