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Title: The challenge of career progression and work-life balance in consulting business in Germany
Author: Jekosch, Mara
ISNI:       0000 0005 0286 423X
Awarding Body: Edinburgh Napier University
Current Institution: Edinburgh Napier University
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis examines how individuals define and understand work-life balance and career progression in the consulting business sector in Germany. Since this client-focused work environment requires travel and long working weeks, employees face challenges that impact on their personal life and health. The thesis explores, through a series of qualitative interviews, how the research participants attempt to address and cope with work demands and how they seek to achieve a better balance between work and non-work activities (such as children, household, care of parents, hobbies) whilst being able progress in their chosen career. The wider context of this paper is a triangle of consulting business, career progression and work-life balance. Demographic changes; competition for skilled workers, which is referred to as the ‘war for talent', impact organisational success in a competitive business. Organisations need to respond to these changes through work-life practices and a supportive organisational culture if they are to attract and retain professionals. Based on 28 telephone interviews, the data indicates differences in employee perceptions of worklife balance and career progression. While time flexibility and work-life practices are often provided and named as key to managing work and non-work activities, participants describe an unspoken expectation to be present and work longer hours in order to progress up the career ladder. Participants propose ideas that could allow them to progress their career in balance with other non-work responsibilities. For this challenge, personal responsibility plays a central role. This thesis (Doctor of Business Administration) is valuable for employees to reflect on their own work-life balance and career and to adapt the ideas of participants to manage existing challenges. The results can equally be used by organisations to reframe work-life practices and culture to support their employees in better managing their work and non-work lives to retain and attract talent in a competitive business environment.
Supervisor: Whitecross, Richard Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.B.A.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Career ; work-life balance ; consulting business ; organisational support ; compatibility ; career culture ; personal responsibility ; war for talent