Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/9034

Appears in Collections:School of Education Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Contradictions in portfolio careers: Work design and client relations
Authors: Fenwick, Tara
Contact Email: tara.fenwick@stir.ac.uk
Keywords: Careers
Career development
Self employed workers
Issue Date: 2006
Publisher: Emerald
Citation: Fenwick T (2006) Contradictions in portfolio careers: Work design and client relations, Career Development International, 11 (1), pp. 65-79.
Abstract: Purpose - The paper aims to explore "Portfolio work", an emerging form of flexible self-employment, which has been identified as significant but under- researched. This paper also seeks to explore the challenges and benefits of portfolio work from the perspective of individuals' experiences. Design/methodology/approach - The argument draws from a qualitative study involving 31 individuals practising portfolio work in two different occupational groups: nurses and adult educators. Participants were interviewed in semi- structured in-depth conversational interviews to explore their everyday experience and work history in portfolio work. Findings - Two dimensions of portfolio work, work design and client-relations, are found to generate experiences of both deep satisfaction and deep anxiety and stress. The paper argues that portfolio careers simultaneously embed both liberating and exploitative dimensions for workers, which are at least partly related to their own conflicting desires for both contingency and stability. Further, portfolio work embeds labour that often remains unrecognized, even by the self-employed individuals assuming responsibility for it. Practical implications - Portfolio workers need to recognise and document their unpaid but necessary labour in work design and client relations that sustains their careers; portfolio workers may need to educate clients about the nature of portfolio work; and employers who contract to portfolio workers must take more responsibility for negotiating fair contracts that are sensitive to overwork and unfair time pressures, and that anticipate and compensate contractors. Originality/value - These findings challenge existing conceptions of portfolio work as either exploitative or liberating, and expose contradictions embedded in both the conditions of the work and individuals' expectations and attitudes towards it.
Type: Journal Article
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/9034
DOI Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/13620430610642381
Rights: The publisher does not allow this work to be made publicly available in this Repository. Please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study.
Affiliation: Education - Research

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