Aging and Working in the New Economy
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Aging and Working in the New Economy

Changing Career Structures in Small IT Firms

Edited by Julie Ann McMullin and Victor W. Marshall

The case studies and analyses developed in this timely book provide insight into the structural features of small and medium-sized firms in the information technology sector, and the implications of these features for the careers of people who are employed by them.
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Chapter 3: New Careers in the New Economy: Redefining Career Development in a Post-internal Labor Market Industry

Sara B. Haviland, Jennifer Craft Morgan and Victor W. Marshall


Sara B. Haviland, Jennifer Craft Morgan and Victor W. Marshall INTRODUCTION Traditional conceptualizations of career development do not comprehend the complexity of New Economy careers, particularly in small information technology (IT) firms. In the past, scholars of work often used internal labor markets of firms as models of ideal career development (Osterman, 1999) but today’s IT firms face several factors that make it difficult to create internal labor markets for employees. IT is an industry with an accelerated pace of industrial evolution in which both the tools and the products are constantly changing. Small and medium-sized IT firms must respond to new opportunities and build niches in the market in order to grow and survive. Small IT firms do not necessarily strive for market longevity, but rather often seek a rapid ascent in the market followed by an Initial Public Offering (IPO) or sale to a larger company. In this context, individual career development differs from traditional models of careers that were characterized by ascension within a firm tied to increasing responsibility and increased pay and benefits. With fewer structural aids within firms, individuals navigate the new organizational landscape and attempt to create meaningful careers for themselves across organizations or through their own efforts at entrepreneurship (see also Chapter 2). The internal labor market ideal of individual career ascension up a corporate ladder within one firm is supplanted by new conceptualizations of career success. The central question for this chapter is: What firm management practices are related to perceived career...

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