Social Contexts for Career Guidance Throughout the World

  • Edwin L. Herr

It is difficult to fully understand either career guidance or individual behaviour in isolation from the social contexts in which they function. Neither individual behaviour nor career guidance occurs in a vacuum, removed from the continuous transactions with social norms, mass media, behavioural expectations, policies and regulations, cultural traditions, definitions of acceptable roles, beliefs and values that comprise the field of stimuli in which individual behaviour and career guidance processes are constantly immersed. Such stimuli occur with different levels of intensity, intimacy, relevance and credibility as they shape and reinforce individual behaviour or the form and substance of career guidance processes, programs, or systems.

Frequently, individual career dilemmas first must be understood in relationship to their context. In essence the question becomes how is the person experiencing his or her environment, his or her social context, as a guide to decisions by the individual and a counsellor about some course of career guidance interventions (e.g., career information, assessment, job shadowing, exploratory activities, individual counselling). Many of the individual career concerns that bring people to a relationship with a career practitioner differ from population subgroup to population subgroup (as related, for example, to discrimination, segregation, sexism and ageism as contextual factors for some persons) or nation to nation (as related to resource differences, cultural value systems, demographic distribution) as well as at different points in individual career development. Such individual career concerns and the related anxieties, information deficits, or indecisiveness become the content with which career guidance practitioners and individual counselees interact. Thus, at the most intimate of interactive processes, the micro-level, career guidance is a social activity engaged in by a career practitioner and a client or counselee; at a macrolevel, career guidance is a socio-political process influenced by governmental policies, legislation, economics, politics, and by historical events. Throughout the last one hundred years or so, career guidance has become an increasingly important process in nations around the world as it responds to a variety of triggering and shaping mechanisms that emanate from economic and education changes, social policies, political transitions, and related phenomena.


Social Context Career Development Career Education Individual Career Career Guidance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alberts, C. (2000). Identify formation among African late-adolescents in a contemporary South Africa context. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, 22(1), 23–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arnold, J., & Jackson, C. (1997). The new career: Issues and challenges. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 25(4), 427–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cornish, E. (2004). Futuring: The exploration of the future. Bethesda, MD: World Future Society.Google Scholar
  4. Crouch, L. (2004). South Africa: Overcoming past injustice. In I. C. Rothberg (Ed.), Balancing change and tradition in global education reform (pp. 53–82). New York: Scarecrow Education.Google Scholar
  5. Davenport, T. O. (1999). Human capital: What it is and why people invest in it. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  6. Engardio, P. (2005a, August 22). A new world economy. The balance of power will shift to the East as China and India evolve. Business Week, 39(48), 52–59.Google Scholar
  7. Engardio, P. (2005b, August 22). Crouching tigers, hidden dragons. Business Week, 39(48), 60–61.Google Scholar
  8. Fiske, A. P. (1991). Structures of social life: The four elementary forms of human relations. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  9. Florida, R. (2004). The rise of the creative class: And how it’s transforming work, leisure, community and everyday life. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  10. Friedman, T. L. (2005). The world is flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.Google Scholar
  11. Hall, D. T., & Associates (Eds.). (1996). The career is dead–long live the career: A relational approach to careers. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  12. Hall, D. T. (2004). The protean career: A quarter-century journey. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 65(1), 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Herr, E. L. (1996). Perspectives on ecological context, social policy, and career guidance. The Career Development Quarterly, 45, 5–19.Google Scholar
  14. Herr, E. L., Cramer, S. H., & Niles, S. G. (2004). Career guidance and counseling through the lifespan. Systematic approaches. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  15. Honda, Y. (2005). ‘Freeters’: Young atypical workers in Japan. Japan Labor Review, 2(3), 5–25.Google Scholar
  16. Inagami, T. (2004). Changes in the employment system and future labor policies. Japan Labor Review, 1(1), 39–51.Google Scholar
  17. Kleinman, A. (1988). Rethinking psychiatry: From cultural category to personal experience. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  18. Kosugi, R. (2005). Introduction. The transition from school to working life issues. Japan Labor Review, 2(3), 2–4.Google Scholar
  19. Mathabe, N. R., & Temane, M. Q. (1993). The realities and imperatives of career counseling for a developing South Africa. Journal of Career Development, 20, 25–32.Google Scholar
  20. McCowan, C., & Mountain, E. (2000). Career development in Australia. In B. Hiebert & L. Bezanson (Eds.), Making waves: Career development and public policy (pp. 84–97). Ottawa, Canada: Human Resources Development Canada/Canadian Career Development Foundation.Google Scholar
  21. Miyamoto, M. (2005). Prolonged transitional period and policy. Japan Labor Review, 2(3), 73–91.Google Scholar
  22. Nicholas, L. (1996). Patterns of student counseling in South African Universities. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, 18, 275–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Nussbaum, B. (2005, August 1). Get creative: How to build innovative companies. Business Week, 39(45), 60–68.Google Scholar
  24. Pryor, G. L., Hammond, B., & Hawkins, T. L. (1990). New tasks, new visions: Employment counseling in Australia. Journal of Employment Counseling, 27, 160–170.Google Scholar
  25. Ritook, M. (1993). Career development in Hungary at the beginning of the 90s. Journal of Career Development, 20, 33–40.Google Scholar
  26. Semali, L., & Kincheloe, J. L. (Eds.). (1999). What is indigenous knowledge: Voices from the academy. New York: Falmer.Google Scholar
  27. Senzaki, T. (1993). Career education in Japan: Its current status and condition. Career Development Quarterly, 41, 291–296.Google Scholar
  28. Skorikov, V., & Vondracek, F. (1993). Career development in the Commonwealth of Independent States. Career Development Quarterly, 44, 314–329.Google Scholar
  29. Super, D. E. (1985). Career counseling across cultures. In P. Pederson (Ed.), Handbook of cross-cultural counseling and therapy (pp. 11–20). West Post, CT: Greenwood.Google Scholar
  30. The World Bank. (2003). Lifelong learning in the global knowledge economy: Challenges for developing countries. Washington, DC: World Bank.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Watanabe, A. M., & Herr, E. L. (1993). Career development among Japanese work groups. Journal of Career Development, 20(1), 61–72.Google Scholar
  32. Watanabe, A. M., Masaki, N., & Kamiichi, S. (1990). Employment counseling in Japan: Current and future. Journal of Employment Counseling, 27, 171–180.Google Scholar
  33. Watson, M. B., Stead, G. B., & DeJager, A. C. (1995). The career development of black and white South African students. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, 18, 39–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Watts, A. G., & Fretwell, D. G. (2004). Public policies for career development: Case studies and emerging issues for designing career information and guidance systems in developing and transition economics. Washington, DC: The World Bank.Google Scholar
  35. Whittaker, D. H. (2004). Unemployment, underemployment and overemployment: Reestablishing social sustainability. Japan Labor Review, 1(1), 29–38.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edwin L. Herr
    • 1
  1. 1.The Pennsylvania State UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations