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Amundson and Poehnell’s Career Development Model


Career concerns start early in life as children try to imitate their parents, teachers and doctors. Accordingly, Sharf (2016) states that satisfaction with one’s job is one of the most significant aspects for personal happiness. Yet, many people are still not satisfied with their employment although they cling to it only for financial reasons. Different strategies such as career mentorship, counseling and assessment models are now being used by practitioners to help individuals find suitable career paths. The objective of this reflective paper is to criticize Amundson and Poehnell’s Career Development Model.

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Failure to Provide Benefits and Insights

Although the activity helped the client to be conscious about the most important values, it failed to give directions as to the specific kind of industry that will be best suited for those qualities. Almost all people have similar values; hence, the worksheet fails to provide succinite connection with career choice. For instance, after a client has finished calculating the results, they still will not be able to understand which organization needs people with that kind of personality. Evidently, a study by Vinkenburg, Connolly, Herchberg and Schels (2020) indicates that there is often a profound disconnect between how career is presented theoretically and its practical reality. The implication is that if a client believes that what they see during the activity captures everything in the career world, they will be shocked once they are employed.

The activity also fails to generate insights because it does not prescribe how the client’s values will change in the future. For example, now that the client is young, early retirement may be on the top of the list. However, by the time he or she is a middle-aged adult working more to keep active may be a plausible choice. Thus, the activity is so narrow and only shows what an individual feels at the time. Failure to recognize other social concerns and how it may influence preferences is a major drawback. It is plausible to test the reliability of the tool over time while retaining the same clients in a longitudinal study.

Furthermore, the client can unknowingly provide inaccurate answers to the questions. Young clients who are still in high school and know what their parents wish for may give responses that suit parental expectations. For example, a student who has always been told that going to school would help her get money will obviously select high salary and benefits as a top value. The activity will not be beneficial because they are unconsciously dishonest when answering the questions.

Practitioner’s Perspective on Advantages and Disadvantages

One of the advantages of the process is that it provides objective information about a person’s preferences. The tests are calculated and quantified to show the values that a client has and how it resonates with different kinds of jobs available in the market. Resultantly, the practitioner is able to provide advice that is neither leading or subjective. When the activity is accompanied with counselling, the person may feel confident to choose the right path for their academic and skill development (Sharf, 2016). The insights that individuals get from applying such models as the one provided by Amundson and Poehnell help to deal with social and personal issues affecting career preferences.

However, the disadvantages of the activity are that it narrows down the mind of the client to a specific kind of job. According to Krouwel, van Luijn, and Zweekhorst (2019), “the diversity of student populations and the dynamic labor market mean that career context no longer requires a fixed set of a attributes” (p. 120). The implication is that it is not wise to streamline one’s skills, values, and interests because in the future employers will want people with more flexibility. Besides, there are many crises that can occur in a work context and demand a person to think and act fast. It is also a fact that career development is a lifelong process where preferences change (Song, Zhao, Zhao & Han, 2019). The activity has a disadvantage of not showing how the client’s desires will vary in the future.

Explanation to Client’s Findings

Constructivism is a theoretical paradigm rooted in postmodernism which assumes that individuals’ understanding of life is subjective. When providing counselling, the counsellor must endeavor to enter the life-space of the client, know their worldview and help them to clarify their goals. For this client, the top values can be categorized to be within the brackets of financial reward, intellectual status, advancement, public contact and fulfilment. According to Amundson and Poehnell (2008), the top half of the wheel is about the external factors that influence career choice, whereas the bottom half concerns personal characteristics. The identified values for the clients will help to move through the eight spheres of the wheel comprised of educational background, personal style, interests, skills, labor market, work and leisure experiences. The ideal job will be one that allows for interaction with colleagues, provides ample time for leisure, is in high market demand and requires skilled labor.

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Work is a significant component of human life; hence, the need for career practitioners to support clients in decision making. Amundson and Poehnell’s model provides significant insights on the topic. However, the framework has various drawbacks in that it fails to consider new developments, changes in individual preferences and role of significant others in influencing choices, especially for students. The wheel lacks reliability and can make a client think narrowly about job options and regret later in life. For a counsellor, the framework offers objectivity but it can also have other disadvantages when used exclusively. More research is needed to verify the validity and reliability of the model.


Amundson, N. E., & Poehnell, G. R. (2008). Career pathways (3rd ed.). Richmond, BC: Ergon Communications.

Krouwel, S. J. C., van Luijn, A., & Zweekhorst, M. B. (2019). Developing a processual employability model to provide education for career self-management. Education & Training, 61(2), 116-128. Web.

Sharf, R. S. (2016). Applying career development theory to counseling. Australia: Sengage Learning.

Song, H., Zhao, S., Zhao, W., & Han, H. (2019). Career development support, job adaptation, and withdrawal intention of expatriates: A multilevel analysis of environmental factors. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(20), 3880-3889. Web.

Vinkenburg, C. J., Connolly, S., Fuchs, S., Herschberg, C., & Schels, B. (2020). Mapping career patterns in research: A sequence analysis of career histories of ERC applicants. PLoS One, 15(7), 1-12. Web.

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