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A New Look at Occupational Learning and Socialization in Contemporary Careers

Kaynak, E. ORCID: 0000-0003-4077-2200 (2020). A New Look at Occupational Learning and Socialization in Contemporary Careers. In: Academy of Management Proceedings. AOM Annual Meeting, 7-11 Aug 2020, Online. doi: 10.5465/AMBPP.2020.13895abstract


As the traditional employment relationship has deteriorated in the U.S. and in much of the world, the nature of careers has been changing. Workers today need to continually navigate an external labor market, construct their careers out of a series of jobs or short-term gigs, and take responsibility for training and retraining themselves to remain employable over time. Despite the burgeoning literature examining workers’ efforts at navigating the new economy, we know relatively little about how workers attempt to reskill themselves in the course of their careers. This paper utilizes a unique setting—coding bootcamps—to examine how workers attempt to enter a skilled occupation without traditional organizations serving as the backdrop for their efforts. I argue that bootcamps resembled learning collectives where learning from peers and near-peers figured more prominently than expert instruction. Under conditions of minimal expert instruction and obstacles to legitimate peripheral participation, I show how aspiring software developers sought out an occupational community in virtual spaces, learned asynchronously from unknown others, developed their practice through mock-work among themselves and managed to get hired into junior developer roles.

Publication Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: This paper has been published by the Academy of Management. The version of record is available at:
Publisher Keywords: Employment, occupations, careers, learning, socialization
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > L Education (General)
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
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