Integrating perspectives in career development theory and practice. (Articles).The author explores the possibility of theory integration in career development and counseling, focusing primarily on bridging the gap between objectivist/positivistic and constructivist con·struc·tiv·ism
A movement in modern art originating in Moscow in 1920 and characterized by the use of industrial materials such as glass, sheet metal, and plastic to create nonrepresentational, often geometric objects. approaches. The potentiality of combining concepts from varied theories into a preliminary framework is discussed. This framework proposes 3 possibilities: career as self-realization, growing experiences, and context conceptualization con·cep·tu·al·ize
v. con·cep·tu·al·ized, con·cep·tu·al·iz·ing, con·cep·tu·al·iz·es
To form a concept or concepts of, and especially to interpret in a conceptual way: . Because its focus is career development practice, this framework triggers some heuristic A method of problem solving using exploration and trial and error methods. Heuristic program design provides a framework for solving the problem in contrast with a fixed set of rules (algorithmic) that cannot vary.
1. thoughts that might be seen by career counselors as applicable to their counseling interventions.
Convergence of theoretical perspectives has been a recurring re·cur
intr.v. re·curred, re·cur·ring, re·curs
1. To happen, come up, or show up again or repeatedly.
2. To return to one's attention or memory.
3. To return in thought or discourse. topic in the career literature for quite some time (Savickas, 1995b; Sharf, 1997; Zunker, 2002). Since Osipow's (1990) call for theory convergence, there has been growing interest in focusing on this issue. In Savickas and Lent's (1994) work, which focused on convergence in theories of career development, scholars and practitioners presented their diverse views on issues of theory convergence in research and practice. To highlight the direction for theoretical integration, Sharf (1997) proposed using several combinations of theories in career counseling Noun 1. career counseling - counseling on career opportunities
counseling, counselling, guidance, counsel, direction - something that provides direction or advice as to a decision or course of action practice (e.g., to use Super's, 1990, and Gottfredson's, 1996, theories together and to combine Super's theory with trait trait (trat)
1. any genetically determined characteristic; also, the condition prevailing in the heterozygous state of a recessive disorder, as the sickle cell trait.
2. a distinctive behavior pattern. and factor and career decision-making theories). Young and Chen (1999) noted in a recent annual review of career development theory and practice that the topic of theory convergence continues to be an area of interest. For example, in systems theory of career development, Patton a nd McMahon (1999) attempted to incorporate some key constructs from major career theories (e.g., Holland's, 1997, personality typology typology /ty·pol·o·gy/ (ti-pol´ah-je) the study of types; the science of classifying, as bacteria according to type.
the study of types; the science of classifying, as bacteria according to type. theory; Brown's, 1996, values-based model; Super's, 1990, life-span and life-space approach; Krumboltz's [Mitchell & Krumboltz, 1996] social learning theory; and Young, Valach, & Collin's, 1996, contextual approach) into a more complex and dynamic conceptual framework For the concept in aesthetics and art criticism, see .
A conceptual framework is used in research to outline possible courses of action or to present a preferred approach to a system analysis project. , echoing the trend of theory convergence. The most recent attempt in this regard is from Savickas (2001), who proposed a four-level model for comprehending career theories and integrating them into a comprehensive theory of careers. He suggested that many existing constructs of career theories be integrated into the four levels of the model, namely, the self-organization of personality dispositions, self-regulatory concerns, self-definitional narratives, and selective optimization optimization
Field of applied mathematics whose principles and methods are used to solve quantitative problems in disciplines including physics, biology, engineering, and economics. processes.
Prompted by the ongoing discussion of theory convergence, especially by Savickas's (2001) latest proposal for a comprehensive theoretical model, this analytical discussion extends the continuing effort of exploring the possibility of integrating theoretical perspectives, broadly defined, in career development and counseling. My primary focus is on the integration of objectivist/positivistic views and constructivist perspectives. The intent was to develop a framework to stimulate some thoughts and suggestions that might be seen by career counselors as applicable to their counseling practice.
In this article, I (a) present a brief rationale for theoretical integration and (b) propose three possibilities for theoretical integration, namely, career as self-realization, career as a reflection of growing experiences, and career as context conceptualization. I hope that in using insights that the three proposed possibilities of theoretical integration yield, other more openly conceptualized and loosely structured approaches may be formed. Career counselors may find that these approaches are useful in the helping process. Laypersons may also realize that such conceptualizations tend to be heuristic and helpful for understanding their own experiences of life career development.
Rationale for Theoretical Integration
There have been several ways of categorizing career development and counseling theories. Brown and Brooks (1996) used the labels "established theories" and "emerging theories" to identify the two general groups of theories in the field. Zunker (2002) and Niles and Harris-Bowlsbey (2002) largely echoed this perception in categorizing theoretical approaches. In delineating vocational psychology's responses to cultural changes in career, Savickas (2000) used the terms constructivist and objectivist to name the two major schools of thinking. Anyone who is familiar with the history and recent development of theories in vocational and career psychology may be well aware of the reality that there is a line of division between the two major theoretical camps.
