(Re)Framing sustainable careers: toward a conceptual model and future research agenda

William E. Donald*, Beatrice I.J.M. Van der Heijden, Graham Manville

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: By adopting a Social Exchange Theory (SET) lens, this paper aims to integrate the often-fragmented literature streams of Vocational Behavior (VB), Career Development (CD), and Human Resource Management (HRM) to offer a conceptual model for framing sustainable careers. Design/methodology/approach: A conceptual approach is taken whereby eight propositions are developed to integrate the fragmented literature streams of VB, CD, and HRM. Findings: We posit that external factors and career counseling moderate the positive relationship between employability capital and self-perceived employability. We also argue that self-perceived employability is positively associated with career success and that career crafting moderates this relationship. Finally, we propose that career success is positively associated with a sustainable career, which, in turn, is positively associated with a sustainable organization. Practical implications: The practical contribution comes from informing VB, CD, and HRM policies and practices to maximize sustainable outcomes for individuals and organizations. The paper concludes with recommendations for future research. Originality/value: The theoretical contribution comes from integrating the three literature streams to offer a conceptual model as the basis for further interdisciplinary collaborations.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalCareer Development International
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2024


  • Career development
  • Human resource management
  • Sustainable careers
  • Sustainable organizations
  • Vocational behavior


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