A narrative analysis of career transition themes and outcomes using chaos theory as a guiding metaphor

McDowall, A. & Peake, S. (2012). A narrative analysis of career transition themes and outcomes using chaos theory as a guiding metaphor. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 40(4), pp. 395-440. doi: 10.1080/03069885.2012.704350

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Abstract

In a rapidly changing world of work little research exists on mid-career transitions. We investigated these using the open-systems approach of chaos theory as a guiding metaphor and conducted interviews with seven mid-career individuals chosen for their experience of a significant mid-career transition. Four common themes were identified through narrative analysis, where ‘false starts’ to a career were a common experience prior to finding a career ‘fit’. Career transitions, precipitated by a trigger state and/or event such as a period of disillusionment, were an important part of this ‘finding a fit’ process. Overall, career success outcomes were shaped by a combination of chaos elements: chance, unplanned events, and non-linearity of resultant outcomes. We discuss implications for future research and for practice.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in British Journal of Guidance and Counselling on 12th June 2012, available online: http://wwww.tandfonline.com/10.1080/03069885.2012.704350
Uncontrolled Keywords: career transition; chaos theory; narrative analysis; chance; career change; career counselling
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: School of Social Sciences > Department of Psychology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/4573

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