Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Education

Department

Adult Education

First Advisor's Name

Tonette Rocco

First Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Dawn Addy

Third Advisor's Name

Dionne Stephens

Fourth Advisor's Name

Hilary Landorf

Keywords

Career development, Human resource development, West Indians

Date of Defense

11-8-2010

Abstract

This phenomenological study explored how West Indian professionals in South Florida perceive their career construction. The study used Savickas’s (2005) theory of career construction as its theoretical framework. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, transcribed, and analyzed for 15 West Indian professionals, who self-identified as West Indians and met all the criteria for this study. Interview data were analyzed using inductive, deductive, and comparative analyses. Five themes emerged from the inductive analysis of the data: (a) vocational influences, (b) adjustment challenges, (c) employment patterns, (d) career mobility patterns, and (d) career success perceptions. The theory of career construction guided the deductive analysis. The deductive analysis revealed that both extrinsic and intrinsic influences were equally influential in shaping the participants’ vocational personalities. The deductive analysis also revealed that the participants used three of the career adaptive dimensions: career concern, control, and confidence. Career concern manifested as planning for the future through educational attainment and performing meaningful work. Career control manifested as continuous learning and maintaining secondary careers. Career confidence manifested as self-efficacy expectations, beliefs about one’s ability to perform a behavior that produces desired outcomes. The participants’ life themes or challenges included navigating their identity, starting over, and adjusting to their environment. The comparative analysis revealed that all five themes from the inductive analysis were evident in each of the three tenets of Savickas’s (2005) career construction theory (i.e., vocational personality, career adaptability, and life themes). Career compromises emerged as coping behavior to facilitate the participants’ social and occupational integration. The findings of this study imply that the participants constructed their sense of self in relation to those around them and that their vocational behaviors tend to mobilize and reinforce a mixture of personality and ability. The findings also imply that the participants’ decision-making style and habitual pattern of decision making, may be embedded in their culturally norms, producing a specific cognitive style. Finally, the findings imply that the participants’ career adaptive dimensions were grounded in their attitudes, beliefs, and competencies and overall self-concept. Recommendations for further research are given.

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