These two camps are formed by (a) theories that are rooted primarily in positivistic pos·i·tiv·ism
a. A doctrine contending that sense perceptions are the only admissible basis of human knowledge and precise thought.
b. or objectivist beliefs and (b) theories that are derived from social constructivist ideology. Within each camp, there is considerable variance from one theoretical perspective to another, making it difficult to generalize generalize /gen·er·al·ize/ (-iz)
1. to spread throughout the body, as when local disease becomes systemic.
2. to form a general principle; to reason inductively. a set of clear-cut characteristics that define all of the theoretical models within the group.
The majority of the established career theories either have their foundation in or are strongly influenced by the positivistic worldview world·view
n. In both senses also called Weltanschauung.
1. The overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world.
2. A collection of beliefs about life and the universe held by an individual or a group. . As is true of the modern scientific movement, vocational psychology has traditionally adopted the positivistic or objectivist ideology to explain people's work-life behavior and career choice. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. this ideology, vocational behavior is generally identified by a scientific and logical match between a person's traits and the demands of the work environment. This match can be reasonably predicted and achieved by scientific tools such as assessment instruments. Objective observation, measurement, and reasoning are regarded as key variables in career choice and planning. The positivistic school of thinking tends to focus primarily on a linear and rational methodology in defining knowledge (Peterson & Gonzalez, 2000; Savickas, 1995b, 2000; Zunker, 2002). Established career theories, such as Holland's (1997) personality type theory and Dawis and Lofquist's (1984) theory of work adjustment, are key representatives of the positivistic school of thinking. Other established theories, such as Super's (1990) life-span, life-space theory; Gottfredson's (1996) theory of circumscription cir·cum·scrip·tion
1. The act of circumscribing or the state of being circumscribed.
2. Something, such as a limit or restriction, that circumscribes.
3. A circumscribed space or area.
4. and compromise; and Krumboltz's (Mitchell & Krumboltz, 1996) social learning theory, bear considerable influences from this worldview.
The social constructivist perspective, on the other hand, explains vocational psychology in a different way. It views career as a socially constructed process that reflects both individual actions and the person's interactions with others. Meanings represent the essence of the construction of this social reality, whereas language functions as the primary way of communicating meanings and understandings. Rather than objectively measuring and assessing a person's traits, career development is viewed as a complex, dynamic, and ever-evolving process. The person's subjective intention and perspective are the essential vehicles in this process. Central to the process is the contextual meaning-making experience that reflects the person's subjective interpretation of situations and events, as well as the particular contexts within which these situations and events occur. Thus, constructs such as narrative, action, joint action, context, and interpretation become the principal aspects in framing people's understanding of themselves and the world in which they exist (Collin & Young, 1986, 1992; Peavy, 1993, 1996, 1997; Peterson & Gonzalez, 2000; Polkinghorne, 1990, 1992; Savickas, 1993, 1995a, 1997, 2000; Young & Valach, 2000; Young et al., 1996). The constructivist school of thinking is the foundation of emerging theoretical models in career development and counseling. These models include Young et al.'s (1996) contextual explanation of career, Cochran's (1990, 1997) narrative approach, and Savickas's (1993, 1995a, 1997) constructivist approach. Other emerging models, such as Brown's (1996) value-based, holistic model; Lent, Brown, and Hackett's (1996) social cognitive framework; Betz's (2001) self-efficacy model; and Patton and McMahon's (1999) systems theory approach are connected with and reflect features of social constructivist philosophy.
Differences between theories (i.e., either the philosophical differences between the two major schools of thought or the intragroup discrepancy DISCREPANCY. A difference between one thing and another, between one writing and another; a variance. (q.v.)
2. Discrepancies are material and immaterial. in each camp) hold merit because these differences enrich our understanding of career psychology. Such variances provide an opportunity for debate, for presenting different perspectives, and for offering new insights. Although the continuing existence and development of a variety of theoretical schools in the field is important, there is also the opportunity to become more open-minded about the possibility of integrating concepts from very different theoretical models in career development theory and practice. This dialogue can occur between proponents of the objectivist approach and the constructivist approach. It can also happen in discussions of the theoretical models within each of these two major schools of study. Thus, career development scholars and practitioners are called on to become more flexible and creative so that they can find ways to bridge the traditi onal philosophical divisions between the theoretical territories in the field. Not only can this open dialogue generate new ideas "New Ideas" is the debut single by Scottish New Wave/Indie Rock act The Dykeenies. It was first released as a Double A-side with "Will It Happen Tonight?" on July 17, 2006. The band also recorded a video for the track. for theory development, it can also help practitioners see how a broad range of theoretical concepts can be incorporated into their career interventions. Just as existing theories are enriched by diversity, pertinent integration of theoretical perspectives can provide insights that expand career counselors' perception and understanding of individuals' work lives in the new century (see, for example, Savickas, 2000, and Gollin & Young, 2000). This integration can ultimately widen wid·en
tr. & intr.v. wid·ened, wid·en·ing, wid·ens
To make or become wide or wider.
widen·er n. the scope of theoretical options, extend professionals' vision toward potentiality for comprehensiveness, and, moreover, it can lead to the development of new dimensions for research and facilitate creativity and refinement in practice. Thus, keeping an open mind in considering ways of integrating theoretical perspectives is timely and pertinent for the enhancement of career development theory and practice. There should be a continuing effort to reach this goal.
