Boundaryless careers? The (in-) voluntary (re-)actions of some Chinese in Hong Kong and Britain

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)809-820
Journal / PublicationInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2003


This paper presents a diachronic account of the careers of two generations of Chinese in Hong Kong and two generations of Chinese in Britain. It focuses on both the intra-generational and inter-generational similarities and diversities in career development of these Chinese. Using Raider and Burt's (1996) distinction between voluntary and involuntary boundaryless careers as a framework, this study concludes that the 'first-generation Chinese' in both Hong Kong and Britain were initially involuntarily bounded in their careers, but, over time, the 'first-generation Chinese' in Britain later chose to be voluntarily bounded to their careers, while the 'first-generation Chinese' in Hong Kong were pushed by macro-economic factors to experience involuntary boundarylessness. In contrast, the 'second-generation Chinese' in Britain are rather ambiguously placed, in a position voluntarily to choose bounded or boundaryless careers, while the 'second-generation Chinese' in Hong Kong are more firmly ensconced in a situation of pursuing voluntary boundaryless careers.

Research Area(s)

  • Boundaryless careers, Britain, Chinese generations, Hong Kong