AN INVESTIGATION INTO PSYCHO-SOCIAL FACTORS IN PREDICTING CAREER DECISION AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN NIGERIA (A CASE STUDY OF SOME SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN KANU L.G.A OF NASARAWA STATE)
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
In a situation where a nation’s socio-economic status is declining, and its economic stability is shaky, an individual’s ability to choose appropriate paths that will lead to a continuous and life-changing career is critical. In essence, in any economic crisis country like Nigeria, an individual’s chances of economic survival are solely dependent on his or her ability to choose a course that will maximize his or her economic sustainability. As a result, establishing a career is critical.
Decision making is the process of identifying and selecting alternatives based on unique preferences. Therefore, successful career planning requires many decisions, an ability to set goals and the ability to reach the set goals in a proper time.
Nevertheless, it should be noted that career decisions are among the most challenging things one could ever make in life. This is so, when a wrong decision is made, the outcome is always obvious in the way, manner, and attitude of such an individual throughout his or her life.
It is equally glaring that decisions involved uncertainty, which makes many people uncomfortable. Nonetheless, planning can reduce the degree of uncertainty and increase chances of achieving the desired goals.
Career decision can be dangerous when individuals have no knowledge about its implications. Nevertheless, Sharf (2014) opines that career decision making helps to identify factors involved in a person’s career decision and provides an understanding of the way these factors have an impact on their career decision and choice. Based on the opinion of Sharf, it is obvious that career decision is an important aspect of every human to successful career, especially in an economic crisis nation like Nigeria.
Examining the core concept of career decision, Patteon and McMalion (1999) in Siriwan (2011) identify three broad factors that predetermine the outcome of choosing a career. These factors are; a clear understanding of oneself, which includes the abilities of every individuals, aptitudes, interest, ambition, resources, limitations and knowledge of their causes; the second factor is the knowledge of the requirement which preclude, condition of success, advantages and disadvantages, compensation, opportunities and prospects in different lines of works.
The third factor that is identified by Patton and McMalion (1999) in Siriwan (2011) is true reasoning on the relations of the two groups above. It can be deduced therefore that numerous variables are responsible for the failure and success of career decision among individuals especially students in the secondary schools.
Attitude is considered psychological factor that affects the way and manner at which an individual perceived a job opportunity and career decision notwithstanding (Pitts, 2017). Expatiating on the concept of attitude towards the rightful decision making, Okonkwo (2010) obliges that that negative attitudes of parents, relatives and teachers of students presuppose affect the attitudes of students against choosing career in life.
Attitude according to Della (2013), is a way one behave towards someone or something, especially when showing how one feels. In essence, attitude is an imbued trait that is only perceived when put on display. Hence, the level of attitude of an individual tactically predicts the outcome of the perceived views or perception of students towards a particular career.
Emphasizing the issue of interest, the home plays a significant role in this regard as many parents may discourage or encourage their wards on a particular career. Hence, the interest of students can be felt based on the attitude of parents towards chosen career. Chukwu (2014) states that the interest has been viewed as emotionally oriented behavioral trait which determines a student’s whim and rigour in tackling educational programmes or other activities. Therefore, attitude is an affective behavior that can be aroused and sustained through the families, parents and or teachers of students in career decision making.
Another variable of interest in this study is personality. Personality is seen as someone’s character, especially the way one behaves towards other people. According to Della (2013) personality is the quality that makes someone interesting, friendly and enjoyable to be with. In career decision therefore, personality is an aspect that determines chosen career of any students. Holland (1959) in Siriwan (2011) personality types and work environment highlight the characteristics of job relation to individuals’ personalities and interests. Personality therefore is believed to occupy noticeable space in the career decision and its outcome in students. Deliberating on the issue of personality, Brown (2014) believes that in choosing career, students’ personality predetermined what the decision will fulfil, hence, it is a considerable fact that personality of individual results in choosing careers.
Self-efficacy is another variable of interest in the study. It can be seen as a self-evaluation of one’s competence in successful execution of a course of action necessary to reach desired outcomes. Eimmerman (2000) sees self-efficacy as a multidimensional construct that varies according to the domain of demands and therefore, it must be evaluated at a level that is specific to the outcome domain.
The concept of self-efficacy was introduced by Albert Bandura in 2016 when he uses social learning theory to investigate personality development. Bandura (2016) in Siriwan (2011) posits that personality develops through learning experiences and human cognitive process.
These factors include individual factors which refer to behavior; environmental factors which refers to the external aspect associated with an individual’s learning; and psychological factors which refers to cognitive process associated with how individual learn from the consequences of the interaction between individual and environmental factors, such as their perception of learning experiences and their approach to problem solving.
