Document Type

Article

Rights

This item is available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use only

Disciplines

Business and Management.

Publication Details

Journal of Change Management, 14(4): 453-474.

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Abstract

This research article focuses on experiences of involuntary job loss following organisational change as occasions for career (re)construction. Using narrative inquiry, it explores the career stories of four former professionals on an Irish active labour market programme assisting the long-term unemployed to transition to employment. The article portrays how, and in what ways, the participants respond when confronted with transformation. Offering an empirically grounded understanding of the character and conduct of those encountering transition with greater nuance than that currently found in the literature, the article comprehends the approach that the former professionals use to (re)construct their career strategies. By integrating the concepts of the fateful moment and sensemaking, the article locates career identity within its wider societal and organisational contexts. It outlines the reactions of the professionals to the involuntary job loss by describing the criteria they use to evaluate their career success (“envisionment”) and recounting their perception of control over their career outcomes (“enactment”). The article identifies four possible career (re)construction strategies – changed envisionment/changed enactment, constant envisionment/changed enactment, constant envisionment/constant enactment and changed envisionment/constant enactment. Three new categories of career success are proposed to take account of the participant’s altered career scripts – “monetarists”, “recognition seekers” and “security seekers”.

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