Study guide with articlesummaries for Perspective on Career Planning at the University of Leiden - 2023/2024

Summaries per article with Perspective on Career Planning

Summaries per article with Perspective on Career Planning

  • Summaries with 2 prescribed articles with POCP 2023/2024
  • Summaries with prescribed articles with POCP of previous years
  • See the supporting content of this study guide to use the article summaries

Table of content

  • Planned Happenstance
  • The Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT)
  • Article summaries with prescribed articles with POCP 20/21

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Supporting content I (full)
Planned happenstance: Constructing unexpected career opportunities - Mitchell, Levin, & Krumboltz - 1999 - Article

Planned happenstance: Constructing unexpected career opportunities - Mitchell, Levin, & Krumboltz - 1999 - Article

How many career choices are made because of chance?

Traditionally, career counselors do not take chance into account when advising clients. The goal of this research is to find out how chance events play a role in everyone's career. Career counselors can learn their client how to act to generate more chances to capitalize. A lot of events happened, in which a client plays an important role, like the friends he/she made, the study he/she chose. 


How many career choices are made because of chance?

Traditionally, career counselors do not take chance into account when advising clients. The goal of this research is to find out how chance events play a role in everyone's career. Career counselors can learn their client how to act to generate more chances to capitalize. A lot of events happened, in which a client plays an important role, like the friends he/she made, the study he/she chose. 

What is the role of chance in career counseling? 

Chance plays an important role in everyone’s career, the future can not be predicted. Unpredictable events almost always have an influence in career directions. Yet career counselors rarely take unexpected events in account with their client. However, literature have recognized that chance does effect career exploration.   

Some people believe that it is complex and hard to create a model, where the chance events are incorporated. However, Cabral and Salomone (1990) said that a counselor should help the client to recognize the effects of unexpected events and to help them cope and anticipate to those events. Scott and Hatalla (1990) concluded that chance contributes to the choices people make, but that they do not have a predictable relation. The most important chance factor they found was the unexpected personal events. Miller (1983) stated that counselors would benefit when they would see chance as a normal aspect of career planning. Cabral and Salomone called for a model of career planning which combines planning and chance. Rational planning only works when the career would follow a simple, straight path, but with future technology it doesn't.  

Frank Parson is credited as the father of career counseling, he created a theory in a largely agricultural society. He tried to match a client to the appropriate job. Chance was not included in this theory, he used true reasoning as basis of matching. The traditional approach tries to minimise the role of chance by matching interests, skills and values to the matching career. Counselors need to admit that we are not only the result of rational planning. 

What is the Planned Happenstance Theory? 

The Planned Happenstance theory expanded the social learning theory of career decision making. The basics are the same. People are born with different characteristics at a certain time and place, not of their own decision. In their environment while growing up, they experience all kinds of unpredictable events from which they will learn, both positive and negative. People can maximize their learning process by profiting from these events. The planned happenstance theory is the conceptual framework which allows to incorporate the chance events into a career development. Clients should plan and create opportunities and be open to the changes. People have to learn to take action, to generate the changes to learn and they should not only be passively waiting for events to happen. 

How can you reframe indecision as open-mindedness?

In the Planned Happenstance Theory, the term indecision is replaced by open-minded. Blustein (1997) suggested counselors to help clients to explore and to accept ambiguity. Exploring is an open way of relating to the world. The chances make individuals grow and help them to self-define. Blustein makes a difference between passive people who rely on luck and people who actively search for new and unexpected opportunities. A counselor needs to help a client create positive events, which can help a client to end up where they want to be, even though it may not be what they requested. 

What are the advantages of open-mindedness? 

Counselors have not been trained to be comfortable with an indecisive client. They try to treat any form of uncertainty. Sometimes this may work, but sometimes they do not need a quick fix. Krumboltz (1992) argued that indecision is more sensible then making commitments when the future is uncertain. An open-minded person is in the middle of what was and what will be and is able to ask questions, without needing to know the answer. He can be curious.  

How can you generate, recognize and encourage beneficial chance events? 

Gelatt (1989) proposed that being uncertain about goals and wants, leads to new discoveries. Betsworth and Hansen (1996) found in a study that two thirds believed that their careers were significantly influenced by chance events. They identified 11 categories of serendipitous events that participants reported as significant to their career development. “Professional or personal connections,” “unexpected advancement,” and “right place/right time” were cited most frequently. Participants overlooked the steps they took to get to know important people and the actions they undertook to get a promotion at the right time.

