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The increasing use of networks, strategic alliances and other inter-firm forms of organizing create inter-firm or boundaryless careers. We suggest that by examining career systems, we can better understand these new forms of organizing. We examine the social structure of the US film industry and identify career outcomes for subcontractors based on their position – core, semi-periphery or periphery – in US film industry's network. We find that based on their position during 1977-1979 within the industry social structure, opportunities for these subcontractors over the next ten years either open up or remain constricted.

Most labor economists would explain these career results and the presence of an industry core and periphery as due to internal labor markets. However, due to the demise of the film studio system in the 1950s and 1960s, the US film industry no longer has internal labor markets. Yet, the film industry is highly stratified into core and periphery and this social structure has a profound impact on career opportunities within the industry. This suggests that other mechanisms, such as status and access to resources, rather than internal labor markets are at play for maintaining asymmetries in boundaryless career opportunities and outcomes. We discuss these mechanisms and their implications.


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© Rainer Hampp Verlag. Final version published as: Jones, C., & Walsh, K. (1997). Grenzenlose Karrieren in der US-Filmbranche: Arbeitsmarktdynamik von Netzwerken [Boundaryless careers in the US film industry: Understanding labor market dynamics of network organizations]. Industrielle Beziehungen: Zeitschrift für Arbeit, 4(1), 58-73. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.