Hence, the concept of self-efficacy is been regarded as a key personality factors influencing career decision. Bandura, Barbaranelli, Caprara, and Pastorelli, (2012) found that children tended to base their career choices on their perceived occupational self-efficacy rather than on their academic performance. It is also obvious that socio-economic environment appeared to have an indirect impact on students because it influences parents’ self-efficacy and their educational aspiration for their wards.
Examining the reason behind students’ decision in choosing a particular course of study, Maringe (2016) finds that students choose a career based on their interest, employment opportunities and career prospect after graduation. However, many students choose a career not because they find delight in the job afterward but because they see it as a fast rising opportunity for quick employment after graduation. Hence, their main objective is towards gainful employment after graduation.
There are various factors associated with students’ career decision this includes the relationship between gender and students’ decisions to pursue a career in entrepreneurship due to increased prospect in employment. However, Schwars, Wdowiak, Almer-Jarz, and Breitenecker (2019) suggest that male students express deep interest in having their own business than female students.
The opportunity to undertake is another factor affecting students’ career decision. It has been argued that work experience provides students with opportunities to explore different jobs and learn about their future career (Siriwan, 2011). Feldman and Whitecomb (2013) opine that students with limited work experience tend to lack the stability to generate career options or make career decision based on career interest rather than abilities associated with their career. Hence, students with work experience; all which are considered to be psychological factors might not be able to adequately close a career that will facilitate economic growth of the nation.
The extent to which sociological factors predict career decision of students cannot be underestimated. Annualizing the sociological factor that determines career decision include the parental influence or background and school environment of students.
It is important to note that both parental influence and background and school environments enormously conjoined with psychological variables to determine the career option of students. This means that not single variable influence career decision of students.
Parental influence or background plays an important role in students’ career decision making. This can be illustrated thus: illiterate parents with low socio-economic status might not see the need to influence and support their wards towards choosing a career that is lucrative instead, they would prefer them choosing career that can easily be ventured to after graduation. According to Max, Ellsworht and Hawley (2018), graduates teachers who indicated strong persistence and satisfaction with their teaching career who had fathers who were teachers are few compared to those that their fathers are in another field. This shows that graduates career similarity to their parents particularly their mothers, was a factor predicting job satisfaction and career persistence. The education background of parents therefore influence the level at which students chooses their career. It is believed that level of socio-economic status/structure of a family influence the career decision of students’ right from elementary schools. Greenbank and Hepworth (2018) opine that lack of financial support have negative impact on students decision making. It is obviously difficult for a student from a very low socio-economic background to finance his or her education in courses that are money-consuming. In essence, students from a very low socio-economic background will therefore prefer a less expensive career or a course in tertiary institutions.
Culture is believed to have great impact on the way individual think, behave and make decision (Jefferys, 2014). The impact of culture on career decision highlighted that culture underpins the fundamental judgments that individuals make hence; these judgments influence the behavioral intentions, expectations and outcomes relevant to particular careers in their cultural context. Kooij, de Lange, Jansen, and Dikkers (2018) perceive that career decision suggest that there are similarities in the factor associated with career decision making in different cultures. In Nigeria, the cultural background or individual might influence the nature of career one chooses. For example, those from riverine area of the country will prefer careers relating to their environment rather than very lucrative careers.
School environment is another sociological variable that determines the career choice of students. According to Aikomo (2014), school environment, otherwise known as school climate determines the success of students with high intellectual capabilities. Hence, it affects the career choice of such individual in the future. In a safe and structured environment, students can focus their attention on learning. Therefore the level of conduciveness of the school environment can be predicted to have great influence on the right choice of profession in which such students will focus. Based on the foregoing, the study will investigate the aforementioned psycho-sociological factors as predictive of the career decision of students in some selected secondary schools in Kanu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Confusion pervades the minds of students today when it comes to making career choices, as they are faced with uncertainties. Many of the students neither make adequate research on their future career nor do they receive adequate directions from their school guidance coordinators or appropriate person. Most of them are not aware of what goes into career choice. Many students go into unsuitable careers due to ignorance, inexperience, peer pressure, advice from friends, parents and teachers or as a result of the prestige attached to certain jobs without adequate career counselling.Many students in secondary schools do choose career that negatively affect their economic status in the future. This depends on the standing views of such students in conjunction with the views of their parents. However, numerous factors are responsible for the downtrends among which is the perception of parents in decision making of their wards, the school climate, cultural background of students, self-efficacy, personality and parental influence among others.Psycho-sociological factors are leading concepts in determining the career decision of making of students; yet, it is seldom discussed, researched and critiqued. However, the side effects of wrong or negative career decision are yet to be adequately examined. Therefore, the combined influence of the psycho-sociological factors will result in future decadence of wrong career decision made by students.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The objective of this study is to investigate psycho-social factors of predicting career decision among secondary school students in Nigeria. However, the specific objectives are:
- To examine the extent to which psychosocial factors predicts career decision among secondary school students of Kanu L.G.A, Nasarawa state
- To ascertain the extent to which influence of peer predicts career decision among secondary school students of Kanu L.G.A, Nasarawa state
- To examine the influence of parental factor on career decision making of secondary school students
- To examine the influence of self efficacy on students career decision making of secondary school students
- To examine the personality factors that affect career decision among students of secondary schools in Kanu L.G.A, Nasarawa state
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1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- To what extent do psychosocial factors predicts career decision among secondary school students of Kanu L.G.A, Nasarawa state?
