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Career decisions among Hong Kong immigrants 1989

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CAREER DECISIONS AMONG HONG KONG IMMIGRANTS By MEI MEI YIU S.Sc, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 19 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES COUNSELLING PSYCHOLOGY We accept t h i s thesis as confirming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August 1989 © Mei Mei Yiu, 1989 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. (Signature) Mei Mei YIU Department of Counselling Psychology The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date August 25, 1989 DE-6 (2/88) Abstract This study aims to examine how Hong Kong immigrants make career decisions after they have arrived in Canada. Through using a case study approach, this study collected data by conducting indepth interviews with two c l i e n t s , one male and one female. A l l the interviews were audio-taped and the important portions transcribed. Three decision-making models (the ratio n a l decision-making model [Horan, 1979], the c o n f l i c t decision-making model [Janis & Mann, 1977], and the deciding-in-context model [Sloan, 1987]) were employed to analyze the c l i e n t s ' career choices. This study found that the f i r s t two models were not s a t i s f a c t o r y in explaining the decision-making behavior of the two c l i e n t s . Sloan's model seems to be the most useful because i t emphasizes the contexts within which choices were shaped and made. Four contexts - l i f e history, immediate s o c i a l environment, culture and character - were p a r t i c u l a r l y s a l i e n t in shaping their decisions. i i Table of Contents Pages A b s t r a c t i i Table of Contents i i i Acknowledgement . i v Chapter I: I n t r o d u c t i o n 1 Chapter I I : Review of the L i t e r a t u r e 8 Chapter I I I : Research Method 33 Chapter IV: Case H i s t o r y 36 Chapter V: A n a l y s i s and D i s c u s s i o n 67 Chapter VI: Conclusion 96 B i b l i o g r a p h y 102 i i i Acknowledgment I would l i k e to express my deep a p p r e c i a t i o n and g r a t i t u d e to P r o f e s s o r L a r r y Cochran, Chairman of my Thesis Committee, whose generous support and advice make t h i s t h e s i s p o s s i b l e . I am a l s o g r a t e f u l to P r o f e s s o r Marv Westwood and P r o f e s s o r Vincent Doyley, both members of my Th e s i s Committee, f o r t h e i r a s s i s t a n c e and u s e f u l suggestions. My s p e c i a l thanks to Peter, my husband, who has encouraged me throughout my r e s e a r c h and provided v a r i o u s kinds of s e r v i c e f o r completing t h i s t h e s i s . My a p p r e c i a t i o n a l s o extends to my two c l i e n t s , whose name s h a l l remain anonymous, f o r t h e i r w i l l i n g n e s s to share t h e i r p e r s o n a l experience with me. F i n a l l y , I must thank Jane Osborne, a f e l l o w classmate and wonderful f r i e n d , who has helped me i n many ways i n the e n t i r e process. iv CHAPTER I: I n t r o d u c t i o n T h i s t h e s i s i s a study of how Hong Kong immigrants make career d e c i s i o n s a f t e r they have a r r i v e d i n Canada. This study aims to h i g h l i g h t the s i g n i f i c a n c e of personal meanings behind a career d e c i s i o n by e x p l o r i n g i n d i v i d u a l l i f e h i s t o r y and l i f e s t r u c t u r e s (Levinson, 1978). In t h i s i n t r o d u c t i o n , I w i l l f i r s t b r i e f l y d i s c u s s the main t h e o r e t i c a l p e r s p e c t i v e s i n understanding career d e c i s i o n making among immigrants. Then I w i l l i d e n t i f y the key problems of my r e s e a r c h and review the r e s e a r c h method to be employed. F i n a l l y , the s i g n i f i c a n c e and l i m i t a t i o n s of t h i s study w i l l be examined. Some T h e o r e t i c a l C o n s i d e r a t i o n s Two major p e r s p e c t i v e s — c u l t u r a l theory and d e c i s i o n making theory -- can be i d e n t i f i e d i n s t u d i e s on how i n d i v i d u a l s make career d e c i s i o n s . The c u l t u r a l p e r s p e c t i v e has o f t e n been used to approach the problem s i n c e i t focuses on the d i s t i n c t i v e c u l t u r a l backgrounds of immigrants. Since c u l t u r a l values are only one of the f a c t o r s that shape t h e i r behavior, i t seems too p a r o c h i a l to focus mainly on c u l t u r a l f a c t o r s i n e x p l a i n i n g t h e i r career c h o i c e s . The d e c i s i o n making p e r s p e c t i v e emphasizes the importance of r a t i o n a l i t y (Horan, 1979). V i g i l a n c e , c a l c u l a t i o n and u t i l i t y maximization are s t r e s s e d by t h i s p e r s p e c t i v e while personal meanings and i n d i v i d u a l conceptions of r a t i o n a l i t y are u s u a l l y de-emphasized (Sloan, 1987). By n e g l e c t i n g s p e c i f i c personal a t t r i b u t e s and 1 h i s t o r i e s , such a p e r s p e c t i v e f a i l s to a p p r e c i a t e the uniqueness of i n d i v i d u a l s i n making d e c i s i o n s that w i l l s t r o n g l y a f f e c t t h e i r own w e l l - b e i n g . Since n e i t h e r of the two p e r s p e c t i v e s provides an e n t i r e l y s a t i s f a c t o r y e x p l a n a t i o n to the problem, t h i s study attempts to r e l a t e the career d e c i s i o n s of immigrants to t h e i r s p e c i f i c p e r s o n a l contexts and d e r i v e s i g n i f i c a n t meanings from t h e i r l i f e h i s t o r i e s which d i r e c t them to choose a p a r t i c u l a r c a r e e r . I d e n t i f i c a t i o n of Problem B a s i c a l l y , the Hong Kong immigrants coming i n t o Canada d u r i n g the past few years can be d i v i d e d i n t o two main groups, investment and independent immigrants. The o v e r a l l p s y c h o l o g i c a l s t r e s s f o r i n v e s t o r s w i l l be l e s s severe. They at l e a s t have the f i n a n c i a l means to make a l i v i n g as they must to possess at l e a s t C$ 250,000 to be q u a l i f i e d f o r the s t a t u s of investment immigrants. Independent immigrants (Westwood, 1986), however, are not i n the same s i t u a t i o n . Most of them possess only p r o f e s s i o n a l s k i l l s , such as those r e q u i r e d f o r accountancy, business management or s o c i a l work, however they may not have much c a p i t a l . T h e i r d r i v e to f i n d a job i n order to "make ends meet" w i l l c e r t a i n l y r e s u l t i n much grea t e r p s y c h o l o g i c a l p r e s s u r e . I am i n t e r e s t e d i n these independent immigrants because t h e i r p s y c h o l o g i c a l s t r e s s i s not r e s t r i c t e d to t h e i r adjustment alone. There i s enormous pressure f o r them to f i n d a job as w e l l . According to Super's d e f i n i t i o n (1976), career can be understood as a s e r i e s of remunerated and nonremunerated p o s i t i o n s occupied by a person from adolescence through 2 r e t i r e m e n t , of which occupation i s o n l y one of the elements. Career i n c l u d e s work-related r o l e s , such as those of student, employee, and pensioner, as w e l l as complementary a v o c a t i o n a l , f a m i l i a l , and c i v i c r o l e s . Careers e x i s t o n l y as people pursue them, they are person-centered. While Super has provided a comprehensive conception of c a r e e r , my study w i l l , however, concentrate o n l y on one of i t s many as p e c t s . My focus w i l l be on how those independent immigrants from Hong Kong choose t h e i r remunerated c a r e e r s , r a t h e r than t h e i r nonremunerated ones, because t h i s aspect seems to be the most immediate concern of the independent immigrants from Hong Kong. Since a career e x i s t s o n l y when we pursue i t , i t i s unique to each of us. At the same time, i t i s a l s o dynamic and u n f o l d i n g throughout our e n t i r e l i f e s p a n . For the independent immigrants from Hong Kong , t h e i r conceptions of career may a l s o vary g r e a t l y from one another. On the one hand, there are those who plan to s e t t l e permanently i n Canada once they have a r r i v e d here. T h e i r search f o r career may then be c o n d i t i o n e d by t h e i r p r e p a r a t i o n f o r downward or upward m o b i l i t y and the need to meet t h e i r p ersonal and f a m i l y demands. Career may mean j u s t a job or occupation to them so that they can maintain a l i f e s t y l e s i m i l a r to the one they have enjoyed i n Hong kong. Since some may change jobs f r e q u e n t l y before s e t t l i n g f o r a p a r t i c u l a r c a r e e r , t h e i r career d e c i s i o n making w i l l thus be a dynamic and continuous process. 3 On the other hand, there are others who decide to spend j u s t three years i n Canada i n order to o b t a i n t h e i r c i t i z e n s h i p and then r e t u r n to Hong Kong. Their career d e c i s i o n s w i l l i n e v i t a b l y d i f f e r e n t i a t e them from the r e s t of immigrants. F i n a l l y , there are those who have not made up t h e i r minds as to whether they w i l l s t a y i n Canada. They may adopt a "wait-and-see a t t i t u d e " , and t h e i r career choice w i l l c l e a r l y be i n f l u e n c e d by such a c o n s i d e r a t i o n . Since both the d e c i s i o n making and c u l t u r a l p e r s p e c t i v e s are inadequate i n understanding the career c h o i c e s of immigrants, t h i s study w i l l examine the career d e c i s i o n making of t h i s group of Hong Kong immigrants by emphasizing the s i g n i f i c a n c e of personal meanings. I plan to explore how t h e i r views of l i f e are a f f e c t e d by t h e i r l i f e h i s t o r i e s , how t h e i r p e rceptions are i n f l u e n c e d by f a m i l y and community r o l e s , and how t h e i r values are changed by t h e i r coping s t r a t e g i e s i n a d j u s t i n g to a new country. Only by e x p l o r i n g these and other dimensions of t h e i r l i f e h i s t o r i e s and l i f e s t r u c t u r e s , I b e l i e v e , can we come to a b e t t e r a p p r e c i a t i o n of t h e i r career c h o i c e s . Research Method I plan to study two s u b j e c t s who are recent Hong Kong immigrants, i . e . those who have stayed i n Canada f o r not more than four years. They are p r e f e r a b l y from middle management l e v e l s , such as manager and accountants, s i n c e these c a r e e r s i n v o l v e a s t r o n g need f o r a d a p t a t i o n and t r a n s i t i o n to a f o r e i g n environment (Goldhurst & Richmond, 1976). The immigrants w i l l be chosen through i n f o r m a l personal c o n t a c t s . 4 One w i l l be an example of an immigrant who i s s a t i s f i e d with h i s / h e r career d e c i s i o n i n Canada while the other i s d i s s a t i s f i e d . Indepth i n t e r v i e w i n g with immigrants w i l l be a u s e f u l and a p p r o p r i a t e method to help determine the true meaning and nature of t h e i r career c h o i c e s . E i g h t one-hour i n t e r v i e w s with the two s u b j e c t s w i l l be conducted and recorded. S i g n i f i c a n t p o r t i o n s of these i n t e r v i e w s w i l l then be t r a n s c r i b e d . In order to strengthen the v a l i d i t y of the f i n d i n g s , the s u b j e c t s w i l l be asked to work on the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n and i d e n t i f y the c e n t r a l themes of the in t e r v i e w s together with me ( Y i n , 1984). By c o l l a b o r a t i n g with these immigrants i n t h e i r l i f e h i s t o r i e s , I can a c q u i r e r i c h and n a t u r a l i n f o r m a t i o n about how they a r r i v e at a caree r choice and explore the values which compel them to i d e n t i f y with s p e c i f i c c a r e e r s . S i g n i f i c a n c e and L i m i t a t i o n s of T h i s Study D i s c o v e r i n g how immigrants make career c h o i c e s a f t e r a r r i v i n g i n Canada seems to be an i n t e r e s t i n g and c h a l l e n g i n g issue to me f o r three main reasons. F i r s t , immigration i s a c r u c i a l t u r n i n g p o i n t f o r i n d i v i d u a l s . Most immigrants s u f f e r from emotional d i s t u r b a n c e , such as f r u s t r a t i o n and a n x i e t y , when they a r r i v e i n a new country (Obery, 1960). Since most are eager to f i n d a job, the process of making career d e c i s i o n s provides an e x c e l l e n t o p p o r t u n i t y f o r immigrants to re-examine t h e i r personal values and i n t e r e s t s , l i k e s and d i s l i k e s , s t r e n g t h s and weaknesses. Hence, an 5 indepth a n a l y s i s of t h e i r search f o r meanings w i l l f a c i l i t a t e our understanding not o n l y of t h e i r career c h o i c e s , but a l s o of key aspects of human behavior i n g e n e r a l . Second, v a r i o u s problems c o n f r o n t i n g immigrants have indeed a t t r a c t e d a t t e n t i o n among r e s e a r c h e r s , but s t u d i e s of t h e i r career behavior are s t i l l s canty. Since t h i s study i s concerned with recent immigrants from Hong Kong who have made career d e c i s i o n s , i t s f i n d i n g s may provide u s e f u l i n f o r m a t i o n about the s p e c i a l career needs of new immigrants. This work might be considered a modest step to f i l l the gap i n the 1 i t e r a t u r e . T h i r d , the i n c r e a s i n g i n f l u x of Hong Kong immigrants i n t o Canada f u r t h e r enhances the s a l i e n c e of t h i s i s s u e , as w e l l as the need f o r c o u n s e l i n g of t h i s p a r t i c u l a r group. The number of people immigrating from Hong Kong has been growing r a p i d l y i n recent years, r i s i n g to a peak of 23,000 i n 1987, meaning t h a t 1 out of approximately 220 i n Hong Kong has chosen to l i v e i n Canada i n j u s t one year (Vancouver Sun, Feb 27., 1988)! Since the Chinese from Hong Kong may soon become a s i g n i f i c a n t m i n o r i t y i n the Canadian community, contacts between these immigrants and l o c a l s o c i a l s e r v i c e s p r o f e s s i o n a l s , such as counselors and s o c i a l workers, w i l l d e f i n i t e l y i n c r e a s e as w e l l . Hence an a n a l y s i s of the d e c i s i o n making p a t t e r n s of Hong Kong immigrants i s not o n l y t i m e l y and u s e f u l , but a l s o conducive to the improved c o u n s e l i n g of t h i s major group of new immigrants. The f i n d i n g s of t h i s study, nonetheless, cannot be g e n e r a l i z e d without q u a l i f i c a t i o n s to immigrant groups from other c u l t u r e s . The small number of s u b j e c t s might a l s o l i m i t the u n i v e r s a l i t y of t h i s study. Yet i t seems that the approach of t h i s study may f a c i l i t a t e a f u l l e r and deeper understanding of i n d i v i d u a l career c h o i c e s . In sum, t h i s study might h o p e f u l l y generate more i n s i g h t s i n understanding career d e c i s i o n s of immigrants, c o n t r i b u t e to the study and s o l u t i o n to t h i s i n c r e a s i n g l y important problem, as w e l l as enhance the i n t e r e s t s of r e s e a r c h e r s i n examining career d e c i s i o n making through the e x p l o r a t i o n of personal contexts and l i f e h i s t o r i e s . The f o l l o w i n g t h e s i s has f i v e c h a p t e r s . Chapter II i s a b r i e f l i t e r a t u r e review of Chinese c u l t u r e , a c c u l t u r a t i o n theory and decision-making theory, a l l of which seem r e l e v a n t to e x p l a i n i n g the career c h o i c e s of immigrants. Chapter II I e x p l a i n s the proposed r e s e a r c h method to be employed, i n c l u d i n g the s e l e c t i o n of s u b j e c t s , r e s e a r c h d e s i g n , measurement, and problems i n v a l i d i t y and r e l i a b i l i t y . Chapter IV i s the t r a n s c r i p t i o n of important p a r t s of i n t e r v i e w s with the s u b j e c t s . Chapter V analyses the i n f o r m a t i o n c o l l e c t e d and Chapter VI d i s c u s s e s the l i m i t a t i o n of the f i n d i n g s and the i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r c o u n s e l l i n g and r e s e a r c h . / 7 CHAPTER II : Review of Literature The aim of t h i s review i s to describe and review three major models of decision making: (1) the c o n f l i c t model (Janis and Mann, 1977), (2) the r a t i o n a l model (Horan, 1979), and (3) the deciding-in-context model (Sloan, 1987). In p a r t i c u l a r , each model offers c r i t e r i a for evaluating the quality of decisions, and accounts of what i s involved in making a decision. By comparing each model with case study descriptions of the career decisions made by Hong Kong immigrants, the models can be assessed as to their adequacy in distinguishing between good and bad decisions and in providing an adequate account of how decisions are made. Since the decisions to be investigated were made by Chinese immigrants from Hong Kong, a review of the major features of Chinese culture provides an important background for understanding p o t e n t i a l l y unique features of their decisions. Culture possibly patterns both the context and form of a decision. For example, a c u l t u r a l emphasis upon career progress might lead a decider to neglect personal interests in favor of salary and job security. Or a c u l t u r a l emphasis upon obligation to others such as family, might lead a decider to consult more extensively with, and, perhaps even transfer the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for a decision to, s i g n i f i c a n t others. If the way Chinese immigrants make decisions diverges from models of decision making, their c u l t u r a l background may help to account for those divergences. 8 Major Concepts in Chinese Culture Culture is no longer a neglected area in the study of human behavior. Many researchers have already argued that culture i s indeed a prominent factor in shaping the values, perceptions, attitudes and behavior of individuals (Sue & Sue 1972, Sue, 1981, Vontress, 1981). Not only does culture shape one's upbringing, but i t also provides an extremely useful basis to examine one's decision making behavior. The Chinese have over 5,000 years of c i v i l i z a t i o n . Such an i n f l u e n t i a l , h i s t o r i c culture would inevitably have s i g n i f i c a n t impact on the development of Chinese perceptions towards l i f e , human re l a t i o n s , and decision making in everyday l i f e . It i s therefore c r u c i a l to examine the key features of Chinese culture in order to understand how i t has affected the Hong Kong Chinese who have come to l i v e in a Western country such as Canada. Family and "face" are two of the key c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of Chinese culture (Baker, 1979, King & Bond 1985, Hsu, 1985, Wong, 1986). A brief review of the two concepts i s therefore in order. Family: As Mei (1967) has aptly pointed out, family i s the prototype of a l l s o c i a l organization in Confucian s o c i a l philosophy. Status and authority in Chinese culture are based upon f i l i a l piety, age and the p r i n c i p l e of kinship proximity, which concerns the degree of closeness and distance with kin. These factors condition the proper amount of deference and obedience that Chinese must show to one 9 another (Yang, 1959). The relationships between a Chinese person, and his/her family and kinsmen are hence c l o s e l y related. According to the Confucian c u l t u r a l paradigm, the Five Cardinal Relationships (Wu Lun) are of prime importance. Wu Lun concerns the relationships between sovereign and subject, father and son, elder brother and younger brother, husband and wife, and friend and friend (Mei, 1967). The Five Cardinal Relationships were arranged in the order of p r i o r i t y . With the exception of the la s t one, a l l of these five sets of relationships are between superior and subordinate. Chinese are expected to respect the above order of relationships in order to minimize c o n f l i c t or f r i c t i o n within one's family as well as in society at large. In a Chinese family, the "pecking order" starts f i r s t with generation, progresses then to age, and f i n a l l y to sex (Baker, 1979). One's role in the family is therefore prearranged. Those who do not follow the prescribed set of rules upset the balance and disrupt the harmonious relationships among people. Harmony i s highly valued by the Chinese in order to maintain proper family and s o c i a l relationships (Abbott, 1970; Rubin, 1976). Most of the Chinese have to s a c r i f i c e their own interests so as to sustain harmony and serve the common interest of their families. They are taught to suppress any feelings of aggression and h o s t i l i t y towards authority and peers from their early childhood (Bond and Wang, 1983; Wu, 1985). Children are not encouraged to "talk back" to parents and 10 elders, but are expected to follow the fiv e sets of relationships. Hence, c o n t r o l l i n g one's emotion