Career progression and the first line manager

PhD Thesis

Dexter, Barbara 2003. Career progression and the first line manager. PhD Thesis
AuthorsDexter, Barbara
TypePhD Thesis

This study focuses on career progression and the first line manager (flm). There is an acknowledged lack of literature on the contemporary flm (Hirsh, 2000; Owen, 2001), which this research helps to address. The main aim of the study is 'to reach a greater understanding of the factors involved in an individual's ability to progress into, through and from the first level of management' . The study offers a meta-analysis of the literature on first line management throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, identifying five contemporary issues affecting the role. These are organisational changes; team-working; management styles and skills; the impact of new technology; changing employment patterns and managing diversity. These and associated issues have also affected the modem career, which is examined from a flm perspective. Pertinent factors are highlighted as career responsibility; career motivation; pro-activity and entrepreneurial careers; career competence; and career resilience and adaptability. Issues of choice, luck and timing in careers are also examined. The lack of qualitative research into careers has been recognised by many writers in this field (Young & Collin, 1992; Bimrose, 2001). The concept of energy suffuses this research. The consideration of energy in organisations has become more prevalent in the literature on both management and careers (Tosey, 1994, 1999; Wheatley, 1992; Arthur et ai, 1999). This study adopts, with amendments, Tosey's (1994) model, based on seven energy centres and their associated meanings, as an analytical framework. The framework supports an examination of aspects of the flm role and career, to enhance understanding of an individual's ability to progress into, through and from the first level of management. A qualitative approach has been taken to the study, based on Lincoln and Guba's (1985) Naturalistic Inquiry. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were undertaken with 23 participants. These were selected across sectors, private and public, and across a broad range of characteristics. Some were working at the flm level at the time of interview, some had moved from the level, either to middle management or to nonmanagement roles. The interviews made use of Critical Incident Technique (Flanagan, 1954; Chell, 1998), to explore critical junctures in a flm career. The analysis allowed a clear delineation between progression into the flm level, and progression through and from the flm level and into middle management. A model of career progression is presented, incorporating three contextual levels, together with the salient themes of connectivity and timing. The study'S contribution to knowledge surrounds four key areas: (1) the identification and examination of five contemporary issues for the modem flm; (2) the contribution to the understanding of career progression, through the use of qualitative research, at the flm level; (3) the development of a new model relating to career progression, and (4) the recognition of the importance of energy in examining career progression, together with the use of the Tosey (1994) model of energy centres. Implications of the findings from this study are presented at societal, organisational and individual levels.

KeywordsManagement development; First Line Manager (FLM); Career progression
PublisherUniversity of Derby
Web address (URL)
Output statusUnpublished
Publication process dates
Deposited17 May 2013, 09:22
Publication dates2003
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