Career theory and practice have long emphasized person variables
(e.g., abilities, needs, interests) and have only recently begun
focusing on environmental variables in addressing cultural context
issues. Contemporary emphasis on contextual variables reflects notable
movement toward attaining cultural relevance in career theory and
practice. Role salience and values, which are central to developmental
perspectives on career and have been considered in other approaches, are
key contextual variables that can be examined to make additional
progress toward this goal. The author argues that examining the cultural
dimensions of social roles and values can enrich theory and enhance
practice regarding life-career development.
For more than 30 years, the field of career development has called
attention to the need to ensure the relevance of career theory and
practice for a culturally diverse workforce (see, e.g., Fitzgerald &
Betz, 1994; Leong, 1995; Picou & Campbell, 1975; Richardson, 1993,
1996; Savickas, 1995; Smith, 1983; Zytowski, 1969). During this time,
scholars and researchers have developed a substantial body of literature
that both underscores critical issues related to enriching career theory
to conceptualize cultural diversity (e.g., Fitzgerald & Betz, 1994;
Leung, 1995; Savickas, 1995) and outlines strategies for career
counseling practice within a multicultural context (e.g., Bingham &
Ward, 1996; Fouad & Bingham, 1995; Hartung et al., 1998). Although
considerable gains have been made in theory and practice knowledge,
multicultural career literature consistently suggests that the
traditional and long-standing emphasis within career psychology on
person variables, to the neglect of environmental variables, continues
to impede its relevance for people across cultural groups (cf.
Fitzgerald & Betz, 1994; Leong, 1997). Person variables comprise
individual traits such as interests and abilities, whereas environment
variables comprise contextual factors, such as social status, ethnicity,
and gender. Of note, some newer career theories and counseling models
are emerging to give more emphasis to contextual variables (e.g.,
Bingham & Ward, 1996; Brown, 1996; Fouad & Bingham, 1995;
Vondracek, Lerner, & Schulenberg, 1986; Young, Valach, & Collin,
In the present analysis, I focus on key contextual variables in an
effort to expand the established line of theory building and practice
innovation regarding cultural relevance in career development. Two
principal objectives guide the discussion. The first objective is to
examine problems in and progress toward infusing contextual variables
into career theory and practice as it has been articulated in much of
the multicultural career literature to date. The endeavor to meet this
objective involves discussing the contemporary movement within career
psychology to attain cultural validity (Leong & Brown, 1995) and how
this movement reflects upon wider societal change. The second objective
is to explain how extant career theories, and the counseling practices
they seek to inform and be informed by, can be culturally enriched.
Attempting to meet this objective involves explaining how two contextual
variables, namely, role salience and values, long a part of the
developmental perspective on careers and articulated in some other
approaches, can enrich the cross-cultural relevance of career theory and
practice. I argue that social roles and values offer a point of
convergence for such enrichment across theoretical perspectives and
Infusing Context Into Career Theory and Practice: Problems and
A vital discourse has emerged, evidenced in a burgeoning body of
professional literature, concerning the relevance of career choice and
development theories and of career counseling practices to a culturally
diverse workforce (see Leong, 1995; Savickas, 1993; Tinsley, 1994b;
Walsh, 1994). Scholars and researchers seek to determine how well
contemporary theories and practices describe and promote individual
career development across cultural, socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic
lines. Regarding theory, writers such as Fitzgerald and Betz (1994) and
Richardson (1993) have argued that theories might have little value at
all in this realm and are generally applicable to college-educated,
White, middle-class men. This point of view derives support from
observations made by some scholars that most research on career theories
and interventions (Fitzgerald & Betz, 1994), and in counseling and
psychology generally (Triandis, 1994a), is based on White, college
undergraduate student samples. Such observations support Leon g and
Brown's (1995) pronouncement that "the central problem with
most, if not all of the majority career theories is their lack of
cultural validity for racial and ethnic minorities in this country"
(p. 145). Osipow and Fitzgerald (1996) advanced this thesis when they
stated, "possibly the most profound challenge to the
generalizability of career development theories [and counseling
practices] is posed by the assertion that many racial/ethnic minority
individuals do not share the value systems on which the traditional
theoretical explanations are based" (p. 275). These traditional
value systems are typically individualistic in orientation (Triandis,
1995) and are embodied in autonomous, "agentic," personal
achievement-oriented individuals who construe the self as independent
(Markus & Kitayama, 1991). This differs qualitatively from a
collectivistic cultural value orientation (Triandis, 1995) in which
dependent, communal, and in-group oriented individuals construe the self
as interdependent (Markus & Kitayam a, 1991).
