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Career chance experience of Korean women workers

Namhee Kim (School of Business, Northcentral University, San Diego, California, USA)
Suh Young Jang (Career Research Center, Seoul, Korea)
Pyounggu Baek (Department of Business Administration, Jungwon University, Goesan-gun, Korea)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 7 January 2019

Issue publication date: 31 January 2019




The purpose of this paper is to understand Korean women’s lived experience with career chance given the unique cultural traditions.


This study adopted a basic qualitative research design. The data from semi-structured person-to-person, in-depth interviews were analyzed using a constant comparative method.


The findings revealed that the participants dealt with their career chance events to maintain harmony. Their experienced chance events were scattered over a period of time, but as a whole, these events became meaningful for their career development. The lessons learned through their experiences transformed their priorities in career decisions and life values.

Research limitations/implications

This study yielded insightful theoretical and practical implications. From a theoretical perspective, this study identified the key elements of career chance events and interactions among these experiences, which can be further developed for future theory building.

Practical implications

From a practical perspective, this study sheds light on career education and counseling programs for adult women in an educational setting. In an organizational setting, this study recommends creating an employee career development culture where women employees are encouraged to take advantage of unpredicted career chance experiences.


This study provides culturally unique contributions to the body of literature on career chance events experienced by Korean women, which may not be adequately accounted for in most existing theories driven by western individualistic ideas of careers.



Kim, N., Jang, S.Y. and Baek, P. (2019), "Career chance experience of Korean women workers", Career Development International, Vol. 24 No. 1, pp. 74-90.



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Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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