Cultural context in career theory and practice: role salience and values.
Career development (Research)
Hartung, Paul J.
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Name: Career Development Quarterly Publisher: National Career Development Association Audience: Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Business; Human resources and labor relations Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2002 National Career Development Association ISSN: 0889-4019
Date: Sept, 2002 Source Volume: 51 Source Issue: 1
Product Code: 9918560 Career Planning
Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States

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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, 1996).

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 counseling practices.

Infusing Context Into Career Theory and Practice: Problems and Progress

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 cultural validity.

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 and practice.

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 practice.


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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:
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