Patterson's perspective (as cited in Jackson, 1999) differed
from that of individuals who questioned the cultural validity of theory
and practice (e.g., Fitzgerald & Betz, 1994; Leong & Brown,
1995; Osipow & Fitzgerald, 1996). Patterson noted,
many of the criticisms of the applicability of counseling methods
to clients of other cultures arc not related to cultural factors but
involve questions of counselor or psychotherapist competence. It is not
necessary, or desirable, that we discover new theories or approaches for
counseling clients from or in other cultures. (as cited in Jackson,
1999, p. 34)
Patterson's perspective suggested that counseling and career
development theories, themselves, do not contain bias. Rather, bias is
likely derived from the basic philosophical mind-set of monoculturalism
that counselors and researchers have long held. This mind-set translates
into narrow use of theory that is inattentive to context in practice and
scientific inquiry (Leong & Hartung, 2000).
From Monoculturalism to Multiculturalism
A monocultural mind-set of universally shared beliefs, attitudes,
and worldviews has pervaded counseling practice and research for much of
the twentieth century (Leong & Hartung, 2000; Pedersen, 1991).
Contemporary streams in the discipline, led by the multiculturalism
movement (Hall & Barongan, 2002; Pedersen, 1991), are bringing this
mind-set under serious scrutiny and challenge, which will slowly
transform it to a multicultural perspective that champions a philosophy
and attitude of openness, inclusiveness, and tolerance. This bodes well
for counseling practice because an "emphasis on philosophy and
attitudes (rather than theory or technique) frees the therapist to
discover and learn culturally appropriate methods of
implementation" (Patterson, as cited in Jackson, 1999, p. 34). The
move in the field of career development to adopt a multicultural mindset
reflects a change that is occurring in counseling, in general. This
change will better guide theory building, counseling practice, and
research inquiry in dealing with concerns that have been raised about
The gradual shift from a monocultural to a multicultural mind-set,
in large measure, emanates from and propels prevailing discourse about
cultural validity issues, as well as theory and practice changes that
have been made to accommodate cultural context in career development and
counseling. The evidence of the cultural validity discourse is the
profusion of multicultural career literature, particularly within the
last decade, that has enhanced conceptual and, to some extent, empirical
knowledge of environment factors that influence career development
(e.g., Brown & Brooks, 1996; Leong, 1991, 1995,1996; Savickas, 1993;
Savickas &Walsh, 1996; Tinsley, 1994b; Walsh, 1994; Vondracek &
Fouad, 1994). This literature indicated, however, that much work remains
to be done, in theory development and in practice.
Extant theoretical perspectives on career largely continue to
incorporate constructs that reflect predominantly person rather than
environment variables. Some of these variables deal with fit, or the
nexus between person and environment, and include congruence (Holland,
1997), correspondence (Dawis, 1996), and self-concept implementation
(Super, Savickas, & Super, 1996). Other distinctly person-oriented
constructs in extant career theories include learning and cognition
(Krumboltz, 1996; Lent., Brown, & Hackett, 1996; Peterson, Sampson,
Reardon, & Lenz, 1996)., development (Gottfredson, 1996; Vondracek
et al., 1986), vocational. personality style (Dawis, 1996; Holland,
1997), and decision-making style (Phillips, 1994). As noted previously,
the usefulness of such person variables for understanding and promoting
career development in culturally and socioeconomically diverse contexts
has been widely scrutinized (Arbona, 1995; Fitzgerald & Betz, 1994;
Leong, 1997; Richardson, 1993). Ultimately, this scrutiny may be reduced
with the development of a multicultural mind-set and responses to the
fact that the major theoretical constructs in career "have not been
tested, or tested adequately, with culturally diverse groups"
(Leong & Brown, 1995, p. 173).
