University of Surrey

Test tubes in the lab Research in the ATI Dance Research

What makes a career barrier a barrier?

Murtagh, N, Lopes, P and Lyons, E (2007) What makes a career barrier a barrier? Industrial and Commercial Training, 39 (6). pp. 332-339.

Available under License : See the attached licence file.

Download (188kB)
PDF (licence)

Download (33kB)


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to present research findings on the experience of career barriers by women who have changed career, and to suggest the practical implications of these findings for career management. Design/methodology/approach - An established, qualitative methodology, interpretative phenomenological analysis, was used to explore participants' experiences. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight women who had changed careers and were analysed to identify the salient themes. Findings - Participants experienced career barriers, but their subjective experience did not necessarily match objectively defined barriers. One participant, for example, experienced redundancy not as a barrier to her career path but as an opportunity. It was only when situations or events threatened the self-concept that problems were experienced as barriers. These barriers were not insurmountable and participants used a number of strategies to overcome potential barriers. Practical implications - The findings suggest that career management or counselling should acknowledge and explore the client's subjective experience of career barriers. Strategies such as challenging or reframing potential barriers can be effective methods for helping clients to dismantle them. Originality/value - This research points to the gap in career theory and research on the experience of barriers in adult careers. It presents evidence on the subjective nature of barriers and on strategies used to overcome them. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Authors :
Date : 2007
Identification Number : 10.1108/00197850710816818
Additional Information : This article is © Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here. Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 23 Jul 2014 14:31
Last Modified : 24 Jul 2014 01:33

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

Information about this web site

© The University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH, United Kingdom.
+44 (0)1483 300800