Handbook of Research on Comparative Human Resource Management
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Handbook of Research on Comparative Human Resource Management

Edited by Chris Brewster and Wolfgang Mayrhofer

This unique and path-breaking Handbook explores the issue of comparative Human Resource Management (HRM) and challenges the notion that there can be a ‘one best way’ to manage HRM.
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Chapter 13: Careers: A Country-Comparative View

Mila Lazarova, Françoise Dany and Wolfgang Mayrhofer


Mila Lazarova, Françoise Dany and Wolfgang Mayrhofer In this chapter, we describe the state of comparative research on individual careers and organisational career management activities. This is an underdeveloped but growing area of inquiry. There is an increasing number of studies that are still exploring basic issues such as the application and relevance of career-related constructs across various national, institutional or cultural contexts but we are not yet at a stage where a coherent body of comparative research has taken shape. Given the rather ‘disjointed’ state of our knowledge at this point, our objective is not a review of all that has been published to date but rather a critical analysis of the field. Due to space limitations, we include only a few relevant examples to illustrate our points. The chapter is organised as follows. We first clarify the key concepts in two related areas of research, i.e. careers from an individual standpoint and career management from the organisational standpoint. We then provide an overview of studies that explicitly address individual careers and career management activities across national/cultural contexts. In a final step, we present insights from two large-scale comparative projects with direct relevance to career studies, one looking at careers from an individual perspective and one investigating, among others, career management-related HRM practices. DEFINITIONS AND BACKGROUND Careers: The Individual Perspective Much of the current research on careers is strongly influenced by the US view that focuses on the subjective dimension of careers. In that perspective, career is defined...

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