Building Career Capital: Helping Workers to Enhance Career Mobility in Uncertain Times

  • Cathy Brown University of Derby, College of Business, Law and Social Sciences
  • Tracey Wond University of Derby, College of Business, Law and Social Sciences
Keywords: career capital, role transitions, career mobility


There is evidence that organisational career role holders are changing roles more frequently. Despite this, career theories such as the career capital lens have so far neglected this role transition context. By adopting the lens of career capital theory specifically, this paper explores what aspects of career capital role holders need to facilitate their own voluntary, sideward or upward role transitions. Drawing upon an interpretivist approach and using event-based narrative interviews, this study explores the experiences of 36 business leaders who have undertaken a recent role transition within a large UK construction business. By applying this novel career capital lens, the paper empirically characterises those aspects of career capital important to internal role transitions and compares it to existing mainstream career capital theory. The study is original in that career capital has not been applied before in this increasingly important transition context. Surprisingly, whilst the study demonstrates that career capital eases transitions, it also recognises a ‘dark side’ – career capital aspects that hinder internal movement.


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