Self-concept Theory of Career Development 2020

Self-concept Theory of Career Development 2020
Self-concept Theory of Career Development 2020

Self-concept Theory of Career Development 2020

Self-concept Theory of Career Development 2020


Guidance is the process of helping individuals to understand themselves and their world. Therefore guidance is aimed at assisting an individual to understand himself or herself and his or her world better and thus be better equipped to solve life problems (Okeke, 1996).

Career guidance; refers to services and activities intended to assist individuals, of any age and at any point throughout their life, to make educational, training and occupational choices and to manage their career (

Self-concept; is a driving force that establishes a career pattern one will follow throughout life).Self concept tends to be malleable when people are younger and still going through the process of self discovery and identify formation. Also it is seemed as the image that we have ourselves.

How exactly does this self image forms and change over time?. This image develops in a number of ways but is particularly influenced by our interactions with important people in our lives. Also self-concept is essentially a mental picture of who you are as a person. For example, belief such that “I am a good friend or I am a kind person” is part of an overall self- concept. As people become aged, self perceptions becomes much more detailed and organized as people form a better idea of who they are and what is important to them (Zunker, 1990).

Career development; is the lifelong process of managing learning, work, leisure, and transitions in order to move toward a personally determine and involving preferred future. It is also a pro active planning and implementation of action steps toward the one’s career goals.

Aspect of self-concept theory.

The self-concept theory holds many assumptions about our personal judgment toward us. Here are some of them;
Self-concept is learned;
One of the very basic assumptions of this theory is that no person is born with a self-concept. Self-concept is believed to develop as a person grows old.

This means that our perception toward us can be shaped and can be altered and can also be affected by environmental factors. In this sense, self-concept is actually a product of socialization and development. A person may have a perception of him or herself different from what other people think of him or herself. For example an individual feels that he or she is generous while others see him or her as a selfish person.

Self-concept is organized;

A person may have numerous views of him or herself. He or she may think that is kind, patient, loving and caring, or selfish, cruel, rude and stubborn; no matter how many different perceptions you have on yourself, still there is one that facilitates all of these insights causing one organized self concept.

When a person believes something that is fitting to his or her self-concept, it is more likely that he would resist changing that belief. He or she tends to stick to his or her present view of him or herself for quite long time, and changing this perception of his or herself may take too long but change is feasible.

Self-concept is dynamic;

As a person faces different situations and new challenges in his or her life, his or her insight towards him or herself may constantly change depending on the way he or she responds to such life changes. We see things depending on our self concept. We behave according to how we see ourselves in a situation.

Therefore, self-concept is continuous development where in we tend to let go of the things and ideas, that are not congruent to yourself concept and we hold on to those that we think are helpful in building a more favorable perception of our personal existence.

According to Super, Self-concept formation depends on the ability of an individual to recognize him or herself as a distinctive individual and at the same time to be aware of the similarities between him or herself and others.
Super identified knowledge of oneself as crucial in making adequate and wise decision.

As the individual matures, tests him or herself in many ways, most of which have implications for educational and vocational decisions .Super sees career choice as developmental in nature and thus focuses on how an individual goes through the entire process of a vocational choice making rather than just the one time decision of engaging in an occupation(Okeke ,1996).

In other words, a career choice is a continuous process that goes on throughout one’s life time .Therefore; he identified five (5) stages of career development;


Super has made many contributions to the study of vocational behavior including his formalization of developmental stages. Super considered self–concept as the vital force that establishes a career pattern one will follow throughout life (Zunker, 1990).

Super sees career development as a process occurring in broad sequential stages. Each of stage is further divided into small stages attached to each stage is vocational developmental task which a given child is expected to accomplish by his society. These stages are discussed as follows:

1. Growth stage (Birth-14 years).

Is the period when the individual identifies with key figures in the family and in the school. The individual equally gets feedback from them and develops self concepts, a factor which Super identified as a very crucial in making adequate and wise decision. This stage is further divided into sub-stages as follows:-

The pre vocational stage (Birth-3 years): The pre vocational stage or level is when the individual has no interest or concern for vocational or educational choice.
The interest stage (11-12): At the interest stage, the individual vocational thought is based on the individual likes and dislikes.

For instance, the exponents of this approach post that, a child’s biological endowment in terms of personality traits are transmitted to him in form of genetic inheritance and that, if the child inherits high intelligence from both parents.

The child is bound to have high intelligence but on the other hand, the reverse becomes the case, the tendency is that; the child might be mentally retarded.

These skills are important as they equip the individual for tasks, like knowing how to set goals, gathering information, implementing and evaluating set goals .During the capacity stage emphasis is on the ability and job required by an individual.

The fantasy stage (13-14): The fantasy stage is when the individual focuses on needs, role playing as important factors to concentrate on.

2. Exploration stage (15-24 years)

During this broad stage, choice of occupation is made tentatively. The individual apart from carrying out a general exploration about work done in school, leisure activities and part time work also examines him or herself. This stage has sub-stages and these sub stages include:-

Tentative stage (15-17 years); the stage of tentative needs interest, values and opportunities are used tentatively in making occupational decision.

Transition stage (18-21); during this stage the individual attempt to implement self concept in career choice. At tentative stage, reality consideration is the basis for vocational thought.
Trial stage (22-24 years); during this stage the individual enters his first trial job after he or she has made an initial vocational commitment.

3. Establishment stage (25-44 years).

This is the third broad stage, the individual having forms of an appropriate field and makes effort at this stage to enter a permanent occupation .This stage has sub-stages as follows:-
Trial stage (25-30 years); this stage faces the individual with changes in occupation as a result of unsatisfactory choices.
The stabilization stage (31-44 years); the stage of stabilization mark a period of stable work in a given occupational field.

4. Maintenance stage (45-65 years)

The individual at this stage has secured a place in the World of work. They may be little new ground broken but the individual concern is to Continue and hold this chosen occupation.

5. Decline stage (65-Death years)

This is the fifth and final stage, the mental and physical powers of the individual begin to decline. During this stage, work activity changes . This stage has two sub-stages, these are:-

Deceleration stage (65-70 years); at this stage the pace work slows down and other vocational activity may come in.
Retirement stage (71years and above), at this stage the individual is brought face to face with cessation of vocational activity.

Because of the factors of individual differences and the fact that the rate and degree of maturing in the tasks of the stage are also different, not all individuals follow the sequences as closely as described (Okeke, 1996).

The diagram below shows development of self-concept as explained by Super who shows the self-concept changes over time and development as a result of experience (


Generally, self- concept is a product of complex interactions among a number of factors, including physical and mental growth, personal experiences, and environmental characteristics and stimulation. The implementation of one’s interests, values, and skills in a work role is instrumental to vocational career choice and development is essentially a process of developing and implementing a person’s choice.

However, there are cultural variations in the importance of self in decision-making. In some cultures important life decisions such as career choices are also subjected to considerations that are familial and collective in nature. In order to maximize self- fulfillment and social approval, one has to negotiate with the environment to locate the most acceptable solutions and option.

Consequently, career choice and development is not a linear process of self-concept implementation, but a process of negotiations and compromises in which both the self and one’s environment have to be consulted. The concept of life role can also be useful in understanding the cultural dynamics involved in the career choice process.

Self-concept Theory of Career Development 2020
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Self-concept Theory of Career Development 2020
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