Business Leaders: Career Capital and Role Transitions


Brown, Catherine 2019. Business Leaders: Career Capital and Role Transitions. Thesis
AuthorsBrown, Catherine
Qualification namePhD

Whilst it is recognised that the organisational career is still prevalent within today’s career landscape, there is a lack of research exploring the career capital needed to ease intra-organisational transitions. This thesis reviews this gap and explores the career capital required by business leaders to facilitate their own voluntary, sideward or upward macro work role transitions.
The research questions include:
1. What aspects of career capital facilitate such role transitions?
2. How and to what extent are these role moves supported by career capital?
3. What barriers inhibit such role transitions?
4. What are the implications for business leaders and organisations of these role transition experiences?
Drawing upon an interpretivist research approach, with a social constructionist stance and using event-based narrative interviews, this study explores the experiences of 36 business leaders who have undertaken a role transition within a UK business within the previous three years. This case organisation operates within the construction sector and is part of an international establishment.
This research study enhances our appreciation of career capital; it offers unique contributions to knowledge from theoretical, empirical and practice perspectives. By developing a new career capital theoretical framework, our understanding of the career capital aspects that ease organisational role transitions is deepened. Such findings reaffirm the relevance of context and emphasise the importance of the Bourdieusian notion of the field and symbolic capital. Moreover, the insights offered by this research study recognise the relevance of Bourdieu’s capital convertibility within the context of career capital. Furthermore, this research study identifies new characteristics, including where career capital can: act as a barrier, overcome barriers, be eroded, be influenced by the role holder’s levels of personal agency and organisational attachment, and connect together to increase impact. Conclusively, this research study confirms the relevance of career capital within transition management. Additionally, given the importance of transitions within career theories, career capital is an important concept for the career management field as a whole.

KeywordsRole transitions, Career mobility
PublisherUniversity of Derby
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Web address (URL)hdl:10545/623531
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Publication process dates
Deposited25 Feb 2019, 15:16
Publication dates29 Jan 2019
ContributorsWond, Tracey (Advisor) and Hooley, Tristram (Advisor)
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