Since Frank Parsons Parsons, city (1990 pop. 11,924), Labette co., SE Kans.; inc. 1871. It is a shipping point for dairy products, grain, and livestock. Manufactures include ammunition, wire and paper products, plastics, and appliances. (1909) introduced the concept, the significance of knowing oneself has been recognized as one of the key constructs in vocational psychology. Objectivist and differential explanations look at the personal preferences and capacity as stable personality dispositions and traits. Dispositions, as such, are considered distinguishable and measurable. They are described and conceptualized as stable individual characteristics, for example, personality type (Holland, 1997), ability and aptitude (Dawis, 1996), images of occupations (Gottfredson, 1996), and genetic endowment Noun 1. genetic endowment - the total of inherited attributes
property - a basic or essential attribute shared by all members of a class; "a study of the physical properties of atomic particles" and special abilities (Mitchell & Krumboltz, 1996).
Psycho-sociological views of career tend to take a broader view of the role of selfhood self·hood
1. The state of having a distinct identity; individuality.
2. The fully developed self; an achieved personality.
3. in the development of an individual's life career. The most influential theory in this area, of course, is Super's (1990) theory of self-concept. According to Super, an individual's self-concept system incorporates a complex of self-aspects, including vocational self-identity (Super, Savickas, & Super, 1996). Following Super's (1990) notion, Gottfredson (1996) delineated de·lin·e·ate
tr.v. de·lin·e·at·ed, de·lin·e·at·ing, de·lin·e·ates
1. To draw or trace the outline of; sketch out.
2. To represent pictorially; depict.
3. the social connotation con·no·ta·tion
1. The act or process of connoting.
a. An idea or meaning suggested by or associated with a word or thing: of self, asserting that self-concept is a combination of subjective self and objective self that reflects one's development in a social environment.
Miller-Tiedeman and Tiedeman (1990) considered an individual's career as a reflection of his or her internal cognitive process and defined this self-awareness as ego development. Social cognitive perspectives consider persons as self-conscious agents who strive for career attainment by examining outcome expectations, establishing personal goals, and possessing and exercising self-efficacy (Betz, 2001; Lent et al., 1996). Although they deviated from many traditional theories in a substantial way, the action theoretical perspective (Young & Valach, 2000) and the contextual explanation of career (Young et al., 1996) have emphasized critical aspects that are closely connected with the notion of self. For example, prospects such as personal meaning making, meaning interpretation, intentionality intentionality
Property of being directed toward an object. Intentionality is exhibited in various mental phenomena. Thus, if a person experiences an emotion toward an object, he has an intentional attitude toward it. , and purpose cannot occur without recognizing the role of a person's internal selfhood. This means, obviously, that the integrated cognitive, emotional, social, and tangible self is a key component in the contextual meaning making and action implementation process. To perceive life career as narrative occurrences (Cochran, 1990, 1997), the narrative flow is always interwoven in·ter·weave
v. in·ter·wove , in·ter·wo·ven , inter·weav·ing, inter·weaves
1. To weave together.
2. To blend together; intermix.
v.intr. with a narrator's involvement in plots and episodes, reflecting dilemmas, conflicts, hesitations, resolutions, enjoyment, and other analogous psychological experiences that are connected to the narrator's self-awareness.
There is no doubt that career theories address the self construct from very different angles, based on diverse philosophical backgrounds and with varied purposes. Notwithstanding these variances, all theories seem to share at least a portion of the very basic foundation of vocational psychology. That is, a person's internal psychological selfhood plays an important role in his or her life career journey. This reality invites some consideration of theory integration.
One possibility for theory integration is to conceive of Verb 1. conceive of - form a mental image of something that is not present or that is not the case; "Can you conceive of him as the president?"
envisage, ideate, imagine career as a process for self-realization. This encourages the incorporation of objectivist notions of self into the constructivist approaches of narrative and contextual meaning making. First, the phenomenological and social dimension of self-concept, as proposed by Super (1990) and Gottfredson (1996), seems to merge naturally with the idea of subjective career in constructivist approaches (Cochran, 1997; Young &Valach, 2000; Young et al., 1996). A key philosophical premise in constructivist approaches is that persons live subjective lives within their social contexts. The interaction between the subjective self and its social dimension yields narrative experiences with meanings. Whether explicitly or implicitly, one's self-perception, self-awareness, and other similar views toward oneself are critical variables in forming the entire picture of the subjective self. Paying attention Noun 1. paying attention - paying particular notice (as to children or helpless people); "his attentiveness to her wishes"; "he spends without heed to the consequences"
attentiveness, heed, regard to one's self-concept is, indeed, a part of the meaning exploration proc ess.
