Understanding the prevalence of the boundaryless career perspective and its implications for employee turnover and talent retention
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 01:18 authored by Man Kuen Chak
Most contemporary firms are now unable to offer traditional 'organisation man' careers (first articulated by Whyte in 1956) because the prerequisites for building these careers, such as stable economic and organisational environments, relatively tall organisational hierarchies and long-term reciprocal loyalty between employers and employees, are unlikely to be found in the current organisational environment. A new career model, the boundaryless career, emerged in the mid-1990s to replace the traditional career pathway. This career perspective has been considered the new employment principle for a new organisational era by various scholars (e.g., Arthur & Rousseau, 1996; Banai & Harry, 2004; Inkson, 2006, 2008; Sullivan & Arthur, 2006). Despite its significance for contemporary work environments, empirical research on this new career model has been relatively limited. One plausible explanation is the lack of a reliable scale that can measure all of the core features embedded in a boundaryless career. To advance research on boundaryless careers this thesis developed and validated a scale that assesses individuals' attitudes towards and intentions to pursue this type of career. This scale was then used to assess the prevalence of this new career perspective in the Asia-Pacific region and explore its possible effects on employee turnover and talent retention issues. This thesis comprises two major studies. In the first study, a four-dimensional 21-item scale was developed utilising the theory of planned behaviour (Ajzen, 1991, 2002) and validated to gauge boundaryless career attitudes and pursuit intentions. In the second study, the scale was used to examine the structural relationship between individuals' attitudes towards pursuing boundaryless careers and their subsequent voluntary turnover intentions and behaviour. Given that this new career perspective may trigger higher voluntary turnover and shorter employee tenure, the thesis also identified talent retention factors that are crucial for those who want to pursue boundaryless careers.