SWG 01:

Careers within and across Organizations



Hugh Gunz, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, Canada


Wolfgang Mayrhofer, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria


Polly Parker, University of Queensland Business School, Australia

The SWG's research domain and academic aims


Career is a dynamic concept that reflects multiple perspectives, including concepts and variables at many levels of analysis. At its root there is an interesting duality in that each career belongs to an individual and yet does not exist in a social vacuum. Careers provide meaning to individuals' lives, they provide social roles that reproduce societal norms, and careers are fundamental to organizations both locally and globally. Mutual influence and reciprocity are increasingly evident, and across multiple levels of analysis. The influence of the environment and of societal changes on career development and progression has been clearly demonstrated by the alteration to traditional patterns in recent years.


Studying organizations requires, among others, understanding careers within and across organizations. Beyond their importance for the individual and their development, organizations are influenced by individual career decisions as well as organizational structures and processes aiming at channelling the flow of people through the organization. Through their multi-level character and appeal as well as relevance to different scientific traditions, careers are the topic of a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary discourses, most notably within and between academic disciplinary areas including sociology, economics, anthropology, psychology, etc. Given the importance of contextual factors, regional discourses have developed, too, most notably in North America, Europe, Asia, and the Pacific Rim region. Hence, the proposed topic is highly interdisciplinary and international.


Unfortunately, up to now careers as a topic has not been covered by any of the existing standing working groups (SWG) within EGOS and has found an ongoing institutional umbrella only in the North-American setting through the Careers Division of the Academy of Management. In Europe, there is no comparable organizational form. However, over the past decade the topic had a continuous and broad appeal to both participants and Colloquium organizers from a wide range of national and disciplinary background. Starting with Lyon, France in 2001, the sub-theme – carried through by a core group of scholars acting as revolving sub-theme organizers – has been present in every EGOS Colloquium (the exception being 2003 when for technical reasons no application was possible). The sub-themes have been very popular with 25–35 participants each year and an average acceptance rate originally of about 65%, although much lower in the last two to three years due to the high numbers of submissions. They have traditionally been highly participative and have encouraged new as well as established researchers to present diverse and innovative approaches to the study of career. The careers subtheme has successfully engaged people in ongoing and broad-reaching conversations that link scholars in particular from Europe, Asia and the Pacific, and North America.


Against this backdrop, we have applied for – and been granted – a SWG on 'Careers Within And Across Organizations' since such a SWG is not covered by other SWGs and we are convinced that it fits the EGOS criteria of making a substantial contribution to the advancement of organization studies, is highly international and interdisciplinary as well as in need of an organizational umbrella.



The organizing of the SWG  


Governance structure

The SWG coordinators are linked by number of research activities which will be used in order to make sure that the SWG, its yearly program and the ongoing development are closely monitored. This will be done in person as well as through other forms of communication, in particular Skype-conference calls. The coordinators share among themselves ample experience in working together in international virtual research teams. All three SWG organizers have been actively involved in global conversations in careers research, particularly in Europe, Asia-Pacific and North American. They have been active participants and sub-theme conveners for many years, two of them also serving in other functions at EGOS. [Hugh Gunz was general secretary of EGOS while the secretariat was located at Manchester Business School in the 1980s; Wolfgang Mayrhofer was part of the local organizing team of the 23rd EGOS Colloquium 2007 in Vienna, Austria.]


In the past few years before establishing the SWG a core group of scholars – including the three coordinators – have informally guided the process of sub-theme convener selection to ensure there is a balance between experienced scholars and interested younger scholars. This process ensured that we incorporated the expertise and interests of the full range of our members, and provided opportunities for active involvement in convening the annual meeting at EGOS. In the SWG, we plan to continue in the same spirit. While one or two of the SWG coordinators always would be part of the yearly convener team, at least one additional person will be co-opted in order to ensure the influx of new ideas. The criteria for the selection of these temporary co-convenors will consider diversity in terms of academic position, gender, geographical origin, and academic discipline. The formats will vary depending on the annual theme and number of selected contributions, but conform to the guidelines issued by the EGOS #board.


Feedback from participants

The SWG coordinators will be in constant communication with each other to evaluate progress of and develop the sub-theme. We will also solicit feedback from participants and key stakeholders who support the sub-theme. We will also ask for annual feedback via email to assess the progress of the sub-theme.