Second, the objective self, that is, the part of the self that is reflected by more stable personal dispositions, characteristics, and special capacities (Dawis, 1996; Holland, 1997; Mitchell & Krumboltz, 1996), may be considered as relevant content in the meaning-making process. As personality types, preferences, and aptitudes are integrated into one's narrative, they do not have to be treated as standardized standardized
pertaining to data that have been submitted to standardization procedures.
standardized morbidity rate
see morbidity rate.
standardized mortality rate
see mortality rate. or static profiles. Instead, they can be seen as part of the information that describes the whole person and part of the experiences that the person has acquired or wants to acquire during the life course. Thus, the information that is based on the profile of the objective self, such as testing results from an interest or personality inventory, may be interpreted with the more active engagement of the subjective self, such as narrative exploration. This scenario should be relevant in reverse order. That is, in focusing on aspects of the objective self, content from subjective exploration (e.g., personal stories of past experiences) may be especially helpful in providing relevant contexts for explaining the more observable ob·serv·a·ble
1. Possible to observe: observable phenomena; an observable change in demeanor. See Synonyms at noticeable.
2. and calculable cal·cu·la·ble
1. That can be calculated or estimated: calculable odds.
2. Readily relied on; dependable: a calculable assistant. personality traits, dispositions, special abilities or weaknesses.
Third, the agentic self and self-efficacy that are rooted in social cognitive perspectives (Betz, 2001; Lent et al., 1996) share substantial common ground with Cochran's (1997) narrative philosophy of approaching one's life career course. The social cognitive self-aspects can also be viewed as part of the relevant components, particularly in forming goals, purposes, and intentionality, in action theory and the contextual explanation of career (Young & Valach, 2000; Young et al., 1996). In an action theoretical framework, self-efficacy and agentic functioning can be explained as critical variables of the person's individual action system. Individual action is a part of the complex action system of project, joint action, and career; however, the person's self-efficacy expectation and the agentic functioning required to implement this self-efficacy perception are too critical to be ignored. Complicated contextual and relational factors must be considered when one acts in life career ecology. Individual agency an d self-efficacy can never be exercised if their social dimensions and circumstances are missing from the whole spectrum. Yet, this does not diminish the vital role of individual action and personal agency. The cognitive selfhood is one of the essential variables in perceiving the environment, interacting with others, for generating inspiration, framing narrative plots, and, eventually, in contextual meaning making.
The foregoing three alternatives of considering career as a process for self-realization illustrate potential connections between different theoretical perspectives. Theory integration can be attempted in a variety of meaningful ways. This implies an intermingling relationship among the three examples provided. Various concept combinations may be constructed. For example, four constructs, namely, self-concept, personal disposition, self-efficacy, and contextual meaning making, can be combined into a career counseling process that is designed to assist the individual to develop and achieve self-realization. These constructs can be used, for example, in a career counseling environment in which the general helping framework would be the narrative process. Personal dispositions are explored with objective assessment tools as well as subjective reflections and interpretations. Self-concept is highlighted as a major theme through the whole narration. Self-efficacy is clarified not only in its past and present tense pres·ent tense
The verb tense expressing action in the present time, as in She writes; she is writing.
Noun 1. present tense - a verb tense that expresses actions or states at the time of speaking
present s but also in its role in future career projection. The thread that connects all of these self-constructs is the process of intentional in·ten·tion·al
1. Done deliberately; intended: an intentional slight. See Synonyms at voluntary.
2. Having to do with intention. and coherent self-exploration for meaning making. As such, integrating constructs from varied theoretical approaches becomes possible. In career counseling intervention, counselors can follow the principle of openness and flexibility as they attempt to build constructive and dynamic bridges between different theoretical concepts and constructs.
Career as a Reflection of Growing Experiences
As previously stated, one of the key constructs in the constructivist framework is to perceive one's life career experiences as a biographical bi·o·graph·i·cal also bi·o·graph·ic
1. Containing, consisting of, or relating to the facts or events in a person's life.
2. Of or relating to biography as a literary form. or narrative process (Cochran, 1990, 1997; Collin & Young, 1986, 1992; Savickas, 2000). Taking a macroview of their life course, individuals will find that the narrative form of living is a natural way to view human existence. A life journey tells a total story of a person. Within this full narrative, there are numerous substories, episodes, plots, and scenes. To live means to continuously compose com·pose
v. com·posed, com·pos·ing, com·pos·es
1. To make up the constituent parts of; constitute or form: stories, as long as one's life journey continues. This principle is applicable to all aspects of one's life, including the work life and career development. The biographical concept rests on the basic premise that a person's life career experiences provide the resources for narratives to take shape. As these experiences accumulate, new contents yield to an existing story or to the construction of a new story. In this sense, career narrative is always in a constant state of pr ogress o·gress
1. A female giant or monster in legends and fairy tales that eats humans.
2. A woman who is felt to be particularly cruel, brutish, or hideous.
Noun 1. . The past and present are organized into plots and episodes, reflecting what has happened and what is happening. These formed narrative contents also become the source material for envisioning and designing the themes for a future narrative. The biographical endeavor to organize a narrative represents a temporal sequence and continuity, so does the narrative itself. Thus, career development is seen as a cycle of narrative evolution.
