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Taxonomie des pratiques organisationnelles de carrière au Québec

Taxonomie des pratiques organisationnelles de carrière au Québec

Thierry Wils, Roxane Bernard et Gilles Guérin

Volume : 47-3 (1992)


The purpose of this research is to clarify a new area of human resource management, i.e. the practice of career management. Up to now studies investigated this field by describing career activities one by one instead of describing the career system (i.e. the configuration of these activities). Such a gap can be bridged by developing a taxonomy of career Systems.

Building such a taxonomy involves a three-step data analysis strategy. Firstly, principal component analysis is used to group 14 career activities into a few dimensions (grouping of variables). Secondly, cluster analysis (Ward method) takes advantage of these three dimensions to identify career Systems (grouping of observations). Thirdly, a profile of clusters is obtained through analysis of variance.

A questionnaire was sent to 1061 organizations in Québec. Of these, 254 were retumed (23.9 % response rate). The profile of this sample is as follows: 57 % of private firms, median size of 600 employees, mean unionization rate of 69 %. More than 70 % of respondents are heads of the human resource function.

Three dimensions emerged from the principal component analysis. The first axis that is called "organizational career" includes five career activities (succession planning, high potential management, data collection on employees, job matching and data collection on future jobs). The second axis called "internal staffing" has three career activities (job posting, promotion from within and lateral mobility). The last axis called "individual career" has two career activities (career planning and career counselling).

Four types emerged from cluster analysis. The first one called "traditional model" (30 % of observations) is characterized by a strong involvement in internal staffing and a weak one in organizational career. The second one, called "anemic model" (39 % of cases), has a weak involvement in both internal staffing and organizational career. The third one, called "organizational model" (19 % of observations), has a strong involvement in both internal staffing and organizational career. The last one, called "club model" (17 % of cases), has a strong involvement in individual career but a weak one in internal staffing as well as in organizational career.

The present study showed that this taxonomy has some validity since these four types were found to be linked to several variables not previously used in the cluster analysis. These variables used for validation purposes deal with (1) the context (e.g. organizational size, business strategy, employee relations philosophy), (2) internal staffing System (e.g. staffing strategy, mobility culture), and (3) the career System itself (e.g. number of career activities, career objectives).

Profiling each type was then carried out. For instance the organizational model is associated with a strong employee relations philosophy, a strong mobility culture, a large number of career activities, and so on while the anemic model is related to a weak employee relations philosophy, a weak mobility culture and a small number of career activities.

Then the four types are discussed. Our results show that the traditional and anemic models prevail (69 % of the sample), which means that the majority of career Systems do not try to reconcile employees' and employer's needs.