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The 23rd EGOS Colloquium 2007  

General Theme


Postdoctoral pre-colloquium workshop

PhD pre-colloquium workshop

Roland Calori Prize

EGOS Best Paper Award
EGOS Best Student Paper Award

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Sub-theme 13:
Career as a dynamic dance between diverse partners



Julia Richardson,
York University/Toronto (Canada)

Polly Parker,
University of Queensland/Brisbane (Australia)

Michael Dickmann, Cranfield University, School of Management (UK)


Call for papers

The widely discussed relationship between individuals and organizations and its impact on individual career growth continues to be the source of much interest in the study of careers. Adopting the metaphor of a ‘dance’ from the 23rd Egos colloquium conference theme "Beyond waltz: dances of individuals and organization", this sub-theme proposes career as a dynamic dance and organizations as one of many potential partners that the individual may choose as his/her career evolves. The ‘music’ for the dance draws attention to the contextual factors that determine the pace and rhythm of the individual’s career growth. The dance audience comprises the stakeholders who have a vested interest in the dance and concomitant career development.

Traditional theories of organizationally managed careers depict the relationship between the organization and the individual as close and largely monogamous. Some researchers suggest a close and unequivocal union, even to the point where the boundaries between the two are blurred. More recently, however, others contend that there are ‘new’ careers marked by greater independence and a looser and more dynamic coupling, with more uncertainty. Such conceptions posit other ‘partners’ such as the family and other social groups which may assume an equal or even stronger connection with the individual career actor than the organization.

The ‘dance’ metaphor encourages us to question the exclusivity of organizations and individuals as partners in career development and to question the nature of their relationship. Do some organizational forms provide for stronger and longer lasting relationships than others and thus have a greater impact on subsequent career development? Do individual career actors dance more closely or more faithfully with some forms of organizations than others? Which forms of career are more closely connected to which organizational forms? We might also consider the extent to which partnerships are evolving or static. Which characteristics encourage stronger long-lasting relationships? What possibilities exist for the individual to select other ‘partners’ and, if they do, how would they ‘dance together?’

Further modification to the career dance may stem from the rapidly changing context in which contemporary careers evolve. This has important implications not only for the relationship between organizations and individual career actors and their subsequent career patterns, but also for the role of related stakeholders and their influence on the career dance dynamic. There is a growing interest in cultural diversity in careers which suggests an important opportunity to consider ‘dance floors’ that exist beyond Western ideologies and models. Moreover, sensitized to cross-cultural themes, we become aware of the importance of global themes more generally and the extent to which they impact on the dynamic dance of career, including relationships between individual career actors, organizations and other dance partners.

The conference theme of extending dances beyond the waltz encourages us to venture beyond contemporary career forms. Thus, this sub-theme seeks to explore future permutations of the career dance and the dynamic possibilities for careers emerging in different ways. How might career dances evolve in the future? Which relationships and partners might become more commonplace or rare? Which contextual dimensions will become more or less important?

Drawing on the themes introduced above, we encourage contributions on the following :

Career as a dynamic dance

  • The dynamic relationship between individuals and organizations.

  • The implications for subsequent career patterns and trends.

The dancing partners

  • The choice of other ‘partners’ and subsequent career development.

  • The mechanisms by which individual career actors might choose to establish relationships with other partners ‘beyond’ organizations.

  • The implications of such relationships for subsequent career development.

  • The extent to which such a choice of partners is open only to professionally qualified individuals and/ or certain social groupings.

The music for the dance: contextual factors

  • The influence of contextual factors and how they might determine individual career development.

  • The influence of changing economic trends as determinants of the relationship between organizations and individuals and subsequent career development.

The dance audience

  • Current stakeholders in contemporary career trends and the extent of their influence on individual career actors.

  • The interests of stakeholders such as government and family and their evolving influence on individual career actors.

The dance floor

  • The extent to which certain organizational forms might lead to closer or looser relationships with individual career actors.

  • The extent to which a bureaucratic organizational structure engenders a more or less enduring relationship.

  • The impact of globalization and cross-cultural differences on the relationship between organizations and individuals.

  • The demand of cultural contexts on particular types of career relationships.

Future dances

  • Emergent possibilities for career development.

  • New and different types of relationships between organizations, individual career actors and other partners such as family and other social groupings.

Career sub-themes at EGOS have traditionally been highly participative and encourage new and established researchers to present diverse and innovative approaches to the study of career. The 2007 sub-theme will continue that trend by encouraging submissions from a broad range of perspectives and disciplines. We particularly invite contributions from career researchers, career practitioners and individuals in other disciplines.

About the convenors

Julia Richardson currently teaches at York University, Canada. Her publications and research interests focus on career management and international mobility, with a particular focus on the dynamics of international careers. She is currently carrying out research on international academics in Canada, the expatriate management policies of MNC’s based in Toronto and the experience of job loss among middle level managers. Julia has previously co-convened a stream at the Critical Management Studies held at Cambridge University in 2005 and is a co-convener of the Careers Sub-theme at EGOS in Bergen in 2006.

Polly Parker is a Senior lecturer at UQ Business School, University of Queensland, in Brisbane, Australia. Her publications and current research interests include career learning through peer coaching, career crafting and the intersection of careers and leadership. She is originator and co-developer of the Intelligent Careers Card Sort™. Polly has previously co-convened the careers sub-themes at the EGOS colloquium in Lubjiana and is the main convenor for the 21st EGOS colloquium in Bergen, Norway.

Michael Dickmann currently teaches at Cranfield University, School of Management, UK. His research focuses on international HRM strategies, structures and processes, particularly looking at international mobility. Michael is director of the Centre for Research into the Management of Expatriation (CReME) and has founded Geodesy, a joint research initiative with PricewaterhouseCoopers. Current research encompasses the influence factors on mobility, repatriation and long-term career issues and expatriate ‘success’. He is also the director of the MSc in International Human Resource Management in Cranfield.