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Subject Career management in transition: HRD themes from the Estonian civil service
Christopher J Rees, University of Manchester, United Kingdom
Jane Järvalt, Department of Public Service and Personnel, Estonia
Beverly Metcalfe, University of Manchester, United Kingdom
Outline The importance of career development has long been recognised in both academic and applied organisational settings. Yet the subject remains highly topical, particularly in environments that are characterised by wide-scale organisational and cultural change. The main aim of this paper is to highlight and explore, through the use a case study of the Estonian civil service, some of the key career-related issues that are emerging in transitional economies.
    The paper provides an overview of the traditional career management policies and practices that were prevalent in countries such as Estonia that were governed under the former communist model. The paper proceeds to present primary empirical research into career management in the Estonian civil service since 1991. Interview data reveal that many of the problems of career management that have traditionally been prevalent in Western countries are now presenting themselves in the Estonian civil service; further, these problems are supplemented by specific issues related to the limitations associated with the transferability of ‘modern’ Western career management practices to the particular characteristics of the Estonian civil service and the broader issues of transition.
    It is concluded that, within certain parameters, Western-based career management policies and practices may be adapted to fit with transitional public services in Estonia and potentially other CEE countries; such policies and practices may provide a positive contribution towards the modernisation of HR practices of organisations in the transition process. Nevertheless, it is concluded that the application of Western-based career practices should be implemented only as one element of a comprehensive HR modernisation programme.
Source Paper presented at the 5th conference on human resource development research and practice across Europe: International, comparative and cross-cultural dimensions of HRD. University of Limerick, 27-28 May 2004 (Abstract). See also related working paper on web page.
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