Academic journal article College Student Journal

Sport Management Career Decision-Making Self-Efficacy

Academic journal article College Student Journal

Sport Management Career Decision-Making Self-Efficacy

Article excerpt

The field of vocational psychology has taken a strong interest in Bandura's (1997) self-efficacy theory for over two decades. An abundance of educational research suggests self-efficacy is a critical component in predicting higher levels of academic performance and career achievements (Betz, Hammond, & Multon, 2005). A large portion of this research has involved undergraduate students within specific areas of interest. Given that admission requirements have continued to increase and competition among college students applying to certain academic programs has become fierce, students are prone to feel pressured to commit to specific degree programs earlier in their lives. Some researchers have studied factors that help predict and facilitate the career identity development process for college students (Conklin, Dan ling, & Garcia, 2013; Paulsen & Betz, 2004) and may influence career decision-making self-efficacy (CDSE) (Betz et al., 2005). Aligned with Bandura's (1997) self-efficacy theory that is predicated on belief in one's abilities to successfully perform selected task behaviors impacting decision-making behaviors and motivations, CDSE has been defined as when individuals believe they can successfully complete tasks associated with career decisions (Taylor & Betz, 1983).

Students who make career decisions earlier have more opportunities to maximize their overall educational experiences and career readiness, such as through internships or other targeted learning opportunities. By examining a single fundamentals of sport management course, this study seeks to identify variables related to different CDSE levels of students. This information will not only identify the utility of one course for enhancement of CDSE, but it also will offer insights into how professors, administrators, and career counselors can better assist the career-related needs of undergraduate students interested in sport management.

A complicating factor, however, is career indecision or identity foreclosure, which has been strongly associated with identity confusion and heightened anxiety among college students (Gianakos, 2001; Isik. 2012). When students lack confidence in their abilities to be successful or feel anxiety about committing to lifelong career choices while emerging as adults, their self-efficacy may diminish (Conklin et al., 2013). Also, some college athletes by focusing singularly on becoming professionals may never consider other career options (Murphy, Petitpas, & Brewer, 1996).

Gaining accurate information about career ambitions and preferences minimizes the probability of identity foreclosure and facilitates the vocational identity maturation process. Gianakos (2001) suggests CDSE is strongly related to overall perceptions of self-efficacy and self-esteem. Our study is designed to explore the potential factors associated with CDSE and the vocational identity development process for undergraduate students majoring in sport management. By assessing constructs such as career decision-making self-efficacy, personality characteristics, vocational identity, hope, athletic identity status, and academic performance with comparisons by age, sex, ethnicity, athlete status in high and college, cumulative grade point average, and final course grade, this study will provide insights about how institutions of higher education might better serve the career needs of undergraduate students interested in majoring in sport management.

Review of Literature

The basic motivational and psychological processes guiding student preferences and career decision-making behaviors in Bandura's (1997) theory of self-efficacy informed this study. We seek to build upon the latest self-efficacy empirical research by examining relationships between CDSE and other relevant career development factors. A large portion of educational research suggests a need for longitudinal studies incorporating larger samples of college students from different educational grades, stages of career development, and areas of study (Isik, 2012). …

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