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EGOS 2024, Sub-theme 78: Third Spaces of Hybridity: career mobility and knowledge production between academic and practitioner communities

Date limite de soumission : 09/01/2024

Call for papers (on-site sub-theme at EGOS 2024, Milan)

See guidelines for 3,000 words short papers here:

Deadline: January 09, 2024.

Institutional and structural factors have changed and impacted directly academic work, identities and careers (Skopek et al., 2020). Possibilities of employment in universities across Europe decrease but the demand for productivity of young researchers increases (Corsini et al., 2022). Waiting lists in the form of post docs and precarious jobs sometimes block the careers of young researchers who aspire to have a permanent position driven by a vocational ideal, even if it means to be “content to be sad” (Lam & de Campos, 2015). However, attaining full professorship is sometimes “simply a hazard” (Weber, 1918, cited in Lam, 2019), or at least, there is greater uncertainty and intense competition in academic career progression or entering the profession.

Meanwhile, new types of academics, hybrids, pracademics (or quasi­academics), including academic entrepreneurs (Fini, Perkman & Ross, 2022) have emerged in the fluid ‘overlapping labour markets’ bridging academia and other institutional sectors (Lam, 2011, 2020, 2021). These “hybrids” combine resources from both academic and non-academic fields to develop their careers and professional identities. The hybrid segment of the academic/scientific workforce has always existed but the growth of project-based employment, coupled with recent changes in the rules governing knowledge production have contributed to its enlargement and prominence.

Overlapping Internal Labour Market (OILM) refers to an innovative employment system between organizations other than the traditional internal or professional labour markets (Lam 2007; Lam & Marsden, 2017). It is a hybrid labor market that elaborates the synthesis between the requirements of an academic mode of knowledge production and a more interdisciplinary and collaborative mode (academics/practitioners), leading to greater diversity in possible career options. Consequently, the traditional linear model of academic career underpinning the ideal of science as a vocation as the only career script (Dany, Louvette and Valette, 2011) no longer reflects the more diverse careers experienced. Collaborations between university and industry and involving one or more public research laboratories, facilitate career mobility and knowledge co-production across organizational and institutional boundaries (Culié et al., 2014; Valette and Culié, 2015).

In this subtheme, we aim to examine the emerging hybrid space between academic and practitioner communities in and around employment and knowledge production systems.

The concept of “Third Space of Hybridity” (Bhabha, 1994) has proved useful to explain the micro dynamics of career mobility and knowledge production across professional roles boundaries (Lam, 2018), or knowledge transfer possibilities within power relations between worlds (Frenkel, 2008). The third space is an agency space wherein actors creatively negotiate and translate knowledge across different work roles, contexts, cultural and activity systems.

This subtheme thus invites papers that investigate the in-between – the crossroads – in which the transformations of researchers, labour markets and knowledge occur through career mobility, enabling knowledge combination and innovation between academic and practitioner communities. We would like to encourage conceptual and empirical papers addressing the following (non-exhaustive) questions:

What kind of third spaces of hybridity exist / form throughout career mobility of researchers and how generative are they for career agency and knowledge brokering (e.g., “overlapping space” and “transitional space” from Lam, 2018)? The existence of think tanks, in which researchers operate in hybrid spaces and gain legitimacy at the intersection of multiple social fields (academia, business, the media and politics) is a case in point. Labor Market Intermediaries could also be investigated in relation to connecting organizations through the making of a third valuation space in which they act as institutional entrepreneurs (Lorquet, Orianne & Pichault, 2017).

Whilst time is closely related to career studies (Mayrhofer & Gunz, 2022), the concept of career mobility often overlooks how knowledge actually travels through time and space. More research is needed to understand the capacities of workers and academics to reflectively overcome the constrains, difficulties and contradictions they may encounter in their transitions across contexts and work roles while combining, negotiating and translating knowledge. For instance, understanding a third space of hybridity as a reflexive practice (Hibbert, 2022) in time and space could be relevant. Also, more research is needed to conceptualize the time-space dimension of career mobility in more processual views.

How to conceptualize the intentionality of actors to become knowledge brokers via third spaces? Classic conceptualization considers the relationship between the epistemic object and the scientific person (subject), the latter being driven by a sense of incompleteness of the former (Knorr-Cetina, 2005). A skilled dialogue between domain boundaries (negotiation and translation) creates the third space of hybridity but is also determined by a willingness to engage in it beyond traditional researcher communities. Power relationships and traditional reproduction in socialization processes (Cilesiz et Greckhamer, 2022) can also hinder the formation of such space.

Furthermore, a careful attention to the peculiarities of contexts is needed while theorizing and analysing hybrid spaces: careers and contexts are closely related (Tams et al., 2020). A close look at theorizing methods could help (Canolle & Vinot, 2021).

Also, more diverse professional trajectories could be analysed: what about the failures of such spaces and hybridity (the marginalized) and their impacts; or other career mobility from academia to industry at large (including associations, political organizations, NGOs, healthcare organizations…) and conversely (those who started a PhD late in their career to become academics and full professors); or social sciences.

