Career Development Theories/Theorists




1. Psychoanalytic--Roe
2. Person-environment fit--Holland
3. Developmental--Ginzberg & Super
4. Behavioral/Social Learning Theory--Krumboltz
5. Cognitive
   -Reardon et al.--Cognitive Information Processing (CIP)
   –Self-Efficacy Theory—-Bandura
   –Social Cognitive Career Theory(SCCT)—-Sharf
6. Humanistic
   –Personal Construct Theory (PCT)—-Kelly
7. Holistic/Integrative
   –Integrative Life Planning (ILP)--Hansen

1. Roe’s Theory of Occupational Choice
• Early childhood experiences are related to career choices.
• Parent-child relationships.
   –Emotional concentration--Overprotective and overdemanding
   –Avoidance--Neglect and rejection (emotional or physical)
   –Acceptance--Loving and casual
• Likely to choose a work situation that reflects the psychological climate of home grew up in.

2. Holland’s Theory of Careers--Person-environment fit
• Career choices are an expression of personality.
• 6 basic types of personal orientation toward work—RIASEC.
   –Realistic—physical activities, things.
   –Investigative—thinking, problem solving, scientific activities.
   –Artistic—free, unstructured, creative pursuits.
   –Social—teaching, helping roles.
   –Enterprising—persuade, manage people to attain goals.
   –Conventional—orderly, systematic conditions that are directed by others in authority.

3. Ginzberg and Super: Career Development Theories
• Ginzberg—career development as a long-term process.
• 3 periods
   1. Fantasy (childhood, 0-11)—stereotypical roles—nurse, farmer, fireman, etc.
   2. Tentative (adolescence, 11-17)
       • Interest stage—likes and dislikes
       • Capacity stage—things you do better than other things
       • Value stage—what’s important to you
       • Transition stage—self reliance/awareness of occupations
   3. Realistic (adulthood, 17-20 something)
       • Exploration stage
          –Explore college or FT work.
       • Crystallization stage
          –Declare major or commit to certain type of work.
       • Specification stage
          –Specialize in grad school or specific job.

• Super—stages of vocational development
• Expressing your self-concept (how you think of yourself).
• Qualified for many occupations.
• 5 stages
   –Growth stage
       • Physical and psychological development and form attitudes and behaviors and shape self-        concept.
   –Exploration stage
       • Explore occupations in school, PT work, and leisure activities.
   –Establishment stage
       • Creating permanent placed in appropriate field of work.
   –Maintenance stage
       • Continuation in your chosen occupation.
   –Disengagement stage
       • Work slows down; retirement.

4. Krumboltz’s Social Learning Theory
• Stimulus-response behaviorism.
• Four influences on career choice.
   1. Genetic (race, sex, physical appearance, handicaps).
   2. Environmental (availability of jobs).
   3. Past learning experiences.
       1) Those where you act on the environment.
       2) Those where you respond to the environment.
   4. Skills and values that you have acquired.

• Express preferences for occupations and based upon our learned responses.
• When positively reinforced (recognition, encouragement), more likely to express a preference for.
• When negatively or not reinforced (low grades, ridiculed, others unable to find work in this area), less likely to pursue it.

5. Cognitive Theories of Career Development
a. Cognitive information processing(CIP) theory.
–Brain takes in, codes, stores, and uses information in solving problems and making decisions.
• Cognition—way you think and process information.
–Your ability as a career problem solver depends on knowledge of your self and occupations.
–The quality of your vocational life is based on how well you make career decisions and solve career problems; you can improve these abilities by improving your CIP skills.
–Focuses on how you make decisions.

b. Self-efficacy theory--Bandura
–A person’s judgments about their ability to plan and take courses of action required to produce
desired outcomes.
–Low self-efficacy might convince you to avoid enrolling in certain courses (i.e. math), despite
evidence that you could succeed with effort in those courses.
–An honest appraisal of your abilities can give you the confidence needed to establish a career goal and achieve it.

c. Social cognitive career theory (SCCT)
–Thinking processes and beliefs control and direct a person’s activities rather than focusing on
the behaviors themselves.
–3 concepts that affect the career decision-making process.
1. Self-efficacy
   -Can I take this action and complete ir or enter a certain occupation and perform in it  
    successfully?
2. Outcome expectations
   -If I do this activity, what will happen?
   -If you think some activity will end in failure, you’ll tend to lose interest in it.
3. Personal goals
   -Guides that support and maintain agiven activity over a period of time.
   -L-T and S-T (subgoals).

6. Personal Construct Theory (PCT)
–Humans are scientists examining our ideas about the world (making hypotheses and testing them)
through actions (experimenting), and coming up with discoveries (findings) that lead us to make conclusions and construct concepts (theories) about the world we live in.
–We look at the world and try to make sense of it by creating “constructs” (hypotheses or assumptions we use to test ideas) that organize and structure events, other people, and
the environment.
–Our constructs are likely to change as we experience life events (marriage, working in various jobs, graduating, being laid off, receiving a job promotion, etc.).

7. Integrative Life Planning (ILP)
• Holistic career-planning model that goes beyond a linear process of choosing a vocation to viewing
work in its relationship to other roles in life.
• 6 interactive, critical life tasks.
   1. Finding work that needs doing.
   2. Weaving our lives into a meaningful whole.
   3. Connecting family and work.
   4. Valuing pluralism and an inclusive worldview.
   5. Managing personal transitions and organizational change.
   6. Exploring spirituality and life purpose.