Cross-sector transitions in careers of employees in the Russian third sector

Erofeeva P.A.

Cand. Sci. (Polit.), Lecturer, Nizhny Novgorod Linguistics University, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

DOI: 10.7868/S013216251709-0013
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For citation:

Erofeeva P.A. Cross-sector transitions in careers of employees in the Russian third sector. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2017. No 9. P. 48-56


Dwelling on the interview data with employees of independent non-profits from around Russia this article examines cross-sector career mobility in Russia’s third sector. In line with symbolic interactionist approach career refers to the process of self-identification with work roles and their implementation while cross-sector mobility is identified as work role transition prompting an individual to make sense of a new work environment (new sector) and adapt accordingly. The article distinguishes and reports on three key directions of cross-sector mobility in careers of the respondents. First type is selfemployment. It is deemed attractive by third sector employees whose underlying motivation comes from lack of satisfaction with professional opportunities and lifestyle of hired employment. Their career is dominated by the experience of selfemployment and own (small) business. The second type is referred to as public administration corresponding to career trajectories driven by the inclination to management positions in state sector, interest in applying and developing leadership and organizational skills, and working with people. Finally the third type, civic sacrifice, corresponds to those third sector employees who turned up in the third sector without career rationale and at the expense of their professional interests. They reject the notion of career for the sake of value-driven public service and frequently have to adapt to unfamiliar, alien work roles uncharacteristic of their professional background. By looking at work role transitions in between state and third sector as well as third and private sector this research extends previous data and analysis of career in the third sector. Comparing the results with existing data on life and work stories of third sector employees in the West the article concludes that in Russia third sector is characterized by weaker personnel exchange with public sector but appears to serve as training ground for entrepreneurial talent.

third sector; career; cross-sector mobility; non-profits; Russia


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Content No 9, 2017