Macquarie University
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Winning a career award: the impact of winning an award on career success

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posted on 2022-03-28, 01:50 authored by Bronwen Harrison
There is an abundance of work-related external awards in the business and corporate sectors. The number of awarding bodies is increasing, as well as the number of awards, the frequency with which awards are given, and the range of accomplishments honoured by awards. The proliferation of awards may suggest there is value in giving or receiving an award. However, there is little evidence about the nature and value of winning a work-related award for an individual. Relatively little research has been conducted into awards in the business sector and how awards impact an individual winner's career. Careers theory guides the research in this thesis with regard to the career impact of winning a work-related award. Competing for and winning an award is a visible signal of expertise. Signalling theory is used to assess awards as signals of excellence and to communicate unobservable qualities via observable signals. Awards as signals, which may improve a winner's employability and subsequent career success, are investigated. This thesis consists of three studies and focuses on national work-related awards for individuals in the business and corporate sector. To gain insight a framework of awards is developed in the first qualitative study. The structure and processes of 62 national awards are assessed using document analysis. This study is supported by interviews with ten award organisers. The second study investigates the career impact for an individual winning a national work-related business award. In this qualitative study, thematic analysis of 42 semi-structured interviews is completed using NVivo. In the thrid and final study, the relationship between award winners' employability and career success is identified using a structural equation modelling approach. Survey responses from 184 winners are analysed using factor and path analysis. This thesis makes three main contributions to knowledge. The first is in introducing a framework of work-related awards' dimensions and processes against which awards may be assessed. The second contribution is the finding that award winners value the recognition and increased confidence from an award yet they experience no noteworthy change in career trajectory or other objective career success measures. The third contribution is that, for some award winners, increased employability makes a positive contribution to aspects of career success. These results have implications for individuals, employers and awarding organisations.


Table of Contents

Chapter I. Introduction -- Chapter II. Literature review -- Chapter III. Awards structure and processes -- Chapter IV. Career impact of winning an award -- Chapter V. Award winners' employability and career success -- Chapter VI. Summary and conclusion.


Bibliography: pages 249-271 Thesis by publication.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Marketing and Management

Department, Centre or School

Department of Marketing and Management

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Denise Jepsen

Additional Supervisor 1

Leigh N.


Copyright Bronwen Harrison 2015. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (xvi 271 pages)

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