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MAJOR CAREER
DEVELOPMENT THEORIES
Trait-Factor Theory
T i F        Th
Trait-Factor Theory
                    y
The Trait-Factor theory of career development goes as far back as
                      y                  p     g
the early 1900’s and is associated mostly strongly with vocational
theorists Frank Parsons and E.G. Williamson. Some of the basic
assu p o s a u de e s eo y are:
assumptions that underlie this theory a e:
  Every person has a unique pattern of traits made up of their interests,
  values, abilities and personality characteristics, these traits can be
  objectively identified and profiled to represent an individual s potential
                                                         individual’s
  Every occupation is made up of factors required for the successful
  performance of that occupation. These factors can be objectively
  identified and represented as an occupational profile
  It is possible to identify a fit or match between individual traits and job
  factors using a straight forward problem-solving/decision making process.
  The closer the match between personal traits and job factors the greater
  the likelihood for successful job performance and satisfaction
The trait approach to personality is one of the
             pp         p         y
major theoretical areas in the study of personality.
The trait theory suggests that individual
personalities are composed broad dispositions.
         li i               d b d di       ii
Consider how you would describe the personality of
a close friend. Chances are that you would list a
number of traits, such as outgoing, kind and even-
tempered. A trait can be thought of as a relatively
stable characteristic that causes individuals to
behave in certain ways.
Many of the aptitude, personality and            Gold     Guardian
                                                          G di
interest tests and occupational
information materials that emerged from
i f      ti        t i l th t        df           Blue    Idealist
this approach have evolved and remain in
use today (e g True Colors General
            (e.g.,      Colors,                  Orange   Artisan
Aptitude Test , Data-People-Things
Interest Test, occupational p
                     p        profiles and the
ever expanding computer-based career             Green    Rational
guidance programs).
Holland’s C
H ll d’ Career Typology Th
               T   l    Theory
An off-shoot of the trait-factor theory can be seen in the
  work of John Holland. Like the trait-factor approach
               Holland

Holland’s Career Typology focuses on individual characteristics and
                   yp gy
occupational task. Holland’s theory expanded the concept of
personality types and posited that:
  Personalities fall into six broad categories: realistic investigative,
                                                realistic, investigative
  artistic, social, enterprising and conventional (often referred to as
  RIASEC).
  Since certain personalities are attracted to certain jobs, the work
                                                         jobs
  environments then reflect this personality and can be clustered into six
  similar populations (RIASEC)
  Although each individual is made up of all six types, one type is usually
                                                   types
  dominant. Most personalities tend to resemble up to three of the six
  personality factors.
  Personalities can be matched with similar combinations of work
  environments using a problem-solving approach.
  The closer the match of personality to job, the greater the satisfaction
Holland’s Career Typology takes a cognitive,
                     yp gy               g      ,
problem solving approach to career planning and
this model has been extremely influential in
vocational counseling. I has been employed b
      i l          li It h b             l d by
popular assessment tools such as the Self-Directed
Search, Vocational Preference Inventory and the
Strong Interest Inventory. It has also resulted in
practical resources like the Dictionary of Holland
Occupational Codes which applies Holland’s codes
O             C
to major occupations.
Super s Life-Span/ Life Space
Super’s Life Span/ Life-Space
Theory
Donald Super believed that humans are anything
but static and that personal change is continuous.
Super’s Life-Span/Life Space is a very
   p           p /       p             y
comprehensive developmental model that attempts
to account for the various important influences on a
person as they experience different life roles and
various life stages.
Here are some of Super’s main tenets:
                     p
Every individual has potential. People have skills and talents that they
develop h
d l through different life roles making them capable of a variety of
               h diff       lif   l      ki   h          bl f         i   f
tasks and numerous occupations.
In making a vocational choice, an individual is expressing his or her
understanding of self; his or her self concept People seek career satisfaction
                                  self-concept.
through work roles in which they can express themselves and implement and
develop their self-concept. Self-knowledge is key to career choice and job
satisfaction.
Career development is life long and occurs throughout five major life stages:
Growth, Exploration, Establishment, Maintenance and Disengagement. Each
stage has a unique set of career development tasks and accounts for the
changes and decisions that people make from career entry to retirement
                                                                 retirement.
These five stages are not just chronological. People cycle through each of
these stages when they go through career transitions.
