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Social Cognitive Career Theory

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Jill Zinto

on 25 June 2015

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Transcript of Social Cognitive Career Theory

Reevaluate and modify efficacy beliefs

Identify foreclosed options

Identify barriers and supports
Strengths & Limitations
Can be easily combined and adapted with other career theories.
Acknowledges that career choice can be affected by premature foreclosure of certain career paths because of faulty beliefs, environmental and societal factors, and general career goal setting issues.
Allows clients to revisit careers that they may have eliminated before because of faulty beliefs.
Understand client concerns in counseling:
a) Making initial career choices
b) Voluntary career changes
c) Unexpected events (Involuntary job loss)
d) Emotional and social reactions
Theory Overview
Concepts introduced in 1981 by Nacy Betz and Gail Hackett, but published in 1994 by Robert Lent, Stephen Brown, and Gail Hackett

Theory focuses on how people make their career decisions- cognitive processes concerning career choice

Derived from Albert Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory
Social Cognitive Career Theory

Major Tenets
1)Help clients explore options and identify those options that they have foreclosed because they have unrealistic or faulty self-efficacy beliefs or outcome expectations.

2) Identify and evaluate barriers to, and supports for, various career choices, particularly barriers that may have led clients to eliminate a career possibility prematurely from consideration.

3) Help clients modify and counteract faulty efficacy beliefs and faulty occupational information.
- Help clients create opportunities to experience successful performance accomplishments

-Help them further reanalyze previous experiences that led to their conclusions of not doing well

Approaches to Counseling
Approaches cont.
Help clients analyze which of their efficacy beliefs are still operating and help them identify methods to change/modify those beliefs

Help them identify barriers and supports to implementing career options

Help clients identify a particular choice goal that they will likely implement
Presented by: Hillary Bowden, Shannon De Ycaza, Jill Zinto
(Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2009; Swanson & Fouad, 2015)
Social Cognitive Theory
Self-efficacy- an individual's belief on whether or not he/she can complete a particular task successfully

Self-efficacy is formed from 4 sources:
1) Previous performance accomplishments
2) Vicarious learning-> observing others
3) Social persuasion from others
4) Physiological states and reactions

Situation-specific and includes contextual factors such as gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, geography, culture
(Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2009; Swanson & Fouad, 2015)
This is moderated with the individual’s outcome expectations

Outcome expectations- an individual’s beliefs/ expectations on what the outcome will be for a particular task (e.g. what job opportunities am I likely to have if I get a masters vs. a bachelors degree?)

An individual’s self-efficacy and outcome expectations form their perceptions of reality

(Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2009;
Swanson & Fouad, 2015)
How does this apply?
1981- Hackett and Benz applied the concept of self-efficacy from social cognitive theory to how individuals made their career decisions

Self-efficacy and outcome expectation became part of the theoretical framework for SCCT

SCCT was formed as a way to explain and predict career behavior in terms of -> interests, choices, and performance

(Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2009; Swanson & Fouad, 2015)
Interest Development
Self-efficacy and outcome expectations predict interests

Interests predict goals

Goals predict performance attainment
(Swanson & Fouad, 2015, p. 179)
Contextual Affordances
Background and contextual variables

Explains why an individual does not pursue a strong interest

Serve as perceived obstacles, barriers, or supports

Two types
Swanson & Fouad, 2015
Choice Development
Person inputs gender, race, disability, personality, and predispositions and background

Influences learning experiences-> impacts self-efficacy and outcome expectations
(Swanson & Fouad, 2015,
p. 180)
Performance Development
Predicts level of performance and persistence an individual has in pursuing goals

Past performance accomplishments influence self-efficacy and outcome expectations -> influence performance goals -> lead to performance attainment
(Swanson & Fouad, 2015,
p. 181)
(Swanson & Fouad, 2015, p. 190)
Role Play Activity
In the following scenario, Hillary is a
recent college grad who needs help with
her resume and cover letter and has
sought the help of career counselor, Jill.
She wants to apply to some administrative
assistant positions that she has seen posted
in various fields, particularly public
Jill wants to see if there were any learning experiences or barriers as to why Hillary has chosen only this profession.

Jill is looking for any clues that may
shed light on some of Hillary’s
self-efficacy and outcome
Jill notes that Hillary’s current jobs she wants to apply for does
not coincide with her major.

Did Hillary adopt her father’s
there are not many jobs at the UN and that she
would not be able to handle the interview process?

Jill notes the financial barrier in having to take a job
quickly because she cannot afford to be unemployed for
a significant amount of time.

Jill notes Hillary’s low self-efficacy. She does not think she has the
ability to find and obtain a job at the UN.

Hillary's outcome expectation is that even if she could find a job, she
would not get hired.

The one person she knows that was hired at the UN was a man from an
affluent family - gender socialization and socioeconomic status.