has become highly desirable in Chinese culture (Tseng, 1973). However, i t i s possible the Chinese only conform to the pressures and demands from family or society in a s u p e r f i c i a l way, in order to maintain harmonious relationships. They may not si n c e r e l y believe in what they have done or have to do (Kelman, 1961, Hiniker, 1969). While the above-mentioned features of Chinese culture are enduring and widely found in Chinese societ i e s a l l over the world, i t i s necessary to examine studies s p e c i f i c a l l y related to the people of Hong Kong to see whether a c a p i t a l i s t economic system and continuous contacts with Western cultures have brought about important changes in their attitudes toward family. Lau (1981), a prominent so c i o l o g i s t in Hong Kong, has argued that the type of familism of Hong Kong i s d i f f e r e n t from that of China. He ca l l e d the Hong Kong variant " u t i l i t a r i a n i s t i c familism". Such a model of f a m i l i a l norms and behavior is defined as a behavioral tendency of an individual to place his f a m i l i a l interests above the interests of society or any of i t s component individuals and groups, and to structure his relationships with other individuals and groups in such a fashion that the furtherance of his f a m i l i a l interests is the primary consideration. At the same time, among the f a m i l i a l interests, m a t e r i a l i s t i c interests take p r i o r i t y over a l l others (Lau, 1981, p.201). From Lau's point of view, the 11 familism found in Hong Kong i s d i f f e r e n t from that which t r a d i t i o n a l l y emphasizes common f a m i l i a l property (e.g. land and house) and the concentration of the f a m i l i a l members in a certain l o c a l i t y . His study also indicated that most Hong Kong Chinese stress both m a t e r i a l i s t i c s a t i s f a c t i o n and the importance of family at the same time. The people of Hong Kong are p a r t i c u l a r l y concerned with f i l l i n g m a t e r i a l i s t i c needs and finding immediate m a t e r i a l i s t i c s a t i s f a c t i o n , even though some of them are already well-fed and well-clothed. Moreover, most of them have no long term plans for themselves. In another study, Wong (1988) argued that familism in Hong Kong is expected to be d i f f e r e n t from that of t r a d i t i o n a l China because of the rapid s o c i a l changes in the t e r r i t o r y . Certainly, family s o l i d i t y is s t i l l regarded as being of great importance; the core features of the Chinese family, such as ancestor worship, f i l i a l piety, are preserved in Hong Kong. However adjustments have also been made to accommodate the effects of i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n and colonization. Wong also found out that the Hong Kong Chinese may be described as Westernized only in a s u p e r f i c i a l sense, since they s t i l l treat family s o l i d i t y as c r u c i a l . Both Lau and Wong have stated that the familism found in Hong Kong i s d i f f e r e n t from the t r a d i t i o n a l Chinese concept, and yet the importance of familism to the people of Hong Kong cannot be underestimated, despite t h e i r fondness for materialism. The people of Hong Kong, as shown in the studies conducted by Lau, are characterized as lacking in long term 12 p l a n n i n g f o r the f u t u r e , while e x h i b i t i n g a s t r o n g i n t e r e s t i n m a t e r i a l i s t i c s a t i s f a c t i o n and a deep r e s p e c t of f a m i l i s m . Theses c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s t h e r e f o r e should a l s o be found i n recent Hong Kong immigrants and might a l s o a f f e c t the way i n which they make care e r d e c i s i o n s . For i n s t a n c e , i n s t e a d of p l a c i n g t h e i r own pers o n a l needs f i r s t , f a m i l y concerns and/or m a t e r i a l r e t u r n s might be the primary c o n s i d e r a t i o n s i n making a career c h o i c e . A meaningful ca r e e r may be an occupation which allows them to make a good l i v i n g , s u s t a i n a c e r t a i n l i f e s t y l e and cause no c o n f l i c t with f a m i l y demands. Personal needs may only be of secondary importance. Face: According to Hu (1944), the Chinese concept of face can be d i v i d e d i n t o two c a t e g o r i e s , l i e n and mien- tze^^J- . L i e n i s the confidence of s o c i e t y i n the i n t e g r i t y of an i n d i v i d u a l ' s moral c h a r a c t e r manifested through the "ego". The l o s s of l i e n makes i t impossible f o r an i n d i v i d u a l to f u n c t i o n p r o p e r l y w i t h i n the community. Mien-tze r e p r e s e n t s a type of p r e s t i g e or r e p u t a t i o n which i s obtained through a c h i e v i n g i n l i f e , evidenced through success and o s t e n t a t i o n (p.45). The Western idea of face does not make the d i s t i n c t i o n between these two c a t e g o r i e s . Goffman (1955) s t a t e d t h a t " f a c e " i s the p o s i t i v e s o c i a l value a person e f f e c t i v e l y c l aims f o r hi m s e l f by the r o l e he has taken d u r i n g a p a r t i c u l a r c o n t a c t (p.213). The Western concept of face i s s i m i l a r to mien-tze as d e s c r i b e d by Hu. However, a major d i f f e r e n c e i s found i n the i n d i v i d u a l nature of the Western view of face as opposed to the Chinese concept which 13 emphasizes a relationship between face and a larger s o c i a l structure. For Chinese people, l i f e is a c o l l e c t i v e property; the family i s of more concern than the individual (King & Bond, 1985). The loss of one's face would mean a loss of face of the whole family. Children are taught from a young age that " A man needs face l i k e a tree needs bark." They are therefore l i k e l y to behave cautiously and avoid impulsive behavior which may r e f l e c t negatively both on themselves and on their family (King & Bond, 1985, p.37). The concept of face seems p o t e n t i a l l y to be a key factor in a f f e c t i n g how Hong Kong immigrants make career choices. Their career decisions are not only an individual concern, but are also related to the reputation and the well-being of the whole family. Pressure to maintain "face" for the family may add additional pressure to the individual in making a "right" choice. Since family and face are two major concepts in Chinese culture, i t can be assumed that they w i l l exert profound influence on the perceptions, values, attitudes and behavior of the Hong Kong immigrants in Canada. However, as has been discussed Chinese culture alone seems i n s u f f i c i e n t to give us a complete guide to understanding the career choice of these immigrants. The need to sustain family relationships and maintain one's face is powerful, but i t i s not s u f f i c i e n t in explaining the career choices of the Hong Kong immigrants. Such c u l t u r a l factors should be considered as part of one's l i f e history, and other factors, such as childhood experience and peer influence, should also be included in 14 order to examine their influence on the decision making process. It is inadequate to focus only on the c u l t u r a l perspective in order to understand how Hong Kong Chinese come to make s p e c i f i c career choices. Acculturation: Another key issue concerning the c u l t u r a l adjustment and change of immigrants is the concept of acculturation. Acculturation can be understood as the modification of an o r i g i n a l culture and the i n t e r n a l i z a t i o n of a new value system. Most of the studies on acculturation have been conducted in the f i e l d s of anthropology and sociology, which focus on the continuous contact between groups from d i f f e r e n t cultures (Redfield, Linton & Herskovits, 1936). As suggested by the Social Science Research (1954), acculturation can be defined as the conjunction of two or more autonomous c u l t u r a l systems which might lead to individual change. The process may result in internal adjustments because of the acceptance of the culture of the host country, or a reactive adaptation of the t r a d i t i o n a l modes of l i f e to the new culture. In sum, acculturation can be regarded as the mixture of the selective adaptation of value systems, the processes of integration and d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n , and the generation of developmental sequences, role determinants, and personality t r a i t s . At a more personal l e v e l , acculturation involves the overa l l change processes through which an immigrant continuously engages in first-hand contacts with a new 15 environment (Kim, 1979). Almost a l l immigrants have to confront the new values of the host country, which often pose acute threats to their own endeared culture. In order to find their existence in a new place during this process, they may become marginalized people. Stonequist (1937) defined marginal man as 11 the individual who through migration, education, marriage or some other influence leaves one's s o c i a l group or culture without making a s a t i s f a c t o r y adjustment to another, and finds himself on the margin of each but a member of neither" (p.2). He also maintained that most immigrants have experienced a strong sense of loss. Such feelings can be categorized into three main types of " s t r i p s " : stripped of status (especially for those who experience downward s o c i a l mobility), stripped of country, and stripped of roots. Many immigrants may become overwhelmed, confused and disoriented by the new socio - c u l t u r a l environment, and may even lose their judgment a b i l i t i e s . Studies on acculturation of Chinese immigrants have revealed that even though they participate in some ethnic community organizations for s o c i a l needs and entertainment, their families are of upmost importance to them (Hayner and Reynolds, 1937, Lee, 1956 & 1960, Lyman, 1968). Using the C a l i f o r n i a Psychological Inventory, Abbott (1970) examined the psychological functioning and changing values of Chinese immigrants. The findings showed that Chinese-Americans, when compared with European-Americans, were more se l f - r e s t r a i n e d , more group oriented and less extroverted and s o c i a l . 16 According to a study by Sue and Kirk (1972), the Chinese Americans seem to be less aggressive and evidence a more external locus of control. Kuo and Lin (1977) even suggest that Chinese-American have long been regarded as unassimilable (p.340). Their research indicates that the majority of Chinese Americans s t i l l have a r e l a t i v e l y strong attachment with their own race and culture, through interactions among family members, close friends, and the Chinese community. Further, another study found that the t r a d i t i o n a l Chinese value system (such as attitudes toward family and interpersonal r e l a t i o n s , and the use of the mother language), were s t i l l considered very important among the Chinese (Yao, 1979). The Chinese have also shown the highest rate of language retention ( L i , 1988). While the concept of acculturation apparently provides a useful way for analyzing the experience of immigrants, t h i s perspective also has shortcomings. Acculturation seems to suggest that there is a standard set of values, behaviors and language that a l l people, including minorities, adopt in a similar manner ( L i , 1988). Yet i t is u n r e a l i s t i c to presume that people from d i f f e r e n t cultures can conform s i m i l a r l y to a single culture, because individuals from the same culture behave in d i f f e r e n t ways. Hence i t i s necessary to recognize the persistence of sub-cultures, even in a c u l t u r a l l y homogenous society. 17 Models in Decision Making After b r i e f l y discussing some key issues concerning Chinese culture, i t is necessary to a review of the major approaches in decision making. Most decision making theories aim to explain human choice behavior by analyzing the key elements of the decision making process — such as perception, information gathering, and evaluation of alter n a t i v e s . These theories often u t i l i z e a ra t i o n a l model which emphasizes r a t i o n a l i t y and cost-benefit analysis. Since most approaches focus mainly on * r a t i o n a l i t y 1 and how i t a f fects the qu a l i t y of decisions, the process of achieving r a t i o n a l i t y is presumed to be the l o c i for understanding one's decision. Rationality is often considered central to making a "good" or "righ t " choice. Some studies on decision making avoid using the word " r a t i o n a l i t y " . Chernoff and Moses (1959) suggested that decision making is a process of u t i l i t y maximization, in which people decide in the hope of getting maximum u t i l i t y rather than finding the best choice. However, since the concept of u t i l i t y maximization excludes personal a t t r i b u t e s , the meaning of choices to individuals is thus completely neglected. In a similar vein, E t z i o n i (1967) suggested that decision making is a kind of mixed scanning which involves the searching, c o l l e c t i n g , processing, evaluating and weighing of information. However, th i s approach i s no d i f f e r e n t from the mainstream r a t i o n a l approach which emphasizes the weighing of d i f f e r e n t 18 alternatives. Herbert Simon (1976) argued that because of the pressure of time, personal l i m i t a t i o n s , and various external constraints, people a c t u a l l y do not have the a b i l i t y to maximize; and they can only hope to make the best of th e i r decisions. Although personal factors, such as personal li m i t a t i o n s , were acknowledged in Simon's studies, the subjective context of how an individual chooses was s t i l l l e f t untouched. The r a t i o n a l e f f o r t s in explaining decision making from d i f f e r e n t angles are useful in broadening our understanding of t h i s phenomenon, yet they a l l f a i l to offer any insights to understanding the meaning of choices as valued by the decision maker. Whether as a descriptive or prescriptive model, the dominant approaches in decision making seem to ignore the key attributes of the decision maker and his/her decision making contexts. What each decision means is d i s t i n c t i v e to each person, not only because of the differences in s i t u a t i o n a l factors, but also because of the complexity of personal contexts, such as culture, socio-economic background, and l i f e history. Hence, these variables interweave to form a web upon which we perceive, understand and evaluate our choices. Human beings do not make decisions in only a cool, cal c u l a t i n g way, nor do they decide without being influenced by past and present l i f e experiences. Individual c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s would surely exert powerful influence on behavior. In short, t h i s section suggests that while ra t i o n a l approaches are c l e a r l y relevant in understanding the career behavior of Hong Kong immigrants, they are not 19 e n t i r e l y s a t i s f a c t o r y because they f a i l to consider the impact of individual a t t r i b u t e s , l i f e h i s t o r i e s , and c u l t u r a l contexts. While models of decision making are p l e n t i f u l , only three major contributions relevant to counseling w i l l be discussed: (1) the c o n f l i c t model (Janis and Mann, 1977), (2) the r a t i o n a l model (Horan, 1979), and (3) the deciding- in-context model (Sloan, 1987). The C o n f l i c t Model: Janis and Mann (1977) conceptualized decision making as a c o n f l i c t - r i d d e n process. Arguing that decision making was not simply a matter of cognition, since emotions of the decision maker are involved, they considered choice behavior as a type of hot cognition, an interactive process between thoughts and feelings. Since such interaction influences our a n t i c i p a t i o n of loss and/or gain from a decision, psychological c o n f l i c t s (such as uncertainties, apprehension, and a desire to avoid from choosing an alternative) is generated. Janis and Mann considered these c o n f l i c t s in decision making an essential factor in making qua l i t y choices. They suggested that a medium level of stress produced by such c o n f l i c t s f a c i l i t a t e s better decisions. The lower the l e v e l of stress, the less motivated the decision makers is because of a low sense of urgency. As a r e s u l t , they tend not to search for new information or c a r e f u l l y consider implications of each a l t e r n a t i v e . However, i f the stress l e v e l i s too high, panic prevails and the decision maker becomes too frightened to take any action. 20 Janis and Mann postulated seven major c r i t e r i a for evaluating the qual i t y of a decision. These seven c r i t e r i a together constitute what they c a l l e d v i g i l a n t information processing. While these steps are complicated, they argued that such information processing w i l l help reduce unanticipated setbacks and post-decisional regrets. These seven c r i t e r i a are as follows: "The decision maker, to the best of his a b i l i t y and within his information-processing c a p a b i l i t i e s : 1. thoroughly canvasses a wide range of alternative courses of action. 2 . surveys the f u l l range of objectives to be f u l f i l l e d and the values implicated by the choice; 3 . c a r e f u l l y weighs whatever he knows about the costs and ris k s of negative consequences, as well as the positive consequences, that could flow from each alte r n a t i v e ; 4. intensively searches for new information relevant to further evaluation of the alternatives; 5. c o r r e c t l y assimilates and takes account of any new information or expert judgment to which he i s exposed, even when the information or judgment does not support the course of action he i n i t i a l l y prefers; 6. re-examines the positive and negative consequences of a l l known alternatives, including those o r i g i n a l l y regarded as unacceptable, before making a f i n a l choice; 7. makes detailed provisions for implementing or executing the chosen course of action, with special attention to contingency plans that might be required i f various known risks were to materialize." (p. 11) According to Janis and Mann, four basic questions have to be answered in the decision making process: F i r s t , are the risks serious i f one does not change? Second, are the risks serious i f one does change? Third, is i t r e a l i s t i c to find a better solution? F i n a l l y , i s there s u f f i c i e n t time to search 21 for information and deliberate? Each question w i l l influence a decider's psychological condition and l e v e l of stress. The l e v e l of stress affects coping patterns in responding to each question. Five coping patterns are suggested in their model: (1) unconflicted adherence, (2) unconflicted change, (3) defensive avoidance, (4) hypervigilance, and (5) vigilance (p.70). In order to put these ideas into practice, Janis and Mann proposed a decisional "balance sheet" as a scheme for decision makers to plan for action. Aside from capturing both cognitive and motivational aspects of deciding, t h i s balance sheet provides an a n a l y t i c a l framework for assessing what would happen when a decision maker uses a defective coping pattern. Each entry on the sheet refers to an anticipated favorable or unfavorable consequence that' a decision maker needs to consider before making a choice. They expected that t h i s scheme w i l l help others to make better decisions i f they go c a r e f u l l y through each of the seven steps previously outlined. The Rational Decision Making Model: In contrast to the exhaustive study by Janis and Mann, Horan (1979) mainly focused on decision making s k i l l s in counselling. Instead of offering a novel approach to decision making, he postulated a four-stage model by synthesizing a number of already e x i s t i n g cognitive-behavioral models. These four stages are: (1) conceptualization, (2) enlargement of response repertoire, (3) i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of discriminative s t i m u l i , and (4) 22 response selection respectively. Stage one is conceputalization, which concerns the construction of cognition of the environment. The decision maker has to develop a clear d e f i n i t i o n of the problem or decision. Stage two concerns the enlargement of response repertoire. After the s i t u a t i o n has been appraised by the decision maker, he/she asks what can be done and searches for as many potential alternative responses as possible. Stage three focuses on "the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of stimuli discriminative of positive or negative consequences for each response" (Horan, 1979, p. 175). Based on past or newly acquired experience, the decision maker then assesses the p r o b a b i l i t i e s of u t i l i t i e s from various possible alternatives. The f i n a l stage is response selec t i o n . The decision maker ranks a l l the alternatives and implements the best possible one. However, the choice may be tentative, depending upon future developments and feedbacks. According to Horan, the qual i t y of decision making can be evaluated by whether the decision maker has exhibited the necessary behaviors in each of the stage of deciding. In the f i r s t stage, three s k i l l s are pertinent to the process of conceptualization: a) the a b i l i t y to maintain low le v e l of aff e c t i v e arousal; b) the a b i l i t y to define c o r r e c t l y the choice problem; and c) the a b i l i t y to explain the decision making paradigm. In the second stage, Horan suggested that in order to enlarge the response repertoire, the decision maker has to have the a b i l i t y to avoid an impulsive response, i d e n t i f y a l l 23 known alternatives to the counsellor, and plan to search for additional alternatives. In stage three, the decision maker should i d e n t i f y known discriminative stimuli to the counsellor and search for new ones. "What would happen i f I did what could be done?" is thus the key question to be addressed. In the f i n a l stage, the decision maker has to have the a b i l i t y to determine what they w i l l do. They have to assess the p r o b a b i l i t i e s of expected u t i l i t i e s , adopt and explain a response selection paradigm (such as the balance sheet proposed by Janis and Mann), and implement the selected course of action. In Horan's view, the q u a l i t y of decisions w i l l be improved i f the decision maker has acquired these necessary a b i l i t i e s in the decision making process. While making a serious e f f o r t to synthesize the major works on decision making and apply them in counseling, Horan again f a i l e d to enlighten our understanding of choice behavior beyond a mechanical stage-by-stage description which might or might not be u n i v e r s a l l y applicable. F i r s t , Horan conceptualized decision making as choosing the best alternative in order to maximize u t i l i t i e s . While decision making can be quantified by means of s e l f - r e p o r t i n g scales in his view, i t is clear that the meaning and the uniqueness of decisions are completely excluded. As Sloan has pointed out (1987), Horan has considered quantification to be a highly r e l i a b l e device in decision making. Yet i t seems that personal values are more subject to the processes of c l a r i f i c a t i o n and understanding than to q u a n t i f i c a t i o n . 