Career resourcing and the process of professional emergence
Academy of Management Journal, 2019

We theorize a career resourcing process that explains how individuals can create a new profession. Using historical archives, we trace the emergence of health services research as a new research profession through the career actions of early practitioners. We find that career resourcing can lead to the institutionalization of a new profession by (a) a process of accretion, wherein people pursuing fulfilling careers generate resources that contribute to institutionalization, or (b) institutional work to deliberately build the professional community and infrastructure. We contribute to research on institutional change by specifying career actions that can lead to the institutionalization of a new profession, and by developing theory that accounts for the motivations and the means of individuals to act in ways that result in the institutionalization of a new profession.