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The characteristics of prototypical occupational identities: a grounded theory of four occupations

Yates, J. ORCID: 0000-0001-9235-564X & Cahill, S. (2019). The characteristics of prototypical occupational identities: a grounded theory of four occupations. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, doi: 10.1080/03069885.2019.1706154


Evidence suggests that occupational prototypes have an impact on career decisions yet literature provides only a limited understanding of the nature of these prototypes. This paper presents a small-scale grounded theory study to explore the prototypes of four occupations. Data were collected from 24 psychology undergraduates through four focus groups. Participants were asked to evoke a typical member of each of four occupational groups and describe their prototype in detail. A classic grounded theory analysis identified the characteristics which were symbolised by the features of the prototypes and resulted in eight dimensions: warm, energetic, fun, intelligent, conventional, highbrow, successful and cool. The discussion explores the dimensions in the light of existing literature and suggestions are offered for practice.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in British Journal of Guidance & Counselling on 23 December 2019, available online:
Publisher Keywords: Occupational prototypes, occupational identities, career practice, grounded theory, self to prototype matching
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
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