24 Second, while Horan attempted to develop a ' r a t i o n a l ' decision making model, he f a i l e d to give adequate attention to the feelings of the decision maker and the i n t r i c a c i e s of subjective processes in decision making. The complexity and richness of personal meaning in one's choices are disregarded. His approach t r i e s to examine decision making through an a n a l y t i c a l framework that emphasizes extensive information gathering and r a t i o n a l calculus rather than exploration of personal feelings and connections between our inner worlds and relevant decision making contexts. Not only are the subjective meanings of choices to the decision maker dropped e n t i r e l y from consideration, but variations in human capacities, motives and other factors which render a major l i f e decision unique are also ignored (Sloan, 1987, p.42). The Deciding In Context Model: In contrast to both Janis, Mann, and Horan, Sloan (1987) argued that most of the decision making approaches f a i l to emphasize the meaning, context and uniqueness of decisions because they a l l adopt a l o g i c a l , r a t i o n a l i s t i c model; their conceptions of human behavior are mechanical and inadequate. Instead, r e f l e c t i v e understanding of decisions should be our primary task because only in t h i s way can we understand the meaning of s p e c i f i c decisions for individuals in d i f f e r e n t contexts, and why he/she resorts to self-deception. By using a "phenomenological" approach to examine the decision making process, we might be able to capture more accurately the process of decision-making. By establishing a rapport with decision makers, we might understand their frames of 25 reference and appreciate the r e a l origins of their behavior. Put simply, Sloan stressed the importance of understanding the i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p between the individual and the d i f f e r e n t contexts within which the decision maker creates meaning. In exploring s p e c i f i c major l i f e decisions, such as career choice, not only must psychological constraints on r a t i o n a l i t y be i d e n t i f i e d , but also s o c i a l , material and p r a c t i c a l influences on human choice behavior must be explored. Sloan's ideas concerning decision making help to f i l l the gap l e f t by the p r e v a i l i n g decision making theories since i t examine how individuals choose from th e i r own perspective, and uncover factors involves in the misunderstanding of situations which can lead to a f a u l t y decision. Sloan argued that decision making i s an interaction between s e l f understanding and s o c i a l , h i s t o r i c a l , c u l t u r a l , or other contexts. Instead of just focusing on one or several special contexts in examining decision making, he stressed the uniqueness of individuals. He maintained that an individual would be affected by d i f f e r e n t contexts in a p a r t i c u l a r s i t u a t i o n . The nature and number of contexts vary from decision to decision. Individual differences in turn influence the number and nature of contexts that determine the process and outcome of decision making. Rather than presenting a step-by-step guideline for making better choices, Sloan highlighted that decision making involves one's s o c i o - c u l t u r a l background, personal meaning, 26 s e l f awareness and l i f e history. He borrowed the concept of l i f e structure from Levinson. According to Levinson, l i f e structure is the underlying pattern or design of a person's l i f e at any given time. L i f e structure is composed of three key elements: (1) self-world transactions, i . e . the immediate interactions between relationships and roles; (2) constraints and opportunities, e.g. s k i l l s , goals, wishes, ideals, fantasies, and c o n f l i c t s , which a f f e c t individuals in r e a l i z i n g t h e i r potential, and (3) mediations between individual a c t i v i t i e s and t h e i r s o c i o - c u l t u r a l contexts. However, l i f e structure is influenced not only by external factors, but also by self-images and unconscious intentions. Aside from serving as a corrective balance to the subjectivism usually adopted, l i f e structure also provides a more objective stand point for deliberation in deciding, through continuous self-questioning and examination of s e l f - world r e l a t i o n s h i p s . According to Sloan, every major decision derives i t s special meaning from the contexts within which i t is made. Deciding i s thus conceived as an amorphous process of constant questioning and answering. Experience influences our assumptions of the world, which in turn d i r e c t l y a f f e c t s our judgments. Sloan's conception of context is quite encompassing, including h i s t o r i c a l , c u l t u r a l , developmental, organizational, and interpersonal aspects. Further, contexts may interact with one another in the process of deciding. A decider might not be consciously aware of these interactions. In the f i n a l analysis, our s e l f perception, and understanding 27 of others and the world are c r u c i a l in blocking or f a c i l i t a t i n g our deeper s e l f awareness and hence our decision making. Individuals often t r y to f u l f i l l t h e i r desires, intentions and wishes in decision making. Thus every decision i s imbued with special meaning to the decision maker, whether he/she i s conscious of them or not. According to Sloan, decision making i s not simply a private choice that only concerns the decision maker involved. Rather, i t i s c l o s e l y t i e d with the conscious or unconscious images of s e l f in r e l a t i o n to others. Self perception i s in turn heavily influenced by interpersonal experience and s o c i a l i z a t i o n . Sloan argued that most decisions are a c t u a l l y denials of the self-and-other r e l a t i o n s h i p . Decision makers r a t i o n a l i z e their actions, hence i n t e l l e c t u a l i z i n g defenses which repress an unacceptable v i s i o n or a l t e r n a t i v e . He i l l u s t r a t e d , through cases, that decision making often involves only a subjection of consciousness to relations of power, force, and authority. Our decision making i s therefore c l o s e l y related to the s p e c i f i c s o c i a l and h i s t o r i c a l contexts within which we make our choices. The demands of "conscience," " r e a l i t y , " and "desire" are fused into compromises that appear as the "only way to go." Therefore, in sharp contrast to the mainstream approaches of decision making, Sloan suggested that individuals do not r e a l l y have the freedom to decide since they are subject to a great deal of external pressures. He maintained that only i f decision makers can grasp their 28 situations objectively for themselves can they generate more options. Otherwise, they are forcing themselves to submit to external demands. The greater the s e l f awareness, the better the chance decision makers can formulate their own i d e n t i t i e s and preferences, and the easier they can pursue their desires, wishes and intentions in accordance with their own expectations rather than those of the others. Our dependency on others was regarded a n a l o g i c a l l y by Sloan as a master-and-slave r e l a t i o n s h i p . Individuals are not free to choose. Hence the decisions they make are at best self-deceptions. Unlike the mechanical r a t i o n a l decision making model, he conceptualized good decision making as the freedom to choose, and freedom from automatic compliance to external pressures and predetermined a l t e r n a t i v e s . It involves the freedom to c r i t i c a l l y examine and change situ a t i o n s , not to conform within what he considered coercive structures. In short, freedom in decision making results from pursuing what is best without being unduly subject to others* demands. In addition, the economic context i s often neglected by decision makers. In the modern world, one tends to exchange " s e l f " for "money" (Sloan, 1987 p. 159). By recognizing how our finances a f f e c t us may provide more options in making good choices. Sloan maintained that we seldom pay attention to many aspects of our l i v e s . We simply accept the status quo and r a r e l y challenge our ex i s t i n g l i f e pattern. In order to make good decisions, we must focus on opportunities, or methods which a s s i s t us in overcoming the obstacles of l i f e . By attempting to overcome these obstacles, 29 we may be able to i d e n t i f y more alternatives and make better choices. A Comparison of the Models These three major theories have both s i m i l a r i t i e s and differences. The r a t i o n a l decision making model and the c o n f l i c t model have more elements in common with one another than with the deciding-in-context model. Horan, and Janis and Mann a l l assumed that human beings r e l y upon r a t i o n a l i t y and cost-benefit analysis in decision making because they want to maximize their payoffs. Thus, whether in explaining or prescribing, they believed that human beings decide in a conscious as well as cautious manner. Rather than viewing people as unique, emotional and psychological beings, they considered them as highly r a t i o n a l , c a l c u l a t i v e . Hence, they a l l suggested a step-by-step guidelines for making better choices. This perspective, as has already been discussed e a r l i e r , i s quite d i f f e r e n t ' from that of Sloan, who emphasizes the personal aspects of decision making and the contexts within which one make choices. However, Horan's model is not e n t i r e l y i d e n t i c a l to that of Janis and Mann. The former mainly synthesizes a variety of cognitive-behavioral models in the ra t i o n a l decision making t r a d i t i o n (including that of Janis and Mann) while the la t t e r focuses on the psychological c o n f l i c t , notably stress, generated in the process of decision making. By emphasizing both the positive and negative roles of stress in decision making, Janis and Mann thus incorporated not only cognitive 30 but also emotional aspects of human behavior. The decisional balance sheet designed by these two authors also addresses the importance of s i g n i f i c a n t others in a f f e c t i n g decision making. Horan, on the other hand, paid much greater attention only to individual considerations in decision making. Sloan postulated a rather d i f f e r e n t approach in understanding decision making. He acknowledged the role of r a t i o n a l i t y and r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n in decision making, but more as a defense to j u s t i f y one's choice, a self-deception. He aptly pointed out that each decision has special meaning which is not addressed by either the r a t i o n a l or the c o n f l i c t model. This meaning, which may or may not be recognized by the decision maker, i s embedded in the r e l a t i o n s h i p between individual and the v a r i e t y of contexts pertinent to the decision making s i t u a t i o n . A decision, as Sloan has argued, is a representation of our i d e n t i t y . One can only appreciate the "rationale" of a decision by exploring the relationships between s e l f and others as well as between s e l f and the world. Consequently, a mechanistic approach, as found in the r a t i o n a l or c o n f l i c t models, can never f u l l y explain why a p a r t i c u l a r decision has been made, because they f a i l to address the functioning of the conscious and the subconscious le v e l s , or interactions between the two, from which we derive meaning for our decision making behavior. If one appreciates the insights of Sloan, then i t Is clear that the other two models f a i l to provide a useful guideline for making better decisions because they cannot 31 explain the phenomenon c o r r e c t l y i t s e l f . While the d i f f e r e n t strategies offered by the ra t i o n a l and c o n f l i c t models might serve as suggested methods for making better choices, they are also quite s u p e r f i c i a l and r i g i d as they ignore the uniqueness of each individual and the prominent role of contexts and constraints on decision making. Rather than postulating a s i m p l i s t i c framework in explanation and prescription, as in the ra t i o n a l or c o n f l i c t models, Sloan's model enables us to examine decision making as a much more complex phenomenon. Sloan's contextual model encourages an understanding of decisions by exploring the relevant contexts from which meaning i s derived. Such an approach in understanding human behavior i s more consistent with a counsellor's r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to appreciate the richness of human existence. The focus on context enables one to look at the i n t r i c a t e r e l ations between s e l f and others as well as between s e l f and the world. The emphasis on individual uniqueness also helps to d i s t i n g u i s h the differences among l i v i n g human beings. Having discussed the strengths and weaknesses of these three models, the next chapter w i l l b r i e f l y discuss the research method of thi s study. 32 CHAPTER I I I : Research Method Case study is the research method used in t h i s study. According to Yin (1984), a case study i s an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon with i t s r e a l - l i f e context, when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not c l e a r l y evident, and which multiple sources of evidence are used. His d e f i n i t i o n suggests that case study allows an investigation to re t a i n the h o l i s t i c and meaningful c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of r e a l - l i f e events (p. 14), a method which is p a r t i c u l a r l y useful for t h i s study. While th i s research aims at examining the career decisions of Hong Kong immigrants, I believe that each of their career decisions i s not a simple decision to find an occupation. In fact, each decision i s also affected profoundly by l i f e h i s t o r i e s and the relevant contexts within which choices are made. This th e o r e t i c a l orientation and the nature of my topic suggest that case study i s the most appropriate method for inquiry. Survey may allow us to i d e n t i f y a common pattern from a sample that is representative of a larger population. Yet the use of questionnaires and interviews in c o l l e c t i n g information from a large group of subjects severely l i m i t s the depth into which we can explore each case. Although the use of case study r e s t r i c t s the u n i v e r s a l i t y and representativeness of my findings, i t does help in investigating the d e t a i l s of each case, in exploring the i n t r i c a t e interrelationships among d i f f e r e n t variables, and in probing into the l i f e h i s t o r i e s and contexts of each 33 decision through indepth interviews. Experimental designs enables us to control some variables while observing the influence of others. However thi s kind of design is neither appropriate nor feasible in th i s study. The subjects to be investigated are human beings who have made decisions involving some of the most important aspects of their l i v e s , such as career, family and personal development. Unlike other topics that can use experimental designs, the impact of independent variables, such as c u l t u r a l background and personal history, on the career decisions of recent immigrants from Hong Kong, cannot be separated and controlled under an experimental s e t t i n g . In fact, some of the advantages of an experimental design, e.g. the s i n g l i n g out of the impact of environmental factors on the dependent variable, can be p a r t i a l l y achieved by comparing the s i m i l a r i t i e s and differences of our two cases. As Schramn (1971) has r i g h t l y pointed out, case study i s p a r t i c u l a r l y useful in examining decision making behavior because we can illuminate why certain decisions are made, how they are implemented, and what results come from these choices. The design of thi s research i s a multiple case study. Two participants, Linda and Michael, w i l l take part in indepth interviews so that the investigator can i d e n t i f y the sa l i e n t patterns of their l i f e h i s t o r i e s and explore the rationales, contexts, and environmental constraints that shaped their key career decisions. These interviews, which 34 are recorded by a cassette recorder, provide the key source of information for my analysis. These two subjects are also invited to review the draft of their respective case reports in order to ensure that my interpretation of their l i f e h i s t o r i e s and career choices are not tainted by my personal biases or misunderstanding. In addition to comparing and contrasting these two cases, three t h e o r e t i c a l perspectives w i l l be applied to each case in order to determine which i s the most useful in explaining t h e i r career behavior. These two cases are not chosen randomly. Since i t i s not easy to find w i l l i n g respondents who w i l l open up themselves to the investigator, they have been introduced to me by friends. However, they are not at y p i c a l among the group of independent immigrants who recently come from Hong Kong. Both Linda and Michael, separate individuals, are young professionals in their early 30s. Both are married with one c h i l d . Both received university educations, either in Hong Kong or abroad, and both had decent jobs before coming to Canada. (For d e t a i l s of their background, please refer to Chapter IV). They correspond to what I observe as the t y p i c a l kind of independent immigrants who have been able to leave Hong Kong for other countries in the mid 1980s, and they f i t almost pe r f e c t l y into the type of independent immigrants targeted by the Canada government. Further, since they share a similar Chinese and socio-economic background, we can explore deeply into the personal factors that ultimately have shaped their career paths, without being distracted by these background variables. 