Career Sustainability among Dutch and Pakistani Women Managers: A Narrative Analysis

  • Ahmad Zakariya Utrecht University School of Governance, Utrecht University, The Netherlands. Department of Management Sciences, National University of Modern Languages, Lahore Campus. Pakistan
  • Mandy E. G. van der Velde Utrecht School of Governance, Utrecht University, the Netherlands, School of Business and Economics, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
  • Maria C. W. Peeters Social, Health & Organizational Psychology, Utrecht University, the Netherlands Human Performance Management Group, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands


Sustainable Careers, Women, Netherlands, Pakistan, Narrative inquiry ,


is known about how women managers build sustainable careers. This research contributes to the sustainable career framework by conceptualizing the career sustainability of women managers as a narrative accomplishment. The study includes interviews with eighteen women managers, nine Pakistani and nine Dutch. Five narrative approaches to career sustainability are identified: reinventing, proactive, self-made, devoting, and realigning. Each narrative approach provides a unique perspective on careers based on meaning-making, work-life balance priorities, and the degree of context dependence, resulting in distinct challenges to career sustainability. We also discuss implications for future research and practice.

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