An investigation into the role of generational differences in the career types, progression and success of British managers

Yourston, Douglas (2016) An investigation into the role of generational differences in the career types, progression and success of British managers. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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Research into generational differences in the workplace is limited. Academic studies range from being robust to those which portray generational differences in more generalised terms, omitting characteristics such as age, life-stage, gender or profession. Studies into a career style, progression and career success, are likewise varied, being studied from a range of different perspectives, including gender, life-stage or age; however, to date, there has been no research conducted from a generational perspective. There has also been an acknowledgement that there have been only a few studies conducted that have a clear theoretical and empirical underpinning. With the majority being quantitative-centric; these studies do not have the rich insight into understanding the complexities surrounding a generation and / or of an individual’s career that a qualitative study would offer. Reflecting this existing gap, the aim of this study to investigate the role of generational differences in an individual, British manager’s career type, progression and perception of career success. The main study using an interpretivist methodology in the form of semi-structured interviews, investigated the careers of 42 British managers across three generations. The participants’ CVs were analysed using a documentary analysis approach, while the findings were interpreted using content analysis. The study’s first key finding is the acknowledgement that there is theoretical and empirical evidence to support the contention that a generation is a reliable means for grouping individuals. The second key finding of the study using, Verbruggen et al.’s (2008) Career Categorisation model, relates to the career types and progression are influenced by a generational grouping. This study contends that career styles and career progression are influenced by determinants such as age, life-stage, gender, profession but also by their generation. The final key finding is that the Kaleidoscope Career model provides a means to view differences towards career success from a generational perspective, but also reveals that a generation does not operate in isolation; rather, an individual’s profession, life-stage and gender are also significant. In conclusion, this thesis provides a deep and rich conceptual insight, knowledge and understanding for Human Resource practitioners and academia as to how a career is influenced when viewed through a generational lens. The first contribution of the study sets out the extent to which theoretical and empirical evidence demonstrates that a generation is a reliable means to group individual managers. The second contribution, relates to the extent to which career types and progression are influenced by a generational grouping. The final contribution extends Mainiero and Sullivan’s (2005, 2006) original Kaleidoscope Career model to more accurately depict career success when individual managers are grouped generationally, by introducing a new “glass chip” to represent the need for a ‘subjective challenge,’ which is reflective in the shift to careers becoming more protean.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Uncontrolled Keywords: Generations, Career success, Career style, Career progression, Kaleidoscope Career Model, Protean careers, Boundaryless careers
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business > HF5549 Personnel management. Employment management
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Applied Business & Technology
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2016 13:11
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2023 11:22

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