Who am I?
Opportunity, choice, socialization
and transition
Kate Mackenzie Davey, Birkbeck, University of London
[email protected]
Identity and work
How did I come to be in this job?
How was I socialised into this occupation?
How is my work viewed by others?
Where do I go from here?
Self concepts and occupations
• Vocation: Identification with a specific occupation
• Experience: knowledge or awareness of occupations, possibly
by chance
• Rational decision making: awareness of possession of
appropriate assets:
• Both developmental and differential
• Implement self concept
• Development and choice combined in career adaptability
(Savickas, 2005)
Rational occupational choice
• Person-environment fit
(Parsons, 1909)
– People are different
– Jobs are different
– By studying both we can get a good match between the two
• Two groups of attributes
– Rewards sought and satisfaction offered
– Individual ability and job demands
• Evidence suggests better fit leads to higher well
being (Tinsley, 2000)
• However, not all careers are equally rewarding or desirable
Influence of early socialization
• Socialised early within family
– self concept, identity
– expectations, feedback, support, modelling, information
• Opportunity structure limits occupational choice
– Structural and social class influences
(Roberts, 1977)
• Need to acknowledge both psychological, cultural and
structural forces
• Occupation choice embedded in social context and
individual identity: reinforcing
Joining work:
Initial preparation and
• Socialization (Willis, 1977)
• Contract negotiation (Herriot, 1987)
• Climate of mutual selling (Schein, 1978)
• Realistic previews (Wanous, 1977)
• Reality shock (Hughes, 1958)
• Change, contrast, surprise (Louis, 1981)
Initial work socialization is influential. How far does this
apply to job change?
Work Socialization tactics
Which of these apply to Medical training?
• Collective or individual
• Formal or informal
• Sequential or random
• Fixed or variable
• Serial or disjunctive
• Investiture or divestiture
Institutionalised or
individualised socialization?
Institutionalised leads to
• Passive acceptance of pre-set roles
• Reproduces the status quo
• Reduces uncertainty
• Reduced role ambiguity
• Reduced role conflict
• Lower intention to quit
• Increased fit to job and organization
• Increased job satisfaction, commitment, performance
• Custodial approach to role
• Reduced innovation
How to maintain security and increase innovation?
1986, Saks et al 2007)
Psychological contract
• “an employee’s subjective understanding of
promissory-based reciprocal exchanges between him
and herself and the organization” (Conway & Briner, 2005, p.35)
• Negotiations of development in exchange for
capability, loyalty and flexibility (Rousseau, 1995; Herriot &
Pemberton, 1996)
Types of contract
Hybrid or balanced: (Dabos & Rousseau, 2004)
Idiosyncratic (I-deals) (Greenberg, Roberge, Ho & Rousseau, 2004)
Issues of fulfillment, breach and violation
Tendency for employers to offer transaction and
expect relational (Ho, Ang & Straub, 2003)
Desirable aspects of work
Environmental clarity and feedback
Level of pay
Job security
Externally generated goals
Interpersonal contact
Opportunity for skill use
Opportunity for control
Valued social position
• How does being a doctor score here? Relative to what?
Career anchors
• Self perceived
– Talents and abilities
– Motives and needs
– Attitudes and values
• Developed through early
interactions in work
• Constrain career decisions
(Schein, 1978)
• Technical-functional
• Managerial competence
• Autonomy/independence
• Security/stability
• Entrepreneurial creativity
• Service/dedication
• Pure challenge
• Lifestyle
Continuity and change
Focus on stability and continuity
Links to maintaining identity and stable self concept (Sugarman, 2001)
External continuity: familiar environment, activity, people. Pressure to
maintain career and construct cv accordingly
Internal continuity: maintenance of sense of identity: our awareness of
consistent structure of ‘ideas, temperament, affect, experiences,
preferences, dispositions, skills (Atchley,1989)
Career embeddedness (Cooper & Mackenzie Davey, 2011)
Change seen as
• Positive development or growth
• Response to changing context
• in line with capacity to cope (Atchley,1989) or as threatening
• Emplotment (Cochran, 1997) “a comforting story we tell ourselves”
Nicholson & West (1988)
Career wellbeing
Career mobility but not job loss, poor adjustment
Relationships: feedback, support, recognition
Autonomy and power
Effective performance and challenge, not boredom
Sense of purpose
Developing or prospect of new skills
Work life issues (see Gibson & Borges 2009; Hoff et al 2002,on physicians)
Career success Subjective and objective (Ng, Eby et al, 2005)
How does your job score?
Why change?
• Ambition, need for achievement or challenge
• Individual growth and development (or avoiding
boredom, plateau)
• Social timetable: Convention of career ladder
• Organizational or occupational change
• Social trends
– Quality of life
– Managing dual careers/caring for family
– Migration
– Employability
Development and
“… satisfaction with development and career management reduces
turnover and promotes loyalty and commitment towards the employing
organization (Arnold & Mackenzie Davey, 1999; Sturges & Guest,
2001)” Zaleska & de Menezes 2007:1007
Organizational commitment: Job challenge, self motivation, internal
training, coaching not secondments and external training? but
changing over time
Dissatisfaction: Job insecurity lack of career prospects
Organizations not offering cross functional, inter-organizational
opportunities or employability
Job challenge
Changes in organizations, in
careers and in public policy
Delayering –downsizing
Devolution- decentralizing
Psychological contracts
Multiskilling and flexibility
Boundaryless- new boundaries
Unemployment, education, legislation…
Boundaryless careers
• “A range of possible forms that defies traditional employment
assumptions” (Arthur & Rousseau, 1996:3)
– Portable skills and marketability
– Job rotation, networking
– Self management, entrepreneurial
– Developmental not vertical
– Mobile, flexible
– Shift in commitment? (Sparrow, 1996; Hechsler)
– Involuntary
– New boundaries? (King et al)
Work role transitions
• Any move into and/or out of a job, any move between jobs, or
any major alteration in the content of work duties and activities
(Nicholson & West, 1988)
Transition stages
Hayes et al 1976
Letting go
This is based on studies of bereavement.
Is it appropriate for all work transitions?
Transition cycle
(Nicholson 1987)
Encounter II
Sense making
Stabilisation IV
Adjustment III
Personal change
Role innovation
Transition cycle
Nicholson 1987
• Preparation
– Self appraisal, make contact, Realistic preview
– Problem: unrealistic expectations, fear
• Encounter:
– Coping, sensemaking,
– Problems: shock, regret, rejection
• Adjustment:
– personal change, role innovation, developing relationships
– Problem: misfit
• Stabilization:
– Commitment, effectiveness
– Boredom, stagnation, plateau
Identity transitions
• Maintaining stability while negotiating change.
– From a to A
– from A to B
– From A to z
– From A to Ab
– Or even from A to a
• Risks of changes from
– Role ambiguity
– Role overload
– Role conflict
Your transitions
• Identify the key transitions you have experienced. To
what extent
– Did you change the tasks?
– Did you change the role?
– Did you change or develop?
• Identify transitions you are likely to encounter in your
future careers.
– What challenges do you anticipate?
– What support is available
• From the organization
• Elsewhere