Theory of WorkAdjustment Jenny Dominguez University of Saint Thomas EDUC 5359
Development The Theory of Work Adjustment (TWA) developed in two phases during the 1960s and 1970s. During the 1960s, Lloyd H. Lofquist and Rene V. Dawis, University of Minnesota psychologists, formulated a trait-and- factor matching model and in collaboration with David J. Weiss developed instruments to measure the major constructs introduced by the theory (Eggerth & Tinsley, 2008).
During the 1970s, the authors first bridged the theoretical gap between vocational needs and work values. Integration of the structural and dynamic aspects of the theory during the 1970s transformed the TWA from a static trait- and-factor model to a developmentally oriented model that better describes the ongoing interaction between individuals and their work environments.
Originally designed to meet the needs of vocational rehabilitation clients, by providing improved rehabilitation services to vocationally challenged clients (Sharf, 2010). TWA is a specific example of general trait and factor theory in that it makes use of clearly defined concepts and follows an articulated theoretical concept (Sharf, 2010).
Unlike many of the current careertheories, the theory of work adjustment(TWA) relates to working a jobsuccessfully once and occupation ischosen. Work involves physical, social,and psychological needs and helpingworkers meet these needs assuccessfully is as important as choosinga career. TWA is instrumental toemployment counselors for helpingclients meet these needs (Renfro-Mitchel, Burlew & Robert, 2009).
Theory of Work Adjustment(TWA)Dawis and Lofquist (1984) defined workadjustment as a “continuous anddynamic process by which a workerseeks to achieve and maintaincorrespondence with a workenvironment” (p.237). Thiscorrespondence is the reciprocalprocess between the worker’ssatisfaction and the employer’ssatisfactoriness (Eggert, 2008).
Two major components to the predictionof work adjustment: Satisfaction: being satisfied with the work one does. Satisfactoriness: employer’s satisfaction with the individual’s performance.“Satisfaction is a key indicator of workadjustment” state Lofquist and Dawis(1984, p. 217).
Step 1: Assessing Abilities,Values, Personality, andInterests.To assess abilities, Dawis and Lofquist(1984) make use of the General AptitudeTest Battery (GATB), developed by theU.S. Department of Labor in 1982. It isthe most practical because of theinformation it provides for counselors touse in matching jobs with an individual’sabilities and values (Sharf, 2010).
General Aptitude Test Battery(GATB).The GATB scales measure nine specificabilities, it is widely used by employmentcounseling agencies:G – General learning abilityV – Verbal abilityN – Numerical abilityS – Spatial abilityP – Form perceptionQ – Clerical abilityK – Eye/hand coordinationF – Finger dexterityM – Manual dexterity
Minnesota Importance Questionnaire (MIQ)The MIQ (Rounds, Henley, Dawis,Lofquist & Weiss, 1981) is a measure ofneeds. The 20 need scales itencompasses characterize work-relatedconcepts.Using the Statistical technique of factoranalysis, Dawis and Lofquist (1984)derived 6 values from the 20 needs.
MIQ: values and need scalesValues (6) Need Scale (20)Achievement Ability utilization AchievementComfort Activity Independence Variety Compensation Security Working conditionsStatus Advancement Recognition Authority Social StatusAltruism Coworkers Moral values Social serviceSafety Company policies and practices Human relations TechnicalAutonomy Creativity Responsibility
Step 2: Measuring therequirements and conditions ofoccupations In addition to measuring individuals’ values and abilities, there are methods to measure abilities and values needed for many occupations. Work environments differ in the degree to which they meet the needs and values of an individual. To assess how much an occupation reinforces the values of individuals the Minnesota Job Description Questionnaire (MJDQ) was developed (MJDQ; Borgen, Weiss, Tinsley, Dawis & Lofquist, 1968a).
MJDQ Need Scales: The MJDQ uses the same 20 needs as the Minnesota Importance Questionnaire. Thus the needs of an individual are matched with reinforcers provided by the job. Using information about value patterns helps counselors to see how the values of their clients match the values that are met or reinforced by a large number of occupations (Sharf, 2010).
Step 3: Matching Abilities, Valuesand Reinforcers.When matching values and abilities,counselors have three tools available:Minnesota Importance Questionnaire(MIQ),GATB mannual (US Dept. of Labor,1982)Minnesota Occupational ClassificationSystem (MOCS).All helpful in identifying occupations forclients to explore further (Sharf, 2010).
