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Unravelling the process between career shock and career (un)sustainability: exploring the role of perceived human resource management

Karen Pak (Institute for Management Research, Radboud Universiteit, Nijmegen, The Netherlands) (Human Resource Studies, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands) (Human Resource Management, Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen, Arnhem, The Netherlands)
Dorien Kooij (Human Resource Studies, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands)
Annet H. De Lange (Human Resource Management, HAN, Arnhem, The Netherlands) (Work and Organisational Psychology, Open University, Heerlen, The Netherlands)
Maria Christina Meyers (Human Resource Studies, Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands)
Marc van Veldhoven (Human Resource Studies, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 23 December 2020

Issue publication date: 6 October 2021

1108

Abstract

Purpose

Employees need a sustainable career to prolong their working lives. The ability, motivation and opportunity to work form an important basis for sustainable careers across the lifespan. However, over the lifespan of their careers employees are likely to experience several career shocks (e.g. becoming chronically ill or being fired) which might result in unsustainable trajectories. This study aims to contribute to the literature on sustainable careers by unraveling the process through which careers shocks relate to career (un)sustainability and what role perceptions of human resource practices play in the process.

Design/methodology/approach

Thirty-three in-depth retrospective interviews with participants of 50 years and older were conducted and analyzed using a template analysis.

Findings

Results showed that career shocks influence career sustainability through a process of changes in demands or changes in resources, which in turn, relate to changes in person–job fit. When person-job–fit diminished, the ability, motivation and opportunity to continue working decreased, whereas when person–job fit improved, the ability, motivation and opportunity to continue working improved as well. Organizations appear to be able to diminish the negative consequences of career shocks by offering job resources such as HR practices in response to career shocks.

Research limitations/implications

A limitation of this study is the retrospective nature of the interviews, which could have resulted in recollection bias.

Practical implications

This study gives HRM practitioners insight into the HR practices that are effective in overcoming career shocks.

Originality/value

This study extends existing literature by including career shocks as possible predictors of sustainable careers.

Keywords

Citation

Pak, K., Kooij, D., De Lange, A.H., Meyers, M.C. and van Veldhoven, M. (2021), "Unravelling the process between career shock and career (un)sustainability: exploring the role of perceived human resource management", Career Development International, Vol. 26 No. 4, pp. 514-539. https://doi.org/10.1108/CDI-10-2018-0271

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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