The nature of career development, in particular the confusion which arises in trying to define it, are considered. Two key elements of career development are identified, namely career planning and career management. Results of a study of career development practices in Irish firms illustrate that the emphasis is more on career management than career planning. A wide range of activities are undertaken with the emphasis on career information systems, appropriate training and management development activities, performance appraisal and career counselling. There is a considerable lack of integration between the various activities used to promote career development within the organisation. A number of implications of the research are outlined, focusing in particular on the role of the line manager, HRM specialist and the general design of career development systems within an organisation.
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