This website isn't complete... by a long stretch! It's more a cross between a blog and a website and a reflection of the research I do. At the moment I'm researching career theory and making graphics of each to help visual learners. When that's finished I'll add more text and I hope to add practical information to each of the theories. There is a long term plan! Since this is not strictly a commercial website, I don't mind it's not already perfect. I hope you find something useful on here. Come back often as things on here change all the time. In the meantime, feel free to contact me if you need anything!

Help someone make their mark in the world

Career Theories A to Z

To Theorists A - Z

Please click on any of the letters above to find the corresponding theory.

Not all theories will have a corresponding page, yet, however. I am in the middle of updating this, so please come back to find out more. Of course, if there isn't a page yet, feel free to copy and paste anything into a search engine to do your research.

As mentioned before, it is not my intention to offer an exhaustive explanation and analysis of each and every Theory. It's relatively easy to find that information on the many websites and in the many resources out there. It's my intention to offer something in addition to this, a useful summary that supports different learning styles and an exploration of the tools we can use with clients, linked to the different theories. I would also like to offer a succinct critique with each Theory to get you started. Especially if you are completing your Level 6 Qualification in Career Guidance and Development, it's imperative that you form your own critique and make up your own mind about each of the different theories you encounter.

In addition, some tips for your research - Click/Tap for further information

Normally, none of us have access to a full academic library. The best most of us can hope for is a search on the web and the few books we have. Making your time on the web count is important and I hope the following will help with that:

  • If you are exploring a new to you Theory, I would suggest starting with a picture search in google or similar. This wil normally bring up a visual representation of the Theory you are exploring. But... be careful you have the right one! This will hopefully give you a quick and easy way into a new Theory.
  • Wikipedia, however imprecise it is by reputation, is a good starting point to get to know more about theorists. Also don't forget the references at the bottom of every Wikipedia page, which can offer an excellent reading list for further exploration.
  • By adding the word 'scholar' or 'academic' behind your search term, you may have access to one of the many extracts of research texts that are available online. Another possible source of references, information and research could be book previews on websites like Amazon and co.
  • I have also added some useful links to websites about career Theory in the 'useful links' section of this part of the website.



Acceptance and Commitment Therapy/Training (ACT) - Tom Luken & Albert de Folter 2000 & 2012



Boundaryless Career - Arthur & Rousseau 1996



Career Anchors - Edgar H. Schein 1975

Career Choice and Attainment Model - Kimberly A.S.Howard 2010

Career Construction Theory & Life Design – Narrative approach - Mark Savickas 2005

Career Counseling with Underserved Populations Model - Mark Pope 2011

Career Engagement Model - Roberta A. Neault & Deirdre A. Pickerell 2011

Careership Theory - Phil Hodkinson and Andrew C. Sparkes 1996

Career Scotland Model (see NTU Career Continuum)

Career Self Determination Theory - Charles P. Chen 2017

Career Writing Method - Reinekke Lengelle & Frans Meijers 2017

Change Management Model - Kurt Lewin 1947

Change Model - Cynthia Scott and Dennis Jaffe 1988

Chaos Theory of Careers - Pryor and Bright 2011

Client-centred Theory - Patterson 1964, Rogers 1942 & 1951

Cognitive Information Processing Theory - Sampson, Lenz, Reardon, & Peterson 1999

Coherent Career Practice - Kris Magnusson & Dave Redekopp 2011

Community Interaction Theory - Bill Law 1981 & 1996

Constructivist Theory - Chartrand et al. 1995; Cochran 1997; Collin & Young 1986; Peavy 1992; Savickas 1993 & 1997; Young et al. 1996

Contextual Action Theory (CAT) - Lev Vygotsky, L. Valach & Young, R. A. 2002

Continuous Participation Model - Danielle Rivern-Simard 2005

Cormier and Hackney Model - Harold L. Hackney & Sherry Cormier, 1993

Culture Infused Counselling Theory (CICC) - Nancy Arthur 2013



Developmental Theory - Ginzberg et al. 1951

Developmental Theory - Life Span Development - Donald Super 1957 and Donald Super et al. 1961

Developmental Theory (further developed) - Donald Super 1980

Differentialism - see Environmental Theory

DOTS Model - Law & Watts, 1977 & 1996



Environmental Theory - Matching theories - Trait and Factor Theory - Frank Parsons 1908

Environmental Theory - Matching theories - Trait and Factor Theory - Alec Rodger 1952

Environmental Theory - Matching theories - Trait and Factor Theory - John L. Holland 1966, 1973, 1985, 1992

Expectancy Motivation Theory - Victor Vroom 1964

Experiential Learning Theory - David Kolb 1985



Five-factor Model (FFM) or OCEAN Model* - Ernest Tupes & Raymond Christal 1961

The First Model - Tol Bedford 1982


Happenstance Theory - Krumboltz & Levin 1999 - 2004; Mitchell et al. 1999

Hierarchy of Needs - Maslow 1954



Integrative Life Planning Theory - Sunny Hansen 1997




Learning Theory of careers counselling (LTCC) - Mitchell and Krumboltz 1996

Life-is-Career Theory - Miller-Tiedeman 1999

Life Span Development - Donald Super 1957 - 1980



Matching Theory - See Environmental Theory

Motivational Interviewing - William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick  1983

Motivation Hygiene Theory - 2 Factor Theory - Frederick Herzberg 1968

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Model* - Meyers and Briggs 1944



Narrative Career Counselling - Savickas (eg 1997), Cochran (eg 1997) & Peavy (eg 2000)

NTU Career Continuum/Careers Scotland Model 



Opportunity structure Model - Roberts 1968 - 1997



Planned Happenstance Theory - Krumboltz & Levin 1999 - 2004; Mitchell et al., 1999 (See Happenstance)

Protean Career - Douglas T. Hall 1976

Psychodynamic Theories - Mark Savickas 1989



7 Stage Model of Change - Ronald Lippitt 1958

Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF)* - Raymond Cattell 1946, 1949, 1965

Skilled Helper Model - Gerard Egan 1998

Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) - Hackett & Betz, 1981; Lent, Brown, & Hackett 1994

Social Learning Theory - Albert Bandura 1977 & 1986

Social Learning Theory (SLTCDM) - Krumboltz et al 1976, Mitchell & Krumboltz 1990 & 1996

Solution Focused Career Theory - Judi Miller 2004

Sparks Theory - Minna Kattelus 2010 - 2015

Stages of Change Model - James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente 1983

3 Step Storyboarding - Bill Law 2008

Strengths-based Approach - Schutt 2007

Structural Theory (see Opportunity Structure Theory) - Roberts 1968 - 1997

Synergistic Theory of Organisational Career Development - Kerry Bernes 1999

Systems Theory Framework of Career Development - Wendy Patton & Mary McMahon 2006



Theory of Career Choice and Development - Psychodynamic Theories - Anne Roe 1956

Theory of Circumscription and Compromise - Linda Gottfredson 1981

Trait and Factor Theory of Occupational Choice - see Environmental Theory

Transition Theory - Schlossberg 1981 & 1989

Two Factor Theory - Frederick Herzberg 1968 - see Motivaton Hygiene Theory



Value-based Career Decision Making - Brown 2002

Values-Based Model of Career Choice - D Brown 1995 & 1996; Brown & Crace 1996



Work Adjustment Theory - Dawis & Lofquist 1984