Career Theory

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Career theory has begun since the early 20th century. As the changing nature of world, career theory experiences major transition from time to time to achieve an applicable theory. This essay will discuss and analyse the literature about career theory in the early 21st Century.

Sonnenfeld (1982) has described career theory as theory which attempts to explain occupational variables such as type of job and income or psychological variables such as job satisfaction and job-related stress. Career development began from Frank Parsons’ work where he predicts a person’s career choices from the his characteristics, including self-knowledge, career planning and “true reasoning”(Patton et al, 2006). Later, several aptitude tests were used in the assessment of unemployed workers which led to the development of trait-factor approaches. Fitzgerald (1992) suggested that the trait-factor approach can be attributed to the combination of Parsons matching models with the concepts and technology of individual differences. As consequences, trait-factor theory implies on the match or fit between individual’s characteristics and work environment , emphasizing on the relationship between knowledge about self and knowledge about environment (Betz, 1989). Collin (1986) has argued that the major thrust in career theory has centred on individual rather than on contextual factors. However, Holland’s (1959) research focused closely on the interaction of individual’s personality and work environment. Dawis and Lofquist (1987) has expanded that this theory relies on supervisor or job analyst ratings of work environment characteristics. Baruch (2006) criticised these theories conceptualize careers as a fixed sequence of stages where people do not switch organisations or occupations. In short, classic theories mainly focuses on the relationship of social status to career attainment....
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