This evolutionary framework may take an open stance to welcome some theoretical tenets from the more traditional and established camp. Super's (1990) "life career rainbow" and "career developmental tasks" seem to have significant content for a career narrative. Although new explanations may be incorporated to update some of the definitions, Super's notions of life career developmental stages and the roles a person would assume in these stages remain quite relevant. To consider the sociological influences, such as social prestige, intellectual capacity, and gender variables, in this developmental process, Gottfredson's (1996) concepts of circumscription and compromise may be also quite relevant as sources for exploration during the narration. Going through or entering these developmental phases can bring about rich, yet sometimes challenging, situations and events. Likewise, taking on different life career roles may generate both rewarding and conflicting experiences. For example, a successful lawyer may enjoy a sense of accomplishment in her work life, but she may also feel a sense of loss because she does not have enough time to spend with her child so that she can be a more nurturing parent. When these dynamic experiences are shaped and reshaped in narration, they may have a better chance of approaching breadth and depth with regard to personal understanding and awareness.
Other aspects may also come into play in the developmental process. In examining the vital role of family influence in one's career options and preferences, Roe's (Roe & Lunneborg, 1990) notion of parenting style and family atmosphere may be quite relevant. This could lead to some critical insights for comprehending and explaining one's values, lifestyle, and other individual aspects and experiences, thus making parental and family information important material for narrative formation. This may blend with some familial familial /fa·mil·i·al/ (fah-mil´e-il) occurring in more members of a family than would be expected by chance.
adj. roles of Super's life career rainbow and Gottfredson's sociological variables in a natural way. Also, taking different roles through life-span and life-space, as defined by Super (1990), is a learned experience that requires an individual to acquire knowledge and skills during his or her growing process. At this point, Krumboltz's notion of social learning (Mitchell & Krumboltz, 1996) can enter the narration. A pivotal task of career intervention is to help clients see the necessity to transla te desires for positive change into concrete action. To achieve this goal, clients are empowered and assisted to learn more effective skills in problem solving problem solving
Process involved in finding a solution to a problem. Many animals routinely solve problems of locomotion, food finding, and shelter through trial and error. and decision making, parallel to Mitchell and Krumboltz's (1996) "task approach skills." Thus, learning experiences are explored and acquired through biographical meaning making.
To integrate developmental conception in narration, the counselor may help the client to foster a sense of growth in retrospect, at present, and toward the future. The biographical framework provides a very pertinent structure and context for the developmental experiences that unfold unfold - inline . Within narration, the focus can be on describing and understanding the interrelationships between various roles and their impact on the client's life course. Thoughts and feelings connected with the experiences of fulfilling the career developmental tasks, along with other familial, social, and personal role interactions, may be shared. Events and situations surrounding role implementation become natural themes for plotting a story line. It may be necessary to emphasize the significance of the client's past learning experiences as well as anticipated experiences. The benefit of combining learning experiences into the narration is that the client may have a better sense of the relationship between learning and development. That i s, growing means learning more things, and learning provides more opportunity for growth. Just as career development accompanies the learning process, one's career narrative can be constructed and reconstructed re·con·struct
tr.v. re·con·struct·ed, re·con·struct·ing, re·con·structs
1. To construct again; rebuild.
2. to reflect the positive influences derived from the various learning experiences. This stimulates an optimal, fruitful fruit·ful
a. Producing fruit.
b. Conducive to productivity; causing to bear in abundance: fruitful soil.
2. , and dynamic cycle for personal and career growth.
Career as Context Conceptualization
The significance of context in an individual's life career development has been addressed by the contextual explanation of career (Young et al., 1996) and other constructivist approaches and perspectives in career psychology (Collin & Young, 1992; Peavy, 1993, 1996, 1997; Savickas, 1993, 1995a, 1997). Context is essential for meaning making because it provides background information that explains experiences and action. A broad scope, life career development can be seen as a complex and dynamic interaction between the person and his or her environment. This macro person--environment interrelationship in·ter·re·late
tr. & intr.v. in·ter·re·lat·ed, in·ter·re·lat·ing, in·ter·re·lates
To place in or come into mutual relationship.
in addresses a basic phenomenon of human psychology. That is, human understanding is subject to influences from conditions and situations surrounding the very perceptions and experiences of individuals.
Complex variables are involved in the formation of a context. Variables such as parental and familial influences, interpersonal relationship This article or section may contain original research or unverified claims.
Please help Wikipedia by adding references. See the for details.
