The search for person-career fit: do cognitive styles matter?
Given the lack of unequivocal findings on person-career fit, this investigation aims to gain insight into the role of cognitive styles in understanding students’ career preferences by two complementary studies. In study 1, we examined whether students (n = 84) with different cognitive styles differ in their entrepreneurial attitudes. Results showed a strong positive correlation between the creating style and the overall occupational status choice index, which implies a preference to become self-employed. No significant correlations were found between this index and the knowing and the planning style respectively. A more detailed look at the occupational status choice sub-indexes showed a positive correlation for the knowing style with the ‘economic opportunity’ index, for the planning style with ‘security’ and ‘participation in the whole process’, and for the creating style with ‘career’, ‘challenge’, ‘economic opportunity’, ‘autonomy’, ‘authority’, and ‘self-realisation’. No significant differences in overall occupational status choice were found in terms of gender, degree option, or family background in entrepreneurship. Study 2 focused on the link between students’ career anchors and their cognitive styles and personality profile (n = 275). We found for the knowing style a positive correlation with ‘pure challenge’, for the planning style a positive correlation with ‘lifestyle’ and ‘security/stability’ and a negative one with ‘autonomy/independence’, and for the creating style a positive correlation with ‘entrepreneurial creativity’ and ‘pure challenge’ and a negative one with ‘security/stability’. Hierarchical regression analyses showed that cognitive styles and personality traits could predict people’s career anchors to a certain extent. These findings are particularly relevant for career counselling services of higher education institutions and for selection and recruitment policies of organisations. Further cross-sectional as well as longitudinal research in diverse cultural settings is needed to cross-validate and strengthen the conclusions of this study.
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