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The New Career Studies: Metaphor in Theory and Teaching Kerr Inkson University of Waikato ICSS, University of Reading, 22 Sept 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "The New Career Studies: Metaphor in Theory and Teaching Kerr Inkson University of Waikato ICSS, University of Reading, 22 Sept 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 The New Career Studies: Metaphor in Theory and Teaching Kerr Inkson University of Waikato ICSS, University of Reading, 22 Sept 2009

2 News about the Study of Careers The bad news –vast gaps of non-communication currently separate discipline-based approaches to theory, research and study in careers (Arthur, 2008; Collin & Patton, in press). The good news –new initiatives are being taken to begin to unite different disciplinary approaches to careers under the single banner of career studies (Arthur, 2008; Gunz & Peiperl, 2007; University of Reading, 2009) Metaphor can assist this integration

3 Birkbeck 1964 Fmj –Vg –Ps –Ot Fjm –Ws –Ed –Wcr

4 Birkbeck Fitting the Man to the Job –Vocational guidance –Personnel selection –Operator training Fitting the Job to the Man –Work study –Equipment design –Working conditions and rewards THE FIT METAPHOR

5 Problems with the 1964 Birkbeck/FIT view of careers Atheoretical Implicit sexism Directive counselling Over-rigid vocationalism Context limited to job Decision-making model of career Need to develop more sophisticated thinking

6 Aston From practice to theory: from jobs to wider contexts The functioning of organizations in their contexts and of groups and individuals within their organizations Organizations as the context for careers Mechanistic and organic organizations THE ROLE METAPHOR

7 Books from the Seventies and Eighties Gail Sheehy, Passages (1976) Daniel Levinson et al., The Seasons of a Mans Life (1978) [THE CYCLE METAPHOR] Ed Schein, Career Dynamics (1978) Peters and Waterman, In Search of Excellence (1982) [THE RESOURCE METAPHOR] Tom Peters, Thriving on Chaos (1985) [THE TURBULENCE METAPHOR] Gareth Morgan, Images of Organization (1986) [MULTIPLE METAPHORS]

8 Areas of research Career focusMetaphors: Careers as…. Organizational or boundaryless careers Journeys International careersAdventures Careers across culturesPersonal projects expressions of collective Gender in careersAgency or communion Contingent workPortfolio Career enactmentRoles and dramas – scripted or improvisational

9 Other Areas and Metaphors FocusMetaphors: Careers as … Career narrativesStories Mentoring & developmental networks Relationships Organizational career management Resources Social class, gender, values etc Inheritances


11 Career Studies Can we speak about a unified career studies? Three separate traditions in career studies, implying three client groups –Sociological (policy makers, activists) –Vocational psychological (career actors, counsellors) –Organizational (organizations, HR managers) Can we develop unified models? Importance of career studies in education –Career is a universal experience –Career is one of the most important elements in most lives –Why do we teach U/Gs management, but not self- management?

12 Moves in the Right Direction Patton and McMahon, Career Development and Systems Theory: A New Relationship, 1999 Collin & Young (eds), The Future of Career, 2000 Reardon, Lenz, Sampson & Peterson, Career Planning and Development: A comprehensive approach, Greenhaus & Callanan (eds), Encyclopaedia of Career Development, Gunz & Peiperl (eds), Handbook of Career Studies, 2007 Inkson, Understanding Careers, Arthur, Examining contemporary careers: A call for interdisciplinary inquiry, Human Relations, Collin & Patton (eds), Vocational psychological and organisational perspectives on career: Towards a multidisciplinary dialogue. In press.

13 A careers studies dream Undergraduate career studies course available to, and taken by, students from any discipline Postgraduate career studies courses available to graduates in psychology, education, counselling and business

14 Possible features of a career studies curriculum Comprehensive Interdisciplinary Case study supported Personal Self-analytical (?) Utilizing contemporary media etc

15 Elements in a Career Studies Syllabus The context of careers –Economic, labour market, technological, institutional, social etc –Career landscapes and boundaries, e.g. professional, organizational, industry, geographical, psychological, gender, etc. –Work-nonwork interface and balance Adult development and life-cycle Psychology of individual differences –Abilities, aptitudes, personality, interests etc –Relationship to work roles and occupations Career decision making Work-role transitions Career structures and types –Occupational, organizational, boundaryless etc Career success – objective and subjective Careers and organizations, including HRM Careers and networks Career practice – planning, improvisation and action

16 Chapters in Understanding Careers Chapter 1: Careers and metaphors Chapter 2: Careers as inheritances Chapter 3: Careers as cycles Chapter 4: Careers as action Chapter 5: Careers as fit Chapter 6: Careers as journeys Chapter 7: Careers as roles Chapter 8: Careers as relationships Chapter 9: Careers as resources Chapter 10: Careers as stories Chapter 11: Careers in practice Chapter 12: Career counselling and metaphor

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