Progress Toward Cultural Validity
Despite the continued emphasis on person variables, recent
statements of established and emerging career theories, along with
counseling innovations, demonstrate needed progress in attending to
issues of culture and context both conceptually and practically. For
example, Super et al. (1996) described how the constructs of roles and
values make life-span, life-space theory and the counseling model it
contains more relevant to women and diverse cultural and ethnic groups.
The life-span dimension of Super's theory (Super et al., 1996) has
also been examined to include cultural identity formation as a
developmental task for individuals from racial and ethnic minority
groups (Arbona, 1995). In a similar way, the developmental career
assessment and counseling model has been expanded to incorporate issues
of cultural identity so that individual career development can be better
understood within a cultural context (Hartung et al., 1998). In other
areas, Young et al. (1996) embedded issues of culture within the fabric
of their contextual explanation of career; social-cognitive career
theory (Lent et al., 1996), the Learning Theory of Career Choice and
Counseling (Mitchell & Krumboltz, 1996), and Brown's
values-based model (Brown, 1996) also include cultural context
variables. Additional evidence of changes to accommodate cultural
context in career counseling specifically include the development of
multicultural career counseling models (Bingham & Ward, 1996; Fouad
& Bingham, 1995; Hartung et al., 1998; Leong & Hartung, 1997)
and counselor competency standards, as established by the National
Career Development Association (1997).
Indeed, issues of cultural validity in career theory and practice
have tremendous importance for career development and counseling
because, as Osipow and Fitzgerald (1996) commented, "the process of
career choice is so deeply embedded in cultural and economic factors
that it is unreasonable to try to develop a theory of vocational
development without including those variables" (p. 329). According
to cross-cultural psychology, culture imperceptibly, yet powerfully and
pervasively, influences human behavior and interaction (Kluckhohn &
Murray, 1948; Markus & Kitayama, 1991). Cultures transmit value
orientations to their members; these values mediate the group
members' beliefs, assumptions, time orientation, relationship with
nature, activity orientation, problem-solving modes, and
decision-malting processes (Kluckhohn & Strodtbeck, 1961; Triandis,
1994a, 1995). Yet, the influence of culture is neither completely
understood nor articulated in the fields of counseling and psychology
(Triandis, 1994a) nor in caree r development as an applied subfield of
scientific inquiry and counseling intervention. The growing development
of a more complete understanding of culture in these disciplines mirrors
movement in the larger society to comprehend and consider the cultural
context that envelopes culture.
Cultural Validity Issues Reflect Societal Change
Pursuing cultural validity in career theory and practice parallels
shifting perspectives and practices in the broader society.
Considerations of cultural context extend beyond the parameters of
career counseling and development, reaching outward to communities,
societies, and nations and confronting a range of issues that are
related to changing demographics, increased cultural diversity and
globalization, and the challenge of adopting a multicultural mind-set.
Prompted by social and political action focused on diversity issues,
shifting demographics in many parts of the world, fluctuating economic
conditions, increasingly sophisticated technology and information
systems, and the changing nature of work., scholars attempt to
reevaluate past and present understanding of the very notion of careers
(Collin & Young, 2000). Analyses of career as a construct suggest
that cultural issues figure prominently, now and in the future, in
career theory, research, and practice (Leong & Hartung, 2000).
