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Work: Some Contemporary Perspectives
As a result of reading this chapter, the student should meet the following objectives. Please note
that all objectives can be rephrased to form essay or short-answer questions for examination.
Further, the instructor may wish to present them prior to students’ reading, to provide a road
map for the chapter.
1. Define work and leisure in your own terms.
2. Compare psychological and sociological definitions of wok and identify their differences.
3. List at least three purposes work can serve in each of the following areas: economic, social
4. Describe the major trends in the American work ethic in the past 25 years. Compare those
prevalent in the 1960’s with the trends prevailing currently.
5. Define current perspectives on job satisfaction.
6. Identify three ways career counseling in the workplace can help improve satisfaction among
7. Compare and contrast the theories of job satisfaction posed by Hall and Schneider, Herzberg
and Lofquist and Dawis.
8. Summarize three significant mental health problems with which a career specialist might be
confronted in the workplace.
9. Define leisure counseling and identify three ways in which it interacts with career
10. Differentiate the four major types of unemployment and indicate who might be affected by
each and how career counseling might help.
11. Define work personality and describe Neff’s five work psychopathology types.
12. Name at least three thwarting conditions and work-entry problems of youth and indicated
preventions and/or treatment of each.
13. List and define at least five effective work competencies and indicate their meaning for career
guidance and counseling.
1. Review editorials and columns in a major city newspaper and identify discussions that
pertain to the quality of work life, individual productivity, or the meaning of work in
2. Observe advertisements in various media and consider how they stimulate personal
questions of psychological identity in relation to work.
3. Keep a record for one month of decisions and dilemmas confronting you. Analyze the skills
or knowledge they demand of you and compare them with the occupational and
employability skills discussed in the chapter.
4. Discuss with a group of young workers their experiences with adjusting to work. Are they
congruent with the induction problems discussed in this chapter?
5. Interview personnel officers in large organizations and union officials about their views of
job satisfaction. Is it eroding or improving? What factors do they think stimulate job
dissatisfaction? Do the two groups differ in their perceptions? If so, why do you think that
6. Review your personal preferences for leisure. To what degree are these preferences affected
by your preferences for work? Is there a relationship between them? Do your friends see
work and leisure differently from the way you view them?
7. Inventory your stereotypes about the meaning of work to different types of workers. Does
the research reported here refute or support your stereotypes? Would your perceptions of
how people view different types of work need to be changed?
8. Construct a workshop plan by which you would help young workers anticipate the
thwarting conditions with which they might be faced on entering work. Identify the
strategies they might use to counteract these conditions.
9. Prepare a presentation for a group of persons contemplating midcareer changes. Identify the
psychological and economic problems they might face and what they might do about these
10. Discuss with psychologists or personnel people in the workplace their perceptions of work
and mental health. How important do they think work is to effective human development?
What resources are available in the community to assist persons having severe emotional and
mental health problems in the workplace? List such resources and the services they provide.
1. Almost everyone is aware of Maslow’s need-hierarchy theory of motivation. Basically, the
theory proposes that people are motivated by their lowest, most basic unsatisfied need in the
hierarchy, and once a level of need is satisfied, it no longer motivates behavior. The next
highest level then becomes dominant in a fulfillment progression. Going from low to high,
the needs are as follows: physiological, safety, social, esteem, and self-actualization. What
are the implications of Maslow’s theory for job satisfaction and, in general, for career
2. In general, theories of motivation tell us that many different factors motivate people and that
different factors may motivate people during various phases of their lives. What are the
implications of these findings regarding how best to initiate and direct career behaviors?
3. With all the grumblings about the alleged “rotten” state of work in this country and the
conclusion of occasional studies that much work in the United States is meaningless, surveys
consistently show that 80-90 percent of workers are satisfied with their jobs as a whole and
only 10 percent express overall dissatisfaction. Why, then, the disparity?
4. Can we actually counsel for leisure? Do normal people need to be helped to use leisure
5. How central should work be in the life of a healthy individual?
Multiple Choice Questions
1. Which of the following best describes the nature of work?
a. it is an economic process
b. it is a psychological process
c. it is a sociological process
*d. all of the above
2. People from different countries tend to have different perspectives regarding
a. the meaning of work
b. motivations for working
c. neither of these; most people have the same ideas about work regardless of the country
they live in
*d. both a & b
3. Japan’s economic and political system is described as a ________ model while the U.S.’s
system is called a ______ model.
*a. developmental; regulatory
b. regulatory; developmental
c. cooperative; developmental
d. regulatory; cooperative
4. A regulatory economic model stresses
*b. the rules of competition
c. loyalty to the organization
d. collective awareness
5. Which of the following work ethics do Maccoby and Terzi suggest is emerging at the present
a. the career ethic
b. the craft ethic
*c. the craft ethic
d. the entrepreneurial ethic
6. Satisfaction with particular elements of work is called
a. job content satisfaction
b. job context satisfaction
c. overall job satisfaction
*d. facet satisfaction
7. What type of relationship has been found between job satisfaction and absenteeism/turnover
*a. a negative relationship
b. a positive relationship
c. no specific relationship has been found
d. none of the above
8. Increasingly in the future, person job fit will be heavily based on
a. self-perceived confidence
*b. basic academic skills
c. the meaning of work
d. worker motivation
9. Historically, which of the following unemployment trends has been true of the U.S.?
a. adult unemployment rates have been higher than those of adolescents
*b. unemployment rates of Black inner cit youth have been higher than those of White youth
c. male unemployment rates have been higher than those of women returning to the labor
d. non-immigrant unemployment rates have been higher than those of immigrants
10. In many nations, unemployment is becoming more of a ______ Phenomenon.
11. Increases in unemployment have been found to be associated with increases in
a. admissions to psychiatric hospitals
b. suicide rates
c. chemical dependency and violence
*d. all of the above
12. In Lowman’s taxonomy of psychological work-related dysfunctions, overly intense
identifications with and involvement in the work rate such that personal, psychological, and
sometimes physical health is impaired refers to which of the following categories?
*a. patterns of overcommitment
b. personality dysfunctions and work
c. work-related anxiety
d. life role conflicts
13. Which of the following is true regarding addictive organizations?
a. they may reinforce or create conditions of worker pathology
b. they reflect the characteristics of individual addicts
c. they tend to foster healthy worker relationships
*d. both a & b
14. McDaniel’s formula C=W+L stands for
a. counseling equals work plus limits
b. career equals wealth plus logic
*c. career equals work plus leisure
d. counseling equals will plus labor
15. Which type of leisure can be described as filling the void left by work?
a. pure leisure
b. institutional leisure
*c. anomic leisure
d. alienated leisure
16. Herr, Cramer, and Niles suggest that human resource/work force development should be
conceived of in phase(s).
17. A topic receiving increasing attention, including the passing of a federal act in 1994 devoted
to it is
*a. school-to-work transition
b. job satisfaction
d. dual career families
18. The “hangover effect” can be described as
a. the high absentee rate of a substance abuser
*b. a phenomenon in which those who have unfavorable early labor market experiences are
less likely to have favorable experiences later
c. poor work performance by an employee who has had continual problems on the job
d. none of the above
19. Which of the following do Herr, Cramer, and Niles suggest should be part of the content of
career guidance programs?
a. affective work competencies
b. personal flexibility
*c. both a & b
d. none of the above
20. According to London and Stumpf, career identity is
a. the extent to which people are realistic about themselves and their careers
b. how resistant people are to career barriers or disruptions affecting their work
*c. the extent to which people are involved in their jobs, careers and professions