Career Development

Career DevelopmentThe “Career Development” section classifies related topics into 10 themes: (1) theoretical perspectives on careers; (2) the social context of careers, including the contemporary workplace; cultural and international perspectives; ethnicity, gender, and diversity; organizational environment; social class and background; and work-life interface; (3) the evolution and development of careers; (4) decision-making and career development; (5) variations in career patterns and career success; (6) career development initiatives; (7) legislative and regulatory mandates; (8) assessment areas and techniques; (9) job search and organizational recruiting; and (10) professional associations. Some topics appear in more than one category.

Sweeping changes in the nature of work, shifts in the meaning of career success, the rise of global business and international careers, heightened concerns over social influences on careers, and emerging labor laws and regulations influence the ways in which individuals, organizations, and the broader society view career development.

When a person hears the term career development, several different perspectives may come to mind. For example, some people might be inclined to view career development strictly in personal terms, being more concerned with their own achievement and success. Others might view career development in terms of organizational programs or practices that assist employees in managing their careers. Still others could see career development from a work-life integration perspective or from a legal or societal viewpoint. Of course, there are many other vantage points from which career development can be seen.

Because of this wide variation in lenses through which career development can be viewed, the Career Development section has a multidisciplinary focus that represents psychological, sociological, educational, counseling, organizational behavior, and human resource management perspectives on career development issues. It collectively captures 10 significant career-development themes or perspectives, each of which is briefly described below:

1. Theoretical Perspectives on Careers

The theoretical perspectives on careers theme represents a variety of major theories and conceptual frameworks relevant to career development. Providing an excellent foundation for understanding career development, entries that reflect this theme include:

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2. The Social Context of Careers

The social context of careers theme recognizes that career development takes place in the larger society. Many entries reflect the social context by considering the characteristics of the contemporary workplace; culture and international perspectives; ethnicity, gender, and diversity; the organizational environment; social class and background; and the work-life interface. Entries that reflect this theme include:

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3. The Evolution and Development of Careers

The evolution of careers theme recognizes that careers unfold over time. In this sense, career development can be viewed as a series of stages, patterns, and transitions. Entries that reflect this theme include:

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4. Decision-Making and Career Development

The decision-making theme emphasizes the decisions and choices that individuals make throughout their lifetimes. These decisions are often evaluated in terms of whether they produce a fit or consistency between the individual and the environment within which that person works. The section includes entries that highlight decision-making tasks and issues from a variety of vantage points, such as:

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5. Variations in Career Patterns and Career Success

Variations in career patterns and career success are the norm rather than the exception in contemporary society. Individuals are more likely than ever to follow their own values rather than those prescribed by society, as the entries on the Boundaryless Career and the Protean Career richly illustrate. Other entries that reflect individual variations in the meaning and pursuit of a career include:

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6. Career Development Initiatives

Career development initiatives are programs and practices that employers, counselors, universities, and society provide to promote successful career decision making and the effective development of students’ and employees’ careers. Entries representative of this theme include:

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7. Legislative and Regulatory Mandates

Legislative and regulatory mandates are various legislative, regulatory, judicial, and labor relations decrees and mandates that influence career development and decision making from both an individual and an organizational perspective. A number of entries reflect this theme, including:

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8. Assessment Areas and Techniques

Assessment areas and techniques include the personal characteristics that influence career development as well as the instruments that assess these characteristics. Representative entries that reflect this theme include:

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9. Job Search and Organizational Recruiting

Job search and organizational recruiting represent, respectively, the processes by which individuals select organizations and organizations select individuals. The job-search process is the focus of entries such as:

Among the entries that center on organizational recruiting are:

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10. Professional Associations

Information on professional associations can be useful to readers who want to explore educational or other developmental opportunities in different fields. Entries describing associations are:

Career DevelopmentA number of features embodied within the articles of Career Development section make it a user-friendly reference tool. First, at the end of each article, the “Further Readings and References” section provides the reader with additional sources of information on the particular topic. These added references primarily represent either seminal works on the topic or the current research.

Another important feature at the end of each entry are “See also” listings, which provide cross-references to other associated articles. This information is especially useful for students doing research because it provides linkages with other topics that they might wish to consult to broaden their research.

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