Table of Contents

Handbook of Research on Sustainable Careers

Handbook of Research on Sustainable Careers

Research Handbooks in Business and Management series

Edited by Ans De Vos and Beatrice I.J.M. van der Heijden

What is a sustainable career and how can individuals and organizations develop pathways that lead to them? With current levels of global unemployment and the need for life-long learning and employability enhancement these questions assume a pressing significance. With twenty-eight chapters from leading scholars, the Handbook of Research on Sustainable Careers makes an important contribution to our understanding of sustainable careers and lays the foundation for the direction of future research.

Chapter 1: Sustainable careers: introductory chapter

Beatrice I.J.M. Van der Heijden and Ans De Vos

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, organisational behaviour, strategic management


In this introductory chapter we will introduce the concept of ‘sustainable careers’ within the broader framework of contemporary careers. Departing from changes in the career context with regard to the dimensions of time, social space, agency and meaning, we advocate a fresh perspective on careers that recognizes the complexity of the career concept, thereby elaborating on existing career concepts, rather than aiming to replace them. Subsequently, we come up with a definition of the concept: ‘the sequence of an individual’s different career experiences, reflected through a variety of patterns of continuity over time, crossing several social spaces, and characterized by individual agency, herewith providing meaning to the individual.’ Next, we will outline how sustainable careers are conceived and examined theoretically or empirically throughout the different chapters of this Handbook.