Career challenges in smart cities: A sociotechnical systems view on sustainable careers

Petru Lucian Curseu*, Judith Hilde Semeijn, Irina Nikolova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Smart cities are a modern reality in an increasingly digitized and fast changing world; and, as multidimensional, multilayered and interconnected career ecosystems they bring a number of challenges for the development of sustainable careers. What are the systemic roots of these challenges, and how can we deal with them to support the emergence of sustainable careers? We draw on a sociotechnical approach, supplemented by a dynamic person–environment fit perspective, to describe two systemic challenges tied to the development of sustainable careers in smart cities, namely: (1) an unbalanced fit, in that the highly digitized context fits best with highly educated and information and communications technology (ICT) literate citizens working in knowledge intensive organizations; and (2) a volatility of fit, associated with the complex and fast-changing smart urban context. Based on the sociotechnical analysis, we put forth three suggestions for addressing these challenges and creating a sustainable career ecosystem focused on: (1) the continuous development of ICT literacy, knowledge, talents and skills; (2) citizen participation and career communities; and (3) network-centric organizing of sustainable careers that could alleviate some of the challenges associated with the parallel development of sustainable careers and smart cities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)656-677
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number5
Early online date21 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • career communities
  • networks
  • person-environment fit
  • smart cities
  • sociotechnical design
  • sustainable careers


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