Happenstance Learning Theory of Career Counseling


People bring genetic and socially inherited attributes to their environment. 


These interact to produce the self views (sog's)


Which in turn influence one's work related behavior (actions) 


Based on learning, not development, not dynamic process


4 factors influence career development

     1) genetic endowment: race, sex, disabilities, talents

     2) environmental conditions/events:

           # and nature of job opportunities (Santa Claus, scuba diver)

          # and nature of training opportunities

           social policies (court decisions on testing, diploma)

           labor laws, union rules, technological developments

           natural disasters which change economy

     3) learning experiences:

           instrumental: act on environment, produce consequences

           associative: cognitive connections, emotional component,

           vicarious: a type of associative learning

     4) task approach skills: standards, work habits, mental sets


Consequences of influences

     a) Beliefs:

           a.1) self observation generalizations: self statements of evaluation of one's interests and values

              Self Efficacy Expectations: Can I do this?

              Outcome Expectations: What is likely to happen if I do this?


           a.2) world view generalizations: standards of performance exist, and how do I measure up


     b) Task approach skills: performance abilities & mental set


     c) Actions: job application, choice of major


Overall Goals:

       Facilitate learning of new things


       Enable clients to create a satisfying life in a changing work environment


       Promote learning!!



       1) Help people EXPAND their options


       2) Help people prepare for changing tasks

              new learnings

              not just matching: world of work is now FLUID


       3) Empower people to ACT, don't just diagnose

              zeteophobia: the fear of career planning, based on the assumption that a

              person can predict and control the future


       4) Deal with ALL career concerns

              not just matching and selection



Aptitudes: help clients learn new ones

Interests: encourage the development of new ones



Personality: view it as learned, encourage growth



       A: Developmental and Preventative

              career education / job clubs / occ info / simulations

       B: Targeted and Remedial


              behavioral (role playing, desensitization)



       Indecision: not so important

       Congruence: not so important


New Questions for outcomes

       How much new learning have I helped stimulate?

       How much have I helped client cope with changing work environment?

       How much progress is client making in creating a satisfying life?












Self Efficacy


Career Outcome Expectations Scale


Career Counseling Self-Efficacy Scale


Career Decision Self-Efficacy Scale





Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT)

       Lent, Brown, Hackett


Builds on Bandura's work in Social Learning

       (Krumboltz VS SCCT)







Three KEYS:

       1. self-efficacy beliefs

       2. outcome expectations

       3. goal representations

           symbolic representations of desired future outcomes



CDMSE–Short Form


INSTRUCTIONS: For each statement below, please read carefully and indicate how much confidence you have that you could accomplish each of these tasks by marking your answer according to the key, Mark your answer by filling in the correct circle on the answer sheet.


NO CONFIDENCE       VERY LITTLE        MODERATE             MUCH               COMPLETE


      1                                    2                              3                            4                                5


Example: How much confidence do you have that you could:


a. Summarize the skills you have developed in the jobs you have held?


If your response was "Moderate Confidence," you would fill out the number 3 on the answer sheet.




1. Use the internet to find information about occupations that interest you.

2. Select one major from a list of potential majors you are considering.

3. Make a plan of your goals for the next five years.

4. Determine the steps to take if you are having academic trouble with an aspect of your chosen major.

5. Accurately assess your abilities.

6. Select one occupation from a list of potential occupations you are considering.

7. Determine the steps you need to take to successfully complete your chosen major.

8. Persistently work at your major or career goal even when  you get frustrated.

9. Determine what your ideal job would be.

10. Find out the employment trends for an occupation over the next ten years.

11. Choose a career that will fit your preferred lifestyle.

12. Prepare a good resume.

13. Change majors if you did not like your first choice.

14. Decide what you value most in an occupation.

15. Find out about the average yearly earnings of people in an occupation.

16. Make a career decision and then not worry whether it was right or wrong.

17. Change occupations if you are not satisfied with the one you enter.

18. Figure out what you are and are not ready to sacrifice to achieve your career goals.

19. Talk with a person already employed in a field you are interested in.

20. Choose a major or career that will fit your interests.

21. Identify employers, firms, and institutions relevant to your career possibilities.

22. Define the type of lifestyle you would like to live.

23. Find information about graduate or professional schools.

24. Successfully manage the job interview process.

25. Identify some reasonable major or career alternatives if you are unable to get your first choice.


Copyright @2001, Nancy Betz & Karen Taylor.