Human beings possess the unique psychological ability to self-reflect. Few human experiences and behaviors define the self and allow us to characterize ourselves within the social world more than work and career. The pressing economic and social conditions of the information and globalization age require workers to be more self-directed by managing their own work lives, rather than solely relying on organizations to support them. Given these shifting occupational structures, it is time to reassess the long-standing emphasis on fitting workers to jobs and move toward empowering them to adapt to change.

In this volume, leading scholars and practitioners examine the construct of self through vocational psychology and career development topics centered on theory, assessment, and intervention.

Chapters in Part I consider predominant theoretical models of career choice and development, such as person–environment fit, developmental, sociocognitive–behavioral, and constructionist perspectives.

In Part II, contributors offer counseling methods rooted in these theoretical models and in contemporary I/O psychology to foster self-construction through work and career.

In the final part, authors examine contextual dimensions of gender, culture, and socioeconomic class to investigate how self is constructed in relation to our social world.

By exploring theories of career choice and development and their related counseling practices, practitioners can more effectively meet the needs of a rapidly changing global workforce.

Table of Contents


  1. Introduction: Reconsidering Self in Career Theory and Practice
    —Paul J. Hartung and Linda M. Subich

I. Foundations

  1. The Self in Vocational Psychology: Object, Subject, and Project
    —Mark L. Savickas
  2. Improving Person–Environment Fit and Self-Knowledge
    —Patrick J. Rottinghaus and Raoul Van Esbroeck
  3. Fostering Self-Concept and Identity Constructs in Developmental Career Psychology
    —Fred W. Vondracek and Erik J. Porfeli
  4. The Self as Agent in Social Cognitive Career Theory
    —Robert W. Lent and Nadya A. Fouad
  5. Constructing Self in Career Theory and Counseling Interventions
    —Audrey Collin and Jean Guichard

II. Practice Methods

  1. Person Match as a Source of Possible Selves
    —Donald G. Zytowski and Catalina D'Achiardi-Ressler
  2. Self-Direction in the Boundaryless Career Era
    —Sherry E. Sullivan
  3. Integrating Self Through Personality, Interests, and Self-Efficacy
    —Fred H. Borgen and Nancy E. Betz
  4. Implementing Self-Concept: Matching, Developing, and Deciding
    —Susan D. Phillips

III. Contextual Dimensions

  1. The Gendered Context of Vocational Self-Construction
    —Mary J. Heppner and Chu-Chun Fu
  2. Self in Vocational Psychology: A Cultural Formulations Approach
    —Frederick T. L. Leong, Erin E. Hardin, and Arpana Gupta
  3. Self and Social Class in Career Theory and Practice
    —David L. Blustein, Maria T. N. Coutinho, Kerri A. Murphy, Faedra Backus, and Christine Catraio


About the Editors

Editor Bios

Paul J. Hartung, PhD, is a professor of behavioral and community health sciences at Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy, Rootstown, and an adjunct professor of counseling at The University of Akron. A fellow of APA and the National Career Development Association, he received the 2009 John L. Holland Award for Outstanding Achievement in Career and Personality Research. He has published widely on the topics of developmental career theory, assessment, and counseling and serves on the editorial boards of several journals.

Linda M. Subich, PhD, is a professor and associate chair of the Department of Psychology at The University of Akron and was cochair of the 2007 Society for Vocational Psychology conference held at there. Her MA and PhD in counseling psychology are from The Ohio State University. In 2000, she received the Holland Award from Division 17 of APA, and holds fellow status in APA Divisions 17 and 45. She served as associate editor of the Journal of Vocational Behavior and The Career Development Quarterly and currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Counseling Psychology, the Journal of Vocational Behavior, and the Journal of Career Assessment.