Communication with the EGOS membership and the EGOS Board 

The coordinators communicate with the EGOS Board on an ongoing basis and will report formally once a year with a progress update based upon the previous year's sessions and activities and participant feedback. We hope that this will also serve as a mechanism to receive feedback from the EGOS Board on how to improve the overall impact of this SWG.



Program of the SWG


Careers research addresses a number of key themes that are at the centre of the program of the group, including, but not limited to:


  • The mutually-constitutive link between individuals and society mediated by career. This relationship may or may not involve an organizational frame.
  • The impact of cross-cultural differences on the relationship that informs global perspectives on career.
  • The balance between work and non-work activities within the parameters of people's lives.
  • Career as a medium of mobility on which global economies are dependent.
  • Influence of professional supporters and counsellors who support the translation of academic research into practice.
  • Methodological trends and challenges in the study of career from both macro and micro perspectives.


A Careers Standing Working Group has operated informally in recent years to support the development of deep and inter-disciplinary conversations about these issues with both experienced and novice careers scholars and practitioners. The SWG would formalise this arrangement, to maintain the development and breadth of the stream. We are committed to facilitating our global forum that is so popular with scholars from Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific regions. This aim is congruent with the EGOS philosophy and approach.


We will invite papers for this sub-theme that make specific contributions to the development at the theoretical, conceptual and/or methodological level or explore the themes empirically. We are especially interested in work drawing on qualitative/quantitative combinations of methods and/or methodological advances.


(Preliminary) Themes for the next EGOS Colloquia (subject to change):


The coordinators 


Hugh Gunz is Professor of Organizational Behaviour at the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, and Chair of the Department of Management, University of Toronto Mississauga, Canada. He trained as a chemist, first in New Zealand and latterly in the UK. After completing his PhD he worked for some years in the petrochemicals industry in the UK, then returned to school to study business, which led to a second PhD and a tenured teaching appointment in organizational behaviour at Manchester Business School. He joined the University of Toronto in 1989, serving in a variety of administrative positions including as an Associate Dean of the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management. His current research interests include the role of developmental and damaging relationships in the acculturation and career success of immigrant workers, the ethical dilemmas faced by professionals in organizational and commercial contexts, and a theoretical exploration of the nature of the field of career studies.

Hugh has published articles and chapters on managers' careers, the professions, and management education in many scholarly and practitioner journals and edited books including Organization Studies, American Business Law Journal, Journal of Business Ethics, Human Relations, Journal of Organizational Behavior, International Journal of Governance and Ethics, M@n@gement, Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences, Academy of Management Executive, Business Horizons, Academy of Management Review, Journal of Management Education, University of British Columbia Law Review, Leadership and Organizational Development Journal, Journal of Management Studies, Personnel Review, Management Education and Development, The Director, R&D Management, International Studies of Management and Organization, and International Journal of Research Management.

He is the author of Careers and Corporate Cultures (published by Basil Blackwell in 1989), co-editor of Managing Complexity in Organizations (published by Quorum Books in 1999) and lead editor of The Handbook of Career Studies (published by SAGE in 2007). He has edited or co-edited journal special issues appearing in Organization Studies, Career Development International, M@n@gement, Journal of Organizational Behavior, a special research forum in Academy of Management Journal, International Studies of Management & Organization, and R&D Management. He has served as Associate Editor of M@n@gement and the Journal of Managerial Psychology, and serves on the editorial boards of Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Managerial Psychology, and Emergence.

A former General Secretary and Coordinating Board member of EGOS, he has also served as Program Chair and Division Chair of the Careers Division of the Academy of Management.


Wolfgang Mayrhofer is Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Management at the Institute of Organisation Studies and Organisational Behaviour, Department of Management, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria. He previously has held research and teaching positions at the University of Paderborn, Germany, and at Dresden University of Technology, Germany, after receiving his diploma and doctoral degree in Business Administration from WU. He conducts research in the area of comparative international human resource management and leadership, work careers, and systems theory and management and has been awarded several national and international rewards for outstanding research and contributions to the academic community. He has had many international teaching assignments, among others, at Copenhagen Business School (Denmark), the United Nations (Geneva), ESADE (Spain), Estonian Business School (Estonia), INCAE (Costa Rica), Rotterdam School of Management (The Netherlands), Universidad Carlos III (Madrid, Spain) and University of Istanbul (Turkey) and regularly consults to both private and public sector organisations, with an emphasis on leadership, team and self-development by outdoor training/sailing (see www.championSHIPs.at).

