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Occupational Theories Essay


Super’s Occupational Theory (1954)

The theory was developed by Donald Super and is sometimes referred to as the Developmental Self-Concept Theory. As the name suggests, the theory stresses on the significance of the development of self-concept. Super’s theory rests on the fact that individuals have dissimilar capabilities, interests, and traits, which suit them for different occupations. Each occupation requires a combination of these attributes, but choice is always the decisive factor.

Super posited that the self-attributes change with time, and grow due to experience, implying that career development is a lifelong process. Occupational development is a progressive process that combines the compromise and synthesis that transpire between the person and other social influences with self-concept and experience also playing a role. Satisfaction in an occupation occurs when a person recognizes his abilities, personal attributes, and values (Career Services, 2010, para. 3).

Holland’s Occupational Theory (1959)

The theory was developed by John Holland and states that career choice is an expression of individuality. The theory details on work-related conduct, for example, the occupational selections that may lead to success and fulfillment. It also explores other personal experiences such as success and fulfillment in academic, training or social programs as a motivation for choosing a specific occupation.

An implication of the theory is that individuals with identical personalities working together can create an atmosphere that matches their type. For instance, artistic individuals working together on a task can create a work atmosphere that recognizes creative thinking and conduct- an artistic atmosphere.

Work atmospheres are divided into six: Realistic, Artistic, Social, Conventional, Investigative and Enterprising. Persons look for atmospheres in which they can convey their values and thoughts, and once a person lands such an atmosphere, the probability of success and satisfaction is high (The Career Key, 2010, para. 5).

Comparison of the Two theories

Both Holland and Super recognize that every person has unique attributes and values that affect his/her decisions based on occupational choice. The models differ on the mode of application of these attributes, Super states that different career choices require a distinct set of these features, but choice plays a final role, besides, career development is a lifelong process.

Holland, in contrast, states that the attributes aid individuals in finding work environments that are more satisfying. In short, Holland’s model helps us in understanding work environments while Super’s model helps in clarifying the self –concept idea. Holland’s theory can be applied over a long period as it is stable while Super’s theory changes at every stage and hence short-lived.

My Preferred Occupational Theory

Of the two theories, Holland offers the better explanation and I ascribe to him. Holland’s assertion that persons with identical personalities working together on a task can create an environment that matches all of them is, in fact, true. Companies use this concept for self-directed searches, a process that groups staff with similar interests and attitudes together.

Holland’s theory can assist us in finding the right persons to work with, and in finding an occupation that brings us success and satisfaction. However, Super’s theory states that a person’s attributes changes over his/her occupational life with time and experience, the temporary nature of the theory reduces its application in work-based environments since a person will have to change work groups and occupations regularly, a factor that may lead to dissatisfaction.

Reference List

Career Services. (2010). Donald Super’s Developmental Self-Concept Theory. Web.

The Career Key. (2010). Holland’s Theory of Career Choice and You. Retrieved from

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IvyPanda. (2019, December 3). Occupational Theories. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/occupational-theories/

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"Occupational Theories." IvyPanda, 3 Dec. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/occupational-theories/.

1. IvyPanda. "Occupational Theories." December 3, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/occupational-theories/.


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IvyPanda. "Occupational Theories." December 3, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/occupational-theories/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Occupational Theories." December 3, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/occupational-theories/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Occupational Theories'. 3 December.

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