Academic journal article SA Journal of Industrial Psychology

Archetypal Values of Science and Engineering Staff in Relation to Their Career Orientations

Academic journal article SA Journal of Industrial Psychology

Archetypal Values of Science and Engineering Staff in Relation to Their Career Orientations

Article excerpt


Key focus of the study

Interest in the nature of careers has escalated in recent times, driven by the need of researchers and career counsellors to understand and define the 21st century career (Hess & Jepsen, 2009). The importance of careers has also increased as the world has become more global, complex, uncertain, diverse and individualistic (Gunz & Peiperl, 2007). Individuals are increasingly required to manage their own careers and take personal responsibility for learning and adapting to the context of their careers (Fugate, Kinicki & Ashforth, 2004). Individuals are required to become proactive career agents in their pursuit to create meaningful lives and careers for themselves in a world characterised by chaotic uncertainty (Schreuder & Coetzee, 2011).

These demands on the individuals have led to a renewed interest in the motivations and driving forces patterning individuals' career development over time (Maree, 2010). In agreement with this, Maree (2010) and Savickas et al. (2009) state that the attention given to understanding the values and motives underlying the individuals' career decisions and choices, is a prominent focus in post modern career counselling and guidance practices today. In the light of the foregoing trends, this research sets out to determine the relationship between two constructs that form part of the foregoing trends in individual career decision making and career counselling, namely archetypal values and career orientations.

Background to the study

Research suggests that in the pursuit of creating meaningful lives and careers, individuals are looking at careers from a different perspective and tend to be motivated more by self-interest.

This self-interest is in their personal lives, and subjective experiences relating to their careers, rather than their organisational survival and organisational accumulation of wealth (Inkson & Arthur, 2001; Savickas, 2005). People seem to use their internal values, goals, and desires to guide their evaluations of their actions and career decisions in the construction of their careers (Schreuder & Coetzee, 2011; Schwartz, 1999). In constructing a career, individuals engage in an ongoing process of adaptation to enhance the match between self and situation and to better realise their self-concept in work (Hartung, 2007). The values driving career decision-making constitute the major ingredient in personal career development (Miller & Miller, 2005), and counsellors need to understand the values that underlie the individuals' career motives and orientations in order to provide meaningful guidance. As diversity in workplaces has become a key characteristic of the contemporary organisation, career counsellors are also increasingly required to facilitate personal career development for clients from different backgrounds and in different stages of life (Coetzee & Roythorne-Jacobs, 2012).

Research further recognises that the individuals' personal perspectives provide the framework for career development. In this personal perspective careers, are only one of several aspects of personal development for the individual (Tams & Arthur, 2010). Individuals' dominant life themes and career orientations represent some of the core values driving their personal and career development (Wrzesniewski, 2002). Savickas (2005) argues that the individuals' personal life stories are used as a carrier of meaning (or holding space), during times of transition, to facilitate continuity in a chaotic and fragmented world. In a post-modern society, the focus of career counselling has, therefore, shifted to helping clients give meaning and purpose to their vocations in life. This is achieved by guiding them to reflect on the motivations and driving forces that pattern their dominant life themes and orientations during the various stages of their personal life journeys (Savickas, 2005).

Carol Pearson's (1991) archetypal hero's journey provides a framework for insight into the journey of long-term personal development within the careers context. …

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