Jill notes that she states women go into public relations as
for why she wants to apply to these kinds of jobs.

Jill is working on understanding Hillary’s
perception of reality.

Jill wants to begin to undo some of Hillary’s faulty self-efficacy beliefs that she would not be able to obtain a job at the United Nations.

Jill wants to check-in with Hillary if her assumption that public relations does not
truly interest her.

Jill wants to give Hillary options outside the UN that still incorporate her interests.

Jill wants Hillary to learn some of the resources she has, such as her school alumni, and speak to someone in the position she wants to further correct her faulty
self-efficacy and outcome expectations.

Jill wants to identify any sources of support that
Hillary has received.

Identified self-efficacy and outcome expectations

Identified foreclosed options

Identified barriers and support

Created goals that aligns with client's interests and will correct faulty self- efficacy and outcome expectations
Is there anything else you might have done as a counselor in implementing this theory? Any future steps?
Sheu & Lent, 2015)
Promote favorable self-efficacy and outcome expectations
- Consider resources/Social Support

Antecedents of self-efficacy
- Self-efficacy boosting experiences -> facilitate distal outcomes -> career choice
- Performance accomplishments **
- Vicarious learning
- Verbal persuasion
- Physiological/effective states

Strategies that help clients identify, consider, and reclaim discarded options
Formal Assessments
- Academic Self-Efficacy Scale *See Appendix E*
- Decisional balance scale *See Appendix D*
Informal exercises
- Card sort
(Sheu & Lent, 2015)
Bidirectional relationship:
Self-efficacy <-> interests
Interventions aimed to motivate clients' development of interests and associated skills

Interventions cont.
Here's how:
Address cognitive and meaning-making processes
Effects of socialization on self-efficacy -> career concerns
(Adapted from Zimmerman, Bandura, & Marnez-Pons, 1992; Chemers, Hu, & Garcia, 2001)
(Sheu & Lent, 2015)
(Sheu & Lent, 2015; Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2009)
(Lee et al., 2015)
High correlation between self-efficacy beliefs, positive outcome expectations, and clear goals
Measured as persistence with and commitment to attaining college degree *See Appendix A*

Gender differences among men and women engineering students
Effects of past academic performance and social cognitive predictors on persistence in engineering
Reported female students had:
Lower confidence in ability to complete degree
Lower positive outcome expectations
Lower academic interest in engineering compared to males
Gonzales (2012)
SCCT and college choice among Latino HS students
Increase in math level completion and planning to take SAT > increase in odds to attend a 4-year college
Support for relationship between aspirations/expectations and movement toward desired educational outcomes
Counselors to help clients reframe experiences, gain corrective learning opportunities, and observe similar role models
Counselors, teachers, & parents as significant variables -> verbal encouragement, vicarious learning
Successful completions of challenging tasks (CP classes) -> positive self-beliefs & outcome expectations-> high education goals
Multicultural Implications
Understand and identify disempowering influence of structural racism and classism

Primary preventions
Provide opportunities for students facing barriers to have successful academic experiences early in college

Inquire how client's experiences have shaped personal beliefs/expectations regarding education/career choices
Encourage discussion with family members
Create plan of action around decisions
Gonzalez, L. M. (2012). College-level choice of latino high school students: A social-

cognitive approach. Journal Of Multicultural Counseling & Development, 40(3), 144-


Lee, H., Flores, L. Y., Navarro, R. L., & Kanagui-Muñoz, M. (2015). A longitudinal test of

social cognitive career theory's academic persistence model among Latino/a and White

men and women engineering students. Journal Of Vocational Behavior, 8895-103.

Niles, S., & Harris-Bowlsbey, J. (2013). Career development interventions in the 21st

Century (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Education.

Sheu, H., & Lent, R. W. (2015). A social cognitive perspective on career intervention. In P. J.

Hartung, M. L. Savickas, W. B. Walsh, P. J. Hartung, M. L. Savickas, W. B. Walsh

(Eds.) , APA handbook of career intervention, Volume 1: Foundations (pp. 115-128).

Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association

Swanson, J., & Fouad, N. (2015). Career theory and practice: Learning through case studies

(3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

(n.d.). Retrieved June 15, 2015, from


(n.d.). Retrieved June 16, 2015, from http://academics.ivc.edu/success/Documents/Self

Regulation Assesment.pdf

(Flores and O'Brien, 2002)
Tested the validity of the SCCT model in explaining career-related goals for Mexican American adolescent women.
Proximal contextual variables (parental support and perceived future occupational barriers) directly predicted career choice prestige and career aspiration.
Mexican American adolescent women tend to choose prestigious careers on the basis of approval from their family members
More research examining environmentally supportive conditions or resources for career behaviors
More work using this theory as for the development of intervention and prevention groups.
Lacks research in a few areas.
(Lent, Brown, and Hackett, 2000.)
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