The purpose of this empirical study is to make a contribution to career theory in general, and to the literature on high‐potential careers in particular, by examining the careers of real high potentials, taking place in the twenty‐first century world of work, from the perspectives of the high potentials themselves as well as those of their organizations.
A total of 34 interviews were conducted within three study samples: high potentials (n=14), organisational representatives employed by the same organisations that provided the high‐potential participants (n=8), and organisational representatives employed by organisations that did not allow for interviewing of their high potentials (n=12).
The current study suggests that high potentials still have organisational‐traditional careers. High upward mobility, low inter‐organisational mobility and career self‐management emerged as key features of real high‐potential careers.
Implications are spelled out with respect to the “streaming” of different types of employees in the workforce and the importance of expectations management.
Not only are the viewpoints of individuals largely absent in the literature on high‐potential careers, the majority of publications on the subject‐matter are also non‐empirical and take a rather normative stance. The interview study presented in this paper looks into the assumptions of real high‐potential careers from the perspectives of the high potentials themselves as well as those of their organizations, providing empirical data that are interpretive and descriptive rather than normative.
Dries, N. and Pepermans, R. (2008), "“Real” high‐potential careers: An empirical study into the perspectives of organisations and high potentials", Personnel Review, Vol. 37 No. 1, pp. 85-108. https://doi.org/10.1108/00483480810839987
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