Archive for category Decision making
When clients talk about the kind of organisations they would like to work for, what words do they use?
The list could go on and on. However, according to one group of researchers, when we evaluate an organisation we tend to use four main dimensions to categorise them.
Is it possible to know the future? Most people would say not. Yet many careers theories and theories about entrepreneurial behaviour inadvertently assume that it is possible.
In 1921 Frank Knight, who once taught the Nobel laureate Milton Friedman, wrote a seminal book called Risk, Uncertainty and Profit. Knight explained that there was a difference between risk (where the probability of success is known) and uncertainty (where the probability of success is unknown). More recently the economist Saras Sarasvathy, in her book Effectuation, pointed out that Knight had actually written about a third category – only no-one had noticed. This overlooked third category described a future that is not only unknown, but is unknowable, even in principle.
This observation, that there is an important difference between a future that is difficult to predict and a future that is impossible to predict, could lead to profound changes in our understanding of career choice.
Think about a recent job change that you made by your own initiative (rather than by force of circumstance, such as redundancy).
Why did you change? Had you got so fed up with your previous job that you had to move to preserve your sanity? Or were you tempted away by the opportunities on offer in the new job?
What about changing your mobile phone company, utilities, mortgage deal or internet service provider? Do you switch when you get fed up or do you constantly look for better deals?
What motivates you at work and why is it important to you? When you’re thinking about a job move, do you make a list of what you want or a list of what you don’t want?
When you make a list of pros and cons, which column tends to be most influential in making your mind up about something?
This issue of whether you are moving towards something or moving away from something has been a recurring theme in things I have been reading and in discussions I have been having over the last couple of weeks.
It is generally accepted that there is no ‘one’ right theory that suits every client, so how can a practitioner make some sort of sense out of the multitude of approaches that exist within the modern academic careers world (apart from following our blog of course)? Enter Patton and McMahon (1999) Systems Theory Framework of Career Development (STF).
In last week’s post about employability I presented four approaches to employability (Careerist, Ritualist, Rebel and Retreatist).
This got me all enthusiastic about typologies that put people into boxes which describe their approach to career management and decision making. I’ve found a few, but I’m hoping that you can come up with some more for me.
I have just returned once again from being a tutor on the AGCAS Guidance Skills (Advanced) course in Warwick. We had an intensive four days in which we encouraged a group of higher education careers advisers to deconstruct and rebuild their guidance practices and attitudes.
Reframing is a crucial element of the course. We explore how to help clients reframe their career dilemmas in more constructive ways. However, we also do a lot of reframing with the participants. Through workshop discussions, models, theories, observation and feedback, we encouraged everyone to explore different perspectives on the skills and processes of the guidance discussion as well as their role, assumptions and motivations within it.
It’s rewarding but exhausting!
One thing I noticed was that our ability to resist break-time pastries and dinner-time desserts diminished considerably as the course progressed.
And now I think I know why…
Quite a while ago I blogged about Learned Helplessness and I followed it up with an unsettling video in which at teacher induced learned helplessness in half a class by making them attempt impossible anagrams. So I was interested to find out about another bit of research which used impossible anagrams to get students into a bad mood.
In one of a pair of experiments by Webb et al. (2010) students were given impossible anagrams that they were told were easy in order to get them frustrated and annoyed.
Following this, they were presented with scenarios representing various opportunities for risky behaviour. The grumpy students were more likely to consider engaging in risky behaviour than the non-grumpy control group.
None of this is particularly surprising. It is reasonably well known that negative moods can lead to poor decision-making and unhelpful behaviours.
In last week’s post I talked about the decision-making profile developed by Itamar Gati. Along with some other researchers, Gati has also explored the various factors that lead to decision-making difficulties. As with the profile, this list of difficulties can provide a useful checklist for exploring decision making with clients.