development models


A number of theories exist postulating reasons individuals seek specific career paths. Consider some of the theories discussed in this module and others you discover through research. Usinig resources and other search engines select a career development theory.

For this assignment, select one of the career development models and in a 1-2 paper address the following:

  • The basic premise of the career development theory including the person who first proposed the theory.
  • Do you agree with the theoretical model’s premise?
  • How does the model apply to your own career selection? Be specific. Give examples.
  • APA style.
  • My career of preference are social worker or substance abuse counselor


So why do we choose specific careers? What factors influence our career paths? Several theorists have been postulated ideas to help address these questions.

Development Models

Holland’s Theory of Vocational Types

John Holland posed a theory that behavioral styles and personality types are the major influence in career development choice. Holland suggested 6 personality types that influence career paths: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional. For example an individual with an Investigative personality type is more likely to pursue a career in biology, dentistry, physics, medicine etc…

Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory

Albert Bandura introduced the concept of self-efficacy or a personal belief in one’s capacity to complete tasks and actions necessary to attain a goal. He further suggested that self-efficacy is derived from four sources: Personal Performance, Vicarious Experience, Verbal Persuasion and Physiological and Emotional Factors.

Bandura postulated that people with high self-efficacy have high motivational levels and consequently pursue careers they believe that they can have or develop.

Super’s Developmental Self-Concept Theory

Donald Super suggested the individual pass the five distinct stages of career development Growth, Exploration, Establishment, Maintenance and Decline. Super inferred that vocational choices are an expression of self-concept and that this understanding develops and progresses over time. People will seek careers that permit them to express themselves and further develop the self-concept.

Krumboltz’s Theory

John Krumboltz looked at unplanned events, unpredictable circumstances, chance events and environmental factors are beneficial to individuals as is indecision. Krumbultz called his theory Planned Happenstance. His model is based on Social Learning Theory. Krumboltz further suggested that managing life transitions, events and unplanned situations is an essential career management skill. He listed several factors that are helping in career management: the commitment to ongoing learning and skill development, ongoing self-assessment, assessment and feedback from others, effective networking, achieving work-life balance, financial planning to incorporate periods of unemployment.

Parsons’ Theory

Frank Parsons developed the talent-matching approach to career development. This approach later developed into the Trait and Factor Theory of Occupational Choice. Parsons suggested that individual’s optimal vocational performance occurs when an individual’s find a vocation that matches their skills, attributes and talents. He proposed seven stages to consider when helping clients negotiate career options: Personal data, Self-Analysis, Personal Choice and Decision, Counselor’s Analysis, Outlook on The Vocational Field, Induction and Advice, and General Helpfulness.

Theoretical Overlap and Personal Values

Interestingly, when examining career development theories, one might note that elements of human service theoretical models are present in some of these theories. Social Learning Theory, Developmental Theory, Integrated Theory, Bio/Psycho/Social Theory, Cognitive-Behavioral Theory, Systems Theory etc. all have offered some contributions to career development models.

Some of the theoretical models discussed in this lecture are based on societal values and belief systems concerning human potential and worth. Most of us wouldn’t pursue a career in the human service profession if we didn’t believe that the models we use are effective and consistent with our personal values. When examining theoretical models, human service workers should consider whether or not these models are compatible with their appraisal of the human spirit.

For more information on the theoretical models, read the following article.


  1. Ohler D, Levinson E. Using Holland’s Theory in Employment Counseling: Focus on Service Occupations. Journal Of Employment Counseling [serial online]. December 201

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