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The Nature of Women’s Career Development: Determinants and Consequences of Career Patterns
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Existing career theories are largely based on a stable working environment and have focused excessively on men and single work roles. In the postindustrial era, however, women’s careers, characterized by the constant negotiation of multiple roles and more frequent job changes, have had implications on the changing nature of careers. The general purpose of this thesis is to increase knowledge about the process of career development of women. The focus is on two aspects: Life Career (characterized by multiple role constellations over the life course) and Occupational Career (characterized by different shapes of occupational movement over the life course). Three sets of questions addressed these two aspects of career: trajectory patterns, interrelationships, and antecedents and consequences. Career biographies covered ages 16 to 43. Antecedents reflecting individual agency (e.g., life role value, aspiration, and early experiences) were investigated. The impact of family context on occupational choice was also examined. Among the consequences examined were midlife work wellness and stress, health, and wellbeing.

Results showed that (1) Career patterns were highly diverse, including nine distinct life career patterns and ten occupational career patterns. (2) Occupational and life careers were significantly related, indicating that the paid work career is embedded in the overall life role structure throughout the life course. (3) Individual agency factors predicted life career. Occupational career was related to life career more than family context. (4) Occupational career did matter in work wellbeing. In terms of stress, health, and wellbeing at midlife, there was little difference among life career patterns, but more significant differences among occupational career patterns. The thesis indicates career theory can benefit from taking multiple roles and career development into account. Implications for career counseling, social policy, and organizations are discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Psykologiska institutionen , 2006. , 93 p.
Keyword [en]
career patterns, life career, occupational career, life course, human agency, family context, job perception, work attitude, quality of life, allostatic load, wellbeing, person-oriented approach, life history approach, sequence analysis
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-1216ISBN: 91-7155-301-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-1216DiVA: diva2:189607
Public defence
2006-09-08, David Magnussonsalen (U31), hus 8, Frescati Hagväg 8, Stockholm, 10:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2006-08-11 Created: 2006-08-11Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Women’s Career Patterns: A Study of Swedish Women Born in the 1950s
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Women’s Career Patterns: A Study of Swedish Women Born in the 1950s
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2007 (English)In: Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, ISSN 0963-1798, E-ISSN 2044-8325, Vol. 80, no 3, 387-412 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Patterns of career development have been found to be an important factor for longterm career rewards and well-being. However, existing career models excessively focus on men or elite women and upon paid work, typically without considering other roles. Based on a life course perspective, this study aimed to identify women's career development patterns by examining the dynamic interactions between individuals' involvement in working life and other career-related domains of life. Career biographies, from the ages of 16 to 43, were recorded through retrospective reports from a representative sample of Swedish women (N = 549) participating in a longitudinal programme on individual development. Seven career-related activities were coded and combined into career sequences covering the entire period. Data were analysed using optimal matching, and nine distinct career patterns -- disparate in terms of the timing, ordering and duration of activities -- were identified. There were significant differences between the career patterns in early educational aspirations and early sexual experiences, as well as in life-role values and socio-economic status in middle age. With respect to the consequences of career patterns for well-being, there were significant differences in self-rated health but not in job satisfaction or life satisfaction. The diversity of patterns is discussed from a perspective that takes account of both life course theory and the choices made by individual women in a society that provides childcare facilities, parental leave and other types of support to working parents.

Keyword
*PSYCHOLOGY, Industrial *RESEARCH *PSYCHOLOGY, Applied *CAREER development *WOMEN -- Employment *SWEDES *JOB satisfaction *QUALITY of work life *OCCUPATIONS *SOCIOECONOMIC factors PSYCHOLOGICAL aspects
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-22836 (URN)000249494400002 ()
Note
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-1216Available from: 2006-08-11 Created: 2006-08-11 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
2. Women's occupational career patterns over 27 years: relations to family of origin, life careers, and wellness
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Women's occupational career patterns over 27 years: relations to family of origin, life careers, and wellness
2007 (English)In: Journal of Vocational Behavior, ISSN 0001-8791, E-ISSN 1095-9084, Vol. 70, no 2, 369-397 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study aimed at identifying and describing occupational career patterns (OCPs) from age 16 to 43 by applying optimal matching techniques to sequence data obtained from a sample of Swedish women. Women’s occupational trajectories were found to be diverse. Upward mobility (3 patterns) and stable careers (4 patterns) were prevalent, but there were also women characterized by downward mobility, fluctuation and being outside the labor market (1 pattern each). Women’s OCPs were related to family of origin, but more strongly to their overall life career (i.e., multiple role constellations over the life course). The study indicates that occupational mobility patterns do matter in terms of job perceptions, work attitudes, and quality of life. The results generally confirm the popular belief of the advantage of upward mobility, followed by stable occupational careers, whereas women with downward or fluctuating careers fared worst.

Keyword
Occupational career pattern, Occupational mobility, Life career, Family of origin, Occupational history, Work attitudes, Job perceptions, Quality of life
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-22837 (URN)10.1016/j.jvb.2006.12.003 (DOI)
Available from: 2006-08-11 Created: 2006-08-11 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
3. A life-span perspective on women’s careers, health and wellbeing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A life-span perspective on women’s careers, health and wellbeing
In: Social Science & Medicine, ISSN 0277-9536Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-22838 (URN)
Note
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-1216Available from: 2006-08-11 Created: 2006-08-11Bibliographically approved

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