35 CHAPTER IV: Case History Case 1: Linda Unlike most of my co-workers or friends, I had never thought of immigration in my l i f e . Everything was fine for me when I was in Hong Kong. However, the ambition of Mark, my husband, always posed a threat to the p l a c i d i t y of our l i v e s . He was so desperate to study abroad since his early adulthood that he kept try i n g to apply for postgraduate studies after his graduation from university. His dream did not r e a l l y bother me because he was so far an average student. Yet I f e l t disappointed because he did not want to s e t t l e down. I longed for a stable family l i f e ever since our marriage. No matter how much I respected him, I f e l t angry with him at times. He only thought of his postgraduate studies and was never keen on building our home. Well, I had to admit that fate seemed to be unfair to him. Even though he worked very hard, his performance was not well recognized by his bosses. However, I was a f r a i d to t e l l him about my accomplishments at work since I did not want to s t i r up any jealousy between us. In the winter of 1986, Mark told me he wanted to apply for postgraduate study in England. At the same time, he also wanted to apply for immigration to Canada because of the widespread rumor that the Canadian government would accept more independent applicants. To t e l l the truth, I was not e n t i r e l y excited about his plans. My anger towards him burst out again. He did not seem to care about me and Nancy, our three-year old daughter. Leaving Hong Kong would be painful 36 for me. I wanted to be with my family! I was not sure whether my elder brother and younger s i s t e r would take care of my parents since he already had a family and she was going to marry. Moreover, the dream of having our home was again a fantasy. It was so near and yet so far! I had waited for more than five years and I regretted that I had not put pressure on Mark about building our home rather than allowing him to wander around. Nonetheless, I hid my feelings and showed no sign of objection because I did not want to hurt him. Believing that his plans might f a i l , I decided not to think about i t . I could not control my anxiety when Mark told me that he was accepted by a university in England. A l l of a sudden, I had no idea of what I should do. I f e l t that the burden on my shoulders was so heavy that I could not even breathe. The fact was that we could not afford to stay together in England for two years. How about Nancy, our lovely daughter who was only three years old at that time? Her development would d e f i n i t e l y be interrupted by the separation from Mark. To control my f r u s t r a t i o n was easier said than done. Not knowing how to t e l l him how much I wanted him to stay with us, I was r e a l l y upset and even angry with myself. Money was a major concern for his overseas studies. Our savings could only pay 3/5 of his school fees. How could we draw more from our already t i g h t budget. After weeks of discussion, we came to the conclusion that I could offer him some f i n a n c i a l support by giving him the money I gave to my parents every month. Although I was unhappy about the decision, i t seemed to be 37 the only solution for him to r e a l i z e his dream. The discussion did rel i e v e me a b i t , but my g u i l t over my withdrawal of f i n a n c i a l support was never lessened. Actually, my parents did not ask for any money from me. Nevertheless, my f i n a n c i a l support was one of the means to show my respect to them. Anyway, I kept on t e l l i n g myself that I had to face the r e a l i t y and i t took me a long time to accept that I would shoulder a l l the f i n a n c i a l cost for his study. My tension was soon lightened. Our application for immigration to Canada was successful one month l a t e r ! It might be a turning point. I checked with my close friends who had been in Canada before about Mark's chance of being admitted by the university in Canada. Their r e p l i e s were very encouraging. In addition, the right of being a Canadian c i t i z e n s h i p would allow Mark to enjoy a student fee on a l o c a l rate. That meant we could be together! I valued the togetherness of a whole family. It was indeed a good al t e r n a t i v e . Time passed extremely slowly on the day I planned to inform Mark about the information I collected from my friends. I remember my eagerness to t e l l Mark about the good news and could not s i t s t i l l on the couch. I was so tense that I watched every movement of the hands of the clock. I almost screamed when Mark returned home. Unexpectedly, he did not seem to be interested in the news. Although I understood how frustrated he was, I could not calm down my anger. Arguments did not help. When I was young, I lost a l l the disputes at home. My parents did not l i s t e n to my reasons; they just said that I was naughty. 38 Instead of arguing with Mark, I decided not to speak to him because he used reason to defend himself rather than l i s t e n . F a i l i n g to convince myself that he r e a l l y cared about us, I was hurt! The ice between us melted in a very slow process. Anyhow, Mark had to go to Canada because the school fees in England would be sharply increased; i t was not feasible for him to study there. His decision yet gave me another c o n f l i c t . I questioned whether I was too aggressive toward me. I f e l t sorry for him. I thought I should at least give him some emotional support. Well, I had to admit that i t was good to know that there would be no separation for us! It took a l o t of courage for me to inform my parents of our immigration. They looked happy about our decision. I believed that they would miss us. My sense of g u i l t towards my parents b u i l t up because I could no longer take care of them. On the date of our departure, tears came from my Mom. It was so heartbreaking for me because she seldom c r i e d . I told myself I wanted to stay. However, there was no miracle for me. The weight of my steps increased r a p i d l y as I approached the plane. I walked so slowly that Mark had to push me into the plane. I could hardly notice any passengers on the plane although i t was f u l l . I had to soothe myself by looking at the family photo. What a beautiful picture! L i f e was never easy for us after we arrived at Canada in the f a l l of 1987. We chose to stay in Toronto because there were more job opportunities. I was lucky to work in the same company. However, Mark was very disappointed by the rejec t i o n of his application to the postgraduate program in the 39 u n i v e r s i t i e s i n Canada. He could not even pursue s i m i l a r jobs i n Canada because of h i s lack of Canadian experience. He was unemployed! What I could do was to assure him of my emotional and f i n a n c i a l support. My r e s p o n s i b i l i t y had never been so heavy b e f o r e ! I t was s t r e s s f u l . F i n a l l y , when Mark got a job i n the summer of 1988, I f e l t r e l i v e d and happy. Toronto was too b i g f o r me. I had no r o o t s here. I was s t i l l t r y i n g my best to a d j u s t to a new l i f e s t y l e . Since I d i d not know how to d r i v e and had to depend on Mark to take me to the o f f i c e and r e t u r n home, I was not comfortable with t h i s dependency. Yet I had no time to l e a r n how to d r i v e and had no spare money to buy a car on my own. In a d d i t i o n , I found i t q u i t e s t r e s s f u l to be a mother, an employee and a wife a t the same time. I s t i l l remembered my good o l d days, when my mom helped me to take care of my daughter and my maid d i d a l l the household chores. I knew th a t I loved Hong Kong. I wanted to go back! Career D e c i s i o n My husband and I had v i s i t e d Canada three months before our immigration i n order to explore our job o p p o r t u n i t i e s . Toronto was a t t r a c t i v e because of the low unemployment r a t e . We a l s o t a l k e d to f r i e n d s i n Hong Kong and i n Canada about our employment p o t e n t i a l . I t r i e d not to b e l i e v e i n f a t e . However, my Mom always t o l d us t h a t people were d e s t i n e d to good or bad f a t e s before they were born and there was no way fo r us to change our f a t e . I f e l t scared by her statement so I t r i e d v ery hard i n e v e r y t h i n g i n order to get back my sense 40 of control. Instead of using a wait-and-see approach in exploring my career opportunities, I attempted to get help from my friends. My e f f o r t s were not in vain. I was so pleased to know that some former s t a f f of my company in Hong Kong could find a job in i t s subsidiary in Canada. The information did not reduce my anxiety because i t was not a 100% guarantee that I could get a job in the subsidiary in Canada. It was uncommon for me to express my concerns to my supervisor even though he had a l o t of overseas connections. I was a f r a i d that he might misunderstand me as taking advantage of him. My supervisor impressed me as i f he were my father, a person who was hard working, honest but quiet. Communication between my father and I was minimal since he was busy with his business. I found i t very d i f f i c u l t to dist i n g u i s h my supervisor from my father and I had the impression that I might hurt my supervisor i f I said something inappropriate. My tension escalated when I to l d my supervisor that I would immigrate to Canada. I was then not only surprised by the introductory l e t t e r given to me by him to his friend, who was now the personnel o f f i c e r of the subsidiary in Canada, but also the recognition given by him. With his l e t t e r , I was pretty confident that I could at least get a temporary position in that subsidiary. Indeed, immigration has caused a l o t of changes in my l i f e , but not my job. I am s t i l l a system analyst for the subsidiary of the same computer company in Canada. My job is to provide assistance to customers on how to operate computers. Knowledge of the operation and structure of 41 computers i s necessary for my duties. Besides making contacts with customers, I am also able to have some time alone in my o f f i c e . Meeting people is not p a r t i c u l a r l y tense to me. Nonetheless, I appreciate having some time for myself. Everyone t o l d me that It was a good job for me, including my parents. I wondered at f i r s t , but I began to accept i t because not every job would enable me to have same free time for myself. Well, I did not plan to be a systems analyst in 1984 after I graduated from the MBA program in Hong Kong. I was so disappointed that my s p e c i a l i z a t i o n in finance did not help me to find a job in banking because of the poor economy at that time. The f e e l i n g of f r u s t r a t i o n and loss did not go away u n t i l XXX computer company launched an intensive recruitment program in our university. It was very natural for me to make an attempt. I thought I might at least get a job and I did not r e a l l y care what kind of job I got. I just did not want to stay home. I was uncomfortable when my parents and husband asked me about my job search. I f e l t l i k e I was a f a i l u r e i f I could not find any job. They a l l thought that MBA students were in great demand, hence giving me a l o t of pressure. Besides, I needed a job to run my family as I had just got married. The recruitment was the only al t e r n a t i v e ! It seemed unfair to leave a l l the f i n a n c i a l burdens to my husband. The f i r s t day I took up my job was quite impressive to me. We had about ten trainees. A l l of us seemed enthusiastic 42 about the new job. However I discovered that many of them were not trustworthy. Gossip spred around the o f f i c e , with no confirmation, l i k e a f l u . It was very intimidating for me to open up myself because some s t a f f might misuse my opinions to attack others. No p o l i t i c s for me! Otherwise, I might get hurt. Silence was the golden rule though I loved to make friends. To be a system analyst just f i t me, so I did not need to r e l y heavily on the cooperation on my colleagues. My Mom was r i g h t . She always stressed that our concerns should be kept within the family because people were not r e l i a b l e . To many people, my job was quite ideal in terms of freedom and remuneration. However, I was a b i t uneasy about the interpersonal r e l a t i o n s h i p s . I tended not to t e l l my colleagues about my immigration. I appeared as i f I were an introverted person in order to avoid mistakes. My seven years of working experience did help me to become aware of the fact that my strong sense of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y and commitment would help me to work under pressure and perform well in d i f f e r e n t areas. Way back to my childhood, my parents, e s p e c i a l l y my Mom, always highlighted to me that high school education was good enough for females, because we would get married eventually, yet more education would be required for my elder brother because he had to shoulder a family when he grew up. What a r i d i c u l o u s idea! I f e l t resentful toward th i s statement and my tears flowed. Anyway, I held back and refused to express my sadness to my family because they would not l i s t e n to i t . When compared to my introverted brother, I was considered to be disobedient 43 and r e b e l l i o u s . They paid almost a l l the attention to him simply because he was male! I hoped I could be a male too when I was young. I wondered i f I was r e a l l y naughty or i f I was just outspoken in my family. Without any confirmation from my friends, I was pretty sure that I was a good g i r l . Even when I was a kid, I t r i e d to voice my opinion i f there was anything unfair to me. My Mom considered i t unacceptable because i t meant that I did not respect my parents. I was angry about that since I was prevented from pursuing my ri g h t s . My d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n was never recognized by my parents; I was discouraged to take further action. Confused by their attitudes towards me, I decided to keep my mouth shut because i t was the best way to protect myself. At the same time, I compared myself with the other kids in my school. My observations did t e l l me that I was an easy kid for my parents, but I was not approved of by them. "Bad" kid! Oh! I did not want to be labeled as "bad" kid by my parents. Otherwise, I would be l e f t alone in our room. My experience was very scary^to me, I spoke back once when I was in grade 2, and my Mom kept me in our bedroom for several hours. So I acquiesced to their opinions. The word "bad" was connected to the loss of love and acceptance from my parents, I was a f r a i d to face that type of loss. Although I could not control myself in giving my opinions about any i n j u s t i c e , I retreated when they showed their disagreement. My parents were not highly educated, even though they did spend a l o t in putting us in a private elementary school, 44 so that we could get a better education. Similar to most of the Chinese, they believed that education was the only means for us to have a better future. My Dad was a driver of construction materials, indeed a p h y s i c a l l y demanding job. He had to work from morning t i l l dawn with l i t t l e time l e f t for my family. He seldom spoke to us or took us out for a c t i v i t i e s . The interaction between us grew only in the past few years after he could afford to hire two workers to share his duties. My mom had to do laundry for others to maintain a l i v i n g . She emphasized that they worked very hard to support us and they hoped that we would not do anything to dishonour our family. My mom never suggested to me that any p a r t i c u l a r job would be suitable to me. Anyhow, she always emphasized that l i f e was hard for a blue c o l l a r worker because the demand for physical strengths was high but the salary was low. However, i t was d i f f e r e n t for a white c o l l a r worker since the working environment was, at least, comfortable and decent. I agreed with her because of my parents' example. Moreover, I f e l t bad because I always had the intention to surpass my brother. Although my parents did not scold me for my unsatisfactory performance in elementary school, I became aware that i f I did not work hard, I would waste my parents' time and e f f o r t e s p e c i a l l y because my brother did not perform well in school. F i r s t I f e l t g u i l t y ; then I decided to work hard. My high school education did not r e a l l y give me any insights in career exploration. Two career exhibitions were 45 organized by my high school. But they focused heavily on nursing and teaching because a l l the students were females. That was a l l I knew about jobs when I was a teenager. Thinking that the l i m i t a t i o n of career choices was linked to my gender, I had the idea that i f I worked hard, I might be in a better position to get a decent job, even though I might end up being a teacher or a nurse. My e f f o r t s were rewarded! I was accepted by one of the u n i v e r s i t i e s in Hong Kong. Well, my education was not r e s t r i c t e d to secondary school. Excited by the admission, I could not sleep for a week. Nevertheless, I seemed to lose my courage to inform my parents of my admission. I was somewhat frightened because they might refuse to support me f i n a n c i a l l y . I practiced in my mind how to t e l l them and ask for help. Surprisingly, my parents did not reject my studying in university, since the f i n a n c i a l s i t u a t i o n of my family had improved. Uncertain about the subject I wanted to study, I ended up choosing geography because I got the highest grade in i t . In fact, Geography was not p r a c t i c a l enough for me, so I switched to Economics when I was a sophomore. I had developed some interest in Economics after I took an introductory course. What a disappointment! I was indeed too impatient, in r e l y i n g on my impulse to choose Economics. The program was very t h e o r e t i c a l . I managed to get through the program with f a i r l y good grades but I did not want to carry on. It was time for me to find a job. Without any idea of what type of work I wanted to do, I was quite nervous. I went 46 home late for about a month in order to avoid any questions from my parents. The year of my graduation did not come together with a year of prosperity. I had checked with the appointment services in my university. I was so frustrated to find that teaching was almost the only job opportunity for graduates. Well, teaching was at least a decent job. I decided to make several attempts, but a l l were rejected. I f e l t bad about the whole s i t u a t i o n . With many questions about my a b i l i t y , I guessed my parents might be r i g h t : females might not need a lot of education. Education did not ensure us of any good career. Anyway, a teaching assistant post in the business school of my university was available and f i n a l l y my application was accepted. I f e l t relieved after I got a job. At least I f e l t I was accountable to my parents. Before I worked in the business school, I was not clear about what business was. Business appeared to be associated with materialism and corruption. It sounded a b i t d i r t y . However, I discovered that business did cover a wide variety of areas, such as business management, information systems, marketing and finance. It was very p r a c t i c a l and useful in developing the economy. Moreover, i t was dynamic and interesting. I had the idea that the more I knew about business, the better I could manage i t . Two years of work in the business school was in fact enough for me to understand what business was and to develop a interest in i t . Yet I decided to study for an MBA because the job market was s t i l l poor. I believed that the MBA degree might enable me to find a better job. 47 Consequently, I became a system analyst in a multinational corporation. Quite s a t i s f i e d with my job, I had no plan to give i t up for at least a few years. In fact, i t was not an ideal time for me to take a r i s k . Risk taking would c e r t a i n l y prevent my husband from pursuing his plan. I f e l t g u i l t y i f I gave up my support. Although I was a b i t annoyed at losing the promotion opportunity of my job, I believed that Mark's development was far more important than mine since he i s the head of the family. I remembered how my Mom had supported my father when the economic s i t u a t i o n was r e a l l y bad. With the b e l i e f that my pressure would only be temporary, I opened the wardrobe calmly and t r i e d to find a dress for myself to go to work that day. Case 2: Michael From the mirror, I can see the r e f l e c t i o n of myself. That i s myself, the Michael I have known for 36 years, I look at least healthy and energetic. Having worked as a teacher for over ten years has not changed my appearance. I s t i l l have my spectacles and the same s k i r t s and pants. However, I am now l i v i n g in a completely d i f f e r e n t horizon. The word "immigration" does not sound a l i e n to me at a l l . It struck my mind at least three times after I graduated from a university in Canada in 1979. Time f l i e s . It was almost 9 years ago that I became a landed immigration in 1987 at l a s t . Anyway, I can remember how I had reacted d i f f e r e n t l y to the idea of immigration each time. I might phrase i t as a process of transforming p a s s i v i t y into a c t i v i t y . 