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Career decision-making styles

“Decision-making style” is the term used to describe the manner by which individuals acquire, perceive, and process information in the course of their career decision-making activity; it reflects their approach toward making a career decision and the various ways of engaging in this process (Phillips & Pazienza, 1988). Models of career decision-making assume general decisionmaking models and apply them into the area of realizing career choices.

The multidimensional model of career decision-making profiles

Gati et al. (2010) suggested that individuals in the situation of career decisionmaking should use more than just one style. They suggested using a range of strategies in different decisions. To characterize an individual with a single dominant trait may lead to over-simplifying an individual’s manner of career decision-making. They proposed an alternative multidimensional model of career decision-making and used the term “profile” rather than “style,” particularly for two main reasons: “(a) to point out that it is a complex multidimensional construct, not just a single dominant trait; (b) because career decision-making styles imply focus on personal characteristics, while the career decision-making profile focuses on the personal and situational impact on decision-making” (Gati et al., 2010, p. 278).

The multidimensional model of career decision-making profiles, according to Gati et al. (2010) and Gati, Gadassi, and Mashiah-Cohen (2012, pp. 2-3), involves these 12 dimensions: [1] [2] [3] [4]

  • 5. Procrastination (high v.v. low) - the degree to which individuals avoid or delay beginning or advancing through the career decision-making process:
  • 6. Speed of making the final decision (fast v.v. slow) - the length of time individuals need to make their final decision once the information has been collected and compiled;
  • 7. Consulting with others (frequent vs. rare) - the extent to which individuals consult with others during the various stages of the decision process;
  • 8. Dependence on others (high vs. low) - the degree to which individuals expect others to make the decision for them as opposed to accepting full responsibility for making their decision;
  • 9. Desire to please others (high vs. low) - the degree to which individuals attempt to satisfy the expectations of significant others (e.g., parents, partner, friends);
  • 10. Aspiration for an idea! occupation (high vs. low) - the extent to which individuals strive for an occupation that is perfect for them;
  • 11. Willingness to compromise (much vs. little) - the extent to which individuals are willing to be flexible about their preferred alternative when they encounter difficulties in actualizing it;
  • 12. Using intuition (much vs. little) - the degree to which individuals rely on internal (gut) feelings when making a decision, after the information has been collected and processed.

The dimensions describing individuals’ decision-making were created by Gati et al. (2010) by systematic analyses of forgoing research and on the basis of initial empirical testing. Gati et al. (2010) identified 40 labels used to describe styles of decision-making, then analyzed and compared those styles and classified them into one of 16 prototypes, which matched them the best. In the last stage, they reduced the list of 16 prototypes to 11 dimensions that are characteristic for the decision-making process.

The first version of career decision-making profiles published by Gati et al. (2010) included only 11 dimensions. Gati et al. (2010) argued that the dimension of Information processing includes both the rational and intuitive styles, and that these styles are, in fact, opposite poles of the same dimension. In following the expanded version of career decision-making, Gati et al. (2012) reacted to findings that the intuitive process in decision-making is not opposite to the rational process. The 12th dimension Using intuition was added to models of career decision-making.

Pilarik (2019) detected characteristic career decision-making profiles on a sample of 595 Slovak high-school students. The largest represented strategy of career decision-making of the Slovak students was Aspiration for an ideal occupation. None of the previous studies listed this strategy of career decision-making in first place (e.g., Gadassi, Gati, & Dayan, 2012; Ginevra, Nota, Soresi, & Gati, 2012; Guan et al., 2015; Willner, Gati, & Guan, 2015). In Guan et al.’s (2015) study, American university students were compared to

Chinese students. They discovered, that American students have a stronger Aspiration for an ideal occupation than Chinese students. However, high-school students in this research had a slightly higher Aspiration for an idea! occupation than American university students. Willner et al. (2015), within the scope of their intercultural study, divided their sample of American respondents into adults and students. The degree of Aspiration for an ideal occupation of American students was comparable to the degree of Slovak students. Intercultural comparisons suggest that Aspiration for an ideal occupation may reflect an individualistic orientation of the Slovak students. Guan et al. (2015) discovered that students with a high Aspiration for an ideal occupation level also had a more independent Self. Individuals with an independent Self internalize individualistic values. These individuals experience that their self is the administrator, that it is unique and different from others. Independent individuals pay more attention to their own characteristics and develop achievements aimed at their own requirements (Markus & Kitayama, 1991). Slovak students emphasized their own individuality in decision-making (abilities, interests, values, and persuasions) and had a greater tendency to choose and follow their ideal profession, which they believed to be in accordance with their abilities and motives.

Career decision-making strategies, Information gathering and Information processing were leading strategies in Italian adolescents (Ginevra et al., 2012), as well as in American students (Willner et al., 2015) and Information processing in the sample of Chinese students (Willner et al., 2015). These findings suggest that the listed strategies of career decision-making do not underlie intercultural differences. In Willner et al.’s (2015) study, Intuition as a dimension of career decision-making was also included. Neither American adults nor Israeli respondents used Intuition to such a degree as the Slovak students. Pilarik (2019) alleged that Slovak students use analytic and intuitive processes based on emotions into processing information about their career decisionmaking. This finding supports the need to focus on effective actions with emotions in the career decision-making process in high-school students.

  • [1] Information gathering (comprehensive w. minimal) - the degree to whichindividuals are thorough in collecting and organizing information;
  • [2] Information processing (analytic vs. holistic) - the degree to which individuals analyze information into its components and process the information according to these components;
  • [3] Locus of control (internal v.v. external) - the degree to which individuals believe that they control their occupational future and feel that theirdecisions affect their career opportunities;
  • [4] Effort invested in the process (much vs. little) - the amount of time andeffort individuals invest in the decision-making process;
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