Does the US concept of boundaryless career also apply in France?


  • Jonathan Peterson
  • Roger Alain


  • Boundaryless career
  • France
  • United States
  • Gender
  • Culture

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The purpose of this paper is to examine how the boundaryless career, a concept developed within the United States, also applies within a French context. To do so we examine the career histories of 30 managers (16 in the United States and 14 in France) concerning the extent of their boundarylessness. We utilize a qualitative method through semi-directive interviews and dual coding to understand how individuals approach their professional pursuits. We build upon the theoretical basis of the boundaryless career, as proposed by Arthur & Rousseau (1996) and Sullivan & Arthur (2006). The literature seldom deals with the application of the boundaryless concept within non-US contexts. Our results show that within our French population, the boundaryless career concept co-exists with the traditional career model, with indications that French managers are willing to move within a company, but are reluctant to inter-company changes. Cultural influences and social structures tend to influence this trend through legal and social statutes. The paper concludes with general contributions and suggests avenues for further research.

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