48 The s i x years that I spent in Canada for my undergraduate study were a luxury to me. Besides the opportunity to study abroad, what I valued most was the freedom from the control of my parents. Their advice and assistance were c e r t a i n l y valuable to me, but I also treasured the opportunity to be independent. It was such a r e l i e f to l i v e on my own even though I f e l t nervous without getting directions from my parents! To be honest, to be the only son in,a t r a d i t i o n a l Chinese family did provide me with lots of p r i v i l e g e s . I got not only what I wanted, but also an exceptionally high l e v e l of tolerance from my parents. Their concern for my well-being was so v i s i b l e in every aspect of my l i f e ! They planned almost everything for me before I got married to make sure that I was on the right track. I was annoyed by their lack of confidence in me. But I li v e d l i k e a nobody, muddling around. Their expectation of my submission and obedience contributed to my already confused s e l f i d e n t i t y . I yielded to their power because their provision of shelter, food and protection were essential to my s u r v i v a l . Resistance to their control did not work. Even when I was a young kid, I made numerous attempts to speak up for myself, but my voice never caught the attention of my parents. Such discouragement obviously overwhelmed a kid l i k e me. Instead of expressing my needs, I told myself the best way not to cause any hassle to myself was to remain s i l e n t . I applied th i s strategy in preparing for postgraduate study at the time I was about to graduate from university. To continue my study at the graduate level could be interpreted as a means 49 for me to escape from my parents' control again and build up my confidence to be an independent person. So far, i t would be a good excuse for me because studying was congruent with their b e l i e f that better education would lead to a brighter future. It would be almost embarrassing for them to say "No"! I decided not to t e l l my parents that I wanted to continue my study but I planned to spend the summer of 1976 with them in Hong Kong and then return to Canada. My decision did not r e a l l y help me s e t t l e down. I a c t u a l l y practiced several times how to t e l l them about my plan! Suddenly the idea of immigration flashed into my mind! I wondered i f I could be an immigrant, I might afford the t u i t i o n fees by myself because the fees would be much lower for l o c a l students. I f e l t a b i t worthless since I was e n t i r e l y dependent on my parents' f i n a n c i a l support. However, I could not think of any other way that could liberate myself from their domination. Yet when my parents told me to stay in Hong Kong, I f e l t g u i l t y to refuse. So I was in Hong Kong ever since the summer of 1976 ! Although I did not apply for immigration after my undergraduate degree, immigration was s t i l l a tempting idea to me. As a newly wed in the early 1980's, I did not f e e l that my marriage brought me the promise of which a l o t of people mentioned, such as success and a sense of security. I was upset about my teaching job as well. I worked r e a l l y hard on my teaching with the hope that my students would benefit. My students showed disrespect to me no matter how much 50 e f f o r t s I had spent on my job. I f e l t deeply hurt by their response! In addition to my d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with the school administration, I was confused about what I should do in order to gain an upper hand on the teaching s i t u a t i o n . I admitted to myself that I was not born with the talent of a b r i l l i a n t teacher. However, I did t r y ! I d i s l i k e d the reje c t i o n from my students, which made me f e e l that I was a kid before my parents again. I needed respect and recognition. I guessed my mom noticed my unhappiness. She talked to me and suggested that immigration might be a possible solution for me so that I could t r y something new in Canada. Canada would be an ideal place for me because I had been there before. What a good suggestion! I f e l t very pleased with such an understanding mom. She also hinted that she could give me f i n a n c i a l support for my application because I did not earn much from my job. Excited by such an amazing idea, I put i t forward to my wife. Just as I expected, my wife was a b i t puzzled by my reasons for immigration. I told her about my job d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n and t r i e d to convince her with various reasons. Nonetheless my argument did not s a t i s f y her. She did not agree that immigration was the best solution to a l l e v i a t e my job d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n and to provide a good opportunity for me to st a r t a new l i f e . Her hesitation annoyed me because I wanted to do something for both of us. Wondering how deeply she loved me, I tended not to speak to her and retreated to my own thoughts. Soon, my wife noticed my disappointment. She consented to apply for immigration at l a s t . I f e l t g u i l t y 51 about that because I did not want to force her to do anything she did not l i k e . I wanted to make sure that I could make her happy, yet I was uncertain about my a b i l i t y to be a good husband. I had the urge to get frequent assurance from my wife. She did give me some assurance by t e l l i n g me how much she needed me. It was such a good f e e l i n g ! I then applied for immigration. I had no information about the p o s s i b i l i t y of my application because none of my friends had such an experience and I could find nothing from the newspapers and magazines. What I could do was to t e l l myself to be positive and to prepare for r e j e c t i o n . Even though I was a b i t surprised by the reject i o n from the Canada Consulate (since I had overseas experience in Canada), I could only accept the fact that I lost a precious chance for immigration. Already overwhelmed by disappointment, I had to face the same old school and the same old students again. My sense of hopelessness overshadowed my optimism. It might be my fate, but I had to accept my fate because no one could change i t . To forget about the unsuccessful application was the solution I chose to calm myself down. The year of 1987 was f r u s t r a t i n g to me. My wife changed her mind and told me that she wanted to emigrate to Canada. In fact, immigration was no longer a t t r a c t i v e to me any more. Unlike most of the people in Hong Kong, the take over of Hong Kong by the Chinese government was less threatening to me. My job as a high school teacher was not p o l i t i c a l l y s e n s i t i v e . I asked myself several times what would be the worst that could 52 happen after 1997. Nothing came into my imagination. I could only picture that Hong Kong would be more or less the same. Why bother about something that might not happen? After I changed to a new school, I discovered that I had chosen the right job. I enjoyed the freedom I had in planning my teaching schedule. I loved my students as well. We had a very good re l a t i o n s h i p . Their respect consolidated my confidence and s e l f worth. I was enthusiastic about my job and had lots of idea in planning new strategies for my teaching. My wife seemed to have changed her mind completely about immigration to Canada. She now seemed to be very interested in applying for immigration. I did not respond to her request for immigration, believing that she might withdraw. However, she kept on asking me about immigration because Canada had more quotas for secretaries at the time. She said that i t would be a golden chance for us because her occupation as a secretary meant a higher chance of success. She urged me to agree since the quotas for independent immigrants in various occupations changed from time to time. I was indeed angered by such an excuse and I guessed that the re a l reason behind her decision was that she missed her family, her parents and two of her s i s t e r s who had already emigrated to Canada recently. The rest of her family also planned to emigrate too. I did not believe that her intention was based on her expectation about the uncertainty of the future of Hong Kong, or the well-being of our family. My anger was further aggravated because my wife did not appear to understand me and, esp e c i a l l y , my aspirations about my job. Anyway, I f e l t 53 g u i l t y to say that she was s e l f i s h , but she seemingly d i d not c o n s i d e r me and my f a m i l y . Yet I d i d not want to express my c o n f u s i o n and a n x i e t y to her as she was not prepared f o r my o p p o s i t i o n . In order to please her, I t o l d her we might t r y . I dared not to do anything to r u i n our r e l a t i o n s h i p . I cared fo r her and I d i d not want to be blamed by anyone t h a t I was a bad husband. I s t i l l remembered what my mom had t o l d me when I was young, a bad person would be punished and t o r t u r e d a f t e r death. What a s c a r y s c e n a r i o ! I d i d not want to be punished. According to my previous experience, I b e l i e v e d t h a t the chance of success f o r our a p p l i c a t i o n was very low even though she was the main a p p l i c a n t t h i s time. I d i d not want to c o o l down her enthusiasm, so I consented. Well, I f e l t a b i t r e l i e v e d by t e l l i n g myself not to worry about our a p p l i c a t i o n s i n c e the p o s s i b i l i t y of success was minimal. T h i s k ind of thought p a t t e r n d i d help me a l o t u n t i l we were informed t h a t our a p p l i c a t i o n was s u c c e s s f u l three months l a t e r ! I was very shocked by the n o t i f i c a t i o n from the Canada Consulate. In a d d i t i o n , the d e a d l i n e f o r a r r i v a l added f u r t h e r a n x i e t y to me. A l l at once, I f e l t nervous because I loved my job and I cared f o r my students. I might l o s e my job s a t i s f a c t i o n and I miss my f a m i l y , p a r t i c u l a r l y my parents. My parents were g e t t i n g o l d , so I had the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to take care of them. T h e i r support and encouragement f o r our immigration made me f e l t even more shameful and g u i l t y to leave them a l o n e . Hong Kong appeared so d i f f e r e n t to me a f t e r I n o t i c e d 54 that I had to leave. It was so dynamic, busy and b e a u t i f u l . The t r a f f i c congestion, the a i r p o l l u t i o n , the hectic l i f e s t y l e , almost every aspect of Hong Kong now became extremely appealing to me. I could see myself in every corner in Hong Kong. It was the only place that reminded me of who I was. But I would soon lose my sense of belonging. How dreadful i t was! I hated to t e l l myself that I had to leave such a lovely place. I regretted that I did not struggle with my wife about my unwillingness to apply for immigration. My remedial action was to t e l l her that i t might be possible for me to stay in Hong Kong, because George, our four years old son could go to Canada with her i f she wanted. What I could do for them was to make sure that whenever I had holidays I would v i s i t them or c a l l them i f I had time. She was furious with my suggestion and was upset about my selfishness. She stressed that the unity of our family was of prime importance to her. She could not tolerate any separation l i k e that. I t r i e d to convey to her my fondness about my teaching job but she turned a deaf ear to me. Eventually I gave up. My struggle and search for the meaning of work started a l l over again upon the very f i r s t day I arrived at Canada. Immigration has truncated my career development. Worried about the poor job market in Canada, I always dove into deep thought in order to figure out what I could do. I hardly showed my uneasiness in public because I did not want to upset my wife. I had enough grumbles from her because of my unwillingness to leave Hong Kong . Time to be alone was d e f i n i t e l y necessary for me to reduce my sadness about 55 leaving my parents and a place that I r e a l l y loved. The date of our departure to Canada as ordered by the Canada Consulate was not long enough for us to plan or even pack everything. We just had three months! A l l I could do was to write to my friends and r e l a t i v e s in Canada for information about the job market in Canada. Besides, I contacted friends who had returned to Hong Kong from Canada recently. Though not as shocking as having a heart attack, I was indeed very disappointed with a l l the negative feedback! They told me that my teaching experience would not be recognized by the Canada School Board, but i t took me almost a month to accept that fac t ! Besides teaching, I had two years of administrative experience in a college and two years of experience working as a technical drawer in an a r c h i t e c t u r a l firm. These might be useful for my job hunting. Rather than f e e l i n g hopeless, I just t o l d myself to prepare for the worst. What I planned to do was to accept downward mobility, That meant I might end up doing a job that would not give me the same status, reward and s a t i s f a c t i o n . In addition, I would consider changing my area of s p e c i a l i z a t i o n and taking up apprenticeship in whatever business that attracted or accepted me. Staring at the passengers in the plane that brought us to Canada, I was not surprised to find that almost 98% of them were people from Hong Kong. What were their dreams for immigration? I attempted to look for someone who was similar to me, a man overwhelmed by uncertainty. My mind was too 56 preoccupied by my worries about my c a r e e r f u t u r e i n Canada, so I f e l l a s l e e p e v e n t u a l l y . The f i r s t t h i n g I d i d a f t e r we found a place to l i v e was to c a l l my c o u s i n , who had a l r e a d y been here f o r over ten y e a r s . Working as an i n t e r i o r d e s i g n e r , she had an e x t e n s i v e s o c i a l network which might provide a job o p p o r t u n i t y f o r me. As I expected, I was introduced to work i n an i n t e r i o r d e sign f i r m as t e c h n i c a l drawer. Although I was not e x c i t e d about the job, I f e l t a l i t t l e r e l i e v e d because of the f i n a n c i a l support. T e c h n i c a l drawing sounded i n t e r e s t i n g to me because I o n l y needed to f o l l o w i n s t r u c t i o n s . The lack of c r e a t i v i t y d i d not prevent me from e x p r e s s i n g my a e s t h e t i c sense i n drawing. I was pleased to know t h a t my s k i l l s d i d not v a n i s h , even though I d i d not p r a c t i c e i t f o r more than 12 y e a r s . The new job was not very demanding and gave me no burden at a l l . The o n l y t h i n g t h a t annoyed me was the temporary nature of the job. Having a f a m i l y , p a r t i c u l a r l y with a four years o l d son, I r e a l l y needed job s e c u r i t y . I asked the company manager about the p o s s i b i l i t y of changing the job i n t o a f u l l time one. But I was q u i t e d i s a p p o i n t e d by h i s negative r e p l y because I thought i t might be a good chance f o r me to s t a r t a career i n some area r e l a t e d to" a r c h i t e c t u r e , a f i e l d I wanted to t r y a long time ago. I remembered when I graduated from high s c h o o l , my examination r e s u l t was not good enough f o r me to a p ply f o r any m a t r i c u l a t i o n c l a s s which prepared students for u n i v e r s i t y entrance examination, or to get admitted i n t o any post secondary c o l l e g e . My d i s c o n t e n t about my performance d i d not d r i v e me nuts, s i n c e I knew t h a t somehow 57 my parents would do something for me. As expected, they did blame me for a while, but their concerns over my future overrode their d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with my performance. Even my grandmother (who had passed away one year after t h i s incident), the most powerful person in my family, urged my parents to help me. My father was busy with his work in banking. He l e f t a l l the parenting work to my Mom. My Mom used to be very passive, e s p e c i a l l y when she was with my grandmother. I could see that my mother was a f r a i d of her, so she t r i e d to do everything to please her in order to avoid troubles. When I was young she kept on reminding me that the best way to save trouble was to remain s i l e n t . My grandmother was a b i t aggressive to my Mom and their relationship was at best s u p e r f i c i a l . It might be because my grandmother in s i s t e d on maintaining her influence in my family and she thought that the best way to do so was to control my parents in order to consolidate her power. Anyway, she was extremely kind to me, but also rather.protective. Talking back was a taboo in my family, e s p e c i a l l y with my grandmother. No matter how hard I t r i e d to break th i s unwritten rule for the sake of standing up for my r i g h t s , I l o s t every b a t t l e . F i n a l l y , I discovered that the best way to survive was to keep my mouth shut. Modeled after my Mom and my elder s i s t e r , my silence shielded me from any harassment from my family or friends. My acquiescence increased not only my reliance on my family, but also my i n e r t i a . Their overprotection discouraged me from deciding for myself and taking up r e s p o n s i b i l i t y while 58 strengthening my perception of being a worthless person. To keep everything inside my own mind became a norm in my l i f e . My grandmother's excitement of having a grandson (that was me), brought my parents a l o t of pressures. Their care and love for me later developed into overprotection. I remembered that my grandmother had requested a neighbor to take me home on one occasion because she could not do i t on that date. She was so worried about my safety that she told my neighbor to bring me home hand in hand. I was embarrassed by their overconcern. I did not want to have anyone to go home with me hand in hand! Just l i k e the rest of my classmates, I could go home by myself. The school was only one block away from my home. I did not want to be treated l i k e a l i t t l e kid! I protested again, but no one lis t e n e d . Although I was not surprised by their response, I f e l t hurt that they never had confidence in me or allowed me any chance for independence. Their protection did not fade away even when I grew up. Believing that they needed to provide the best for me, they c e r t a i n l y t r i e d their best to find me a job. Consequently, one of my uncles was w i l l i n g to hire me as a technical drawer in his a r c h i t e c t u r a l firm. My grandmother was pleased with such an arrangement. On one occasion, she talked to me in a serious manner, saying that lawyer, accountant and a r c h i t e c t were jobs with high status and lots of economic reward. To work in any of these areas could provide me prestige and f i n a n c i a l s t a b i l i t y . I was not t h r i l l e d about my job because i t was again a courtesy by a r e l a t i v e , I understood that there would be a l o t of lim i t a t i o n s because my uncle would 59 report to my parents about my behaviors and performance. I had to exchange my compliance for his kindness. Anyhow, i t provided me an excellent opportunity to work in an area which was c l o s e l y related to my interest, i . e . my appreciation of the structure of buildings. Leaving the i n t e r i o r design company in Canada seemed to be the only option for me. My decision would disappoint my wife. I believed my frankness would draw us closer together. I explained to her that her understanding and support would be invaluable for me to adjust better in Canada. My job searching process would not be as smooth as hers, however, her immense patience about my job hunting would be much appreciated. Hopefully, my honesty softened our tension. Staying at home was not easy for me. I did not mind taking care of my son, but I could f e e l my tension whenever I opened the newspapers. There was no magic in the newspapers! My l e v e l of my disappointment went up u n t i l I read the advertisement on s e l l i n g education publications one month l a t e r . For almost 30 days, such a refreshing p o s s i b i l i t y f i n a l l y s t i r r e d my mind and body. I was not t o t a l l y overwhelmed by the advertisement because i t was only a job that was s l i g h t l y associated with education and which demanded marketing s k i l l s that I might not possess. Anyway, i t would not cause me any loss to t r y . I registered for the 3-day free-of-charge seminar in a resort area organized by the company. I was surprised and impressed by the i n v i t a t i o n offered by the manager for me to join his team on the l a s t 60 day of the seminar. The idea that i t might be worth a t r y came into my mind immediately when he told me about the job and i t s remuneration. With the f i n a n c i a l and emotional assurance from my wife, I was encouraged to t r y something new, even though I wondered i f I had the marketing p o t e n t i a l . Saying no meant more than a loss of job opportunity; i t might also deter me from exploring a new horizon for career development. My