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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/25902

Title: A critical diversity perspective on ‘new careers’: The role of organizational and labour market norms in the careers of individuals from historically disadvantaged groups
Authors: Van Laer, Koen
Verbruggen, Marijke
Janssens, Maddy
Issue Date: 2017
Citation: EqualDiv@Work Seminar, Leiden, Open University, 19/9/2017
Abstract: The ‘new career’ discourse promises that the evolution towards boundaryless and self-directed careers will give individuals the freedom to shape their career in line with their ambitions and identities. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that individuals from historically disadvantaged groups are especially unlikely to share in these promises. Drawing on theoretical arguments from the critical diversity literature, this article contributes to debates on ‘new careers’ by offering an in-depth analysis of this problem of inequality. It first shows how this issue is linked to the neoliberal perspective underlying the ‘new career’ discourse, which treats the labour market as a level playing field where, if all actors act rationally, success is distributed meritocratically. Second, challenging this view, we identify four types of norms – on ideal job holders, ideal skills, ideal workplace behaviour and ideal careers – which constrain the opportunity of individuals from historically disadvantaged groups to share in the promises of the ‘new career’ discourse. Third, we argue that opening up these promises to more individuals, including those from historically disadvantaged groups, requires alternative organizational and societal interventions aimed at decentring the historically dominant group as the seemingly neutral ideal against which all others are judged.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/25902
Category: C2
Type: Conference Material
Appears in Collections: Research publications

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