Increased attention to social issues has surfaced in discussions
about de-emphasizing careers and instead theorizing about and helping
people to develop the role of work in their lives (Richardson, 1993,
1994, 1996; Savickas, 1994; Tinsley, 1994a). This perspective calls for
a paradigm shift from talking about career development, with its
socioeconomic status, educational, and privilege implications, to
development through work and other life roles, which may be more
relevant to people of diverse social statuses and cultural backgrounds.
As Richardson (1993) asserted, this perspective shift emphasizes work as
a central human activity that is not tied to or solely located in
thc occupational structure ... [and] a basic human function among
populations for whom work has a multiplicity of meanings, including but
not restricted to a career meaning. (p. 427)
Thus, work represents a culture-general human life role, whereas
career represents a more culture-specific form of occupational life.
Making perspective shifts such as these and accommodating important
cultural context variables can enrich the validity of career theory and
practice for diverse groups of people (Leong, 1997). The remainder of my
analysis attempts to articulate how career theory, research, and
practice can be enriched by more fully tapping the inherent cultural
dimensions of role salience and values.
Elaborating the Cultural Dimensions of Role Salience and Values
In response to questions about cultural validity, leading career
development scholars and practitioners have suggested that first, the
multicultural and cross-cultural validity of existing constructs and
practices should be examined; in most cases, these constructs and
practices have not been sufficiently considered or tested
cross-culturally (Fitzgerald & Betz, 1994; Leong, 1995, 1997; Osipow
& Fitzgerald, 1996; Savickas, 1995). Consistent with
Patterson's perspective (as cited in Jackson, 1999) described
earlier in this article, it seems reasonable to examine the extent to
which existing theoretical constructs and counseling practices arc etic,
or generalizable, across cultures before constructing entirely new
models and methods. Toward this end, research has begun investigating
the cultural validity of particular constructs that have been derived
from preeminent career theories.
One example of inquiry into career theories and their validity for
use cross-culturally is a review of Holland's (1997) personality
and environment types model, which concluded that "[t]he ordering
(RIASEC) of types or occupational categories is similar even when the
data, sexes, and cultures vary" (p. 138). The most recent update of
the Strong Interest Inventory (STI; Strong, Hansen, & Campbell,
1994), which incorporates Holland's RIASEC (Realistic,
Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, Conventional) model,
included key revisions that supported the validity of interpretations on
the basis of its scores in different cultural contexts. A recent study
by Lattimore and Borgen (1999) further supported the validity of the
SII, and thereby the RIASEC model, for use with various racial and
ethnic groups in the United States.
Another example of research on existing theories, and particularly
germane to my analysis, is the significant number of studies that have
supported the cross-cultural validity of role salience and work values,
which are central to developmental career theory and practice (see
Brown, 1996; Niles & Goodnough, 1996; Super, 1983; Super &
Sverko, 1995; Vondracek et al., 1986) and at least ancillary to other
approaches (e.g., Dawis, 1996; Holland, 1997). Role salience and values
are prominent environment variables with inherent cultural dimensions
that can enrich theory and practice (Leong, 1997), particularly career
theories and interventions that already incorporate these culturally
grounded variables. Cross-cultural psychology articulates roles and
values as two fundamental elements of subjective culture, defined as the
human-made part of any social environment (Triandis, 1994b). In support
of role salience and values as key explanatory constructs
cross-culturally, Leong and Serafica (1995) commented,
career development may bc more closely linked to the fulfillment of
social roles and the observance of such values as filial picty and
reciprocal obligations within the family. In other words, self as
dutiful son, nurturing father, and proud elan member may bc what is
being implemented. (pp. 92-93)
Role Salience as a Cultural Context Variable
Two themes in the multicultural career literature underscore and
resonate with the prospects for theory--practice enrichment by fully
capitalizing on role salience and values as cultural context variables.
One theme deals with increasing the cultural validity of theory and
practice by reinterpreting career choice and development to mean work as
situated within a constellation of human life roles (Cook, 1994;
Richardson, 1993; Savickas, 2000; Super et al., 1996; Super &
Sverko, 1995). Some career theories currently converge on this theme.