excitement about the new job apparently surpassed my concern of ri s k taking. Taking courses on marketing s k i l l s offered by the company was i n s u f f i c i e n t for me. Reference books on this p a r t i c u l a r area also captured my attention. My job as a sales representative started with some successes, but the supervision provided by the manager was far less than I expected. His record of sales was eye-catching. However, he never demonstrated his s k i l l s to me. We paired together but worked independently. I desperately wanted to learn more from him by watching how he did his work or l e t t i n g him see my work and comment on my s k i l l s . Expressing my concerns to him did not work since his compliments could not cool me down. The best time for s e l l i n g the publications was from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.. I did not r e a l l y enjoy such working hours because i t was so dark and cold to work during winter. After two months, doubt about my decision began to develop. In addition to the lack of further t r a i n i n g and supervision, I was tempted by an i n v i t a t i o n by one of the customers to s e l l computer in his o f f i c e . F i r s t of a l l , I f e l t a b i t proud because my potential in marketing was proven by his 61 i n v i t a t i o n . Moreover, a regular working time and stable income meant a l o t to a man with family. It was scary to follow my father's model, a busy man with no time reserved for his family. Communication between my father and I was scanty. There was no bridge between us. To a certain extent, he was so strange to me that I was a f r a i d to talk to him. No nourishing relationships existed between us. I made a promise with myself when I was young, I wanted to be a nurturing father one day. After discussing with my wife, I took up the new job. S e l l i n g computers was a new challenge to me. I could i d e n t i f y some s i m i l a r i t i e s with teaching, such as the need for knowledge of the product, s i n c e r i t y and enthusiasm. Spending four months in t h i s company was a b i t too long for me. I noticed that my boss's performance was remarkable owing to his extensive personal connections; My sales record was less s i g n i f i c a n t because I had to r e l y on those who came to our o f f i c e . I was pretty discouraged by my performance and I did not t o t a l l y agree with my boss's sales strategies. Job advertisement in newspapers again provided hope for me. Reading job advertisements was more than a leisure to me. I flipped and flipped over the newspapers everyday just to make sure that I did not miss a page! Consequently, a teaching post offered by a Chinese organization served l i k e a l i f e saver to me. I could not believe my eyes! A teaching post! Could I teach again? The application and interview served l i k e a torment for me , even though the whole process took about three weeks. I almost burst into tears when I got the 62 o f f e r ! A teacher for English as a second language for immigrants. Oh! my exhilaration was hard to control! This was very encouraging for me. Anyway, i t was incredible to get a teaching post in Canada. My devotion to teaching contributed to my eagerness to help. There were, in fact, many people who were in need of support and help. My loneliness during my undergraduate study had urged me toward a solution. Thank God! I found refuge in r e l i g i o n ; C h r i s t i a n i t y emphasized love and sharing. I hoped I could practice my b e l i e f s in helping people. Nevertheless, i t took me a very long time to discover how much I loved teaching. The summer in 1976 was the f i r s t time I found a job by myself. I had no idea what types of job I wanted to do since I planned to go back to Canada to pursue postgraduate study in geography. However, my plan was strongly opposed by my parents. Without their f i n a n c i a l support, I could hardly supported myself to continue my plan. After spending about a month in Hong Kong, I also changed my mind. Hong Kong had changed so much. It was such an energetic c i t y ! My sense of belonging began to develop gradually. My parents kept on persuading me to find a job and stated that teaching was good for me. I wondered about my interest in teaching though I agreed with them that teaching was a decent job. My hunch about th e i r suggestion was that I might be well respected by my r e l a t i v e s i f I were a teacher in a high school. I did not explore the job market and applied for only teaching posts with the idea that my parents had a better idea about me and the job market. My f i r s t experience in teaching was t e r r i b l e . 63 I did not agree with the management s t y l e of the school and I found i t very d i f f i c u l t to handle the young kids. Moreover, my compliance with my parents' suggestion bothered me. I was so disappointed with myself because I could not act on my own and I s t i l l depended on my parents. My anger motivated me to search for another job. The job market was not that promising at that time. It took me more than a year to change job. My new post as an administrative assistant in a college was not e n t i r e l y s a t i s f a c t o r y . My e f f o r t s were well recognized but I was not able to build up a harmonious rela t i o n s h i p with my boss. I was so furious that he always took advantage of me. I l e f t after I had spent two years in that college. Administrative duties was not a t t r a c t i v e to me anymore. My limited working experience prevented me from making attempts in other areas, such as business or industry. Instead of tryi n g something d i f f e r e n t , I preferred teaching again because, at least, I had more freedom in my work. I found that my parents might be right since teaching seemed to be good for me. As I spent more e f f o r t s in planning new teaching methods and took time to interact with my students, I developed my interest in teaching. My enthusiasm in teaching remained even after I came to Canada. The f i r s t day of my teaching in the Chinese organization in Canada was so refreshing. But the students were not the same. No uniforms! No school bags! Yet they had the same aspiration, they wanted to learn. My willingness to spend more time in preparing for my teaching revealed my commitment 64 in the job. However problems of the organization soon became apparent. The organization was subsidized by the government and supported by donation. The adequacy of funding for running the organization was c l o s e l y linked to the s t a b i l i t y of the jobs provided. My boss was a wonderful person. She was considerate but she was not a good administrator, she seldom mentioned fund r a i s i n g for the organization which was indeed necessary to i t s s u r v i v a l . I worried about the future of the organization. My attempt to discuss with my boss about fund r a i s i n g always ended in vain. She did not seem to respond to me. I was very discouraged by her reaction and I believed that I better keep my opinions to myself. The old concerns about taking a new job revived. Teaching was not the only means for me to offer a hand to others. Although the Canada School Board gave me a favorable reply regarding my application for r e g i s t r a t i o n because I was educated in Canada, I wanted to reconsider that option. To take ten more credits in education in university was not very demanding to me, but once I made up my mind in taking the c r e d i t s , I would be a teacher forever! My past experience in marketing did trigger my interest in business, p a r t i c u l a r l y in sales. Marketing could also be considered as a means to help people, only the product was d i f f e r e n t . The blooming of the real estate business captured my attention because I could have the opportunity to explore various types of buildings that I wanted to look at since I was a c h i l d . I thought i t provided me a good opportunity to help needy people to find a home, to learn more about the structures of buildings, earn more and 65 even c o n t r i b u t e to the funding of the o r g a n i z a t i o n . I was r e a l l y confused whether I should give up my t e a c h i n g post. I was pleased to know t h a t my parents would emigrate to Canada i n May, 1989. Well, they would shoulder p a r t of my mortgage. I was p r e t t y e x c i t e d t h a t i t might now be the best time f o r me to q u i t my present job and explore the r e a l e s t a t e b u s i n e s s . 66 CHAPTER V: Analysis and discussion Having reviewed the three t h e o r e t i c a l approaches in decision making and describing the case history of my two subjects, t h i s chapter w i l l c a r e f u l l y examine which of the approaches is most useful in explaining their career choices. These approaches w i l l be applied to each of these two cases and evaluated in accordance with the empirical evidence. Put simply, the c o n f l i c t model and r a t i o n a l decision making models seem to be inadequate in explaining the career behavior of both subjects. The subjects did not have very d e f i n i t e or clear ideas about their career values and preferences, nor did they follow the systematic steps of information gathering and selection of options as postulated in these models. Stress did play a part in their decisions, but i t evidently did not bring about the kind of vigilance which Janis and Mann considered as f a c i l i t a t i v e of making qual i t y choices. Rather than behaving l i k e c a l c u l a t i v e and r a t i o n a l decision makers, they were both strongly affected by their r e lations with their respective families and their personal h i s t o r i e s , which were in turn shaped by t h e i r Chinese c u l t u r a l background. Therefore, the deciding-in- context model offered by Sloan provides the most useful and relevant a n a l y t i c a l framework in examining and explaining the career behavior of these two new immigrants from Hong Kong. Comparison Let us begin our analysis by discussing a number of interesting s i m i l a r i t i e s and differences in the career decision making behavior of Linda and Michael. While both 67 have been strongly influenced by their relationships with their parents and spouses, they not only hold d i f f e r e n t career values, but also have adopted quite d i s s i m i l a r strategies to achieve their career objectives. Yet these two case s t i l l show many similar features. The stories of Linda and Michael have a number of remarkable commonalties. Both are in their early t h i r t i e s and both have a c h i l d about 3 to 4 years old. They obtained decent jobs in Hong Kong and f e l t good about their jobs before going to Canada. However, both were reluctant to come to Canada, not because the country i t s e l f is not a t t r a c t i v e , but because they did not want to leave their families and former jobs. Their decisions were primarily a "compromise" with their spouses in order to avoid confrontation. Linda's husband had long wished to study abroad, ever since he graduated from university, while Michael's wife wanted to reunite with her family members in Canada. Since these decisions concerning immigration caused feelings of anger, anxiety, and tension in Linda and Michael, they withdrew whenever c o n f l i c t s with their spouses arose and, ultimately, they followed their spouses' preferences. Serious pursuit of career does not seem to be the most s i g n i f i c a n t issue to either Linda or Michael. It is also important to note that they did not have very clear ideas about what types of jobs they would l i k e to do. But they strongly believed that they should obtain a decent job, primarily to f u l f i l l the expectations of their parents. 68 T h e i r s t r u g g l e s f o r independence were i n f a c t hampered by t h e i r continuous e f f o r t s i n seeking a p p r o v a l from t h e i r p a r e n t s , p a r t i c u l a r l y r e g a r d i n g t h e i r c a r e e r c h o i c e s . The taboo r e g a r d i n g " t a l k i n g back" i n the Chinese c u l t u r e has been s t r o n g l y p l a n t e d i n t h e i r minds through t h e i r e a r l y c h i l d h o o d t r a i n i n g . Hence they were i n h i b i t e d from s t a n d i n g up f o r themselves and summoning t h e i r courage to pursue t h e i r own p r e f e r e n c e s . T h i s kind of a t t i t u d e has a l s o a f f e c t e d t h e i r c a r e e r behavior. In a d d i t i o n to the f i n a n c i a l need to g e t t i n g a job t h a t would a l l o w them to make ends meet, t h e i r job hunting i n Canada stemmed more from a need to f o l l o w the w e l l - e s t a b l i s h e d p a t t e r n to seek approval from t h e i r parents and achieve the r o l e expected of them. Most i m p o r t a n t l y , i t should be noted t h a t both Linda and Michael were both engaging i n a s t r u g g l e f o r i d e n t i t y and independence. Without more independence, they would not be able to r e a l i z e t h e i r own meanings i n l i f e . L i nda d i s c o v e r e d some independence i n the p r i v a t e spare time allowed i n her job, something which she t r e a s u r e d most. I t was the o n l y time t h a t she c o u l d be alone, without any pressure from her boss or f a m i l y . Her independence was p o s s i b l e o n l y when she could r e t r e a t from her f a m i l y l i f e and workload. Though s i m i l a r to Linda i n h i s s t r u g g l e f o r independence, Michael chose a more a c t i v e s t r a t e g y . The f i r s t time he q u i t h i s job as a teacher a f t e r he r e t u r n e d to Hong Kong was more a p r o t e s t than a reasoned d e c i s i o n about h i s own c a r e e r . His c a r e e r change i n Canada, however, i n d i c a t e d h i s d e s i r e f o r s e l f r e a l i z a t i o n and c a r e e r development. The 69 process of job hunting was a c t u a l l y a means in i t s e l f for him to find himself again because he could then think about his own values and interests without being burdened by his family. In terms of career change, Linda was c l e a r l y more passive while Michael was more active. Their struggles were c l e a r l y conducted in d i f f e r e n t ways, but th e i r desires to achieve some degree of s e l f r e a l i z a t i o n and independence are both s a l i e n t and quite s i m i l a r . However, there are also several major differences between Linda and Michael. F i r s t , the gender difference and i t s influence on role expectations have exerted a decisive impact on th e i r career values. As a female, Linda was not expected to be highly educated by her family, who followed a very t r a d i t i o n a l way of Chinese thinking. In her parents' viewpoint, the completion of high school education was considered good enough for her because she would get married and become part of another family someday. Even though she seemed to accept t h i s idea, at least on the surface, she worked very hard to get into university in order to prove her own a b i l i t y and to compete with her brother. She struggled hard toward t h i s goal, seemingly without any v i s i b l e support from her parents. The fact that i t was a lone struggle, did not erode her determination. However, th i s determination was limited to her studies. After she graduated from u n i v e r s i t y and started working, she s t i l l had to follow the role expectations of being a wife and a mother and put the interests of her family above those of herself. 70 As the only but also the youngest son in his family, Michael's position in his family strongly molded his role expectations and career behavior. His parents and p a r t i c u l a r l y his grandmother had held great hopes for him. They expected him to become a professional, an accountant, lawyer or architect when he grew up. Not s u r p r i s i n g l y , his parents and grandmother had been very active in helping him f u l f i l l his career goals. Yet their zeal and actions created a legacy of dependency on his part. Second, as an extension of the f i r s t point, both Linda and Michael derived their career values and job s a t i s f a c t i o n from d i f f e r e n t sources. A major career value for Linda evolved around her strong sense of strong r e s p o n s i b i l i t y and commitment toward her work. Her time and energy invested in her job was a means for her to command respect and recognition as an autonomous in d i v i d u a l , not just a wife or a mother, from her supervisor and colleagues. Her serious attitude toward work was thus c l o s e l y related to the fact that her job enabled her to experience and achieve her own id e n t i t y , one that was separate from her f a m i l i a l r o l e s . For Michael, having been granted a great deal of freedom and support, he focused heavily on the helping r e l a t i o n s h i p in his career values. Although helping others was based in part on his r e l i g i o u s b e l i e f s , he also strove to acquire respect and recognition, through se l e c t i n g helping professions such as teaching. A job allowed Michael to help others would give him a sense of meaning and offer him the respect and recognition he so desires and feels he deserves. 71 Such c r e d i t would also be achieved by his own e f f o r t s , not tainted by the assistance of his family members. Third, owing to differences in upbringing and role expectations, the job finding processes of our two subjects were also d i f f e r e n t . While their job information was mostly from their friends and newspapers, th e i r attitudes toward gathering t h i s data were quite d i s s i m i l a r . Linda and her husband v i s i t e d Canada before they emigrated in order to get some f i r s t hand experience of Canada. Their t r i p , though not uncommon among new immigrants from Hong Kong, served as a means for networking with other friends, gathering information from newspapers and other sources, as well as searching out potential employers through friends. Therefore, Linda was c l e a r l y much more active than Michael in preparing for her job hunting in Canada. Michael chose not to take an exploratory t r i p to Canada at f i r s t because he believed that his credentials, e.g. his degree from a Canadian university, would s t i l l be v a l i d and useful. His information search was r e s t r i c t e d to contacting friends via telephone or mail. One might even extrapolate that his tardiness in job hunting was influenced considerably by his dependency on his parents. While there i s no e x p l i c i t indication that Michael would be able to f a l l back upon the support of his family and r e l a t i v e s , t h i s p o s s i b i l i t y to establish a kind of i n e r t i a which could partly explain his half-hearted e f f o r t s in job hunting. F i n a l l y , there is also a marked difference between Linda 72 and Michael in their motivation for career change, although th i s difference is p a r t l y rooted in the p o s s i b i l i t y for each to pursue their own career values and interests. Linda's motivation was lower than that of Michael. Immigration had already brought major changes in her l i f e . Her r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to s a t i s f y her husband's needs afte r immigration seemed to leave no p o s s i b i l i t y for her to have any re a l development in her career. In addition, she was not clear about her own career values. This, of course, i s pa r t l y due to the fact that family, rather than career, was the top p r i o r i t y for her. Thus she would work in any f i e l d in order to achieve her f a m i l i a l goals. She continued to work in the same f i e l d in Canada, even though the prospect of career change in a new place would have allowed her to think more c a r e f u l l y about whether her former job was the one she r e a l l y l i k e d . Instead of thinking about her personal development and exploring her career values and interests, she was already glad to continue working as a system analyst because she badly needed money and s t a b i l i t y , without which her husband's dreams would have been impossible. Michael was in a somewhat d i f f e r e n t position, He did have some freedom to change his career and more time to explore because his wife could support him f i n a n c i a l l y and emotionally. He did not need to be too worried about r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for his family. His worry about making mistakes in pursuing career change could thus be minimized. Therefore, the above difference seems to be rooted as much in their relationships with their spouses and th e i r f i n a n c i a l 73 s i t u a t i o n s , as in the d i f f e r e n t gender and role expectations as defined in t r a d i t i o n a l Chinese culture. Women in Chinese society are expected to s a c r i f i c e for t h e i r husbands and families while men are able to enjoy more f l e x i b i l i t y in planning for their career. The C o n f l i c t Model Janis and Mann suggested that choice behavior can be best conceptualized as a type of hot cognition. Decision makers are considered as c a l c u l a t i v e beings that search for information, examine payoffs for each a l t e r n a t i v e , and then select the best choice. Instead of ignoring emotions, they argued that a medium l e v e l of psychological stress caused by the decision making s i t u a t i o n motivates decision makers to become more v i g i l a n t and careful in searching for information and a l t e r n a t i v e s . If Janis and Mann are correct, then the decision maker would think c a r e f u l l y about the r i s k s of change and the r i s k s of maintaining the status quo. While Linda was eager to know i f she could find a job after immigrating to Canada, she ended up working as a system analyst in a Canadian subsidiary of her former company. Theoretically Linda should have thought about the r i s k s and consequences i f she did not change her career when she arrived at a t o t a l l y new environment. Her s i t u a t i o n did create stress for her and she seemed to be f u l l y aware of the r i s k s in her choice. However, in order to f u l f i l l her role as a good wife and mother, she was compelled to find a job as soon as possible. 