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Career counseling within organizations: isolation or integration?


  • Soens, N.


  • De Vos, A.

    () (Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School)


The purpose of this research was to explore how organizations give shape to career counseling. The shift from lifelong employment to lifelong employability has made career counseling an important instrument in the light of assistance to individuals in their process of self reflection and outlining a career path that matches their aspirations and competencies (Bollen et al., 2006). This study aims to examine HR-practices relating to career counseling as part of the broader career management policy. Starting from existing career typologies (e.g. Baruch, 2004), we aim to explore which processes underlie the implementation of career counseling. More specifically, we investigate whether career counseling concerns an isolated process within organizational career management, or is integrated in the overall human resource management. Using a qualitative case-study approach, this study looked at 10 organizations defined as ‘best practices’ in organizational career management, based on a prior quantitative study (Bollen et al., 2006). Semi-structured interviews were held with the HR, career or talent manager of each organization in order to explore in-depth the career counseling process. Based on our findings we built a model of how different career management practices in existing typologies are integrated into a consistent approach to career counseling. Moreover, we found that the core of the career counseling process is its interrelatedness with the performance management cycle. Our findings also revealed that career counseling within organizations is a shared responsibility between HR, line management and employees. The added value of this study lies in uncovering how career management and performance management are interwoven in reality. Implications for practioners of this best practices analysis, limitations of the study and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Soens, N. & De Vos, A., 2007. "Career counseling within organizations: isolation or integration?," Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School Working Paper Series 2007-8, Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School.
  • Handle: RePEc:vlg:vlgwps:2007-8

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