The Planned Happenstance theory includes two concepts: Exploration generates chance opportunities for increasing quality of life and skills enable people to seize opportunities. Blustein (1997) concluded that people explore to express their natural curiosity and that the benefits of career exploration, can cross over into other life domains. Austin (1978) perceived that responses to chance opportunities depend on one’s preparedness and receptivity to possibilities. Salomone and Slaney (1981) added that for career possibilities to be realized, people must take action.

The Planned Happenstance theory proposes that career counselors assist clients to develop five skills

  1. Curiosity: exploring new learning opportunities

  2. Persistence: exerting effort despite setbacks

  3. Flexibility: changing attitudes and circumstances

  4. Optimism: viewing new opportunities as possible and attainable

  5. Risk Taking: taking action in the face of uncertain outcomes

Bandura (1982) recommended teaching entry skills as a way of influencing or controlling chance to one’s advantage. Entry skills are interpersonal communications, networking, and social support building. Planned happenstance can also be facilitated by using assessment instruments to generate chance events. The Planned Happenstance Model has a interest test interpretation, which consists of questions that invite discussion between client and counselor. Engaging a client in discussing both prior and potential interests can reveal vital values and liberate client exploration.

How can we encourage a client? 

We learn the skill of self-encouragement from someone who has encouraged us to take action on our own behalf. Significant factors that enable people to integrate talents and traits in their life, are the role of witness (Young and Rodgers, 1997) and persistence and risk taking (Scott Adams, 1997). A witness is a person who observes a talent and encourages to develop that talent. Scott Adams is the creator of the popular cartoon Dilbert. Adams was persistent and optimistic even though he had been rejected. He took a risk and submitted his work again even though he had no guarantee that his cartoon strip would be accepted.

Learning as the Purpose of Career Counseling

Career counselors should be educators/—facilitators of the learning process (Krumboltz, 1996). Clients often expect counselors to match them up with ideal jobs, counselors fail to challenge the assumption that career counselors can meet that request. Instead of striving to help clients identify their one “ideal job,” career counselors may be of far more value to clients by teaching them how to enhance the quality of their lives. Counselors must equip clients with new attitudes and skills to embrace the twenty-first century. Savickas (1997) called that adaptability”; “the readiness to cope with the predictable tasks of preparing for and participating in the work role and with the unpredictable adjustments prompted by changes in work and working conditions.

How can we reconseptualise informational interviews? 

Informational interviews are traditionally to facilitate information gathering. The client has to ask prepared questions to someone involved in an area the client is interested in. Informational interviews can also be used to generate unexpected events. The planning part of the informational interview is identifying the field of interest, finding a person to interview, and preparing pertinent questions. The happenstance part of the informational interview can occur at any time before, during, or after the interview. The career counselor can prepare the client for unanticipated events. Cognitive restructuring is a counseling technique for helping clients interpret events in an alternative way, by practicing on past and current events and anticipating for possible future events.

How can we overcome obstacles?

Counseling by itself is of little value unless it leads to constructive action. A counselor needs to concentrate on enabling clients to take the necessary actions. The Career Beliefs Inventory (Krumboltz, 1991) provides one tool for assessing blocking beliefs and initiating discussions of ways to examine them. A counselor can help a client to reframe a goal in such way that the progress toward the goal becomes possible. An example: Stated Goal: I want to change jobs; I am going to start sending out résumés. Reframe: I am getting more and more dissatisfied with my job. What are the steps I can take to begin to look at other options?

What does the counselor need to do according to the Planned Happenstance Theory?  

A. Watts (1996) said that at each of these points where we make a decision, a counselor should be available, to prevent decisions from beïng reactive instead of proactive. People have to be encouraged to plan their careers and review and correct plans in the changing context. The core concept of the Planned Happenstance Counseling needs to be oxymorons. By discussing your curiosity, how you can profit from unexpected events and how you can create useful unplanned events, the goal is to make the learning process easier. A career path is a lifelong learning process. The learning process should consists of a number of steps: 

  1. Normally planned coïncidence in the history of the client: asking questions about the background of the client and to create a working relationship. By asking about the history, client become aware that their own actions can contribute to opportunities. A counselor asks a client about happenstances in their life and what happened before the happenstances that made the event happen. 