For example, the sociological perspective on work and career development
articulated by Hotchkiss and Borow (1996) recognized that as members of
social institutions, people play a variety of social roles. Similarly,
Gottfredson's (1996) theory of circumscription and compromise
focused on issues of social identity, orientation to sex roles, and
social valuation. The theory of work adjustment (TWA; Dawis, 1996)
describes career development as "the unfolding of capabilities and
requirements in the course of a person's interaction with
environments of various kinds (home, school, play, work) across the life
span" (p. 94). As the most obvious example, life-span, life-space
theory (Super et al., 1996) and the counseling model derived from it
(Super, 1983) have emphasized understanding, assessing, and intervening
relative to the multiple roles that form the basis of the human life
structure. Counselors who use these theories to guide their practice can
do so with greater cultural relevance by exploring the meaning of life
roles to clients and helping clients comprehend how society and their
unique cultural backgrounds shape those meanings.
Cultural orientations shape the meaning ascribed to life roles
(Markus & Kitayama, 1991; Super & Sverko, 1995; Triandis, 1995).
Role salience is an etic (universal) construct in that all cultures
transmit expectations about social role behavior (Triandis, 1994b).
Individual behavior in social roles differs as a function of the range
of behavioral role options a culture makes available to its members. For
example, fatherhood for a fifth-generation European American man likely
means something very different from fatherhood for a second-generation
Chinese American man. Counselors can discuss with clients how their
cultural orientations, the changing nature of work, the growing
diversity of society, a global economy and marketplace, and occupational
and other barriers influence the clients' levels of role salience
and may constrain role viability (Richardson, 1993).
Attending to cultural influences on role salience and multiple
roles represents a growing focus of career theory and practice (Cook,
1994; Niles & Goodnough, 1996). Consistent with its roots in
differential psychology and trait-factor career theory, career
development and counseling has long prized the work role and
historically attended less to other life domains (Super et al., 1996).
To correct this imbalance, scholars and practitioners have begun
shifting the prevailing focus of theory, research, and practice from
perceiving activities in life domains of work, play, family, and
relationships as competing and contentious to viewing activities in
these domains as complementary and convergent (see Blustein, 2001;
Blustein et al., 2001; Hartung, in press). In so doing, they promote
theory, research, and counseling practice that are infused with
sensitivity to cultural differences in how individuals comprehend and
experience work relative to the various contexts of human development.
Theory-practice revisions h ave, to some extent, begun addressing the
fact that people differ regarding which roles are most viable and
salient for them and that personal, structural, and cultural factors
such as gender expectations, social class, discrimination, personal
choice, and family expectations influence role commitment and role
participation (e.g., Cook, 1994; Fitzgerald & Betz, 1994; Hartung et
al., 1998). Career counselors, working in schools, private practices,
and other settings, can foster this progress by examining how these
variables affect clients' career development and helping them to
understand how their role expectations, involvement, and commitment are
based on cultural influences. To assist clients across the stages of the
life span, counselors can help children, adolescents, and adults
understand the multiple roles that shape their life structures and
explore how they envision themselves in these roles. In this way,
clients can better conceive of themselves and their identities as
comprising a variety of roles-- worker, family member,
"leisurite," student--and develop awareness of how their
unique cultural beliefs, worldviews, and backgrounds shape their role
salience over the life course.
Values as a Cultural Context Variable
A second theme in the multicultural career literature concerns
values as a culturally situated variable that is crucial for fully
comprehending the meaning of work and career in the contexts of
people's lives (Carter, Gushue, & Weitzman, 1994; Fouad &
Arbona, 1994; Patton, 2000). Many career theories and counseling
approaches converge on values as an important person variable that
influences career choice, satisfaction, and adjustment. For example,
Holland's (1997) theory asserts that RIASEC personality types hold
specific values (e.g., Artistic types value beauty and creativity). The
learning theory of career counseling proposes that learning events shape
values, which, in turn, guide individual behavior (Mitchell &
Krumboltz, 1996). Social cognitive career theory incorporates values
into the notion of "outcome expectations," which parallels the
construct of work values (Lent et al., 1996). The cognitive information
processing approach to career problem solving and decision making
includes "valuing" as a central component of the theory
(Peterson et al., 1996). Values are also at the core of the life-span,
life-space approach (Super et al., 1996), TWA (Dawis, 1996), and
Brown's (1996) values-based model.