Wolfgang Mayrhofer is a member of the Editorial/Advisory Editoral Board of the Journal for Managerial Psychology, the Journal for Cross-Cultural Competence and Management, the Journal of the International Society for Research in Healthcare Financial Management, the Journal of Management Spirituality and Religion, Management Revue, Zeitschrift für Personalforschung, The Jordanian Journal of Administrative Sciences, the ESADE-DEUSTO Series 'Managing people in 21st century organsations' and a corresponding member of the Journal for East European Management Studies. He also is an associate at the Centre for Research into the Management of Expatriation, Cranfield, UK, a research fellow at the Centre for Global Workforce Strategy, Simon Fraser University, Canada, member of the academic Advisory Board of AHRMIO, the Association of Human Resource Management in International Organisations, and an appointed Visiting Professor at Henley Management College, UK.

Wolfgang has authored and co-authored more than 100 book chapters and peer-reviewed articles which have been published, among others, in International Studies of Management & Organization, Career Development International, The International Journal for Human Resource Management, Human Resource Management Journal, Human Resource Management Review, International Executive, Employee Relations, Journal of Managerial Psychology, Management Revue, Die Betriebswirtschaft, Zeitschrift für Personalforschung and Personal. He has authored, co-authored and co-edited 25 books, among them most recently: Organisationsanalyse. Konzepte und Methoden [Organizational Analysis. Concepts and Methods], Vienna: facultas wuv UTB 2008, with S. Titscher and M. Meyer; Personalmanagement und Führungskräfteentwicklung [Human resource management and management development], Vienna: Linde 2006, with C. Erten, U. Seebacher and G. Strunk; Managing human resources in Europe, edited with H.H. Larsen, London: Routledge 2006; Von der Subvention zum Leistungsvertrag. Neue Koordinations- und Steuerungsformen und ihre Konsequenzen für Nonprofit-Organisationen – eine systemtheoretische Analyse [From subsidies to performance related contracts. New forms of coordination and control and their consequences for nonprofit organisations – A systems theoretical analysis], edited with A. Zauner, P. Heimerl, W. Mayrhofer, M. Meyer, A. Nachbagauer, S. Praschak and H. Schmidtmay, Bern: Haupt 2006; macht?erfolg?reich?glücklich? Einflussfaktoren auf Karrieren ([Power? success? richness? happiness? Factors influencing careers], edited with J. Steyrer and M. Meyer, Wien: Linde 2005; Innovative Ansätze im internationalen Personalmanagement [Innovative approaches to international human resource management], edited with G. K. Stahl and T. M. Kühlmann, Munich: Hampp 2005; European Human Resource Management – evidence of convergence?, edited with C. Brewster and M. Morley, Butterworth-Heineman 2004.


Polly Parker, University of Queensland Business School, Brisbane, Australia, is MBA Director and Senior Lecturer in the University of Queensland’s Business School, Australia where she teaches leadership and human resource management. Her previous teaching and research position was at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Polly has a life-long interest in teaching and learning which she has applied in both academic and corporate settings. She is originator and co-developer of the Intelligent Career Card Sort (ICCS) which is regarded as innovative in careers practice and is widely used in career coaching interventions and research internationally. It has been translated into several languages.

Polly is active in both careers research and practice internationally. She completed her PhD at the University of Auckland, New Zealand in career management and contributes to the academic careers discipline through research, design of assessment tools, presentations, workshops and academic reviewing. These are complemented by strong links with the business community.

Her current research interests reside in the areas of Career Management, Peer Coaching, and Leadership Development and particularly in the congruence among these areas. She has also researched areas of cross cultural careers and immigration and employment biases. Her work has been published in a wide range of journals including Journal of Organization Behavior, Journal of Vocational Behavior, Academy of Management Learning & Education, Leadership, Career Development International, Australian Journal of Career Development and the British Journal of Guidance and Counselling.

Polly Parker is a member of the Editorial Boards of the International Journal Educational Vocational Guidance (IJEVG) and the University of Auckland Business School Review. She has been a member of the Academy of Management (AoM) Careers Division since 1997. She has been actively involved with EGOS in the careers sub-theme, both as a presenter and also acting as either lead or co-convenor in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008.