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Leading Theories and Practices

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Psychology
Wordcount: 1939 words Published: 11th May 2017

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The purpose of this paper is to discuss two major career theories applied to own career development. Explain the theories and how they would have influenced career development as well as to compare and contrast the effect of these two theories on own personal career development.

Career theories

After reading chapter two and three, there are many reasons that can influence the selection of a specific career, from personality and the person’s preferences to convenient concerns such as career stability, salary, and opportunity for growth and/or advancement. Some people select their career based on their aspiration to help others, solve specific issues/ problems or just to continue with a family legacy. According to Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey (2008), the reason for studying various approaches to career theory is that there is no a theory that can cover or explain everything of an individual career behavior. Each one of the theories complements each other in dealing with the various facets (p. 36).

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The two major career theories that have influenced this writer’s career development are Donald Super’s theory of life-span/ life space and John Holland’s theory of vocational personalities and work environment. Donald Super has made good contributions to career development; one of them is the importance of the person’s development or self-concept. Self concept varies or changes through time and develops as consequences of the person experience thus his/her career development is life-long. Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey (2008) stated that careers develop based on psychosocial development and societal expectation so it is relatively homogeneous and age related (p. 43).

As indicated in the previous assignment, in relation to this writer career path, Donald Super’s theory of life-span/ life space applies well as this writer consider himself as highly motivated individual full of positive ambitions. It is important to help people the best way possible. One of the most important concepts is that of becoming a lifelong learner as it will enhance the skills necessary to be a better professional. The occupational preferences and competencies, as well as the individual’s life circumstances all will change and have changed with time and experience.

Super’s theory of career development underlines life-long learning as well as change and growth. He brings the concept that persons frequently learn and adapt over the course of a lifetime; therefore he recommended that a career development plan should be developed to provide accommodation to the individual during a variety of stages of learning that happen during the person’s life span (Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2008).

According to Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey (2008), Super’s Archway model recommends that life role and self concepts are formed by our personal and situational determinants (p. 54). Therefore by making a vocational selection people are articulating their self concept which evolves throughout time. Individuals seek career satisfaction through work roles in which they can communicate themselves and further employ and develop their self concept. Through the years as a therapist this writer has been introduced to many challenges and triumphs. After each experience, this writer has always searched for ways to better the outcome for the future. The goal is to be up-to-date on current therapeutic styles and programs that are ever changing in the psychology field.

Super believed that people are anything but stationary beings therefore they experience constant changes. His theory life-span/life space is a complete developmental model that attempts to describe (like book) the different influences on a person as they experience different life roles and different life stages or “chapters”. Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey (2008) stated that encouraging the client to believe his/her life as if it were a book and ask him/her to identify the chapters as an attempt to identify persistent life arguments and underlying trends (p.56).

John Holland’s theory of types and person-environment interaction sustain that when choosing a career, people usually prefer jobs where they can be around others with the same interest or likes. They look for environments that will let them employ their skills and communicate their attitudes and/or values while working on problems or roles. People’s behavior is based by an interaction between personality and environment. According to Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey (2008), Holland’s theory has been explained as structural-interactive; it offers a link between different personality characteristics and corresponding job titles (p. 63).

In the field of psychology Holland’s theory applies well and has influenced this writer’s career development. By being exposed to an “acute” population working in a hospital, this writer has to learned new approaches and/or skills, which I have to incorporate and in a certain way integrate into my existing knowledge. Now I find myself with the need to shape or modify my therapeutic style or system due to my exposure to a different group of people with different needs. Fortunately, this writer is surrounded of people with other ideas or experiences from whom I can learn or view things in a different perspective. These people have the same interest and motivation to help others as this writer does.

Based on Holland’s six basic personality types (Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional) the type that match the counselor’s tendencies to lead to an acquisition of human relations competencies is the social type. Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey (2008), stated that the social type personality have a preference to activities that involve the manipulation of others like train, inform, cure or enlighten (p. 65).

Holland’s theory explains work related behavior such as of which career options are likely to direct or guide to job satisfaction. Understanding this theory will help the person make better choices about the type of careers and/or training best fit him/her. Holland’s theory is well known and for the most part researched theory on career development and is used by most career counselors and agencies (Jones, 2010).

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Holland affirms that people of the same personality type working collectively develops an environment that match and rewards their type. He emphasizes that a person who choose to work in an environment parallel to his/her personality type are more likely to be successful and satisfied. According to Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey (2008), social environment requires people to perceive themselves as liking to help and understanding of others. It rewards people for demonstrate social values. People are in a congruent work environment when their personality type matches the occupational environment (p. 66). Working in the hospital among people with the same type of interest and goals makes me to feel more satisfied and perform better, it also provides a sense of belonging.

According to Lyon (1965), career development theory has offered counselors with very important approaches; however, there are some suggestions that it will not be able to report any changes in career patterns unless counselors happen to be more aware of how theory is linked to cultural factors rather than a universal approach. Lyon (1965) indicated that counselors should sharpen their measurement devices in regards to stages in career development in order to be able to guide more people interested in careers which will satisfy their self-concepts and express their personality identities (p. 153).

Lyon (1965) also stated that counselors should also be aware and on a certain way become watchdog with their customers. The responsibilities have to go further than just adjusting their clients to current educational patterns. Counselor might contemplate definite extremely severe training demands of the professions as well as things like age restrictions for admission to special training, physical demand or length of full time study (p. 157).

Compare and contrast

There is a lot more contrast that comparison between Donald Super and John Holland theories. As previously discussed in this paper John Holland’s theory assumes that personalities fit into six different categories: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Convectional (RIASEC). Those personalities are attracted to certain jobs as a result the work environment is reflected by the personalities based on (RIASEC). People are inclined to select the career that is reflective of their personalities and look for environments that will provide the means to use their skills and/or abilities. Consequently, the better the similarity between the person’s personality and work environment the better the level of career satisfaction. According to Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey (2008), people are in a congruent work environment when their personality type matches the occupational environment (p. 66).

As of Donald Super’s theory he stated that humans are active and change constantly throughout life span. Super anticipated a comprehensive model for a series of influences on a person while he/she encounter different roles and progress into different life stages. According to Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey (2008), Super’s Archway model recommends that life role and self concepts are formed by our personal and situational determinants (p. 54). In contrast with Holland’s theory, Super’s life span theory orbits around the suggestion that life involves certain developmental stages (growth, exploration, establishment, maintenance, and disengagement).

Super developed the concept of the life-career rainbow as a way to picture of a person can play multiple roles during his/her life-span. These roles may well overlap one another and differ by level of strength also will highlight a specific role and perception, these might change during the person’s life as well as his/her values and choices. According to Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey (2008), using this model, Super defines the longitudinal processes of career development as well as the situation specific content of career decision making. “Career decisions reflect our attempts at translating our self-understanding into career terms” (p. 48).

It is important to keep in mind that career development theory is more than that is the evolution of career. Careers at this day do not follow a completely conventional linear of fixed plan model. As discussed throughout this paper Donald Super and John Holland theories have distinct ways on conceptualizing the career development process. Each contributes important perspectives on how career develop and how career choices are made. As stated by Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey (2008) there is no one theory that sufficiently addresses all possible factors of career development and the people career concerns. Super theory is a process of self-concept in which everyone fits as we all change in stages and has a choice of career and development. Hansen theory is more as a personal development; they both have influenced my career development and they complement with each other the combination of both perspectives helped me have a better picture of how my professional life is and will be.


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