Sub-theme 39: Breaking the mould: The era of entrepreneurship in the new career

Michael Dickmann
Cranfield University, School of Management, UK
Svetlana N. Khapova
VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Jelena Zikic
York University, Canada

Call for Papers

For some years careers have been described as ‘new’ (Arthur, Inkson, & Pringle, 1999). In a response to organisational innovation which included changed structures, processes and psychological contracts individuals are seen to be facing a more fragmented and insecure career. These developments have meant that increasingly individual careerists have the responsibility to take their professional life paths into their own hands. These trends have been variously captured by concepts such as the Protean (Hall, 1996), boundaryless (Arthur and Rousseau, 1996) and post-corporate career (Peiperl and Baruch, 1997). The results of the gradual disappearance of the pre-planed linear progression in (predominantly) one organisation include an increased importance of individual passion, creativity and innovation in shaping their own careers.

The new career in which individuals have relatively employer-independent careers implies that careerists do not have to adjust their strategies and attitudes to one organisation’s culture, practices and political context but that they are freer to pursue their subjective career values (Khapova, Arthur and Wilderom, 2007). While some are passionately following a calling (Dobrow, 2007) other career actors may concentrate on their networks (Hofbauer et al, 2007) or more on their professional and occupational identities and competencies (Slocum, 1974). Inkson and Arthur (Inkson and Arthur, 2001) capture these activities in their 'three ways of knowing' and urge individuals to become 'career capitalists'.

The Barcelona conference theme of "Passion for Creativity and Innovation" reflects the needs that career entrepreneurs have to succeed pursuing their own career values within diverse societies that are highly dynamic and where threats in the forms of a need to be chronically flexible (Iellatchitch, Mayrhofer and Meyer, 2003) exist. This may lead to the pursuit of 'authentic careers' (Svejenova, 2005), where individuals stay true to their creative calling and follow very personal career paths. In addition, many will also need to develop creative coping strategies and career adaptability to overcome career barriers and transitions that are encountered on the way (Zikic and Klehe, 2006). Such is the case with specific populations such as migrants, and other types of global workers continuing or restarting their careers in a new country (Dickmann and Harris, 2005), those pursuing 'interrupted' careers for example (Schneer and Reitman, 1997; Richardson and Mellon, 2005) or even creative individuals such as entrepreneurs striving to create value and establish businesses in today's turbulent environment.

However, career creativity does not only refer to creativity in the shaping of individual careers. It also refers to creativity in work arrangements and the consequences that careers bring about (Peiperl, Arthur and Anand, 2002). Organisations through sudden structural and manpower decisions can upset individual career plans. Individuals in the more chaotic career context (Gunz, Liechtenstein and Long, 2002) need flexibility and creativity to proactively manage these situations. The underlying foundations, predominant perspectives and boundaries of the career field discourse are constantly reviewed, challenged and stretched which is an ideal ground for creativity and innovation. We invite a spectrum of papers to continue to do so. Topics for prospective papers may include but are not restricted to:

  • Career decisions, paths and evaluations shaped by passions, creative ideas and innovative behaviours
  • New forms of careers crossing the boundaries of firms, sectors, occupations and states
  • Interactions between organisations, individuals, social groupings and society
  • Novel or diverse forms of career entrepreneurship
  • Careers in the wider context, including work/non-work balance, careers in challenging contexts (e.g. high sectoral unemployment, high uncertainty, cross-border situations)
  • Creative and innovative careers linked with the impact of diverse generations (e.g. Generation X, Y)
  • Career drivers, including internal and external factors and career outcomes, including life and work satisfaction, psychological health, career derailing, self-destructive behaviour and external career evaluations
  • 'Darker sides' of career entrepreneurship and new, creative and innovative careers, e.g. dealing with ambiguity, uncertainty, health related problems

Abstracts and papers that employ new or unusual perspectives, the exploration of uncommon career interactions, long-term temporal perspectives and the creative crossing of boundaries are highly welcome. 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 2009 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.


Arthur, M.B., K. Inkson and J.K. Pringle (1999): The New Careers. Individual Action and Economic Change. London: Sage.

Arthur, M.B. and D.M. Rousseau (eds) (1996): The Boundaryless Career. New York: Oxford University Press.

Dickmann, M. and H. Harris (2005): "Developing Career Capital for Global Careers: The Role of International Assignments." Journal of World Business, 40 (4), 399–408.

Dobrow, S.R. (2007): The Development of Calling: A Longitudinal Study of Musicians. Best Paper Proceedings of the Academy of Management Conference. Philadelphia.

Gunz, H.P., B.M.B. Liechtenstein and R.G. Long (2002): "Self-Organization in Career Systems: A View from Complexity Science." Management, 5 (1), 63–88.

Hall, D.T. (1996): "Protean careers of the 21st century." Academy of Management Executive, 10 (4), 8–16.

Hofbauer, J., A. Iellatchitch, W. Mayrhofer, M. Meyer and T. Schneidhofer (2007): Making Sense in Career Networking: Towards a Qualitative Approach to Social Capital. Paper presented at the 23rd EGOS Colloquium, Careers Division, July 5–7, Vienna, Austria.

Iellatchitch, A., W. Mayrhofer and M. Meyer (2003): "Career fields: A small step towards a grand career theory?" International Journal of Human Resource Management, 14 (5), 728–750.

Inkson, K. and M.B. Arthur (2001): "How to be a successful career capitalist." Organizational Dynamics, 30 (7), 48–61.

Khapova, S.N., M.B. Arthur and C.P.M. Wilderom (2007): "The subjective career in the knowledge economy." In: H. Gunz and M. Peiperl (eds), Handbook of Career Studies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 114–130.

Peiperl, M., M.B. Arthur and N. Anand (2002): Career Creativity: Explorations in the Remaking of Work. New York: Oxford University Press.

Peiperl, M. and Y. Baruch (1997): "Back to Square Zero: The Post-Corporate Career." Organizational Dynamics (Spring), 7–22.

Richardson, J. and M. Mallon (2005): "Career interrupted? The case of the self-directed expatriate?" Journal of World Business, 40 (4), 409–420.

Schneer, J.A. and F. Reitman (1997): "The interrupted managerial career path: a longitudinal study of MBAs." Journal of Vocational Behavior, 51, 411–434.

Slocum, W.L. (1974): Occupational Careers (2nd ed.). Chicago: Aldine.

Zikic, J. and U. Klehe (2006): "Job loss as a blessing in disguise: The role of career exploration and career planning in predicting reemployment quality." Journal of Vocational Behavior, 69 (3), 391–401.

Michael Dickmann 
Svetlana N. Khapova 
Jelena Zikic