Due to the difficult process of career-decision making for the majority of the population, researchers have formulated four main theories to better understand the complex relationships between the different factors that influence this important decision. Self-efficacy, abilities, interests, and personality types all play a significant part in finding the right career. Interventions and other types of career assistance have also been proven to have influences on which job an individual will apply for. Hollandâ€™s Theory, the Theory of Work Adjustment (TWA), the Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT), and Superâ€™s Life-Span, Life-Space Theory all attempt to organize and explain how these influences act on the outcome of career-decision making.
To illustrate how career-decision making theories work in practice, two hypothetical individuals will go through the process of the application of the different theories. â€œKennyâ€ is a twenty-two year old Asian male from an upper-middle class family. He recently graduated from a private college and is looking for the right career path. He is intellectual, curious, and very creative. He likes to help others with their problems and excels at math and science. Kenny is also a good problem solver and seeks a career with elements of independence, variety, and creativity. He spends a fair amount of time with his family, playing basketball on the weekends, and spending time with his fiancÃ©e.
â€œSallyâ€ is also going through a career-decision making period in her life. She is a thirty-one year old Caucasian mother of two. Sally comes from a low socioeconomic status and has an associateâ€™s degree from a two-year technical college. She has been taking time off from work to stay at home with her kids and take care of her ill mother. Before Sally took time away from the workforce to care for her family, she really enjoyed her job working in an accounting firm.