Values, as articulated in career theory and implemented in career
counseling and assessment practice, have typically been construed as a
person variable visa-vis work values (cf. Dawis, 1991; Zytowski, 1994).
Thus, values represent traits in the same manner as interests,
aptitudes, and personality. When viewed as an environment variable,
however, values take on added relevance in a cross-cultural context
beyond their significance as an individual differences variable (Leong,
1997). Using cross-cultural psychological conceptualizations, values
represent three universal human needs: biological, coordinated social
interaction, and group survival and functioning (Schwartz, 1996).
Individuals and groups articulate these needs and communicate about them
with each other as specific values that explain, coordinate, and justify
behavior. Schwartz provided a theoretical framework, derived from these
three universal needs (i.e., biological, interactional, and social),
that has potential for enriching the cultural validi ty of career theory
Rather than focusing on single values to then examine individual
differences, theorists and counselors might benefit from considering
value sets to understand how cultures shape value systems (Schwartz,
1996). Schwartz's work has led to the development of a theory of
integrated value systems that delineates a "nearly comprehensive
set of different motivational types of values, recognized across
cultures" (p. 2). Supported by research on samples from 41
countries, these value types encompass representative goals and single
values. The 10 value types are arranged in a circular structure and
include power, achievement, hedonism, stimulation, self-direction,
universalism, benevolence, tradition, conformity, and security. The
first five (power, achievement, hedonism, stimulation, and
self-direction) reflect more individualistic values, whereas the latter
five (universalism, benevolence, tradition, conformity, and security)
reflect more collectivist cultural themes (cf. Triandis, 1995). This
framework provides a b asis for a structure of vocational values to
complement work on the structure of vocational interests, which exists
in current theories and is widely used in counseling practice (Holland,
1997; Rounds & Day, 1999). Placing attention more squarely on value
sets is useful and relevant for cross-cultural career theory and
practice because it helps to explain how specific individual values are
shaped by broader cultural value orientations. Research by Rounds (1990)
indicated that because career commitment is a function of values and not
interests, values are a more valid and reliable predictor of choice.
This finding supported both an emphasis on values and the case for
capitalizing on the inherent cultural dimensions of the construct.
In tandem with adopting the notion of value sets, the cultural
value orientations of individualism and collectivism (IC) provide a
second useful construct, transportable from cross-cultural psychology,
to explain the cultural dimensions of values in career development
(Leong, 1997). IC refers to patterns of "beliefs, attitudes,
self-definitions, norms, and values that are organized around some theme
that can be identified in a society" (Triandis, 1994b, p. 2).
Triandis and his colleagues (Singelis, Triandis, Bhawuk, & Gelfand,
1995; Triandis, 1995) specified two IC dimensions, which further define
these constructs: vertical and horizontal. This yields four distinct
cultural patterns of vertical individualism (VI), horizontal
individualism (HI), vertical collectivism (VC), and horizontal
collectivism (HC). Both VI and HI view the self as autonomous, but each
cultural pattern perceives the relationship between self and other
differently. VI emphasizes inequality and competition for resources
among individuals, whereas HI holds that self and other share
essentially equal status as well as access to resources. VC and HC
define the self primarily as part of an in-group, but view
self-and-other relationships within those in-groups quite differently.
VC identifies rank, inequality, and status differences among in-group
members, whereas HC depicts in-group self and other relationships as
equal. The key difference is the tendency of vertical collectivists to
either submit to or dominate the group, whereas horizontal collectivists
seek neither such dominance or submission (Triandis, 1995).