This article has been tagged since September 2007. , cultural value, social and economic environments, political atmosphere, and natural changes can influence the circumstances that affect an individual's decision to think, feel, and act. Context takes various forms, with psychological, tangible, and other situational components defining the background scenes. A workplace is an example of a context. A person's professional duty as a computer programmer may remain unchanged when she leaves Workplace A for Workplace B. However, she may experience the change of the tangible context (e.g., workplace location, surroundings, facility, equipment). Similarly, she may also experience the change of the psychological context (e.g., relationship with new supervisors and peers, work rules and policies, management style, general working atmosphere). Furthermore, she may encounter contextual factors that are both psychological and tangi tangi
1. a Maori funeral ceremony
2. Informal a lamentation ble (e.g., reward system and employee services, such as child care facility). Such background scenes can either facilitate or hinder hin·der 1
v. hin·dered, hin·der·ing, hin·ders
1. To be or get in the way of.
2. To obstruct or delay the progress of.
v.intr. an individual's personal life and work life experiences. This indicates the critical function of context in the whole picture. An experience only becomes explainable when its very context is presented. This is because the interpretation of experiences can vary significantly if the contextual background is altered. Meaning making cannot occur if its context is not fully described, examined, and taken into account.
Young et al. (1996) used the contextualist approach as a basis for summarizing the three salient aspects of context in career theories: multiplicity mul·ti·plic·i·ty
n. pl. mul·ti·plic·i·ties
1. The state of being various or manifold: the multiplicity of architectural styles on that street.
2. , meaning, and interweaving. Multiplicity refers to the complexity of a context. That is, multiple variables and factors are often involved in constructing a context. Meaning refers to a person's perception and interpretation of the situation. The context can vary when it is viewed by different people. The interweaving nature of a context shows that various variables often coexist co·ex·ist
intr.v. co·ex·ist·ed, co·ex·ist·ing, co·ex·ists
1. To exist together, at the same time, or in the same place.
2. , and they interact with one another, generating an intertwined relationship between variables in the context. Following this view, meaning making should ultimately reflect the multifaceted mul·ti·fac·et·ed
Having many facets or aspects. See Synonyms at versatile.
Adj. 1. multifaceted - having many aspects; "a many-sided subject"; "a multifaceted undertaking"; "multifarious interests"; "the multifarious and interweaving nature of the person's context. A life career context is defined with a sense of wholeness. Many dynamic social, cultural, economic, and personal variables interplay in·ter·play
Reciprocal action and reaction; interaction.
intr.v. in·ter·played, in·ter·play·ing, in·ter·plays
To act or react on each other; interact. and are intertwined with one another. Thus, a flexible, open, and holistic approach holistic approach A term used in alternative health for a philosophical approach to health care, in which the entire Pt is evaluated and treated. See Alternative medicine, Holistic medicine. is adopted to examine and make sense of a complex structure.
Several positivistic and objectivist perspectives may be considered for integration with context formation. Although Holland's (1997) six types of working environments present a set of archetypes of the world of work, they may also be considered as a part of the requirements in the macrocontext. Similarly, the notion of person--environment correspondence (Dawis, 1996) may be incorporated into the formation of the larger and more complex structure of the context. With their roots in the trait and factor theoretical tradition, theories that focus on matching individuals with their work environment do not attempt to address the three salient aspects that are proposed by the contextual approach. However, if we career counselors adopt the multiplicity epistemology epistemology (ĭpĭs'təmŏl`əjē) [Gr.,=knowledge or science], the branch of philosophy that is directed toward theories of the sources, nature, and limits of knowledge. Since the 17th cent. , we may realize that the macrocontext may well include the more static factors and stable characteristics of work environment, as suggested by the trait and factor approaches. Because such factors and characteristics reflect, to some degree, conditions a nd demands from the work world, perceiving them as some of the variables in the total context may be beneficial. Thus, to consider and examine them may be relevant in comprehending the total context.
Rooted in the social learning philosophy, Krumboltz's (Mitchell & Krumboltz, 1996) notion of "environmental conditions and events" addresses the influences that are often beyond the person's control. Natural disasters, political turmoil, government regulations, economic boom or downturn, and technological development are examples of environmental influences. According to Krumboltz, environmental circumstances have either a facilitative or a hindering hin·der 1
v. hin·dered, hin·der·ing, hin·ders
1. To be or get in the way of.
2. To obstruct or delay the progress of.
v.intr. effect on a person's capacity to learn and to perform career tasks. The environmental factor in this context focuses on the external conditions that are objective, observable, and measurable. It is clear that the observable context does not include subjective aspects of the context, as suggested by the contextual theoretical perspective of career (see Young et at., 1996); however, these two approaches seem to share some common ground with regard to context.
On the basis of the social constructivist ideology, Young and his colleagues (Collin & Young, 1986, 1992; Young & Valach, 2000; Young et al., 1996) postulated pos·tu·late
tr.v. pos·tu·lat·ed, pos·tu·lat·ing, pos·tu·lates
1. To make claim for; demand.
2. To assume or assert the truth, reality, or necessity of, especially as a basis of an argument.
3. that context is a complex and holistic macrostructure The notion of macrostructure has been used in several disciplines in order to distinguish large-scale, or 'global' structures, from small-scale, or 'local' structures, that is, microstructures. that encompasses both objective and subjective phenomena in vocational psychology. The observable natural and societal so·ci·e·tal
Of or relating to the structure, organization, or functioning of society.
