Career development and understanding consequences of context: Angolan perspectives from the oil industry
AuthorsArvinen-Muondo, Raisa J.
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AbstractDespite multidisciplinary and extensive coverage, existing career theory is largely premised on Western frameworks and limited research has been conducted into career development experiences of individuals from African countries in local or transnational settings. Thus the research presented in this thesis extends on existing constructionist career development commentary by gaining insight into the interplay between societal structures and individual action in an African context. The purpose of this study was to investigate factors influencing the career development of professional Angolans working in the oil and gas industry and how experiences associated with living and working in Western contexts influences the career development of such individuals. The aim was to go beyond discovery of factors and analyse data in the form of highly personalised accounts from key informants to deepen understanding of African career development in transnational settings, mindful of postcolonial factors. Data were collected over an 18-month period using ethnographic fieldwork and semi-structured interviewing with 24 participants. Within an ethnomethodological framework and drawing on developments in postcolonial theory, constructionist grounded theory approaches informed the hermeneutic analysis of data. Findings revealed that multiple and distinctly nuanced dynamics between institutional micro structures (e.g., family, education and employment) and societal macro structures (e.g., socio-economic, political, historical and cultural environments) significantly shape individual career decision making, behaviour and aspirations in the Angolan context. Experiences of living and working in Western settings were found to have a profound impact on personal and professional development as well as aspirations for international careers. The main limitations of this study derive from its relatively small sample size and particularist focus on a single industry, however its value stems from rich narratives captured and significant effort made to triangulate findings via ‘research conversations’ with informants and industry professionals. In light of the above, this study adds to existing career theory by incorporating postcolonial perspectives and career development experiences that go beyond planned structured careers in organisational settings by focusing on the individual consequences of international assignments in transnational settings. In light of this, insights offer value also for multinational organisations that are engaged in developing African talent.
CitationArvinen-Muondo, R.J. (2012) 'Career development and understanding consequences of context: Angolan perspectives from the oil industry'. PhD thesis. University of Bedfordshire.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted to the University of Bedfordshire, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
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