Career Compromise: An Alternative Account to Gottfredson's Theory

Beryl Hesketh*, Sue Elmslie, Wendy Kaldor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


We tested two competing theories of career compromise with a fuzzy graphic rating scale. Two studies were undertaken with 73 career-dissatisfied adults and 90 high school students who were chosen to represent approximately equal numbers of high and low social class men and women. Both studies failed to support predictions from Gottfredson's (1981) theory that sex type was more important than prestige and prestige more important than interests in career-related decisions. Instead, the data supported the alternative account that postulated that interests were more important because of their compound nature, which incorporates sex type and prestige. The discussion contrasts the more optimistic view of attempts to encourage entry into nontraditional careers implied by the alternative account with the pessimistic view implicit in Gottfredson's theory. Practical suggestions for theoretically driven career programs are outlined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-56
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Counseling Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1990
Externally publishedYes


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