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The Corrosion of Career? - Occupational Trajectories of Business Economists and Engineers in Switzerland
European Sociological Review
Achievement careers are regarded as a distinctive element of the post-war period in occidental societies. Such a career was at once a modal trajectory of the modern parts of middleclass men and a social emblem for progress and success. However, if the achievement career came to be a biographical pattern with great normative power, its precise sequential course remained vague. Theories of the 1960s and 1970s described it as an orderly advancement within large firms. By the 1990s, scholars postulated an erosion of the organizational structures that once contributed to the institutionalization of careers, accompanied by a weakening of the normative weight of the achievement career by management discourse. We question the thesis of the corrosion of achievement career by analysing the trajectories of 442 engineers and business economists in Switzerland in regard to their orderliness, loyalty, and temporal rhythm. An inspection of types of careers and cohorts reveals that even if we face a decline of loyalty over time, hierarchical orderliness is not touched by those changes. Foremost, technical-industrial careers fit the loyal and regular pattern. Hence, this trajectory-type represents only a minority and is by far the slowest and least successful in terms of hierarchical ascension.
Careers, Achievement, Work
Web of science
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