  2. Help a client to transform their curiosity into opportunities. Clients need to learn to see unexpected events as opportunities they want to explore. In the Planned Happenstance Model career counselors do not identify one perfect career, but they help a client to identify opportunities to learn.

  3. Learn clients to create desirable chance events. Stovall and Teddlie (1993) developed a student guide to analyse career opportunities. A section of this guide is about how people benefit from chance; students should never leave their future passively to chance. Students constantly need to learn new things an actively look foor chance opportunities. Unplanned events will occur and clients can initiatie constructive action to generate desirable events, for example by counduct in informational interviews, sending letters or taking classes. 

  4. Learn a client how to overcome a block to action. Counselors need to help clients to actually engage in constructive actions. Clients may be resistant to constructing opportunities, because they lack curiosity, persistence, flexibility or the skill of risk taking or they can have beliefs that block their willingness. A problematic career belief is commonly related to seeing problems as being overwhelming, being scared of other peoples reactions. 

Suggestions for further research

In previous research, almost everyone focused solely on measurement, matching, prediction and reducing indecision. From one point of view, it could be said that unplanned events affect 100% of career choices, because no one chooses their parents, place of birth etc, but these events do affect the career path. But, at the other hand, people do plan and implement actions that affect their careers. Prior research indicates that the majority of those studied attribute major responsibility to unplanned events. A lot depends on the way the sample group is recruited and the exact way questions are asked. There are five skills hypothesized (and identified by Williams et al., 1997) as aiding people to benefit from chance events: curiosity, persistence, flexibility, optimism and risk taking. Williams also identified other characteristics, such as low tolerance for boredom and being unconventional, hard working, motivated, self-confident, alert, and stable. Not all chance events are positive, like accidents or illnesses. Some people react to negative events with discouragement and inaction, others show even greater effort. Williams identified outcomes not only in career direction but also in altered self-concept. 

What did they conclude? 

Career counseling worked with a theory that was too simple, which disrupted the way people actually made their career choices. The basis theory with three steps may have worked in 1895, but is insufficient nowadays. Career choices are influenced by unpredictable circumstances. Counselors have to take these circumstances in account, which chances the advice for counselors:

  1. Acknowledge that it is normal, inevitable and desirable that unplanned events have an influence. 

  2. Indecision is a state of planful open-mindedness, which helps clients to profit from unforeseen circumstances

  3. Learn a client to profit from unforeseen events, to try something new and create new interests. 

  4. Learn a client to maximize the chance at a usefull unforeseen event. 

  5. Continue the support of a client during their entire career. 

Career counseling isn't an easy process that ends when a client finds a career. It is a complex, fascinating process, which is both personal and work related. 

Social cognitive model of career self-management: Toward a unifying view of adaptive career behavior across the life span - Lent & Brown - 2013 - Article

Social cognitive model of career self-management: Toward a unifying view of adaptive career behavior across the life span - Lent & Brown - 2013 - Article

The Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) consists of three models that try to explain interest development, choice-making, and performance and persistence in educational and vocational contexts. It is mostly derived from Bandura's General Social Cognitive Framework and tries to link existing theoretical approaches. Now a new and fourth SCCT model is introduced, which is about satisfaction/well-being in educational and vocational contexts. 


The Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) consists of three models that try to explain interest development, choice-making, and performance and persistence in educational and vocational contexts. It is mostly derived from Bandura's General Social Cognitive Framework and tries to link existing theoretical approaches. Now a new and fourth SCCT model is introduced, which is about satisfaction/well-being in educational and vocational contexts. 

SCCT is primarily designed to address a focused but important set of content questions, like predicting the types of educational and vocational activity domains toward which people will gravitate. One way to extend SCCT’s comprehensiveness, then, would be to add more of an explicit focus on the myriad process aspects of career development, addressing the dynamic ways in which people adapt to both routine career tasks and unusual career challenges, both within and across educational/vocational fields.

The traditional emphasis of career theories lies on the “big four” outcomes of interests, choice, performance, and satisfaction. But because of the changing context of work, new models are required. This article tries to develop a model of career self-management that focueses on relatively micro-level processes, focused on adaptive behaviors and on the factors (both environment and person-based) that promote (or deter) their use.

