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Links with core modules

You are recommended to consider the two core modules in Career Development Theories and the Challenges of Careers Work in Higher Education in relation to the Group Work module.

Career Development Theories (CDT)
The theories covered in CDT can be used to inform the design of group work activities. A summary of the key concepts is provided below with an accompanying example of group work design.

  • Holland
    Key concepts: RIASEC environmental and personality types; congruence; differentiation; identity and consistency.
    Example: the RIASEC map of work environments could be used to develop a workshop on career maps. This could help participants to navigate occupations and sectors.
  • Super
    Key concepts:
    Super identified 5 key stages and 16 developmental tasks. Linked to his further concepts of mini-cycles and roles, the stages and tasks may occur and recur at any point in career development in relation to a wide range of roles (e.g. student, worker).
    Growth (curiosity, fantasies, interests, capacities)
    Exploration (crystallising, specifying, implementing)
    Establishment (stabilising, consolidating, advancing)
    Maintenance (holding, updating, innovating)
    Disengagement (decelerating, planning, living)
    The archway; the life-career rainbow; life roles; values; theatres; trialling; shadowing; the self-concept; visualisation; the maxi-cycle; mini-cycles and recycling.
    Example: the wide range of developmental tasks could be used to inform and assess group work content. For instance, does the group work focus on the implementation task of exploration and perhaps neglect the 15 other tasks? How could a group work address workplace issues connected with establishment such as: growing a graduate job from a non-graduate job, navigating a graduate traineeship and/or leaving an inappropriate first job?
  • Law
    Key concepts: the range of communities and the five modes of community influence (expectations, feedback, support, modelling and information).
    Example: a group work could be designed to help participants understand the influences that operate on their career development and plan responses.
  • Krumboltz
    Key concepts: instrumental learning; task skills; associative learning; self-observation generalisations and world-view generalisations.
    Example: a group work could be designed that focused on the participants' generalisations on a particular topic such as career management. This could help provide shape and discipline to the session design.
  • Savickas
    Key concepts: preoccupations; life themes; occupations; plots; role models; interests and goals.
    Example: the careers of public figures could be used to help participants understand the links between preoccupations, life themes and occupations and reflect on the implications of this.
  • Cochran
    Key concepts: incompletion; positioning; positing; completion; drama; synthesis; models; lifelines; role models and chapters.
    Example: video case studies could be used to help participants interpret career stories and plan responses.

Other examples
Read McCash (2011) and Frigerio, Mendez and McCash (2012) for several examples of group work design linked to CDTs, learning theories and concept mapping.

Challenges of Careers Work in Higher Education
The organisational, management and ethical aspects discussed in Challenges are relevant to the negotiation, management and development of group work activities in higher education.

1/ Consider how the model of service delivery may need to be adapted to enable group work to take place effectively.
2/ Consider in what ways group work activities may enhance or conflict with your professional values.