The measurement of occupational identity.

  • Robin Willis-Lee

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


This study begins with general questions concerning the supply of appropriately qualified and motivated manpower to certain occupations and with related questions concerning occupational attitudes and choices of school leavers. Prevailing concepts and theories earlier advanced as explanations of the transition from school to work, the processes of matching people with jobs, and the operation of individual occupational attitudes and choices are then critically examined. Four categories of theories are identified and subjected to further close scrutiny and it is then argued that previous theoretical and methodological approaches fail to account adequately for the occupational choice behaviour of a single individual. The remainder of the thesis is concerned with finding a new theoretical and methodological approach to occupational choice and with carrying out field trials using the new approach. Selected elements drawn from clinical psychology, occupational cognitive psychology, occupational cognitive sociology, mathematical psychology and repertory grid technique are brought together to form a new theoretical and methodological foundation for the present study. Following a small pilot study field trials using the new approach were carried out with the help of teachers and final year pupils of two schools using two modified forms of the repertory grid. Data collected from 66 teachers and 357 boys and girls in their final year of compulsory schooling was analysed using the Grid Analysis Package developed by Dr. Patrick Slater. The instrument tested confirmed the occupational aspirations of between 67 and 83 per cent of school leavers and predicted the occupational destinations of between 45 and 65 per cent. The instrument also revealed valuable information concerning the occupational psychology of individuals and groups as well as about individual and popular evaluations of specific jobs. In conclusion it was felt that this study entailed, even with its limitations, important implications for some earlier explanations of occupational attitudes and choices, for personnel selection and recruitment procedures, for school/industry interface activities, for vocational guidance and counselling, and for future developments in the field of manpower planning.
Date of Award1983
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath

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