Decision Making in the Workplace: A Unified Perspective

By Lee Roy Beach | Go to book overview

the way they see themselves. It is often important to help people understand that there is more to who they are than what they do to earn a living. Revising the self-concept may also require values clarification: What tradeoffs between different underlying principles, values, and beliefs can be made? For example, Chris may need to decide whether it is more important to find new challenges in the same organization (but at the same level) or to find another job (possibly in management) at a new organization. As the self- concept and values become clearer, it also becomes easier to revise one's vision of the future and identify a new set of career goals.

As decision makers clarify their self-concepts and career goals, they must simultaneously construct a new decision frame. In some cases, the process must begin by convincing the person that the old frame can no longer work. In the example at the beginning of the chapter, the uncle must realize that his standards for evaluating options are inappropriate; he cannot expect to find a comparable job at similar pay and remain in the same location. In counseling people who are in this situation, it may be necessary to suggest new ways of interpreting the situation and to help them test the interpretations they develop.

Finally, the development of plans and tactics to implement new career goals represents a culmination of efforts to determine a new direction. The decisions involved at this stage include determining whether previous plans and tactics apply to the new direction one is taking. It may also be necessary to assist decision makers in visualizing themselves implementing new plans and tactics. Especially in the case of job loss, low self-confidence can inhibit the tendency to risk rejection or persist in the face of obstacles. Again, training in self-management principles can be effective in prompting people to make progress.


CONCLUSIONS

In summary, image theory provides a useful framework for understanding how people make career-related decisions. First, it is consistent with existing occupational choice and vocational development theories, thereby helping to integrate the insights from all three literatures. Second, image theory describes where and why people experience difficulty when making career-related decisions. This leads to the suggestion of several unconventional but promising intervention strategies, such as visualization techniques, training in scenario construction processes, and self-management principles.

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