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What kind of shoes does a social worker wear? A content analysis of four occupational prototypes

Yates, J. & Cahill, S. (2018). What kind of shoes does a social worker wear? A content analysis of four occupational prototypes. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, doi: 10.1080/03069885.2018.1437596


Evidence suggests that occupational prototypes have an impact on career decisions, through the mechanism of self-to-prototype matching, yet the literature provides scant information about the nature of these occupational prototypes. This study examines the prototypes of four common occupational choices of psychology students in the UK (social worker, primary school teacher, occupational psychologist and clinical psychologist). Data were gathered through four focus groups (N=24) and were analysed with a quantitative content analysis to produce descriptions of the four occupational prototypes. It was found that the occupational prototypes were detailed and multi-dimensional, incorporating a wide range of features not directly related to the job itself including information about clothing, leisure activities and home décor. Implications for career development theory and career practice are discussed.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in 'British Journal of Guidance and Counselling' on 6 Feb 2018, available online:
Publisher Keywords: social identity, occupational prototypes, career decision-making, social identity markers, self-to-prototype matching
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
Text - Accepted Version
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