Borders of "the boundarlyless career"

Sami Stephan Boutaiba, Julie Sommerlund

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Purpose – The paper aims to examine the notion of the boundaryless career, arguing that the notion is problematic, and that simultaneous co-existence of different types of careers makes both “new” and “old” types of careers possible.

Design/methodology/approach – The approach is twofold: a theoretical argument, and a qualitative ethnographic study, involving observations and interviews.

Findings – The theoretical argument questions the underlying premise and promise of the notion of the boundaryless career, namely that modern careers amount to a higher level of personal freedom. This empirical study will serve to illustrate the co-constitutive nature of different career stories.

Research limitations/implications – The research is qualitative and thereby limited in the following way: it serves to give a deep understanding of the phenomena at hand, but is not easily generalizable. However, the methodology can inspire scholars to explore the findings observed in this paper.

Practical implications – The idealization of the boundaryless career is problematic, as it poses problems to those concerned with the career. A more flexible ideal of careers would be preferable to researchers and organisational actors alike.

Originality/value – The paper gives a practical and empirical input to a debate that has been largely conceptual or generalized
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of organizational change management
Issue numberNo. 4
Pages (from-to)525-538
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

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