74 Although s t r e s s should have caused her to c a r r y out an e x t e n s i v e i n f o r m a t i o n search, as suggested by J a n i s and Mann, she a c t u a l l y d i d not show v i g i l a n c e i n her job hunting. T h e r e f o r e , while she was motivated to make a d e c i s i o n and c o n s i d e r d i f f e r e n t o p t i o n s , she d i d not do t h i s i n a v i g i l a n t manner. The i n f l u e n c e of her r o l e s as mother and wife seemed to motivate her to f i n d a job, but the emotions and s t r e s s generated d i d not b r i n g about more v i g i l a n c e i n i n f o r m a t i o n search and c a l c u l a t i o n s . Without c o n s i d e r i n g the p o s s i b i l i t y of a c a r e e r change, she b e l i e v e d t h a t she was l u c k y to get a job from the Canadian s u b s i d i a r y of her former employer. She found that i t was the o n l y choice f o r her, even though she had not even explored whether there were other b e t t e r a l t e r n a t i v e s . Any other s o l u t i o n seemed to be a waste of time, even i f she had ample time to c o l l e c t i n f o r m a t i o n and explore other a l t e r n a t i v e s . According to J a n i s and Mann, she should cope with the s i t u a t i o n with v i g i l a n c e and r e j e c t o p i n i o n s t h a t might r e v e a l the shortcomings of her chosen course of a c t i o n . Nonetheless, there was no s i g n t h a t she had reached t h i s stage. Linda was c l e a r about her p r i o r i t i e s and i n p a r t i c u l a r f a m i l y c o n s i d e r a t i o n s seemed to have outweighed other concerns. The e x p e c t a t i o n s of s i g n i f i c a n t o t h e r s , r a t h e r than the c a l c u l a t i o n of c a r e e r i n t e r e s t s , have thus p r o f o u n d l y shaped Linda's c h o i c e . As long as she could support her husband and daughter f i n a n c i a l l y and give her husband the freedom to pursue f u r t h e r s t u d i e s , she appeared 75 to be quite s a t i s f i e d . She was much more affected by her concern for family harmony and f i n a n c i a l s ecurity than by her concern for career development. Family harmony was c r u c i a l to her and she did not want to upset her r e l a t i o n s h i p with her husband, which therefore required that she support his further studies. Security was equally important for her because she was to be the main breadwinner in order to provide f u l l f i n a n c i a l support for her husband and daughter. Further, the psychological stress which has been highlighted in the c o n f l i c t model does not appear to have operated in the way suggested. While Linda c l e a r l y had to bear the burden of being a wife and mother, her stress l e v e l has neither motivated her to be more v i g i l a n t in searching for information or options, nor hampered her from taking any action at a l l because of panic. A strong sense of f a m i l i a l l o y a l t y seemed to be the most motivating factor in her career decision making. Michael seems to be d i f f e r e n t from Linda in that he had to change his career when he arrived in Canada. Therefore, he perceived that there was r i s k i f he did not change. In fact, he had no choice but to change his teaching career to another one since he was not q u a l i f i e d to work as a c e r t i f i e d teacher in Canada. He was under great pressure to reconsider his career choice in Canada, but he could s t i l l adopt a wait- and-see attitude and examine which of the professions would be best for him. In Michael's case, the r i s k for not making any career 76 change was his i n a b i l i t y to find a job. Although he did not mention the consequences of f a i l i n g to make any career changes in his conversations, we can imagine that he would find i t harder to make a l i v i n g and f a i l to support his family. The r i s k s would, therefore, be quite serious i f he refused to change. However, his past working experience as a teacher did not enable him to have many choices. Thus, he could only think of his experience in technical drawing, which was also one of his interests. Although he was unclear about his career values and interests, he could s t i l l single out his urge to help others as a j u s t i f i c a t i o n to his career choice. Instead of considering a l l available alternatives and seeking a better solution, he preferred a trial-and-error approach, hoping that t h i s would allow him to understand more about himself and help him find the right job. It appeared as though he had not considered whether i t was r e a l i s t i c for him to find a better solution since he had no firm idea about what would be the best choice for him. He also appeared consistently quite optimistic about his job finding. Even with s u f f i c i e n t time to c o l l e c t career information, i t would seem that his chosen career choice was greatly hampered by his lack of s e l f understanding. According to Janis and Mann, Michael should cope with t h i s s i t u a t i o n by defensive avoidance. However, he was quite open to any information and opinion about his new job and did not show any avoidance in receiving negative comments from others. Both Linda and Michael went through only some of the seven steps in the model postulated by Janis and Mann. Since 77 they had not r e a l l y followed a l l the recommended steps in decision making, they should have experienced unanticipated setbacks and post-decisional regrets, i f the arguments of th i s c o n f l i c t model are correct. Yet Linda was quite s a t i s f i e d with her career choice while Michael did not seem to be upset by any of his career decisions. The key question is whether they would have been better off i f they had followed the advice suggested by Janis and Mann. Indeed, even i f they have carried out the various steps, i t is very l i k e l y that they would have made a better decision. The main reason is that their f a m i l i a l l o y a l t y precluded other a l t e r n a t i v e s . The Rational Decision Making Model If one applies the ra t i o n a l model suggested by Horan, the decision maker is presumably able to recognize the decision problem, generate as many options as possible, i d e n t i f y c r i t e r i a for judging options, and select the best choice among them. However, while Linda was aware that she needed to secure a job in Canada in order to make a l i v i n g , her response repertoire was very limited. The information she collected about the job market in Canada came primarily from newspapers and some of her friends as well as her own impressions during a short v i s i t to Canada. According to Horan, she should have f a i l e d to make a qual i t y choice because she did not show much e f f o r t in learning more about alte r n a t i v e s . The fact that she behaved th i s way and that she was not d i s s a t i s f i e d with her choice showed how much she 78 d e v i a t e d from the syste m a t i c and r a t i o n a l d e c i s i o n maker d e p i c t e d by Horan. Michael's s i t u a t i o n was q u i t e s i m i l a r to t h a t of Li n d a . He c e r t a i n l y found i t necessary to change h i s c a r e e r , but he d i d not explore a l t e r n a t i v e s thoroughly even though he could have done so. Both Linda and Michael seemed to f i n d t h a t i n f o r m a t i o n from f r i e n d s and newspaper were a l r e a d y s u f f i c i e n t f o r them. I f one a p p l i e s the r a t i o n a l d e c i s i o n making model, i t i s obvious t h a t there are many other resources and i n f o r m a t i o n which would be u s e f u l to them, e.g. usi n g the s e r v i c e of personnel agencies and making i n q u i r i e s to p o t e n t i a l employers. T h e i r lack of knowledge and mo t i v a t i o n i n i d e n t i f y i n g the resources might be i n f l u e n c e d by t h e i r u p b r i n g i n g ; they were seldom f o r c e d to make major d e c i s i o n s by themselves s i n c e they had to f o l l o w the d i c t a t e s of t h e i r p a r e n t s . Both the c o n f l i c t model and the r a t i o n a l d e c i s i o n making model presuppose that the d e c i s i o n maker i s c l e a r about h i s / h e r v a l u e s . In t h i s case, Linda seemed to be a l i t t l e more conscious about her career p r e f e r e n c e s than M i c h a e l . T h e r e f o r e , Linda d i d not r e a l l y mind working i n the same p r o f e s s i o n ( i . e . as a system a n a l y s t ) as long as she c o u l d support her f a m i l y . Michael however adopted a t r i a l - a n d - e r r o r approach i n h i s job hunting. As w e l l , these two models assume t h a t the i n d i v i d u a l d e c i s i o n maker i s most important. The d e c i s i o n maker i s cons i d e r e d as a d i s t i n c t e n t i t y who i s capable of shaping h i s or her own f a t e by making the r i g h t d e c i s i o n . On the 79 c o n t r a r y , the experience of our s u b j e c t s suggest t h a t they were s t r o n g l y i n f l u e n c e d not onl y by t h e i r r e l a t i o n s with t h e i r f a m i l i e s and t h e i r p e r s o n a l h i s t o r i e s , but a l s o by t h e i r c u l t u r e and s o c i a l r o l e s . Hence they were not autonomous, s e l f - s e e k i n g i n d i v i d u a l s who can maximize t h e i r u t i l i t i e s . Rather, they were s o c i a l beings who had been s t r o n g l y c o n d i t i o n e d by t h e i r environments. In sum, both the c o n f l i c t and the r a t i o n a l models f a i l to d e s c r i b e or e x p l a i n adequately the career c h o i c e s of our s u b j e c t s . The s u b j e c t s d i d not r e a l l y engage i n any v i g i l a n t i n f o r m a t i o n g a t h e r i n g , nor d i d they search c a r e f u l l y f o r d i f f e r e n t a l t e r n a t i v e s which might best achieve t h e i r own career o b j e c t i v e s . F i n a l l y , these two models have not con s i d e r e d emotion as a s e r i o u s f a c t o r i n d e c i s i o n making. The c o n f l i c t model emphasizes the r o l e of s t r e s s while the r a t i o n a l model c a p i t a l i z e s on the s i g n i f i c a n c e of r a t i o n a l i t y . In both of our cases, f a m i l i a l l o y a l t y i s c l e a r l y a c r u c i a l element t h a t motivated Linda and Michael to behave the way they d i d . Such d e c i s i o n s are made by human beings, who do not e x i s t i n a vacuum. As a p t l y r e f l e c t e d i n these two cases, human emotions such as l o v e , l o y a l t y , and commitment interve n e i n d e c i s i o n making. The D e c i d i n g - i n - C o n t e x t Model The c a r e e r c h o i c e s of the two s u b j e c t s seem best e x p l a i n e d by Sloan's d e c i d i n g - i n - c o n t e x t model. Four contexts that are c l o s e l y r e l a t e d to t h e i r c a r e e r c h o i c e s , namely l i f e h i s t o r y context, c h a r a c t e r context, immediate 80 s o c i a l context, and c u l t u r a l context, w i l l be examined. By r e l a t i n g these four contexts to the c a r e e r behavior of our two s u b j e c t s , we might achieve a deeper understanding of how they came to t h e i r career d e c i s i o n s . L i f e H i s t o r y Context: Linda's l i f e h i s t o r y , e s p e c i a l l y her u p b r i n g i n g and her r e l a t i o n with f a m i l y , seemed to have exerted a powerful impact on her c a r e e r behavior. Raised i n a working c l a s s f a m i l y , she learned the value of hard work. Since Hong Kong had l i t t l e s o c i a l welfare and people from a low socio-economic stratum were u s u a l l y l i v i n g at the s u b s i s t e n c e l e v e l , e s p e c i a l l y i n the 1950s and 1960s, her f a t h e r had to spend most of h i s time a t h i s job as a truck d r i v e r so as to improve the l i v i n g standard of h i s f a m i l y . Even her mother, who was a l r e a d y r e s p o n s i b l e f o r a l l household chores and c h i l d r e a r i n g d u t i e s , had to take up some part-time jobs, such as doing laundry f o r o t h e r s , i n order to earn more money to support the f a m i l y . Her parents' arduous e f f o r t s to make a l i v i n g seemed to have p r o f o u n d l y i n f l u e n c e d Linda's p e r s p e c t i v e r e g a r d i n g a c a r e e r . Not o n l y had she learned t h a t hard work was the o n l y s t r a t e g y f o r s u r v i v a l , she a l s o r e a l i z e d t h a t she should be p r a c t i c a l and take up a decent job which would promise her f i n a n c i a l s t a b i 1 i t y . F u r t h e r , Linda's r e l a t i o n s h i p with her f a m i l y was c r u c i a l i n shaping the way she made her c a r e e r d e c i s i o n s . By the time she entered the job market a f t e r g r a d u a t i n g from u n i v e r s i t y , her own ideas and p r e f e r e n c e s about a c a r e e r had been l a r g e l y d e f i n e d by her parents' e x p e c t a t i o n s . The most 81 s i g n i f i c a n t c o n s i d e r a t i o n f o r her was to f i n d a job her parents found a c c e p t a b l e . Her d e c i s i o n to become a t e a c h i n g a s s i s t a n t was mainly determined by her fear of her parents. She was simply a f r a i d t h a t her parents might q u e s t i o n her e f f o r t s i n f i n d i n g a job. I f she could not f i n d one, she would be ve r y embarrassed. She d i d not want to be l a b e l e d as " s t u p i d " or " u s e l e s s . " Consequently, she took up the t e a c h i n g a s s i s t a n t job as soon as i t was o f f e r e d to her and she ceased e x p l o r i n g the p o s s i b i l i t y of f i n d i n g a job she r e a l l y l i k e d . Linda's choice to be a system a n a l y s t , her second job, was a l s o g r e a t l y a f f e c t e d by how her parents a p p r a i s e d the job. She f e l t v e r y r e l i e v e d and pleased t h a t they approved. In t h i s , as w e l l as i n the e a r l i e r case, she seldom put her own i n t e r e s t s and pref e r e n c e s as top p r i o r i t i e s because she feared t h a t i f she could not s a t i s f y t h e i r e x p e c t a t i o n s , she might l o s e t h e i r love and acceptance. In f a c t , her weak career a s p i r a t i o n s and confused idea of career may be c l o s e l y l i n k e d to her ambiguous i d e n t i t y . Since she d i d not make much e f f o r t to d i s c o v e r her own i d e n t i t y and she had a low degree of s e l f v a l i d a t i o n , she had come to d e r i v e much of her meaning i n l i f e from her f a m i l y . A job meant more than a job to her because i t provided an o p p o r t u n i t y to f u l f i l l her i p a r ents' e x p e c t a t i o n s and to prove her a b i l i t i e s . Her parents' a t t i t u d e s have thus exerted a profound i n f l u e n c e on her career values and d e c i s i o n s . Michael's l i f e h i s t o r y , e s p e c i a l l y h i s r e l a t i o n s with 82 f a m i l y , i s c l e a r l y an e q u a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t f a c t o r t h a t shaped h i s c areer values and d e c i s i o n s . L i k e L i n d a , he a l s o came from a humble background, but h i s f a m i l y seemed to be f i n a n c i a l l y s t r onger than hers. Although h i s f a t h e r worked very hard to make a l i v i n g as an o r d i n a r y banking worker, Michael was not s t r o n g l y i n f l u e n c e d by h i s f a t h e r ' s o c c u p a t i o n a l h i s t o r y because he was the o n l y and youngest son i n h i s f a m i l y . Such a p r o t e c t e d and p r i v i l e g e d s t a t u s allowed him much freedom. He c o u l d a f f o r d to change at the expense of h i s parent's concerns, even though h i s parents almost always t r i e d to p l a n f o r h i s f u t u r e . Michael's l i f e has been q u i t e smooth, except f o r h i s s t r u g g l e f o r independence. Although the e x c e s s i v e p r o t e c t i o n of h i s parents prevented him from d e c i d i n g on h i s own, i t a l s o provided him with a great d e a l of support, e.g. paying f o r h i s s t u d i e s abroad. He was v e r y f r u s t r a t e d by the s t r u g g l e between g a i n i n g more independence and l o s i n g the c o n t i n u a l support from h i s f a m i l y . While he a l r e a d y developed the h a b i t of r e l y i n g upon h i s parents, he wanted to be i n charge of h i s l i f e by g a i n i n g more independence. Ther e f o r e , he developed a love-hate a t t i t u d e towards h i m s e l f . His d i s g u s t toward h i s r e l i a n c e upon f a m i l y prevented him from a c c e p t i n g h i m s e l f as a man of worth. However, no evidence i s shown i n h i s case h i s t o r y t h a t he ever s e r i o u s l y contemplated the r i s k s and b e n e f i t s of d e p a r t i n g from t h i s dependency. Even when he emigrated to Canada, h i s dependency d i d not cease. He s t i l l waited f o r the a r r i v a l of h i s parents to share h i s mortgage so t h a t he 83 c o u l d make a c a r e e r change. T h e r e f o r e , even i f he chose to change h i s c a r e e r , he c o u l d always count on the continuous, u n f a i l i n g support from h i s p a r e n t s . Immediate S o c i a l Context; The impact of Linda's immediate s o c i a l context on her c a r e e r choice seemed to be more r e s t r i c t i v e than f a c i l i t a t i v e . Not o n l y d i d she lack confidence i n g e t t i n g a job because she had no Canadian work experience, but the i n f o r m a t i o n from her f r i e n d s and her e x p l o r a t o r y v i s i t to Canada a l s o d i d not assure her of any career o p p o r t u n i t i e s . While the a c t of immigration a l r e a d y meant t h a t she had to leave her home town and s e t t l e i n an a l i e n country, both of which e v i d e n t l y caused great a n x i e t y fo r her, she a l s o had to shoulder more of the burden i n s u p p o r t i n g her f a m i l y a t the same time. When Linda s e t t l e d i n Canada, she d i d not have the b e n e f i t of help from her p a r e n t s . Nor could she r e l y upon her f r i e n d s because her s o c i a l network i n Canada was q u i t e l i m i t e d . As w e l l , her a b i l i t y to make f r i e n d s h i p s was a f f e c t e d by her r e l a t i o n s h i p with her parents. She b e l i e v e d t h a t i t was bad to t a l k back, as she had learned i n d e a l i n g with her parents, and t h e r e f o r e i t became d i f f i c u l t f o r her to develop many f r i e n d s h i p s because she was a f r a i d of being r e j e c t e d . Hence she was q u i t e l i m i t e d even i n l e a r n i n g about d i f f e r e n t sources of Information about c a r e e r s . While Linda was g l a d that she c o u l d continue the same occupation i n Canada because she was f a m i l i a r with the work, the growing burden of her r o l e s as breadwinner, wife and 84 f u l l - t i m e p r o f e s s i o n a l almost overwhelmed her. Instead of o f f e r i n g support, the immediate s o c i a l context f o r Linda l e f t her f e e l i n g t h a t she had l i t t l e chance to pursue her career i n t e r e s t s or to explore other f i e l d s . A job, or more p r e c i s e l y any job, was thus d e f i n i t e l y v e r y important to her. Michael's case, on the c o n t r a r y , was q u i t e d i f f e r e n t from t h a t of L i n d a ' s . His immediate s o c i a l context allowed him more freedom i n e x p l o r i n g h i s career i n t e r e s t s . On the one hand, h i s f a m i l i a r i t y with Canada and h i s p r e p a r a t i o n f o r downward m o b i l i t y helped to make h i s process of a d a p t a t i o n smoother. On the other hand, he could a l s o r e c e i v e both f i n a n c i a l and emotional support from h i s wife as w e l l as from h i s r e l a t i v e s and extended f a m i l y i n Canada. He b e n e f i t e d a great d e a l from these s o c i a l networks as r e v e a l e d , f o r i n s t a n c e , by h i s t h i r d job being introduced to him by one of h i s former customers. The pressure f o r him to f i n d a job was thus f a r l e s s than t h a t f o r L i n d a . These v a r i o u s supports were i n s t r u m e n t a l not o n l y i n a l l o w i