People play different roles throughout their lives including the role of
“worker.” Job satisfaction increases when a person‘s self-concept includes a
view of the working-self as being integrated with their other life roles.
Super’s theory has greatly influenced how we look
   p          y     g      y
at career practices. Understanding the ages and
related stages of career development assists
practitioners to id if where clients are i the
      ii         identify h        li       in h
career development continuum and suggest
appropriate career related goals and activities. It
also underscores the necessity to examine career
development within the larger context of an
individual’s roles and life style and how to achieve
                         f
a life/work balance.
Krumboltz s
Krumboltz’s Social Learning
Theory of Career Choice
John D. Krumboltz developed a theory of career
decision making and development based on social
learning. Career decisions are the product of an
        g                          p
uncountable number of learning experiences made
possible by encounters with the people, institutions
and events in a person's particular environment. In
other words people choose their careers based on
what th have learned.
  h t they h    l     d
Krumboltz proposed that:
            p p
The four main factors that influence career choice are genetic
influences, environmental conditions and events, learning
experiences and task approach skills (e.g., self-observation, goal
setting and information seeking).
The consequences of these factors and most particularly learning
experiences lead people to develop beliefs about the nature of
careers and their role in life (self-observational generalizations).
These b li f whether realistic or not, i fl
Th     beliefs, h h          li i        influence career choices and
                                                           h i       d
work related behavior.
Learning experiences, especially observational learning stemming
from significant role models (e.g., parents, teachers, heroes), have a
f         f
powerful influence on career decisions, making some occupations
more attractive than others.
Positive modeling, reward and reinforcement will likely lead to the
development of appropriate career planning skills and career
behavior.
Krumboltz saw his theory as
                        y
A way of explaining the origin of career choice and
A guide to how career practitioners might tackle career
related problems.
  The practitioner starts with understanding how a client came to
  their career related view of themselves and the world and
  what is limiting or problematic about this view. Once this has
  been established, the practitioner and client identify what
  career relevant l
             l    t learning experiences, modeling or skill b ildi
                         i        i          d li       kill building
  will help them reframe their view.
  Using Krumboltz’s approach a practitioner plays a major role
         Krumboltz s
  in dealing with all career problems, not just occupational
  selection.
Constructivist Theory/Models of
Career Development
Constructivist Theory of Career Development is
related to existential theory and is more a
p
philosophical framework within which career
        p
counseling can be done. Two thinkers associated
with this approach are M.L. Savickas and Vance
Peavy.
Constructivist career development is based on the
  concepts of “constructivism” which include the following:
                constructivism

There are no fixed meanings or realities in the world, there are
multiple meanings and multiple realities. Individuals create or construct
their own meaning/reality of the world through the experiences they
have.
People “construct” themselves and the world around them through the
P l “             ” h      l     d h        ld       d h      h     h h
interpretations they make and the actions they take. These “constructs”
or perceptions of events may be useful or may be misleading.
Individuals differ from each other in their construction of events. T
I di id l diff f             h h i h i               i     f        Two
people may participate in the same or similar event and have very
different perceptions of the experience.
People
P l are self-organizing and meaning-makers. Th i li
               lf      i i     d       i       k    Their lives are ever
evolving stories that are under constant revision. An individual may
choose to develop “new constructs” or write new ”stories“ in their life.
To be
T b an empowered or fulfilled person requires critical reflection of
                      d f lfill d               i      iti l fl ti      f
the assumptions that account for our daily decisions and actions.
The constructivist career counseling approach is generally
                                   g pp           g          y
about life planning. The search for meaningful work is
connected to constructivism's emphasis on deriving meaning
from personal experience. To have meaningful careers,
                experience                       careers
individuals need to reflect on their life experiences and the
resulting “constructs” they may hold about life/work/self.
The client and practitioner work towards an awareness and
openness of new constructs of one’s life/work/self that can
provide the basis for meaning
                        meaning.
Interventions include working directly with the client’s life
experience and the use of meaning making processes such as
narrative, metaphor, mapping and critical reflection.
No single theory of Career
    Development is comprehensive
As
A career practitioners, th is a need for us to
              titi      there i      df      t
recognize and be aware of any theory’s strengths,
weaknesses and inherent biases.
    k         di h      t bi
All Theories works best when it’s integrated into our
day t d
d to day work and use them based on the situation.
               k d       th b d         th it ti
We should always try to approach our needs using a
holistic
h li ti approach and t to work on a combination of
                h d try t       k          bi ti     f
career development theories and strategies.
