Explaining influences on career ‘choice’: the case of MBA students in comparative perspective

Mustafa Özbilgin, Fatma Küskü, Nihat Erdoğmuş

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77 Citations (Scopus)


This study explores the micro-individual, meso-institutional and relational and macro-structural level influences on career choices of MBA students from three countries, questioning the apparent dominance of ‘free choice’ in the context of persistent forms of structural constraints in career markets. The paper takes a critical perspective on career ‘choice’, acknowledging the contested nature of ‘choice’ and identifying career as a socially and historically situated phenomenon. The central hypothesis of the study is that ‘it is more likely for the MBA students to report micro-agentic or meso-instutional and relational rather than macro-structural conditions as key influences on their career choices’. The study draws on the findings of a cross-national survey on careers involving Britain, Israel and Turkey. Findings show that MBA students consider the impact of structural conditions as less significant on their career choices than their own human capital and capacity to make free choices. The study provides an understanding of the main cross-national similarities and differences in reporting of influences on career ‘choice’, and brings to bare interesting theoretical and methodological insights.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2000-2028
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • Career choice
  • MBA
  • cross-national study
  • Britain
  • Israel
  • Turkey

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