International Collaboration in Translating Career Theory to Practice

Article excerpt

This article describes an effort to apply a theoretical perspective developed in one country (the United States) to cope with increasing demand for career services and limited funding in another.country (the United Kingdom) faced with similar increasing demands for cost-effective service delivery. The authors hope that the experience gained in the transnational application of theory to practice they present can be replicated in other countries using other theoretical perspectives. This article describes the process used in one transnational career theory adaptation project and discusses implications for transnational adaptations of career theory across countries.

Various models of career guidance have evolved in different countries (Herr & Cramer, 1996; Watts, Guichard, Plant, & Rodriguez, 1993). While career guidance practice varies among countries because of dif fering stages of economic development, political systems, social and cultural factors, and educational and employment systems (Watts,1996), economic and labor market forces in the information age are exerting similar influences among countries on the design of guidance services. Individuals in a global economy are faced with a need to make multiple career choices over a lifetime. To meet this need, career services are required to review their concepts and methods to provide for lifetime customers in flexible labor markets as opposed to focusing on initial school-to-work transitions (Hush, Kidd, & Watts, 1998). Career guidance practitioners are coping with increasing demand for services while the public funding available for such services remains relatively constant as a result of limitations in government revenues. This means that practitioners and policy makers must use scarce public resources more effectively (Sampson, Palmer, & Watts, 1999). One strategy for coping with these challenges is to evaluate cost-effective career guidance strategies developed in one country for possible application in other countries facing similar challenges.

This article describes an effort to apply a theoretical perspective developed in the United States (U.S.) to cope with increasing demand for services and limited funding in the United Kingdom (U.K.), which is faced with similar increasing demands for cost-effective service delivery. It is hoped that the experience gained in the transnational application of theory to practice presented in this article can be replicated in other countries using other theoretical perspectives. This article describes the process used in one transnational career theory adaptation project and concludes with implications for transnational adaptation of career theory across countries.

A TRANSNATIONAL PROJECT TO ADAPT CAREER THEORY TO IMPROVE PRACTICE

This section describes a five-step model for transnational application of career theory to practice: (1) developing and applying theoretical principles, (2) disseminating theoretical principles, (3) adapting and applying theoretical principles in a different national context, (4) field testing adapted theoretical principles, and (5) promoting critical review and potential adaptation of theoretical principles.

Developing and Applying Theoretical Principles

Since 1971, an approach to career services delivery has evolved at Florida State University from the interaction between theory, practice, and research. This approach (the cognitive information processing [CIP] approach) applies CIP theory to the process of career problem solving and decision making (Peterson, Sampson, & Reardon, 1991; Peterson, Sampson, Reardon, & Lenz, 1996; Sampson, Lenz, Reardon, & Peterson, 1999; Sampson, Peterson, Lenz, & Reardon, 1992; Sampson, Peterson, Reardon, & Lenz, in press). The CIP approach also builds on the self-directed career service delivery strategies developed at Florida State University (Reardon,1996; Reardon & Minor, 1975). The first core construct in the CIP approach is the pyramid of information processing domains (the content of career problem solving and decision making involving self knowledge, occupational knowledge, decision-making skills, and metacognitions). …