References
 The HCT Electronic Library at
 http://imtcsamba.hct.ac.ae/sjw/Career&Training/T
 heorists.htm
 ERIC at:
 http://ericacve.org/index.asp
    p //           g/         p
 International Career Development Library at
 http://icdl.uncg.edu
      //
 Maryland’s CareerNet: Career Planning –Theory
 http://www.careernet.state.md.us/careertheory.htm
      //                         /

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Career Development Theories

  • 3. Trait-Factor Theory y The Trait-Factor theory of career development goes as far back as y p g the early 1900’s and is associated mostly strongly with vocational theorists Frank Parsons and E.G. Williamson. Some of the basic assu p o s a u de e s eo y are: assumptions that underlie this theory a e: Every person has a unique pattern of traits made up of their interests, values, abilities and personality characteristics, these traits can be objectively identified and profiled to represent an individual s potential individual’s Every occupation is made up of factors required for the successful performance of that occupation. These factors can be objectively identified and represented as an occupational profile It is possible to identify a fit or match between individual traits and job factors using a straight forward problem-solving/decision making process. The closer the match between personal traits and job factors the greater the likelihood for successful job performance and satisfaction
  • 4. The trait approach to personality is one of the pp p y major theoretical areas in the study of personality. The trait theory suggests that individual personalities are composed broad dispositions. li i d b d di ii Consider how you would describe the personality of a close friend. Chances are that you would list a number of traits, such as outgoing, kind and even- tempered. A trait can be thought of as a relatively stable characteristic that causes individuals to behave in certain ways.
  • 5. Many of the aptitude, personality and Gold Guardian G di interest tests and occupational information materials that emerged from i f ti t i l th t df Blue Idealist this approach have evolved and remain in use today (e g True Colors General (e.g., Colors, Orange Artisan Aptitude Test , Data-People-Things Interest Test, occupational p p profiles and the ever expanding computer-based career Green Rational guidance programs).
  • 6. Holland’s C H ll d’ Career Typology Th T l Theory
  • 7. An off-shoot of the trait-factor theory can be seen in the work of John Holland. Like the trait-factor approach Holland Holland’s Career Typology focuses on individual characteristics and yp gy occupational task. Holland’s theory expanded the concept of personality types and posited that: Personalities fall into six broad categories: realistic investigative, realistic, investigative artistic, social, enterprising and conventional (often referred to as RIASEC). Since certain personalities are attracted to certain jobs, the work jobs environments then reflect this personality and can be clustered into six similar populations (RIASEC) Although each individual is made up of all six types, one type is usually types dominant. Most personalities tend to resemble up to three of the six personality factors. Personalities can be matched with similar combinations of work environments using a problem-solving approach. The closer the match of personality to job, the greater the satisfaction
  • 8. Holland’s Career Typology takes a cognitive, yp gy g , problem solving approach to career planning and this model has been extremely influential in vocational counseling. I has been employed b i l li It h b l d by popular assessment tools such as the Self-Directed Search, Vocational Preference Inventory and the Strong Interest Inventory. It has also resulted in practical resources like the Dictionary of Holland Occupational Codes which applies Holland’s codes O C to major occupations.
  • 9. Super s Life-Span/ Life Space Super’s Life Span/ Life-Space Theory
  • 10. Donald Super believed that humans are anything but static and that personal change is continuous. Super’s Life-Span/Life Space is a very p p / p y comprehensive developmental model that attempts to account for the various important influences on a person as they experience different life roles and various life stages.
  • 11. Here are some of Super’s main tenets: p Every individual has potential. People have skills and talents that they develop h d l through different life roles making them capable of a variety of h diff lif l ki h bl f i f tasks and numerous occupations. In making a vocational choice, an individual is expressing his or her understanding of self; his or her self concept People seek career satisfaction self-concept. through work roles in which they can express themselves and implement and develop their self-concept. Self-knowledge is key to career choice and job satisfaction. Career development is life long and occurs throughout five major life stages: Growth, Exploration, Establishment, Maintenance and Disengagement. Each stage has a unique set of career development tasks and accounts for the changes and decisions that people make from career entry to retirement retirement. These five stages are not just chronological. People cycle through each of these stages when they go through career transitions. People play different roles throughout their lives including the role of “worker.” Job satisfaction increases when a person‘s self-concept includes a view of the working-self as being integrated with their other life roles.
