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Career Anchors Revisited: Implications for Career Development in the 21st Century

Edgar H. Schein
The Academy of Management Executive (1993-2005)
Vol. 10, No. 4, Careers in the 21st Century (Nov., 1996), pp. 80-88
Published by: Academy of Management
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4165355
Page Count: 9
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Career Anchors Revisited: Implications for Career Development in the 21st Century
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Abstract

Organizations are undergoing a metamorphosis today. Whether one speaks of "downsizing," "rightsizing," "flattening," becoming a "learning organization," or simply of a "transformation" into something as yet unknown, no one would deny that profound changes are occurring worldwide. These changes in the occupational environment have implications for career development in the future. Will there even be such a concept as an "organizational career," or will careers become a more fragmented set of jobs held together far more by what I have labeled the "internal career?" The internal career involves a subjective sense of where one is going in one's work life, as contrasted with the "external career," the formal stages and roles defined by organizational policies and societal concepts of what an individual can expect in the occupational structure. In studying careers longitudinally, it became evident that most people form a strong self-concept, a "career anchor," that holds their internal career together even as they experience dramatic changes in their external career. But will the concept of career anchor still be applicable in this rapidly changing world? What are the implications for career development as we look at several future scenarios of how the world might evolve further in the 21st Century.

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