To What Extent Does Social Identity Determine Job Choice

1658 words - 7 pages


The literature review focuses on the collection of secondary data on the research topic, which is the extent to which social identity determines job choice. The literature review is conducted under three major themes, which act as the pivotal basis for constructing theoretical meaning to the larger research problem.
The Social Identity Theory
Studies on social identity have been dated back to centuries. According to Heckman (2006) the reason social identity studies remain very important to academicians and professionals is for the fact that all people are social being and that at every point in time, it is important to find the impact of the social system on an individual. Based on this, social identity has been explained by Gullason (2009) as being an understanding of a person’s self-concept as relates to the person’s assumed placement in a given social group. By extension, social identity tries to explain factors that determine how a person behaves in a social group. Heckman (2006) conducted further studies into the concept of social identity and noted that because people come into the world as individual beings, acquiring social status is relatively a external and strange phenomenon for any person. In light of this, different people would take different approaches to their relevant social groups, depending on their personal beliefs and way of life. However, once a person becomes part of a given social group, there are determinants that can be used to predict key intergroup behaviours on the basis of several variables (Cunha and Heckman, 2007). Whiles Gullason (2009) names perceived group status differences and perceived ability to move from group to group, Duncan (2006) also mentions perceived legitimacy and stability of differences that one finds in a group in which he is part as the key determinant variables that predicts a person’s intergroup behaviour. By and large, the process of predicting a person’s intergroup behaviour forms the basis for social identity theory.
The Role of Non-Pecuniary Factors for Career Choice
Hoff and Priyanka (2006) observed that in the determination of career choices, there are two major factors that standout in influencing a person’s decision. These factors are pecuniary payoffs and non-pecuniary factors. However, Humlum, Kleinjans and Nielsen (2007) criticised the influence of pecuniary payoffs over non-pecuniary factors, stating that “standard economic models which focus on pecuniary payoffs cannot explain why there are highly able individuals who choose careers with low pecuniary returns” (p. 4). From this position, it will be noted that non-pecuniary factors have greater influence and much role to play when to come career choices. Meanwhile, Duncan (2006) pointed out that most non-pecuniary factors that influence people to make career choices are those that are based on the social identities of people. Of these social identity factors are...

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