Instruments Used In TWAAssessment of Individuals Assessment of OccupationsAbilities Ability PatternsGeneral Aptitude Test Battery Occupational Ability Patterns(GABT)Values Value PatternsMinnesota Importance Minnesota Job DescriptionQuestionnaire (MIQ) Questionnaire (MJDQ)Personality Styles Personality Styles Matching Assessment of Individual OccupationandMinnesota Occupational System (MOCS)ClassificationAdjustment Styles (Instruments are Not yet developed)
Job Adjustment Counseling.Theory of Work Adjustment isapplicable to adults: In the process of making career choices. Those experiencing work adjustment problems. Retirees who want to continue working but need to explore career choices.
RetirementAlthough retirement istraditionally defined as the endof a career and withdrawalfrom the workforce, asignificant percentage ofretirees want or need tocontinue working afterretirement (Harper & Shoffner,2004).In a survey by the AmericanAssociation of Retired Persons(AARP) one third of theretirees who respondedindicated that they would preferto work (AARP, 1993).
In addition to beingchallenged by changingcapacities, some retireesrecognize that their careerdevelopment optionsmight be limited by socialattitudes toward aging.(Harper & Shoffner,2004).
TWA in Retirement Counseling Dawis and Lofquist (1984) stated that a primary objective in retirement counseling is for the retiree to achieve a level of individual-environment correspondence during retirement that is similar to what the retiree experienced before retirement. The counselor using TWA with a client who is planning for retirement attempts to help the client compare skills and abilities with the requirements of the environment, needs and values with reinforcers of the environment and personal style with the work environment style (Harper & Shoffner, 2004).
Application to Women andCulturally Diverse Populations Group differences have not been a focus of TWA. Dawis and Lofquist (1984) have focused on the large differences within groups, rather than the small differences that might exist between groups. There are very few small differences between men and women on the achievement scale and some differences on various MIQ needs.
Culturally diverse populations(continued). TWA can be applied to discrimination experienced by homosexual men and women as well as heterosexual women. TWA predicts job satisfaction of lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals, despite the discrimination that they may experience in their workplace. Dawis (1994) states that “gender, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, sexual orientation, and disability status are seen as inaccurate and unreliable bases for estimating the skills, abilities, needs, values, personality style and adjustment style of a particular person.”
Linear and Non-Linear clients Linear thinking clients could benefit from the step-by-step process of matching their own abilities, values and reinforcers to those required of a specific job. Non-linear clients could be guided in a general direction of what jobs they are a better match that will allow them to explore different careers.
Counselor Issues Lofquist and Dawis (undated) believe that it is necessary for the counselor to identify basic abilities and reinforcers within himself or herself and the client so that effective counseling can take place. A key characteristic for a counselor is flexibility. They suggested that it is helpful for counselors to see themselves, as well as their clients, as environments.
How might identifying his/herown abilities and reinforcers helpa counselor be more effective incounseling clients?
ReferencesBorgen, F.H., Weiss, D.J, Tinsley, H.E., Dawis, R.V. & Lofquist, L.H. (1968a)Minnesota Job Description Questionnaire. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota,Psychology Department, Vocational Psychology Research.Dawis, R.V. (1994). The theory of work adjustment as a convergent theory. In M.L.Savickas & R.W.Lent (Eds.), Convergence in career development theories (pp.33-44). Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Pres.Dawis, R.V. and Lofquist, L.H. (1984) A psychological theory of work adjustment: Anindividual-differences model and its applications. Minneapolis: University ofMinnesota.Eggerth, D. E. (2008). From theory of work adjustment to person-environmentcorrespondence counseling: Vocational psychology as positive psychology[Electronic Version]. Journal of Career Assessment, 16, 60-74.
ReferencesHarper M.C. and Shoffner, M.F. (2004) Counseling for ContinuedCareer Development After Retirement: An Application of the Theoryof Work Adjustment. The Career Development Quarterly. Mar 2004. Vol. 54.Renfro-Mitchel, E.L., Burlew, L.D., and Robert, T. (2009) TheInteraction of Work Adjustment and Attachment Theory: EmploymentCounseling Implications. Journal of Employment Counseling . Mar2009. Vol 46.Rounds, J.B., Henley, G.A., Dawis, R.V., Lofquist, L.H. & Weiss, D.J.(1981) Manual for the Minnesota Importance Questionnaire.Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, Psychology Department,Work Adjustment Project.Sharf, R.S. (2010). Applying Career Development Theory toCounseling. Fifth Edition. Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning. Universityof Delaware.Tinsley, H. E. A., and Eggerth D. E. “Theory of Work Adjustment.”Encyclopedia of Counseling. Ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2008.1656-58. SAGE Reference Online. Web. 7 Jun. 2012.