- To what extent do peer influence predicts career decision among secondary school students of Kanu L.G.A, Nasarawa state?
- To examine the influence of parental factor on career decision making of secondary school students
- How does self efficacy influence career decision making of secondary school students?
- What are the personality factors that affect career decision among students of secondary schools in Kanu L.G.A, Nasarawa state?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H0: Self efficacy does not influences student’s career decision making
H1: Self efficacy significantly influences student’s career decision making
H0: There is no significant relationship between self-efficacy and career decision among students in secondary schools
H1: There is a significant relationship between self-efficacy and career decision among students in secondary schools
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The results of this study would be useful to parents, students, teachers, government, and professionals like that of school counsellors that are involved in the education of students in secondary schools.
The parents would benefit from the findings of this study, in the sense that they would be able to influence positively the career decisions of their wards. It will identify the various factors that relate to the career decision of their wards; hence, it would enable them to provide the kind of home environment that would enhance positive career decision of their wards.
The findings of the study would equally help the students themselves to identify the relationship between parental involvements in their career decisions. It would enable them to tactically oblige to career that will elevate their socio-economic status and national developments.
Furthermore, teachers of students in secondary schools will benefit from the findings of this study as it shall assist them in inculcating the right knowledge of various resourceful career opportunities to their students. Hence, it will assists the students in choosing the best career options that will elevate their wellbeing and personal up keeping in the future.
Professionals, especially school counsellors will benefit from adequately counsel students, especially those in senior secondary schools of the risks that are there in choosing wrong career in life. Also, stakeholders in the aforementioned areas will benefit from this study as the findings shall complement the existing body of knowledge in this area.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study will investigate the psycho-social factors that determine or predict career decision of students in secondary schools. Hence, this study will be carried out in some selected secondary schools of Kanu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, Nigeria.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Decision Making: This refers to the process of selecting or identifying best option out of many preferences. In other words, decision making entails the process of choosing the best practice out of so many various and available options.
Career: This refers to the professions that are known by various disciplines. Career refers to series of job that a person has in particular area of work, usually involving more responsibility as time passes. In another way round, career can be explained as a chosen area of interest in which an individual finds pleasure doing for uplifting and transforming the economics of self and the nation.
Motivation: This refers to what initiates and sustains a student’s involvement in the act of learning. To a large extent, it determines the direction and efficiency of learning of students.
Attitude: It refers to the way one behaves towards someone or something, especially when showing how one feels. Attitude can also be referred to as an imbued trait that can only be perceived when put on display.
Personality Trait: Personality trait is the biological, genetic makeup of someone, and it is the quality that makes someone interesting, friendly, and enjoyable to be with. It refers to the aspects that determine one’s area of interest.
Self-efficacy: It is a multidimensional construct that varies according to domains of demands and which can be evaluated at a level of a specific to the outcome domain.
Parental Influence: This refers to the home environment provided by parents that can ignite or increase the interest of students towards learning or choosing a particular area of human endeavor.
Culture: It refers to the cumulative disposition of knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, attitudes, meaning hierarchies, religions, notions of time, roles, spatial relations concepts and the universe; and material objects and possessions acquired by a group of people in the course of generations through individual and group striving.
School Environment: This refers to the physical and instructions available in a learning environment. This includes the type of available personnel, nature, and mode of instruction, classroom management and classroom structures.
Investigation: This refers to an official examination of facts about a situation, crime or concept. This also refers to the scientific or academic examination of the facts of subject or a period. As used in this study, it refers to the process of examining and testing to know the truth about concepts.
Psychosocial: Relating to the interrelation of social factors and individual thought and behaviour. The psychosocial approach looks at individuals in the context of the combined influence that psychological factors and the surrounding social environment have on their physical and mental wellness and their ability to function.
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