What main concepts do they talk about? 

The term career is used in a generic sense to encompass work or occupational behavior, regardless of the prestige level of a given form of work. The model presented in this study assumes that people are able to assert some measure of personal control, or agency, in at least some aspects of their own career development. The focus is in specific mechanisms through which people are partly able to direct their career actions to accomplish personal ends. Agency made it possible for people to engage in forethought, intentional action and self-reflection. This enables people to participate in their own career choice and is provides necessary foundation for the provision of career services. The term career self-management is used because the proposed model focuses on factors that influence the individual’s purposive behavior. SCCT views people as living within a social world, with ever-present opportunities to be influenced by, as well as to influence.

What is the relation between agency and adaptive career behaviors?

SCCT’s existing models are mostly concerned with the content or types of fields toward which people gravitate and the activities they perform at school and work.The career selfmanagement model is intended to focus on the relatively pervasive processes and mechanisms that direct career behavior within and across the specific fields and jobs people enter. The self-management model emphasizes the factors that lead people to enact behaviors that aid their own educational and occupational progress, like planning, information-gathering, deciding, goalsetting, job-finding, self-asserting, preparing for change, negotiating transitions. 

Adaptive career behaviors are related to constructs like career process skills, comptetencies, meta-competencies, selfregulation and coping skills. Those behaviors are the ones people use to try to achieve their own career objectives. Adaptive career behaviors are also relevant to discussions of specific strategies that workers use to manage their career behavior or cope with specific challenges.

What research has been done about Adaptive Career Behaviors? 

Career behaviors are referred to as career competencies or process skills, like self-assertion, general planning, career advancement, and cognitive coping skills. Students reporting higher self-efficacy demonstrated greater behavioral competence. It is not always clear whether studies involving social cognitive process variables, such as career decision self-efficacy (CDSE), actually test SCCT’s hypotheses in a formal sense. Generally, studies are conceptually related to SCCT but do not formally test it because the theory was not explicitly designed either to incorporate or predict career indecision as a general state. An effort to bridge SCCT with such process-focused inquiry may both broaden the theory’s range of applicability and clarify which SCCT hypotheses, if any, are being tested in a given study.

What is the definition of Adaptive Career Behaviors? 

Adaptive career behaviors are behaviors that people employ to help direct their own career (and educational) development, both under ordinary circumstances and when beset by stressful conditions. These are behaviors that are both proactively and reactively. Career and educational development encompasses periods of work preparation, entry, adjustment, and change. As mechanisms of agency enable people to play a part in their self-development, adaptation, and self-renewal. Individuals will negotiate developmental tasks at different paces, some will necessarily recycle to tasks associated with earlier periods, and the tasks associated with some periods can overlap considerably. Where recycling occurs, it does not necessarily signify developmental failure or floundering; it may well be mandated by circumstances (e.g., job loss) or personal intentions (e.g., voluntary career renewal, the desire to locate better fitting or more meaningful work). Changes in the context of work have rendered many people’s careers less linear, hierarchical, stable, or organizationcentric than in times past. 

What are the preforming developing tasks? 

Adaptive career behaviors include a fairly heterogeneous set of behaviors that form at least two larger conceptual clusters. The first cluster involves engaging in relatively normative and proactive developmental tasks that are associated with age-related cognitive development and nurtured by social learning experiences. These skills form a scaffolding for further career development. Included within the developmental task cluster are career-relevant tasks that are socially prescribed for most individuals. The second cluster involves what may be termed coping skills and processes. These are typically reactive behaviors that are initiated to negotiate life-role transitions and to adjust to challenging, and often unforeseen, work and work–life situations, such as role conflicts, work stress, and job loss. Whether involving the management of transitions or coping with difficult events or work conditions, the focus is on ways in which people attempt to steer themselves around hurdles and to achieve a reasonable level of career adaptation. The effective use of coping skills is part of the network of factors that foster resilience in career development and that aid people to anticipate and try to forestall negative career events.

What is the Link Between Adaptive Behavior and Career Outcomes?

