The “Boundaryless” Career

The “Boundaryless” career serves as the status quo for 21st century career literature. (Dany,Francoise 2011) Based on the development of information and technology, researchers see the requirement to develop a more useful employment model for the “new organization era”.

Contrasting with the previous career concept, now workers are more independent and more responsible for their own future. Although the definitions of the “Boundaryless” concept seek to explain modern career concepts, some researchers do criticize the theory as being difficult to operationalize (Rodrigues,Ricardo A. 2010) due to its ambiguity, and multiple definitions. (Inkson,Kerr 2012)

In this paper I will critically analyze the theory of “Boundaryless” career and some of its criticisms, and at the same time attempt to cross reference the essay along with my own career development plans. Today labor market changed greatly and careers are becoming more complex and uncertain. (Walton, P.304)

The strengthening economics, forces organization to become more flexible with employment policy while the definition of career slowly changes to a lifelong learning process (Arnold, John1997), and the concept of the traditional job or job security are becoming obsolete. (Arthur&Rosseau,1994 Sommerland,Julie2007) Career can be understood differently by people from different back ground, culture or country.

For those differences, still most individuals share a similar drive for a career. At any point in life we associate with career, example my education aim to master in business management studies is part my career. For an established definition, career is a sequence of work experiences over time-unfold (Arthur, Rousseau P.3).

The notion of career offers a vantage point from which to understand the evolution of relationship between organization structure and strategy, as well as the relationship between individual and his/her behavior. (Inkson,Kerr 2012) Career can also be described in two different ways.

The subjective career or the psychological dimension and the objective career or also can be understand as the physical dimension of career. (Arthur,MB 2005) Since I started my career my focus is to work in an environment that I am comfortable to learn and continually seeking for new challenges.

In the 21st century “new career” theory, these two aspects act as an important factor for worker’s decision about their own career. (Briscoe,Jon P. 2006) Most my transition between companies I made were made to get closer to my career objective and in the same time being able keep my life style as much as possible, which really help me to balance out my physical and psychological demand for my career path.

The “new career” literature has become a hot topic for researchers, and two concepts particularly grab the attention. The two modern career concepts are “Boundaryless” career and “Protean” career. Protean theory focus on achieving subjective success through self-directed vocational behavior while “Boundaryless” focuses on crossing both objective and subjective dimension of career at multiple levels of analysis including organizational position, mobility, flexibility, the work environment. (Sullivan,Sherry E. 2006, Briscoe,Jon P. 2006) As the present backdrop, “Boundaryless” career became an uncontroversial description of the way things are. (Arnold,John 2011)

In 2011, “Boundaryless” career is one of the leading “new career” theories, in terms of published scholarly articles. (Rodrigues,Ricardo A. 2010) Although, according to some recent research and criticism, scholars emphasized physical mobility across organizational boundaries at the cost of neglecting psychological mobility and its relationship to physical relationship. (Rodrigues,Ricardo A. 2010) That is simply because Physical mobility is easier to measure than psychological mobility.

However, despite the assumption of increasing mobility across organizations boundaries have rarely been analyzed in the career literature (Rodrigues,Ricardo A. 2010). Contrary to much of the rhetoric mobility between employers has not been increasing during the 1990s and 2000s. (Arnold,John 2011)

Evidence from several countries suggests that most people still have long term employment setting and significant increase in mobility across organization boundaries (Inkson,2012) also in patterns of career mobility in the U.S.A and that key workers can still count on organizations for their career (Rodrigues,Ricardo A. 2010)

The evidence also suggest that the type of career mobility commonly associated with “Boundaryless” has been present in the U.S.A and other countries in period considered to be dominated by hierarchical careers with organization. (Rodrigues,Ricardo A. 2010) From evidences and my own experience, I am certain that modern day worker still do seek for a secure job and a traditional like culture for the future.

Other criticisms found on Arthur and Rousseau’s “Boundaryless” career as being problematic (Arnold,John 2011, Rodrigues 2010) as well as inaccurate labeling, loose definition, over emphasis on personal agency, normalization of “Boundaryless” career and poor empirical support for the claim dominance of “Boundarlyless” career. (Inkson,Kerr 2012)

My experience during the economic recession, many people including myself needed to be mobile and act for own interest to get the best opportunity out in the competitive market. Then again in normal economic situation it seems to underestimates the degree of stability and the desire for stability in industry and employment.

In conclusion as the new social contract between employers and employees seems to be propelled by the globalization process and by rapidly improving information technology (Sullivan,Sherry E. 2006). Research and theory on “Boundaryless” career has been responsive to changes in the economic and organizational context of the past 25 years (Inkson,Kerr 2012)

The author argues for the need for a new career concept to grab the suitable policies for the modern workers who are changing in technologies and security disorder caused by the dynamic change. (Arthur&Rousseau P.4) Criticism suggest that the “Boundaryless” career offers confusion and ambiguity regarding whether the concepts provide description of how career are these days, especially concerning which particular boundaries are crossed.