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© University of Reading 2008 www.reading.ac.uk/ccms Undergraduates’ pursuit and understanding of career: Perspectives on career theory and challenges for career practice Maura O’Regan June 26 th 2008 Business School (Management)

Maura O’Regan June 26 th 2008 Business School (Management)

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Undergr aduates’ pursuit and understanding of career: Perspectives on career theory and challenges for career practice. Maura O’Regan June 26 th 2008 Business School (Management). Research aim. To investigate how undergraduate students conceptualise and - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Page 1: Maura O’Regan  June 26 th  2008 Business School (Management)

© University of Reading 2008

www.reading.ac.uk/ccms

Undergraduates’ pursuit and understanding of

career: Perspectives on career theory and

challenges for career practice

Maura O’Regan June 26th 2008Business School (Management)

Page 2: Maura O’Regan  June 26 th  2008 Business School (Management)

Research aim

To investigate how undergraduate students conceptualise and

contextualise their career by exploring the factors which influence

their career preferences and the role they, others and the

environment play in their career development

Page 3: Maura O’Regan  June 26 th  2008 Business School (Management)

Research strategy

Interviews&

Diary entriesFormal

Informal

Conversations&

Email

PRACTICAL APPROACH

Three PhasesVolunteers =

30

Second year undergraduat

es

14 History(single or combined)

16 Economics (modules)

15 Male15 Female

QUALITATIVE & INTERPRETIVE

Page 4: Maura O’Regan  June 26 th  2008 Business School (Management)

What career theory is not telling…

Emotion ‘purpose and

passion’ Kidd (1998)

Routines & turning points

Hodkinson & Sparkes (1997)

Affective factorsLaw (2005)

Coping with change?Enthusiasm and apprehension, Personal and parental expectations,

Success of transition?Relationships, illness, bereavement, pregnancy, accommodation issues, academic achievement,stress, anxiety,depression,

Iterative and idiosyncraticMignot (2004)

Page 5: Maura O’Regan  June 26 th  2008 Business School (Management)

A theory of career pursuit

- who are content living the university life

- who are anxious and quite stressed

- who are inclined to procrastinate

- who pursue every opportunity

Emerging patterns and differing student orientations to career

Page 6: Maura O’Regan  June 26 th  2008 Business School (Management)

STUDENT

CAREER

I

D

E

N

T

I

T

Y

STUDENT

Young people in transition

Who I amWho I want to be

Fugate, Kinichi & Ashforth (2004)

Page 7: Maura O’Regan  June 26 th  2008 Business School (Management)

Motivation and career pursuit

Career motivation (London & Mone, 1987)

Resilience

Ability to adapt to changing

circumstance, cope with different work

situations – demonstrate

initiative, maintain performance levels despite pressure or

lack of support

Identity

How central

career is to the

individual’s personal identity, how you define

yourself by work

Insight

Realistic career

expectations,

strengths and

weakness, goal

setting

Page 8: Maura O’Regan  June 26 th  2008 Business School (Management)

Orientations to career pursuit: 1

Career Rationalists

Value their education

Enjoy their university experience

Likely to postpone career decisions

Have established an undergraduate student identity

Set a high priority on what they are gaining from university

I just don’t think it is important enough for me to start worrying about what I want to do. I’d rather focus on other stuff that I think is more important like- em - like studying

Page 9: Maura O’Regan  June 26 th  2008 Business School (Management)

Orientations to career pursuit: 2

Deliberators

Did not make a smooth transition to university

Found it difficult to make friends and fit in

Reflect on their current situation constantly

Likely to worry about being successful on their course

Find new situations difficult

Worry that they are not doing anything about their career

..but I’m so worried

about my studies and that’s what

concerns me most at the moment…

Page 10: Maura O’Regan  June 26 th  2008 Business School (Management)

Orientations to career pursuit: 3

Career Hesitators

Reasonably confident and enjoy university

Know what they need to do to realise their career aspirations

Take responsibility for their procrastination

Can appear motivated but admit they are ‘lazy’

Easily distracted

I won’t do anything until there is a

deadline I have to reach and I won’t

take action until the deadline is closing

in…

Page 11: Maura O’Regan  June 26 th  2008 Business School (Management)

Orientations to career pursuit: 4

Career Activists

Have adapted well to university

Consciously make career related choices

Actively seek opportunities to realise their career aspirations

Are likely to be persistent and tenacious

…a benchmark. It gets you more money…

A stepping stone from school to a job.

Page 12: Maura O’Regan  June 26 th  2008 Business School (Management)

FOCUS

NO

W

TH

EN

RELEV

AN

CE

LOW

HIGH

CAREER RATIONALISTS

CAREER ACTIVISTS

DELIBERATORS

CAREER

HESITATORS

Page 13: Maura O’Regan  June 26 th  2008 Business School (Management)

What you want, may not be what I want…

Career Activists (14)

(12) Progression and promotion

(12) Financial security

(12) Work – life balance

(8) Training

(6) Success and achievement

(6) Team work, social opportunities

(7) Enjoyment

Career Hesitators (10)

(8) Promotion/progression

(6) People/social/team work

(4) Variety

(4) Enjoyment

(3) Job satisfaction

Page 14: Maura O’Regan  June 26 th  2008 Business School (Management)

What you want, may not be what I want…

Career Rationalists (3)

(2) Promotion/progression

(2) People/social/team work

(2) Rewarding and interesting

(1) Work-life balance

(1) Success and achievement

(1) Use skills

(1) Variety

Deliberators (3)

(2) To make a difference

(1) Enjoyable and challenging

(1) Financial security

(1) Variety

Page 15: Maura O’Regan  June 26 th  2008 Business School (Management)

Implications: Practical

Delivery ‘One size does not fit all…’

Careers Service Guidance…?Target Career Activists at the expense of other students?Events too Business (finance) or Law orientated

CMS Creative, challenging, embedding, optional…?Deliberators (too anxious), Career Rationalists (unconcerned about future), Career Activists (‘nothing new’ not challenging enough)Career Hesitators (need to be pushed and motivated)

PDPNeither personal nor useful – tick box exercise if done at all

Page 16: Maura O’Regan  June 26 th  2008 Business School (Management)

Implications: Practical

Policy ‘One size does not fit all…’

Employability or experience?Can employability be learnt? taught?Not all Players or Purists (Brown & Hesketh, 2004) Makes assumptions about student prioritiesIncreases anxiety and compounds extremes – success and failure

Widening participationChange in student population different expectations? Successful transitions? Prepared to cope with uncertainty and instability?Increased / reduced numbers of Career Hesitators, Deliberators, Career Activists, Career Rationalists?

Page 17: Maura O’Regan  June 26 th  2008 Business School (Management)

Implications: Theoretical

Career theory- Highlights the limitations of existing career theory- Need to resist the theoretical orientation that progression is linear, job choice a form of matching - Confirms the idiosyncratic and iterative nature of career- More research into affective factors required

Research design- Ethical concerns about research ‘with’ people rather than on people- Mixed methods approaches - Need for synchronic and diachronic approaches to career

Page 18: Maura O’Regan  June 26 th  2008 Business School (Management)

[email protected]

Thank you