Employer strategies, capabilities and career development: Two case studies of Spanish service firms

Martí López-Andreu, Joan Miquel Verd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to analyse how company policies and strategies affect career development opportunities. Design/methodology/approach: A longitudinal approach is used, combining quantitative and qualitative data. Panel quantitative data have been used to classify different career paths, and biographical interviews conducted to identify the effects of company policies on these career paths. All the employees interviewed were working in two service organisations in Barcelona (Spain): a retail company and a public transport company. Findings: The results of the analysis show that the combination of new organisational methods, along with the human resource policies developed by the companies, reduces the opportunities for promotion and also actors' degree of control over transitions. Thus, career development is mainly marked by individual characteristics (educational credentials, age and gender) which are difficult or impossible to transform, and to a much lesser extent by the resources (mostly internal training) companies provide. Originality/value: The article uses the capability approach as an analytical tool to address three specific company policies: those related to work organisation and working conditions; training; and appraisal and promotion. These policies are placed in a longitudinal perspective as a way of assessing their role in the development of workers' careers. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-361
JournalInternational Journal of Manpower
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2013


  • Capability approach
  • Career development
  • Human resource management
  • Internal labour markets
  • Promotion
  • Service sector companies
  • Spain


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