Quotation Schneidhofer, Thomas, Hofbauer, Johanna, Tatli, Ahu. 2019. On the agency/structure debate in careers research. In: The Routledge Companion to Career Studies, Hrsg. Gunz, Hugh; Lazarova, Mila; Mayrhofer, Wolfgang, 59-74. London: Routledge.




This chapter explains the unresolved debate on how careers of individuals are constructed and shaped, and how or why they do change and evolve over time. It focuses on the question whether and to what extent structure and agency are interwoven in a way that allows acknowledging that careers are outcomes of both structural and agentic forces. The chapter explores how careers may be dependent on contextual developments but also how they feed back to the context. Most of the literature on careers indicates that structure and agency are separate entities, which get divided from and studied in isolation of one another. The realist approach argues for moving beyond positivist or rationalist notions of agency and accounting for deep structures shaping conduct, such as past events and experiences, or structures of power and domination. Structuration theory provides both a theoretical and a methodological approach for connecting structure and agency.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Chapter in edited volume
Language English
Title On the agency/structure debate in careers research
Title of whole publication The Routledge Companion to Career Studies
Editor Gunz, Hugh; Lazarova, Mila; Mayrhofer, Wolfgang
Page from 59
Page to 74
Location London
Publisher Routledge
Year 2019
URL https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.4324/9781315674704-5/new-horizons-laurie-cohen-joanne-duberley
ISBN 9781315674704
Open Access N


Schneidhofer, Thomas (Former researcher)
Hofbauer, Johanna (Details)
Tatli, Ahu (Queen Mary University, United Kingdom)
Institute for Sociology and Social Research IN (Details)
Competence Center for Sustainability Transformation and Responsibility WE (Details)
Economics of Inequality FI (Details)
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