Academic journal article Researchers World

The Blue Ocean Strategy to Career Management: A Paradigm Shift in the 21st Century

Academic journal article Researchers World

The Blue Ocean Strategy to Career Management: A Paradigm Shift in the 21st Century

Article excerpt


In an interview with Marie Forleo (2018), Renée Mauborgne, an author of Blue Ocean Strategy (2005) and Blue Ocean Shift (2017), stated: "Why are we competing when we can create...stop competing and start creating. " These two statements act as hinges through which the discussion in this paper revolves. Given that global trends in the world economy of the 21st century have changed, maintaining the status quo (Red Ocean strategy) in career management is not an option. The Blue Ocean strategy to career management inevitably represents a departure from the Red Ocean (Kim & Mauborgne, 2005). Careers are likely to change based on change in personal interests and the labour market demands. Therefore, holding on to the Red Ocean strategy to career management is likely to make one a spectator in the future labour market. The foregoing statement is confirmed by Kim and Mauborgne (2005), who argue that the Red Oceans represent all the known saturated market space and the industries in existence today.

There exists a distinct difference between Blue Ocean and Red Ocean strategy. The Red Ocean competes in existing market, beats the competition, exploits existing demand, makes the value -cost trade-off and aligns the whole system of a firm's activities with strategic choice of differentiation or low cost, whereas the Blue Ocean thrives in creating uncontested market space, makes the competition irrelevant, creates and captures new demand, breaks the value-cost trade-off and aligns the whole system of a firm's activities in pursuit of differentiation and low cost (Kim & Mauborgne, 2005, p. 18). Note that the Blue Oceans represent the unknown market space and all the industries not in existence today. In order to survive in this unknown market space, a paradigm shift in career management is inevitable. It is important to note that making a Blue Ocean shift is a transformational journey. This journey requires more than a clear idea and strategy to open up a new value-cost frontier (Kim & Mauborgne, 2017). Equally, anyone can make a shift and think differently. For that reason, a Blue Ocean strategy to career management cannot be overlooked.


The Blue Ocean strategy demands that future opportunities are identified and discussed in the perspective of anticipatory career movement, organisational career management, and career self-management.

Anticipatory Career Movement:

The 'Anticipatory Career Movement' (ACM) in the Blue Ocean strategy compels one to plan and manage his/her career in anticipation of future opportunities. The ACM perspective is based on the current and looking forward to the future environmental trends. Kim and Mauborgne (2017), postulated that adopting the perspective of a blue ocean strategist opens one's mind to what could be, instead of limiting it to what is. It expands one's horizons and ensures that he/she is looking in the right direction. Therefore one is bound to ask the following questions: What knowledge and skills are needed now in preparation for the future? Can one be creative enough to invent jobs which are free from competition in future? Is one capable of inventing jobs that will be relevant in the future market? What can one do to invent such jobs? With those questions in mind, it is prudent to note that careers are not formed in a vacuum. Careers, according to the 2004 Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) report, are directly affected by the wider political, social-cultural, economic, and technological environment factors. Thus, a successful Blue Ocean strategy to a career should be cognizant of the above cited factors and respond to the preceding questions.

What people want from their careers depends on where they are in their personal and working lives. Their career priorities are determined by their background, age, family situation, financial commitments, lifestyle choices, and future life plans (CIPD, 2004). …

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