In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Career Studies

  • Introduction
  • Classic Contributions
  • Textbooks
  • Scholarly Books

Management Career Studies
Yehuda Baruch
  • LAST REVIEWED: 20 June 2023
  • LAST MODIFIED: 30 March 2017
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846740-0015


Career management is the focus area of careers, which is part of people management, as studied from both individual and organizational perspectives. It can take place within or outside organizational settings. It builds on wide theoretical perspectives, including mostly psychology (particularly industrial psychology), social psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, political science, history, and geography. Career management is usually being taught and researched through human resource management (HRM) lenses, and there is a certain overlap with general HRM issues, particularly in training and development. Other areas of overlap listed in this article are international HRM (in particular, management of people across borders) and diversity management—or those practices falling within the career area, such as mentoring.

Classic Contributions

The following are considered to be original contributions that helped shape the field. Hughes 1928 introduces the notion of modern careers within society. Super 1957 focuses on personal career in terms of their stages and progress over a lifetime, whereas Osipow and Fitzgerald 1996 (originally published in 1968) widens the framework to cover career theories beyond personality. Levinson 1978 reflects on the life stages of individuals as reflected in careers. Lastly, Schein 1978 offers a more comprehensive view about individuals and organizations, manifesting the dynamic nature of the interaction between individual progress and the organizational systems within which careers take place.

  • Hughes, Everett C. “Personality Types and the Division of Labor.” American Journal of Sociology 33.5 (1928): 754–768.

    DOI: 10.1086/214539

    Everett C. Hughes depicts the view of modern careers, following studies known as the original Chicago career studies (Chicago school of sociology). This represents the foundation for modern-era career studies. Enlightening coverage of this contribution is in Stephen R. Barley, “Careers, Identities and Institutions: The Legacy of the Chicago School of Sociology,” in Handbook of Career Theory, edited by Michael B. Arthur, Douglas T. Hall, and Barbara S. Lawrence (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1989), pp. 41–65.

  • Levinson, Daniel J. Seasons of a Man’s Life. New York: Knopf, 1978.

    One basic book about career stages, listing the way the working life of a person follows a certain path of progress. To rectify the gender bias, this book was followed twenty years later by The Seasons of a Woman’s Life (New York: Knopf, 1996).

  • Osipow, Samuel H., and Louise F. Fitzgerald. Theories of Career Development. 4th ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1996.

    Originally published in 1968. Presents a comparison and synthesis of research and implications in four categories of career development and vocational theory: sociological, trait-factor, personality, and self-concept.

  • Schein, Edgar H. Career Dynamics: Matching Individual and Organizational Needs. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1978.

    This is a basic book, serving to highlight original thoughts and directions in the study of careers within and outside organizations. Linking micro- and macroframes of references, Schein combines both individual and organizational perspectives. The book provides a comprehensive notion of an organizational career system for identifying, planning, developing, and managing people throughout their entire career cycle.

  • Super, Donald E. The Psychology of Careers. New York: Harper and Row, 1957.

    A seminal work on the career choices and vocations of individuals across their life span. At the time this was limited mostly to males, but it is relevant to all. A clear representation of the origins of career stage theory.

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