Evaluating a Metacognitive and Planned Happenstance Career Training Course for Taiwanese College Students

By Chien, Ju-Chun; Fischer, Jerome M. et al. | Journal of Employment Counseling, December 2006 | Go to article overview

Evaluating a Metacognitive and Planned Happenstance Career Training Course for Taiwanese College Students


Chien, Ju-Chun, Fischer, Jerome M., Biller, Ernest, Journal of Employment Counseling


This study used a pretest-posttest, nonequivalent control group, quasi-experimental design to examine the effectiveness of a 12-week, metacognitive and planned happenstance career training course for Taiwanese college students. The treatment groups significantly increased their career competencies in metacognitive, cognitive, affective, and behavioral dimensions over the comparison and nonequivalent control groups.

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Because of technological advances, people are now progressing from the late industrial era to a new informational era (Stage & Dean, 2000). Although high technology makes lives more convenient than ever before, living in the information age inevitably brings turbulence and uncertainty. To help individuals form better career paths and lead meaningful lives in the 21st century, career practitioners and theorists are developing and refining effective career-related interventions to improve people's career decision-making competencies (Griffin & Hesketh, 2003; Spokane, Fouad, & Swanson, 2003).

Research has clearly demonstrated positive outcomes for career interventions (Thomas & McDaniel, 2004; Tinsley, Tinsley, & Rushing, 2002; Vernick, Reardon, & Sampson, 2004; Wessel, Christian, & Hoff, 2003; Whiston, Brecheisen, & Stephens, 2003). Career-related interventions have become increasingly common and successful. On the other hand, some career researchers and/or practitioners have proposed that career decision making and development might not be linear and further postulated the importance of investigating the impact of chance events on an individual's career path (Betsworth & Hanson, 1996; Cabral & Salomone, 1990; Krumbohz & Levin, 2004; Magnuson, Wilcoxon, & Norem, 2003; Mitchell, Levin, & Krumboltz, 1999; Pelsma & Arnett, 2002; Pryor & Bright, 2003; Scott & Hatalla, 1990; E. N. Williams et al., 1998). However, an examination of the literature on the impact of chance events demonstrates that many career-related interventions do not seem to rise above the conceptual level. Few articles have investigated implementing planned chance as a factor in career development (Betsworth & Hanson, 1996; Hart, Rayner, & Christensen, 1971; Scott & Hatalla, 1990; E. N. Williams et al., 1998). Furthermore, none of these researchers evaluated how to optimize the benefit of using chance events to enhance people's career capabilities in a career development training course.

HAPPENSTANCE THEORY

Nevertheless, in their planned happenstance theory, Mitchell et al. (1999) proposed that because of the rapid shifts in the world of work, chance events should no longer be ignored in the process of career counseling; on the contrary, both clients and career counselors should regard the chance factor as inevitable and desirable. More important, Mitchell et al. highlighted the need to help clients capitalize on chance events to broaden their career potential. The purpose of planned happenstance theory was to "assist clients to generate, recognize, and incorporate chance events into their career development" (Mitchell et al., 1999, p. 117). Specifically, this theory initially emphasized the importance of understanding an individual's personal experiences. In addition, it detailed ways for the individual to frame events as meaningful learning opportunities, engage in self-encouragement, use cognitive restructuring, and capitalize on positive chance events. In this manner, people could broaden their visions and take positive actions toward an unforeseen future. This might prepare them to overcome career obstacles and attain their desired career goals. In other words, in comparison with other chance approaches, the planned happenstance theory not only takes into account the chance factor in career development but also provides a series of guidelines for clients to use in taking constructive action and creating opportunities for achieving personal goals. …

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