Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

Career Techniques and Interventions: Themes from an International Conversation

Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

Career Techniques and Interventions: Themes from an International Conversation

Article excerpt

The need for appropriate, timely, and increasingly comprehensive career development and education programs continues to escalate. It is interesting that despite the differences in cultures, religions, economies, political systems, and education structures, many countries face similar challenges when designing and implementing career development programs. Sharing and adapting career development interventions and techniques cross-culturally appear to be viable strategies for implementing or enhancing programs, provided the concepts and materials are tailored to the countries' unique requirements.

Across the world, a large number of career development and education interventions have received wide recognition and been adapted for use by a number of countries. According to research and anecdotal data, many of the adaptation results have proven effective. Others, however, have fallen short of their intended outcomes, apparently because of a variety of factors; however, interest in adapting theories, programs, and materials for use beyond the environments for which they were designed remains high.

Consequently, part of the symposium International Perspectives on Career Development was dedicated to understanding, on a deeper level, the factors that influence cross-cultural and cross-national intervention adaptations. Group 3, one of seven small groups charged with specific symposium tasks, explored issues around career development techniques and interventions. Encouraging input from international specialists in the field of career development, this cross-cultural, cross-national group focused on the following questions:

* Can career intervention techniques be used cross-culturally?

* What are the considerations in applying career intervention techniques cross-culturally?

* What are the difficulties in adapting career intervention techniques for cross-cultural use?

This article is a synopsis of Group 3's findings. Using the key points of each of the presented papers and ensuing group discussions, we examine the three questions that guided Group 3, identify common themes and findings, and present the group's conclusions. The article ends with suggestions for further discussion and research.

Question 1: Can Career Intervention Techniques Be Used Cross-Culturally?

Evidence supports the contention that several career intervention techniques are being used cross-culturally. In fact, it appears that many countries share similar types of relatively sophisticated career development and planning programs. In his paper, George Richard (2004) reviewed international literature for exemplary career planning programs and, in the process, found several commonalities across countries. Using metaanalyses conducted in multiple countries, he noted five specific intervention components that significantly contributed to effect-size variability:

* Written exercises such as keeping journals, diaries and logs; and using workbooks

* Direct, individually focused interpretations of self-appraisal information, career planning activities, and decision-making strategies

* Practical, up-to-date career and occupational information

* Modeling and exposing clients to individuals who have attained success in career decision-making, and who demonstrate the process of career exploration, decision making, and implementation

* Helping clients build networks of people (including family members and others in the client's social network) who are supportive and facultative of their career choices and plans, and help reduce the effects of perceived barriers and environmental influences (p. 2)

Richard (2004) categorized his multinational, cross-cultural findings into three main areas-(a) content, (b) process and method of delivery, and (c) infrastructure of career planning and development programs-and noted their combined importance in successful client outcomes.

* Content: Content elements focus on clients achieving important career development competencies, such as self-appraisal, self-management, and employability skills. …

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