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The effects of framing vocational choices on young adults' sets of career options

Daniel C. Feldman (Terry College of Business, Department of Management, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA)
Kathleen M. Whitcomb (Moore School of Business, Department of Management Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, USA)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 1 January 2005




The present paper examines the effects of two decision‐framing inductions on young adults' set of career options: first, whether young adults use abilities or interests as the grounds for their vocational choices and, second, whether young adults approach the decision‐making task by including all career options to which they feel positively or by eliminating all career options to which they feel negatively.


A 2 × 2 experimental design was used to collect data from a diverse group of college undergraduates.


The results suggest that individuals who choose careers on the basis of skills and who use the inclusion decision‐making procedure are significantly more likely to narrow down their sets of career options.

Research limitations/implications

The paper also suggests that Holland's model of vocational choice (RIASEC) may be differentially useful in guiding students to appropriate vocations for themselves. Students with a “social” profile, for example, have a much larger and more diffuse set of career options available to them than students with “realistic” or “investigative” profiles.

Practical implications

The findings here suggest that the prevalent practice of focusing students' attention on finding activities they like may be less successful in helping students identify appropriate careers than focusing students' attention on their skills and abilities.


The paper addresses a career decision‐making phenomenon that has received increasing attention in the press and among educators.



Feldman, D.C. and Whitcomb, K.M. (2005), "The effects of framing vocational choices on young adults' sets of career options", Career Development International, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 7-25.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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