Tuesday, 16 October 2012

How “boundaryless” are the careers of high potentials, key experts and average performers?

Nicky Dries and Marijke Verbruggen (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium) and Frederik Van Acker (Open Universiteit, The Netherlands) published in Journal of Vocational Behavior Volume 81 Issue 2 (October 2012)


The talent management literature declares talent management a prime concern for HRM professionals while the careers literature calls talent management archaic.

Three sets of assumptions identified through comparative review of both streams of the literature were tested in a large-scale survey (n = 941).

We found more support for the assumptions advocated in the talent management literature. Those who organizations consider their “best” people are more often found in traditional-organisational careers – both in terms of employer inducements and employee attitudes.

Traditional–organisational careers yield more career satisfaction than careers displaying more boundaryless features.

Individuals’ career types are mostly determined by supervisor-rated performance, much more so than by personal career orientation.


► We tested contrasting assumptions from the careers and talent management literature.
► More support was found for the assumptions from the talent management literature.
► The “best” employees are most often found in traditional–organisational careers.
► Traditional–organisational careers were found to be most satisfying.
► Career type is determined by performance indicators rather than career orientation.

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