  • 12. Super’s theory has greatly influenced how we look p y g y at career practices. Understanding the ages and related stages of career development assists practitioners to id if where clients are i the ii identify h li in h career development continuum and suggest appropriate career related goals and activities. It also underscores the necessity to examine career development within the larger context of an individual’s roles and life style and how to achieve f a life/work balance.
  • 13. Krumboltz s Krumboltz’s Social Learning Theory of Career Choice
  • 14. John D. Krumboltz developed a theory of career decision making and development based on social learning. Career decisions are the product of an g p uncountable number of learning experiences made possible by encounters with the people, institutions and events in a person's particular environment. In other words people choose their careers based on what th have learned. h t they h l d
  • 15. Krumboltz proposed that: p p The four main factors that influence career choice are genetic influences, environmental conditions and events, learning experiences and task approach skills (e.g., self-observation, goal setting and information seeking). The consequences of these factors and most particularly learning experiences lead people to develop beliefs about the nature of careers and their role in life (self-observational generalizations). These b li f whether realistic or not, i fl Th beliefs, h h li i influence career choices and h i d work related behavior. Learning experiences, especially observational learning stemming from significant role models (e.g., parents, teachers, heroes), have a f f powerful influence on career decisions, making some occupations more attractive than others. Positive modeling, reward and reinforcement will likely lead to the development of appropriate career planning skills and career behavior.
  • 16. Krumboltz saw his theory as y A way of explaining the origin of career choice and A guide to how career practitioners might tackle career related problems. The practitioner starts with understanding how a client came to their career related view of themselves and the world and what is limiting or problematic about this view. Once this has been established, the practitioner and client identify what career relevant l l t learning experiences, modeling or skill b ildi i i d li kill building will help them reframe their view. Using Krumboltz’s approach a practitioner plays a major role Krumboltz s in dealing with all career problems, not just occupational selection.
  • 18. Constructivist Theory of Career Development is related to existential theory and is more a p philosophical framework within which career p counseling can be done. Two thinkers associated with this approach are M.L. Savickas and Vance Peavy.
  • 19. Constructivist career development is based on the concepts of “constructivism” which include the following: constructivism There are no fixed meanings or realities in the world, there are multiple meanings and multiple realities. Individuals create or construct their own meaning/reality of the world through the experiences they have. People “construct” themselves and the world around them through the P l “ ” h l d h ld d h h h h interpretations they make and the actions they take. These “constructs” or perceptions of events may be useful or may be misleading. Individuals differ from each other in their construction of events. T I di id l diff f h h i h i i f Two people may participate in the same or similar event and have very different perceptions of the experience. People P l are self-organizing and meaning-makers. Th i li lf i i d i k Their lives are ever evolving stories that are under constant revision. An individual may choose to develop “new constructs” or write new ”stories“ in their life. To be T b an empowered or fulfilled person requires critical reflection of d f lfill d i iti l fl ti f the assumptions that account for our daily decisions and actions.
  • 20. The constructivist career counseling approach is generally g pp g y about life planning. The search for meaningful work is connected to constructivism's emphasis on deriving meaning from personal experience. To have meaningful careers, experience careers individuals need to reflect on their life experiences and the resulting “constructs” they may hold about life/work/self. The client and practitioner work towards an awareness and openness of new constructs of one’s life/work/self that can provide the basis for meaning meaning. Interventions include working directly with the client’s life experience and the use of meaning making processes such as narrative, metaphor, mapping and critical reflection.
  • 21. No single theory of Career Development is comprehensive As A career practitioners, th is a need for us to titi there i df t recognize and be aware of any theory’s strengths, weaknesses and inherent biases. k di h t bi All Theories works best when it’s integrated into our day t d d to day work and use them based on the situation. k d th b d th it ti We should always try to approach our needs using a holistic h li ti approach and t to work on a combination of h d try t k bi ti f career development theories and strategies.
  • 22. References The HCT Electronic Library at http://imtcsamba.hct.ac.ae/sjw/Career&Training/T heorists.htm ERIC at: http://ericacve.org/index.asp p // g/ p International Career Development Library at http://icdl.uncg.edu // Maryland’s CareerNet: Career Planning –Theory http://www.careernet.state.md.us/careertheory.htm // /