Finally, could we consider knowledge production with the same norms and ethos as in Weber’s time? Hybrid academics can change drastically the norms and practices of knowledge production while dialogically spanning knowledge, identities and work role boundaries (Lam 2021). Another area warrant further attention is the role of HRM in supporting diverse/hybrid careers or spaces of hybridization through organizational interaction and learning (Holmqvist, 2003; Pichault & Schoenaers, 2003), without undermining scientific knowledge production.


Bhabha HK. (1994). The Location of Culture. London: Routledge.

Canolle, F., & Vinot, D. (2021). What is your PhD worth? The value of a PhD for finding employment outside of academia. European Management Review, 18(2), 157-171.

Cilesiz, S., & Greckhamer, T. (2022). Methodological socialization and identity: A bricolage study of pathways toward qualitative research in doctoral education. Organizational Research Methods, 25(2), 337-370.

Corsini, A., Pezzoni, M., & Visentin, F. (2022). What makes a productive Ph. D. student?. Research Policy, 51(10), 104561.

Culié, J. D., Khapova, S. N., & Arthur, M. B. (2014). Careers, clusters and employment mobility: The influences of psychological mobility and organizational support. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 84(2), 164-176.

Dany, F., Louvel, S., & Valette, A. (2011). Academic careers: The limits of the ‘boundaryless approach’and the power of promotion scripts. Human relations, 64(7), 971-996.

Fini, R., Perkmann, M., & Ross, J. M. (2022). Attention to exploration: The effect of academic entrepreneurship on the production of scientific knowledge. Organization Science, 33(2), 688-715.

Frenkel, M. (2008). The multinational corporation as a third space: Rethinking international management discourse on knowledge transfer through Homi Bhabha. Academy of Management Review, 33(4), 924-942.

Hibbert P. (2021). How to Be a Reflexive Researcher. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Holmqvist, M. (2003). A dynamic model of intra-and interorganizational learning. Organization studies, 24(1), 95-123.

Knorr-Cetina, K. (2005). Objectual Practice. In: Knorr-Cetina, K., Schatzki, T. & Von Savigny E.  (eds.) The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory. Routledge, 175-188.

Lam, A. (2021). Organizational Misfits as Creative Agents of Change: The Case of Pracademics. In Organizing Creativity in the Innovation Journey. Emerald Publishing Limited.

Lam, A. (2020). Hybrids, identity and knowledge boundaries: Creative artists between academic and practitioner communities. Human Relations, 73(6), 837-863.

Lam, A. (2019). Science as a vocation? Hybrid academics in overlapping institutional and career spaces. Paper presented at National Science Foundation (NSF) Workshop: ‘Science as a Vocation: A Centennial Perspective’, June, Boston.

Lam, A. (2018). Boundary-crossing careers and the ‘third space of hybridity’: Career actors as knowledge brokers between creative arts and academia. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, 50(8), 1716-1741.

Lam, A. (2011). What motivates academic scientists to engage in research commercialization: ‘Gold’,‘ribbon’or ‘puzzle’?. Research policy, 40(10), 1354-1368.

Lam, A. (2007). Knowledge networks and careers: Academic scientists in industry–university links. Journal of management studies, 44(6), 993-1016.

Lam, A., & de Campos, A. (2015). ‘Content to be sad’or ‘runaway apprentice’? The psychological contract and career agency of young scientists in the entrepreneurial university. Human relations, 68(5), 811-841.

Lam, A., & Marsden, D. (2017). Employment systems, skills and knowledge. The Oxford handbook of skills and training, 466.

Lorquet, N., Orianne, J. F., & Pichault, F. (2018). Who takes care of non-standard career paths? The role of labour market intermediaries. European Journal of Industrial Relations, 24(3), 279-295.

Mayrhofer, W., & Gunz, H. (2022). From wallflower to life and soul of the party: acknowledging time’s role at center stage in the study of careers. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 1-43.

Pichault, F., & Schoenaers, F. (2003). HRM practices in a process of organisational change: A contextualist perspective. Applied Psychology, 52(1), 120-143.

Skopek, J., Triventi, M., & Blossfeld, H. P. (2020). How do institutional factors shape PhD completion rates? An analysis of long-term changes in a European doctoral program. Studies in Higher Education, 1-20.

Tams, S., Kennedy, J. C., Arthur, M. B., & Chan, K. Y. (2021). Careers in cities: An interdisciplinary space for advancing the contextual turn in career studies. Human Relations, 74(5), 635-655.

Valette, A., & Culié, J. D. (2015). Career scripts in clusters: A social position approach. Human Relations, 68(11), 1745-1767.

Contact :


Fabien Canolle, University of Grenoble Alpes, Grenoble INP, CERAG, France. Email:

Alice Lam, Royal Holloway University of London, United Kingdom.


François Pichault, University of Liege, Belgium. Email:

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