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.