Ascription into Achievement: Models of Career Systems at Lloyds Bank, 1890-1970

Stovel, Katherine; Savage, Michael; Bearman, Peter Shawn

Optimal matching algorithms are used to model the transformation of career systems in a large British bank (Lloyds) from 1890 to 1970. The authors first model the breakdown of the traditional ascriptive, status-based system, and then identify a more dynamic, achievement-based system as its replacement. By relating the structure of careers to organizational growth and social change, the authors explore how the modern achievement career came about. More broadly, they argue that optimal matching enables one to see clearly the multiple time frames that are necessarily intercalated into career systems and hence provides new insights into the discontinuous and contingent nature of organizational change.


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American Journal of Sociology
University of Chicago Press

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Academic Units
Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics
Published Here
February 18, 2015