Counselors can use the INDCOL scale (Singelis et al., 1995) to
assess clients' cultural value orientations in terms of these IC
dimensions. The INDCOL scale comprises 32 items that measure level of
individualism and collectivism. Eight items are keyed to each of the
four dimensions of the construct (i.e., VI, HI, VC, and HC). On a
5-point Likert scale, respondents indicate their level of agreement or
disagreement with each statement such as, "I usually sacrifice my
self-interest for the benefit of my group."
Research in social and cross-cultural psychology has shown that IC
predicted social behavior and related to specific personal attributes
(for reviews see Triandis, 1994b, 1995). IC also had direct implications
for understanding career development of diverse groups (Hartung,
Speight, & Lewis, 1996; Leong, 1997). In the spirit of theory
convergence and interdisciplinary knowledge synthesis, broadening the
construct of values as conceived in career development to incorporate
value sets and IC dimensions enriches the cultural implications of the
construct. It also enriches values as a cultural context variable that
can be considered relative to such career constructs as self-concept
development (Super et al., 1996), vocational personality style (Holland,
1997), self-observation and worldview observation generalizations
(Mitchell & Krumboltz, 1996), and work adjustment (Dawis, 1996).
Directions for Research
Research can assist in the process of elaborating on roles and
values by examining the influence of multiple roles, value sets, and
cultural value orientations on career choice and development. The
present analysis prompted specific hypotheses for future inquiry. One
hypothesis was that collectivism relates inversely to (a) the fit and
consistency of occupational choice and planning with personal goals and
aspirations and (b) the salience of the work role. Because collectivists
give group goals and needs priority over their own, collectivists'
occupational choices and levels of role salience should reflect less on
their own individual preferences and more on what their in-groups expect
of them. These relationships should be stronger for horizontal
collectivists, who emphasize self and in-group goals equally, than for
vertical collectivists, who emphasize in-group goals over self goals. A
second hypothesis was that collectivism relates positively and
significantly to family expectations of and influences on oc cupational
decision making and planning. Collectivists should show a high degree of
consistency between (a) what their families want for them in work and
career and (b) their own preferred occupational plans and choices. They
should also report that their families played a significant role in the
decision-making process. A third testable hypothesis derived from the
present discussion was that collectivism relates positively to extrinsic
work values that stress relationship to others (e.g., altruism,
associates, supervisory relations) and negatively to intrinsic work
values signifying personal gain (e.g., achievement, independence, way of
life). These are only three possibilities to guide future research.
In addition to examining cultural influences on role salience and
values, the culturally valid assessment of these constructs presents a
vital research need (Hackett & Watkins, 1995). Psychometrically
sound and practically useful measures of roles and values are needed to
take full account of the cultural dimensions of these constructs.
Developing card sorts to assess role salience and values may be a viable
option because they assess idiographic, subjective, and contextualized
perceptions of worker and other life roles (Hartung, 1999).
Enriching the validity of theory and practice for a culturally
diverse work force presents career counseling and development with an
important and necessary task; this task involves identifying ways to
better conceptualize and understand the career development of culturally
diverse groups of people (Fitzgerald & Betz, 1994; Leong, 1995;
Savickas, 1995). It also involves identifying culturally relevant ways
to assist individuals to make career decisions, adjust to those
decisions, and manage work relative to other life roles. One approach to
accomplishing this task is to broaden the concepts of roles and values
to fully incorporate and capitalize on these constructs as cultural
context variables. Augmenting the longstanding emphasis on person
variables (e.g., interests, aptitudes, personality traits), with a focus
on cultural context variables, such as social roles and values, should
give incremental validity to career development theory and counseling
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Paul J. Hartung, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Northeastern
Ohio Universities College of Medicine. Correspondence concerning this
article should be addressed to Paul J. Hartung, Department of Behavioral
Sciences, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, 4209 S.R.
44, Rootstown, OH 44272-0095 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).