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Career sustainability during manufacturing innovation: A review, a conceptual framework and future research agenda

Tachia Chin (School of Management, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou, China)
Genyi Li (School of Management, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou, China)
Hao Jiao (Business School, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China)
Frederick Addo (Business School, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China)
I.M. Jawahar (Department of Management and Quantitative Methods, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois, USA)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 7 October 2019

Issue publication date: 16 October 2019

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Abstract

Purpose

Given advances in digitalization and automation, manufacturing employees are facing the increasing threat of being substituted by smart machines and robots. The purpose of this paper is to propose a framework that explains as well as can be used to study career sustainability of workers in the fast-paced, continuously changing manufacturing landscape.

Design/methodology/approach

After tracing the evolution of manufacturing sector in China, the authors review existing literature on career sustainability and then propose a new framework. The authors then describe two fictive cases and illustrate the applicability of the four-dimensional framework in helping understand the lived experience of objects in these fictive cases.

Findings

The proposed dynamic framework of career sustainability constituted by four intricately interconnected dimensions (i.e. resourceful, flexible, renewable and integrative) is useful in understanding the fictive cases and hopefully will guide future research on career sustainability in manufacturing or similarly fast-past, dynamically changing environments.

Practical implications

The framework of career sustainability facilitates manufacturing employees to accurately evaluate the sustainability of their careers, whereby they can choose to continue, shift or re-orient their career paths during the transitional period toward digitalized manufacturing; it also enlightens employers to think about how to enhance the job security and engagement of workers by helping prolong their careers and re-design their career plans.

Originality/value

This paper proposes a novel yet context-specific framework to understand and study sustainability of careers. In addition to helping us understand how careers evolve during transformational periods, it also offers fruitful avenues for further research.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 71572017).

Citation

Chin, T., Li, G., Jiao, H., Addo, F. and Jawahar, I.M. (2019), "Career sustainability during manufacturing innovation: A review, a conceptual framework and future research agenda", Career Development International, Vol. 24 No. 6, pp. 509-528. https://doi.org/10.1108/CDI-02-2019-0034

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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