Adj. conditions that influence people's life and career choices are, of course, contextual factors. At the same time, people's subjective views on things and experiences are also a part of the contents that can form a context. For example, the experience of coping with unemployment can construct two different countexts. It may generate either a victim's description (e.g., "I am so depressed because I was laid off") or an agent's script (e.g., "I am searching for options to get something for myself"). These illustrations demonstrate that language and perceptions form the basis for the context.
Notwithstanding the differences, Mitchell and Krumboltz's (1996) notion of "environmental conditions and events" seems to echo part of the content (i.e., the objective influences of the environment) that is well identified and recognized in Young and colleagues' (Young & Valach, 2000; Young et al., 1996) works regarding the notion of context. On the basis of this shared aspect, both approaches may be used together to address the critical function of contextual influences. In other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently , the notion of environment in Krumboltz's theory may be useful to the notion of context in Younger al.'s (1996) contextual explanation of career, and vice versa VICE VERSA. On the contrary; on opposite sides. . For example, when both approaches are applied to a career issue, they may provide useful support and reference to each other regarding the objective aspect of the context. The subjective aspect of the context may be considered when there is a need to broaden the scope of the person's learning experiences.
Furthermore, because various social conditions are always recognized and given a great deal of attention as an important part of the total context, the sociological perspective The sociological perspective is a particular way of approaching a phenomena common in sociology. It involves maintaining objectivity, not by divesting oneself of values, but by critically evaluating and testing ideas, and accepting what may be surprising or even displeasing based on work and career synthesized syn·the·sized
1. Relating to or being an instrument whose sound is modified or augmented by a synthesizer.
2. Relating to or being compositions or a composition performed on synthesizers or synthesized instruments. by Hotchkiss and Borow (1996) seems to be a relevant part for the contextual explanation of career. Factors such as family status, socioeconomic so·ci·o·ec·o·nom·ic
Of or involving both social and economic factors.
of or involving economic and social factors
Adj. 1. structure, labor markets labor market A place where labor is exchanged for wages; an LM is defined by geography, education and technical expertise, occupation, licensure or certification requirements, and job experience , and race and gender effects are critical contents that need to be addressed and understood in forming a comprehensive and integral context of career development. Thus, it may be quite feasible to incorporate the sociological perspective into the process of contextual meaning making and meaning interpretation.
In career counseling interventions, the counselor can help the client explore a range of options in forming a broad context for exploration and action. First, career counselors can help clients increase their awareness concerning the important impact of environmental conditions on their life career development. Counselors can provide clients with opportunities to describe and analyze pros and cons pros and cons
the advantages and disadvantages of a situation [Latin pro for + con(tra) against] of the environmental conditions. More attention may be directed to understanding these contextual variables, using advantages, and turning adversity ad·ver·si·ty
n. pl. ad·ver·si·ties
1. A state of hardship or affliction; misfortune.
2. A calamitous event. into more optimal situations. For example, involuntary involuntary adj. or adv. without intent, will, or choice. Participation in a crime is involuntary if forced by immediate threat to life or health of oneself or one's loved ones, and will result in dismissal or acquittal.
INVOLUNTARY. and unprepared job loss causes considerable turbulence turbulence, state of violent or agitated behavior in a fluid. Turbulent behavior is characteristic of systems of large numbers of particles, and its unpredictability and randomness has long thwarted attempts to fully understand it, even with such powerful tools as in an individual's life. The cons of this situation may include financial hardship, worry and uncertainty about the future, and feelings of low self-esteem. These cons certainly need to be acknowledged in the counseling encounter; the counseling process should facilitate the client's ability to see the pros under this seemingly seem·ing
Outward appearance; semblance.
seeming·ly adv. very difficult circumstance. The p ros may include gaining the time to pursue a long-time interest that has not been realized, retraining re·train
tr. & intr.v. re·trained, re·train·ing, re·trains
To train or undergo training again.
re·train to fulfill ful·fill also ful·fil
tr.v. ful·filled, ful·fill·ing, ful·fills also ful·fils
1. To bring into actuality; effect: fulfilled their promises.
2. oneself, preparing for a new career path, and becoming more creative and self-reliant in one's profession (e.g., becoming self-employed). In some situations of this kind, a strong message from the counselor to the client is "Congratulations, you said good-bye to your old job. This is because you may use this occasion as a door to a range of new opportunities." Of course, this kind of message must be used in a prudent and skillful skill·ful
1. Possessing or exercising skill; expert. See Synonyms at proficient.
2. Characterized by, exhibiting, or requiring skill. manner and at the proper time during the counseling encounter. Also, it may not be an appropriate encounter for every client in a job loss situation. The career counselor needs to be very sensitive and knowledgeable about the counseling context (e.g., the client's psychological state, the client--counselor relationship, and the phase of the intervention).
Second, career counselors can encourage clients to gain more knowledge of the world of work, including information concerning occupational environments, as defined by Holland (1997), and other demands of the work world, as delineated by the theory of work adjustment (Dawis, 1996). Vocational assessment based on objectivist ideology can be integrated as a part of the useful information for connecting oneself to past, present, and prospective career contexts. Thus, contextual meaning making becomes more concrete and attainable.