Career adaptability can best be concepualized in terms of a collection of behaviors that can be learned. However, the performance of these behaviors may be facilitated by certain traits as well as by environmental supports. Adaptive career behaviors should be seen as instrumental or intermediate to other, more distal outcomes, rather than as representing ultimate outcomes in themselves. 

What model can be used with Career Self-Management? 

The career self-management model needs to be devided in two parts. 

  • Proximal Antecedents of Adaptive Career Behaviors.  The exercise of adaptive career behaviors, such as engaging in career exploration or job-finding activities, is assumed to be affected by self-efficacy, outcome expectations, goals, and environmental supports and barriers. In keeping with the prior SCCT models, each of these proximal antecedents of adaptive behavior is conceived in domain-, state-, context-, and temporally specific terms. That is, rather than constituting global adaptability traits, they are seen as personal or environmental attributes that are relatively malleable and responsive to particular developmental or situational challenges. However certain traits are also assumed to influence the exercise of adaptive career behaviors or their outcomes.

  • Cognitive-person factors. Self-efficacy refers to personal beliefs about one’s ability to perform particular behaviors or courses of action.

Self-efficacy and outcome expectations are seen as promoting adaptive career behaviors both directly and indirectly, through the mediating effects of personal goals. Several theories propose that actions are partly motivated by goals, or intentions to perform the actions. These theories also suggest that certain types or qualities of goals are especially facilitative of action. Goal-directed actions (e.g., engaging in career exploratory or job search behaviors) make it more likely that people will attain the outcomes they seek. Self-efficacy is also seen as having a direct link to outcomes, or attainments, because of its roles in helping people to organize their actions and to persist in the face of challenges. It should be noted that the cognitive-person variables in the model are seen as operating in concert with environmental influences that have the capacity to enable or limit agency and to codetermine the outcomes of adaptive behaviors. They also operate jointly with other person inputs, such as personality factors. 

What are contextual and personality factors for this model?

People are most likely to set and implement goals for adaptive career behaviors when they are stimulated by environmental supports and they have few barriers. Contextual support and barriers can promote goals and actions and they can moderate the relation of goals to action.  Supports and barriers may relate indirectly to goals through their links to self-efficacy and outcome expectations. Contextual influencas can also directly affect the outcomes of adaptive behaviors and they can moderate action-outcome relations. Conscientiousness is the most important personality variable that facilitates the use of adaptive behaviors that require planning and persistence. Personality factors can influence the careers by making behavioral prestations easier.

Quality of performance is likely to depend on ability as well as self-efficacy and the other proximal variables in the self-management model. Research on career self-management could include a focus on abilities, particularly where quality of performance is of special interest. 

What are distal antecedents and experiential sources of Adaptive Career Behaviors? 

Consistent with SCCT’s general model of choice behavior, the distal variables include a variety of person inputs that, together, comprise the individual’s initial social address.  Although it represents a starting point, developmentally speaking, this address provides an important social learning context for acquiring self-efficacy and outcome expectations regarding adaptive career behaviors. An important point is that person inputs, such as gender, ethnicity, social class, and sexual orientation, are seen as affecting the exercise of career agentic behaviors largely indirectly, for example, via cultural socialization experiences that convey information about self-efficacy. More specifically, such socialization or learning experiences convey four types of information relevant to self-efficacy  and outcome expectations: personal performance accomplishments, observational learning (or modeling), social encouragement and persuasion, and physiological and affective states and reactions. In addition to these four types of experience, self-efficacy is seen as affecting outcome expectations because people often expect more positive outcomes when they view themselves as capable performers. The four learning experiences largely mediate the effect of person inputs and background contextual affordances on the social cognitive variables that enable career agency. 

What did they conclude? 

The extension of SCCT is a developmental task and coping challenge of career self-management. The self-management model focuses on the underlying adaptive career behavior that occurs across occupational paths instead of only on the contentiriented issues like field choice. The new model is a broad framework that can be adapted to the study of a wide range of adaptive career behaviors. The model’s explanatory utility and the joint operation of its component variables still needs to be assessed in future research.

Supporting content II (teasers)
Article summaries for Perspective on Career Planning (POCP) 20/21

Article summaries for Perspective on Career Planning (POCP) 20/21

Summaries with 15 articles for the course Perspective on Career Planning (POCP) at the University of Leiden, 2020-2021

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