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Self-Concept Theory and Trait Theory Essay

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Updated: Oct 2nd, 2021

To start off the topic, I would like to distinguish between the two theories to make their meanings clear.

Self Concept Theory

As the name suggests, the self concept theory refers to the person himself. It is an assessment of the person in his own eyes. We all know ourselves better than anyone else. This is because we have spent the most time with ourselves than with anyone else. This makes us develop an assessment of ourselves according to our exposure to the environment (Craig & Baucum, 2002). This is why our self assessment keeps on changing over time with regard to the intensity of our experiences. We know which things we can and cannot do. Self concept theory therefore focuses on the inside judgments about the person himself, by which he can predict his own behavior. This, in a nutshell, is the self concept theory.

Trait Theory

The trait theory is more commonly focused on personality of the person. Our personality is made up of the thousands of traits which we possess, traits which form our behavior (Miller, 1993). This suggests that the traits which we form according to our experiences and habits, lead toward making our personality. Trait theory therefore focuses on the outside portrayal of the person, the behavior others see and can predict in the person. It can be explained as how others see us; in what light others see us at a given point in time. This was a very concise explanation of trait theory.

Now I will look at how we can apply these two theories in our life to benefit our career decisions.

Theories with Regard to Occupational Choice

In order to make a career decision, we need to have an accurate judgment of ourselves. This makes it vital that we have complete understanding of who we are (self concept) and how others see us (trait theory). To be successful, we need to keep as small a gap between who we are and how we portray ourselves because it reduces complications in our life. It is also vital in the success of our career. This is because to be satisfied with a job we need to be internally satisfied (self concept) but in order to perform the job well we need to have the personality to match the job’ requirements (trait theory) (Miller, 1993). Blending of these two theories is the easiest thing to do when faced with the choice of career decision making. Apart from this, we need to keep assessing ourselves after small intervals of time or we will suddenly find ourselves in an identity crisis which will lead us to mistrust in our own judgment.

A perfect example can be of a salesman. An introvert can never be a sales man. This is because inside he believes he has poor social and interpersonal skills and his traits match his self assessment, that he doesn’t go out with friends very much. But the job requires people with strong interpersonal skills. This means that being a salesman is a bad career choice for this person.

Works Cited

Craig G. J. & Baucum, D. Human Development. Prentice Hall, 2002.

Miller, P. H. Theories of developmental psychology. W.H. Freeman, 1993.

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