Third, career counselors can encourage clients to consider social influences that affect their career planning and decision-making context. These influences, which are documented by a sociological perspective of work (Hotchkiss & Borow, 1996), include variables such as family influence, level of education, gender, race, socioeconomic status socioeconomic status,
n the position of an individual on a socio-economic scale that measures such factors as education, income, type of occupation, place of residence, and in some populations, ethnicity and religion. , and labor market demands. There is no doubt that current social, economic, political, and technological changes in the general society help to shape the macro context of the world of work. To clarify and understand these contextual variables are important tasks in the career counseling process. Career counselors can help clients connect their personal, familial, socioeconomic, cultural, and other associated situations to their particular context of work life coping and vocational exploration. A goal of the counseling process is to help the client gain more awareness of contextual influences and transferable skills in coping with contextual situations and factors. In doing so, the context becomes more explicit and comprehensive when the client tries to make sense of his or her career issues. Consequently, a well-defined context can make the meaning interpretation in career exploration more insightful, coherent, and holistic.
In the foregoing discussion, I presented three kinds of considerations regarding the potentiality of theoretical integration in career development theory and practice. These possibilities conceive conceive /con·ceive/ (kon-sev´)
1. to become pregnant.
2. take in, grasp, or form in the mind.
1. To become pregnant.
2. career as self-realization, growing experiences, and context conceptualization. Although these possibilities are stimulated by the continuing interest of theory convergence in career development and counseling, they attempt to "integrate" rather than "converge con·verge
v. con·verged, con·verg·ing, con·verg·es
a. To tend toward or approach an intersecting point: lines that converge.
b. " tenets from different theoretical approaches and models. The notion of integration proposes a flexible and eclectic e·clec·tic
1. Selecting or employing individual elements from a variety of sources, systems, or styles: an eclectic taste in music; an eclectic approach to managing the economy.
2. relationship between theories, in general, and between the two major schools of thinking--positivism and constructivism--in particular.
This integration does not attempt to make concepts from different theories look more unified. Rather, it considers positively the continuing existence and development of different theoretical viewpoints in the career field. The richness of these varied views has been and will be the resource for new insights. Integration in this sense is about building bridges between different theories, that is, theories within the same school of thinking as well as theories from different schools of thinking. Also, the integration remains situational and contextual. That is, the integration may vary when the context regarding a career issue (e.g., place, timing, needs, challenges, perspectives, intention, and perceptions) changes. This suggests that the integrative relationship in career theories is not static, but open, dynamic, interactive, multifaceted, and evolving. With a tentative and flexible stance, theory integration may engender en·gen·der
v. en·gen·dered, en·gen·der·ing, en·gen·ders
1. To bring into existence; give rise to: "Every cloud engenders not a storm" more creative utilization of varied theoretical concepts that complement, supplement, or support one another. Consequently, creative and thoughtful integration will not only invigorate in·vig·or·ate
tr.v. in·vig·or·at·ed, in·vig·or·at·ing, in·vig·or·ates
To impart vigor, strength, or vitality to; animate: "A few whiffs of the raw, strong scent of phlox invigorated her" theory building but will also more effectively guide and enhance career development practice.
Substantial variances exist among theories, especially regarding the philosophical differences between the more traditional objectivist and the newly evolving constructivist schools of thinking. Although such differences may remain in the realm of career development theory and practice, I believe that it is time for scholars and practitioners to adopt a more open and broader scope in viewing people's life career development. The three loosely framed considerations of theory integration illustrated in this article are only some of the possibilities for further exploration. By adopting a flexible macro perspective, many more possibilities may be generated for advancing and enriching theory and practice.
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Charles P. Chen, Department of Adult Education and Counselling Psychology Counseling psychology as a psychological specialty facilitates personal and interpersonal functioning across the life span with a focus on emotional, social, vocational, educational, health-related, developmental, and organizational concerns. , University of Toronto Research at the University of Toronto has been responsible for the world's first electronic heart pacemaker, artificial larynx, single-lung transplant, nerve transplant, artificial pancreas, chemical laser, G-suit, the first practical electron microscope, the first cloning of T-cells, . An earlier version of this article was presented at the 62nd Annual Convention of the Canadian Psychological Association The Canadian Psychological Association is the primary organization representing psychologists throughout Canada. It was organized in 1939 and incorporated under the Canada Corporations Act, Part II, in May 1950. , June, 2001, Ste-Foy, Quebec, Canada. Correspondence concerning this article should he addressed to Charles P. Chen, Counselling Psychology Program, Department of Adult Education, Community Development, & Counselling Psychology) Ontario Institute for Studies in Education The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto is a teachers' college in Toronto, Ontario. It was founded in 1996 as a merger of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and the Faculty of Education in the University of Toronto (which from 1920 to of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT OISE/UT Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto (Canada) ), 252 Bloor Street West, 7th Floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5S 1V6 (e-mail: email@example.com).