Trait and factor theory was founded by Frank Parsons in 1930. He is best known as a father of career counseling foundations and well known for the creation of a book entitled Choosing a Vocation (1909) that documented the trait and factor theory. Trait and factor theory is the earliest theory that attempts to explain the process of career choice based on the theory of individual personal differences (Sidek Mohd Noah, 2002).
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Parsons created Trait and factor theory in light of the hurried urbanization, movement, expansion of the business world and the improvements in human and behavioral sciences in the United States (Atli, 2016). Zunker (2006) stated that trait and factors theory is the earliest theorist on vocational. Parson (1909) in Zunker (2006) sustained that “ vocational guidance” is consummate by studying the individual, reviewing the occupations and matching the individual with the occupation. It also developed in advanced of early investigations of individual differences and grew intimately with the psychometric development.
The basic concepts of the trait and factor theory are “ traits” and “ factor” where the concept of “ trait” convey quantifiable qualities of an person such as intelligence, attention and ability while the idea of “ factor” defines the efficiencies compulsory to have a successful career (Atli, 2016). This theory uses a structured approach. It assumes that each individual has its unique ability pattern (Sidek Mohd Noah, 2003) and they have certain accurate and consistent measurements that have relationships with basic needs with some types of work.
According to Zaccaria (Weinrach 1979: 63) in Sidek Mohd Noah (2002) individuals are said to possess unique capabilities and traits. These traits have links to the needs of different types of jobs. Each individual will have a set of homogeneous qualities to achieve success in a kind of work. Therefore by conducting an objective and standardized trait measurement test on an individual is the best way to predict the success of his or her future work.
Zaccaria (Weinrach 1979: 63) in Sidek Mohd Noah (2002) also states that each individual will seek to identify his traits and find ways to live and work to enable him to use all his abilities effectively. Trait and factor theory are also known with cognitive patterns where their use can facilitated the process of career choice, especially if accurate information about individuals is acquired (Sidek Mohd Noah, 2002). This theory is also acknowledged as the Minnesota point of view associated with Edmund G. Williamson (Weinrach, 1979 in Sidek Mohd Noah, 2002).
Parsons’s Theory of Evidence suggests a good career choice involves three things: a clear understanding of self, job knowledge and true reasoning about the relationship between the two factors. According to Parson (in Weinrach 1979) by Sidek Mohd Noah (2002), the foundation of career guidance is through psychometric tests or psychological tests, information dissertation and decision-making is based on rational decision-making. Although basically this approach is rational and logical but it is still associated with personalization, which is the focus of the whole individual.
According to Williamson (1939) by Sidek Mohd Noah (2002), humans are largely rational and able to make the best selection, as long as the information to set up the choice are sufficient. Hogan, De Soto & Solano (in Sidek Mohd Noah, 2002) states that trait is a non-fused psychic and neurological structure located somewhere in the brain or nervous system. With this assumption psychologically believes that tools can be developed and created to measure the intrinsic or intrinsic quality. According to Anastasi (in Sidek Mohd Noah, 2002), traits are learning entities that have validity only on specific work or situations.
While this issue is a question mark for researchers, the findings of the fact regarding the uniqueness of the trait which include the interests, the particular tendencies and educational tendencies have had a steady impact on career counselors and other vocational psychologists. Therefore, the factor theory of this factor has been the basis of the creation of thousands of Psychological measurement tools used to measure individual intrinsic quality (Sidek Mohd Noah, 2002). It is also the basis for the formation of a career information resource known as the dictionary of Occupational titles.
Parsons indicated that an individual should clarify a three -stage process in life history choice (Sharf, 2006):
1. First Stage: Individual’s recognition and clarification of own abilities, interests, emotions and limits,
2. Second Stage: Individual’s clarification of necessities, conditions, opportunities, pro and cons of different occupations,
3. Third Stage: Individual’s matching of the information about himself and output that he derived from the information on careers.
In practicing Parsons’ trait-factor theory in counseling, the three phases of the career choice process could be encapsulated as follows:
First Stage: Recognition of the individual’s self: The beginning stage, which is the initial phase of Parsons’ trait-factor theory includes individual’s recognition of self-interests, abilities and emotions and gathering of information. At this stage, the counselor will assist the client to identify his or her five traits which include ability, achievement, interest, value and personality. The determination of the factors of interest and ability, enable the individuals to learn about themselves and can help counselors to recognize these traits and provide guidance accordingly and this is significantly important.
Thus, the use of the assessment in this beginning stage will help to determine the individual’s interests and abilities. The use of the assessment is essential and one of the vital instruments for the trait-factor theory. Second Stage: Gathering data about the business world and vocations: Second stage of the trait-factor theory require a career counselor to offer direction for the client to discover information on careers and the job world. This stage is also called work/action stage.
At this stage, after obtaining information from the individual on vocational choices, the personality traits, abilities, interests and career values that match with the individual’s target careers are studied. The most significant assistance in this stage is to guide the client to categorize the muddled vocational information and how to access this information.
Alternatively, career counselor could use printed material to supply vocational information. Vocational information catalogues classified based on requirements, educational process, working conditions, working hours, wages, etc. are available both in print and on the Internet. At this stage, it is very helpful to provide a written document to the client that contains a list of Internet forum addresses for various professionals in different fields.
Third Stage: Matching the identification of a person’s self and get-together information about the business world and employments: As one of the basic forms of the trait-factor theory, the finishing stage contains the coordinating of the data that the individual perceived about claim interests, mental abilities and profession esteems and the information he amassed about the job world and engagements.
For every business, distinctive interests, capacities, identity attributes and expert esteems are required. For the individual to make a healthy matching in the final phase, it is indispensable for the individual to have occupied in the underlying two stages with progress. A counselor could give data on the trait – factor theory for the client and could make recommendations.
While making suggestions, the abilities, interests, personality traits and career values noticed during the career counseling process should be corresponding with the qualities of the vocations and their requirements. All things considered, it ought to likewise be viewed as that perception of self traits and the demands of different vocations have an active structure and they constantly are being exchanged. In this way, the issue ought to be educated that the career counselor makes use of trait-factor theory couldn’t be an ultimate conclusion and it could be changed and modified.