The career impact of winning an external work-related award

Bronwen Harrison*, Denise M. Jepsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


There is an abundance of work-related external awards in the business and corporate sectors. This study examines the impact of awards given to individuals in the business sector. Careers and signalling theory were used to initiate research in this domain with 32 interviews with winners of national work-related awards. The majority of winners were either nominated for the awards by others or encouraged to nominate by their managers, which may reflect an organisational, rather than individual, signal for distinction. Results demonstrated that all winners valued the recognition they received from their award win but in an unexpected finding, no significant career trajectory changes occurred. Award winners used their award as a signal of their excellence to distinguish themselves from others. The award gave them confidence and credibility. There was no relationship between winning an award and career success measures such as promotions or salary increases. Counterintuitive negative impacts identified by award winners are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-31
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015


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