n g him to have more f l e x i b i l i t y i n choosing a c a r e e r , but a l s o i n f o s t e r i n g a much stronger sense of s e c u r i t y . Since both s u b j e c t s were new immigrants, they would a l s o experience the pains of the process of a c c u l t u r a t i o n . They had to face a completely new value system and accept the c u l t u r e of the new country. As Kim (1979) has a p t l y p o i n t e d out, s i n c e an immigrant would c o n t i n u o u s l y engages i n f i r s t - hand c o n t a c t s with a hew environment and c o n f r o n t s new v a l u e s , he/she may experience the e f f e c t s of m a r g i n a l i z a t i o n . Stonequist (1937) a l s o suggested t h a t immigrants become 85 confused, disoriented and frustrated because they have to adapt to a new environment. Therefore, Linda and Michael might also have experienced these d i f f i c u l t i e s in the process of acculturation, which would hamper their motivation and judgment in building s o c i a l connections and exploring community services in their job hunting. Character Context: Character i s another c r u c i a l context in decision making. While competent and confident in her work, Linda's behavior was passive and obedient. As mentioned e a r l i e r , her character was strongly affected by her upbringing. In order to seek approval from her parents, she spared no e f f o r t in pleasing them by try i n g to avoid any c o n f l i c t . She was trained not to talk back; she preferred to keep her mouth shut and withdraw from any confrontation. Having been brought up in a family that favored boys rather than g i r l s , she was also severely threatened by the idea that she might be l e f t alone. Being a passive person became an acceptable, even preferable, strategy for her because she could maintain her well-being and i d e n t i t y . Linda's p a s s i v i t y and desire for security have influenced not only her interpersonal relations and personal decision making, but also her professional values and performance. She took her work seriously in order to get things under contr o l . At the same time, she was also very p r a c t i c a l . Such a character t r a i t i s , of course, related to the working class status of her family and her r e a l i z a t i o n of the significance of f i n a n c i a l s t a b i l i t y . But, more 86 importantly, p r a c t i c a b i l i t y promises her a degree of control as well as a sense of security. She was thus more conservative and reluctant to change than Michael. In t h i s case, the a v a i l a b i l i t y of a job as a systems analyst in Canada c l e a r l y reinforced her p r a c t i c a l and conservative character. In contrast, Michael's character was less p r a c t i c a l than that of Linda. He tended to be more "romantic" and optimistic. Like Linda, he was quite passive toward his family, e s p e c i a l l y his wife and parents, and preferred not to argue with them in order to avoid c o n f l i c t s . As the only and youngest son in the family, he was much more i d e a l i s t i c and optimistic about l i f e than Linda because he could afford to tr y d i f f e r e n t alternatives without worrying as much about the consequences. While Michael appeared to be very dependent and indecisive because of the continual support and care from his parents, he had made a substantial e f f o r t to understand himself and to create a new s e l f . His willingness to change was also p a r t l y instrumental in motivating him to reconsider his career in Canada. His enthusiasm in helping others also reveal his kindheartedness, generosity and a need for recognition. P a r t l y due to the influence of his r e l i g i o u s b e l i e f s , he has developed an urge to help other people. P r a c t i c a l i t y i s , therefore, not a qu a l i t y of Michael's. His idealism and romanticism have blinded him to the harsher aspect of l i f e . As a r e s u l t , he explored a variety of jobs, f i r s t as a technical drawer, then as a salesman, before 87 becoming an E n g l i s h as a Second Language (ESL) teacher, while c o n s i d e r i n g i n each case whether the job would enable him to help other people. C u l t u r a l Context: The Chinese c u l t u r a l context i s another s i g n i f i c a n t context w i t h i n which the two s u b j e c t s made t h e i r c a r e e r c h o i c e s . In the broadest sense, Chinese c u l t u r e has molded the values and s t r u c t u r e of f a m i l y , the conduct of i n t e r p e r s o n a l r e l a t i o n s h i p , and the development of the s e l f , some of the i s s u e s which have a l r e a d y been d i s c u s s e d above. But, i n a more s p e c i f i c way, Chinese c u l t u r e a l s o d i r e c t l y determines the e x p e c t a t i o n s and b e h a v i o r a l norms of s o c i a l r o l e s . As Mei (1967) has a p t l y pointed out, r o l e o b l i g a t i o n i s c r u c i a l i n g u i d i n g one's behavior. Linda's r o l e as daughter was not even l i s t e d i n the F i v e C a r d i n a l R e l a t i o n s h i p s , which i n d i c a t e s the s t r o n g b i a s a g a i n s t women i n Chinese c u l t u r e . A r e l a t i o n s h i p between husband and wife has been w e l l d e f i n e d i n t r a d i t i o n a l Chinese c u l t u r e , however. A wife i s r e q u i r e d to be subordinate to her husband and to put the i n t e r e s t s of her f a m i l y ahead of her own. Her husband simply becomes another a u t h o r i t y f i g u r e deserves the same r e s p e c t t h a t she pays to her parents. T h e r e f o r e , Linda's d e c i s i o n to work as a systems a n a l y s t i n Canada can best be i n t e r p r e t e d as a s a c r i f i c e of s e l f i n t e r e s t i n order to help r e a l i z e her husband's o b j e c t i v e s . She d i d not c o n s i d e r any other o p t i o n which might be a v a i l a b l e to her so long as she could support her f a m i l y . The c o n f l i c t s between she and her husband before 88 they came to Canada arose out of her having to deny her own concerns, such as her s a t i s f a c t i o n with her job in Hong Kong and her wish to stay close to her parents, in order to maintain family harmony as the prime importance. Her rela t i o n s h i p with her husband seems to be s t r i k i n g l y similar to a parent-child relationship rather than a husband-wife relat i o n s h i p (in the sense of partnership with equal status). Such a pattern of marital relations has made her subservient to her husband, as best exemplified in her agreement to immigrate and to become the sole breadwinner of the family when they came to Canada. Michael's role within his family as only son is prominently s p e c i f i e d in the Five Cardinal Relationships in Chinese culture. It i s so important that i t is placed only after the one between the emperor and his subordinates. The special significance attached to such a high place in pecking order suggests not only that a son is to be the bearer of the honor of his whole family, but also that he should command respect and prestige. The eldest son is usually considered the most important figure in a family. Since Michael was the only son and the youngest in the family, his position was even more prestigious and important. As he would be the only bearer of his family name, he was able to i n h e r i t his family's property and represent the family. His family had developed very high expectations for him, yet his parents' eagerness to help him succeed only undermined his s e l f confidence and generated a sense of dependency on his part. He had learned neither to be responsible for anything he did 89 nor to take i n i t i a t i v e to change h i s l i f e . In making h i s ca r e e r c h o i c e s i n Canada, Michael was thus able to have more freedom i n e x p l o r i n g the options he l i k e d . He c o u l d s t i l l count on h i s f a m i l y and h i s wife to support him because he was t e c h n i c a l l y the one i n charge. I n t e r e s t i n g l y enough, h i s dependency enabled him to change jobs more e a s i l y than L i n d a . The impact of Chinese c u l t u r e on our two s u b j e c t s i s indeed c o m p e l l i n g . I t i s not c o i n c i d e n t a l to f i n d t h a t both Linda and Michael favored the value of remaining s i l e n t . Not o n l y were they t r a i n e d not to t a l k back as a means to show t h e i r r e s p e c t f o r the e l d e r s , they were a l s o discouraged to v o i c e t h e i r o p i n i o n s even when they f e l t they were t r e a t e d u n j u s t l y . T h e i r behavior, which was c o l l a b o r a t e d by the r e s e a r c h by Hsu (1985), King and Bond (1985), suggest t h a t Chinese c h i l d r e a r i n g p r a c t i c e s t r e s s the r e s p e c t f o r a u t h o r i t y . In s h o r t , our two s u b j e c t s obeyed t h e i r parents i n order to secure love and approval from them. Chinese c u l t u r e emphasizes compliance and obedience, not independence or s e l f - i n i t i a t i v e . As c l e a r l y i n d i c a t e d i n the c a r e e r c h o i c e s of our s u b j e c t s , i t appeared t h a t they p r e f e r r e d s e l f - s a c r i f i c e i n order to maintain the harmony of t h e i r f a m i l i e s . N e i t h e r had the m o t i v a t i o n to break the norm, which would be regarded as improper behavior i n Chinese c u l t u r e . Hence t h e i r career d e c i s i o n s were o n l y of secondary importance to them as i n d i v i d u a l s , because t h e i r main concern was to maintain harmony i n t h e i r f a m i l y and r e s p e c t the same r u l e s which they had i n t e r n a l i z e d i n t h e i r youth. 90 As w e l l , t h e i r p u r s u i t of a decent job might w e l l r e f l e c t the importance t h a t t h e i r f a m i l i e s attached to " f a c e . " T h e i r parents expected them to b r i n g r e s p e c t and p r i d e to the f a m i l y . A job was regarded as a f a m i l y matter, not j u s t an i n d i v i d u a l one. T h e i r e f f o r t s i n f i n d i n g decent jobs were to please t h e i r parents' demands f o r m a i n t a i n i n g the " f a c e " of the f a m i l y . The " f a c e " of f a m i l y i s supposed to be enhanced by the j o i n t e f f o r t s of a l l f a m i l y members. Those who cause the l o s s of " f a c e " i n the f a m i l y i s g r e a t l y degraded and d i s c r e d i t e d . The need to support and maintain the c o l l e c t i v e " f a c e " of the f a m i l y r e s t r a i n e d Linda and Michael from doing whatever jobs they wanted. They were expected to c o n s i d e r f i r s t the r e p u t a t i o n of t h e i r f a m i l i e s , even at the expense of t h e i r own i n t e r e s t s . Both Linda and Michael complied with t h e i r spouses's d e c i s i o n to immigrate, though each followed a d i f f e r e n t c a r e e r p a t t e r n . In Linda's case, her p e r s o n a l h i s t o r y , and s o c i a l context, as w e l l as c u l t u r a l context, a l l suggested t h a t she could not make any changes i n her c a r e e r . In Michael's case, while he c o u l d have e x e r c i s e d the a u t h o r i t y of a husband, as endorsed i n Chinese c u l t u r e , and r e f u s e d to leave Hong Kong, which would then cause no change i n h i s t e a c h i n g c a r e e r , h i s p a s s i v e p e r s o n a l i t y and the support from others appeared to outweigh h i s p r e r o g a t i v e as a husband. While the s i g n i f i c a n c e of c u l t u r e must be taken i n t o account i n t h i s case, other f a c t o r s must a l s o be weighed i n our a n a l y s i s . The above d i s c u s s i o n suggests t h a t both the c o n f l i c t 91 model and r a t i o n a l d e c i s i o n making model f a i l to provide a u s e f u l framework to comprehend the ca r e e r behavior of our s u b j e c t s . While these two models are not u s e l e s s i n understanding the behavior of Linda and M i c h a e l , they are i n s u f f i c i e n t to e x p l a i n the complex and p e r s o n a l processes which are i n v o l v e d i n t h e i r d e c i s i o n making. The c h i e f arguments of these two models maintain t h a t o n l y r a t i o n a l i t y can ensure t h a t one would a r r i v e at a q u a l i t y choice which would prevent p o s t - d e c i s i o n a l r e g r e t s or u n a n t i c i p a t e d setbacks. While these two d e c i s i o n making models do not ignore the r o l e of s i g n i f i c a n t o t h e r s , they e v i d e n t l y c o n s i d e r i n d i v i d u a l needs and s a t i s f a c t i o n as the most important f a c t o r s i n d e c i s i o n making. However, Linda and Mi c h a e l , both tended not to place t h e i r own i n t e r e s t s as top p r i o r i t y and they s a c r i f i c e d t h e i r s e l f i n t e r e s t s f o r the sake of t h e i r f a m i l i e s . T h e i r d e c i s i o n making s t y l e s never r e a l l y f o l l o wed the step-by-step manner as proposed by these two models. Rather, they had a c l e a r goal (e.g. f a m i l y harmony) t a c i t l y g u i d i n g them and simply used j u s t i f i c a t i o n s f o r t h e i r a l r e a d y chosen d i r e c t i o n . Another weakness of the r a t i o n a l and c o n f l i c t models i s t h e i r s t r e s s on the sys t e m a t i c procedures used i n d e c i s i o n making, hence i g n o r i n g the s i g n i f i c a n c e of i n d i v i d u a l uniqueness. From the case h i s t o r i e s , the c h o i c e s were not simply an i s o l a t e d event. T h e i r d e c i s i o n s were i n f a c t c l o s e l y r e l a t e d to t h e i r l i f e h i s t o r y , past experience, c h a r a c t e r , c u l t u r e and immediate s o c i a l c o n t e x t . These 92 v a r i o u s contexts have almost p r e c o n d i t i o n e d t h e i r c a r e e r d i r e c t i o n i n d e c i s i o n making. F u r t h e r , the r a t i o n a l and c o n f l i c t models place s t r o n g emphasis on the mechanical s i d e of human f u n c t i o n i n g . However, human nature i s s u b j e c t to the i n t e r a c t i o n among one's emotion, c o g n i t i o n and behavior, r a t h e r than o n l y the c o g n i t i v e and b e h a v i o r a l a s p e c t s . For i n s t a n c e , Michael and Linda both rec o g n i z e d the need to co n s i d e r c a r e e r change and experienced emotional d i s t u r b a n c e s brought about by the d e c i s i o n making process. In s h o r t , these two models are i n s u f f i c i e n t i n e x p l a i n i n g t h e i r d e c i s i o n s , which are indeed more complex and p e r s o n a l , and i n s t e a d narrow a t t e n t i o n to but a l i m i t e d f o c u s . When compared with the c o n f l i c t and r a t i o n a l models, Sloan's approach indeed p r o v i d e s a f r e s h p e r s p e c t i v e i n understanding one's d e c i s i o n s . Instead of f o l l o w i n g the t r a d i t i o n a l approach i n examining d e c i s i o n making, he h i g h l i g h t e d the importance of c o n t e x t s . The four contexts i d e n t i f i e d i n the two case h i s t o r i e s provide a vantage p o i n t to understand the reasons f o r t h e i r c h o i c e s . The r a t i o n a l and c o n f l i c t models f a i l to co n s i d e r any of the c o n t e x t s . In p a r t i c u l a r , they do not take i n t o account the c u l t u r a l f a c t o r . Perhaps because these two models are based on Western c u l t u r e , they place too much emphasis on i n d i v i d u a l i t y and r a t i o n a l i t y , r a t h e r than c o l l e c t i v i t y and emotions. The d e c i d i n g - i n - c o n t e x t model uses contexts as the key i n examining d e c i s i o n s . I t all o w s more f l e x i b i l i t y and emphasizes the p o s s i b i l i t y of understanding one's d e c i s i o n 93 from one's own p o i n t of view. T h i s model helps us d e p i c t a more comprehensive p i c t u r e of one's c h o i c e . Sloan's argument r e g a r d i n g s e l f d e c e p t i o n i n d e c i d i n g seems to be t r u e i n Linda's and Michael's cases. T h e i r d e c i s i o n s were more or l e s s predetermined by a u t h o r i t y and by subordinate r e l a t i o n s h i p s with t h e i r parents and spouses which kept them from s a t i s f y i n g t h e i r own needs. T h e i r s e l f i n t e r e s t s were almost regarded as the lowest p r i o r i t y . In a d d i t i o n , Sloan argued t h a t money has a p r o f o u n d . e f f e c t on one's behavior. The two other approaches skipped t h i s important element i n e x p l a i n i n g one's d e c i s i o n making. In Linda's case, we can c l e a r l y f i n d t h a t she was c o n t r o l l e d by her f i n a n c i a l s i t u a t i o n and was compelled to s t a y i n the same job. Sloan a l s o addresses the v e r y important aspect of s e l f awareness. The more a person knows about h i m s e l f / h e r s e l f , the higher the chance t h a t they w i l l understand the reasons f o r t h e i r d e c i s i o n . With the i n c r e a s e of one's s e l f knowledge, the d e c i s i o n maker has a g r e a t e r p o s s i b i l i t y of f i n d i n g a b e t t e r choice f o r him/her. However the lack of s e l f awareness of our s u b j e c t s f u r t h e r c o n t r i b u t e d to t h e i r w i l l i n g n e s s to be dominated by t h e i r parents and spouses. To conclude, the c a r e e r behavior of both Linda and Michael cannot be f u l l y e x p l a i n e d by e i t h e r the c o n f l i c t model or the r a t i o n a l d e c i s i o n making model because they d i d not undertake the s e q u e n t i a l steps of s e a r c h i n g f o r i n f o r m a t i o n and s e l e c t i n g a l t e r n a t i v e s t h a t would best serve t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l career i n t e r e s t s . On the c o n t r a r y , the 94 impact of d i f f e r e n t c h a r a c t e r t r a i t s and pers o n a l h i s t o r i e s on c a r e e r c h o i c e s , which l e d to compromises, and pe r s o n a l s a c r i f i c e s , cannot be f u l l y comprehended without examining l i f e h i s t o r i e s and other contexts w i t h i n which the care e r d e c i s i o n s were made. I t seems evident t h a t t h e i r career behaviors were a l s o i n f l u e n c e d by t h e i r search f o r meaning i n t h e i r l i v e s . As a r e s u l t of s o c i a l i z a t i o n i n a c u l t u r e which s t r e s s e s f a m i l i a l harmony and u n i t y , they d e r i v e d t h e i r meaning i n l i f e p r i m a r i l y from t h e i r r e l a t i o n s with t h e i r parents and spouses. In sum, t h e i r c a r e e r c h o i c e s a f t e r a r r i v i n g i n Canada have been shaped not so much by t h e i r c a l c u l a t i o n of s e l f i n t e r e s t , p r e f e r e n c e s , and i m p l i c a t i o n s of each a l t e r n a t i v e . Rather, t h e i r c h o i c e s have been p r i m a r i l y shaped by the contexts w i t h i n which they made t h e i r d e c i s i o n s and by the s i g n i f i c a n c e they attached to these c o n t e x t s . 95 CHAPTER VI: Conclusion According to mainstream decision making theories, r a t i o n a l i t y i s the most important factor in making qua l i t y choices. R a t i o n a l i t y is understood as the a b i l i t y to carry out extensive information gathering and to make careful c a l c u l a t i o n s . Decision making i s thus widely believed to be a s k i l l that can be learned through continuous practice and improved by following p a r t i c u l a r steps and guidelines. This study, on the contrary, has revealed that l i f e h i story and contexts might be even more important in shaping decision making. This conclusion w i l l discuss the l i m i t a t i o n s of t h i s study, the implications for immigrant l i f e and counseling and the recommendations for further research. Limitations gJL t h i s Study This study has several obvious l i m i t a t i o n s . F i r s t , since t h i s is an intensive case study of the career decisions of two recent Hong Kong immigrants in Canada, i t s findings cannot be generalized to a l l new immigrants from Hong Kong or other comparable groups. While th i s study has offered a r i c h analysis of the career behavior of two subjects, the number of cases i s too small to generate universal generalizations. Second, the conclusions of t h i s study might not be applicable to a l l immigrants. For instance, there are several types of immigrants from Hong Kong, namely investment immigrants, independent immigrants, and family reunion immigrants. The two subjects of t h i s study are from the independent category, but the interplay of personal, s o c i a l and c u l t u r a l contexts in the career decision making of other 96 types of immigrants might be quite varied. As for immigrants from other countries, they may be motivated by another set of s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l factors, which again might have a d i f f e r e n t impact on their subsequent career behavior. F i n a l l y , while t h i s study has provided a testing ground for three major theories of decision making, i t is apparent that further research i s needed in order to a r r i v e at a more d e f i n i t e assessment of these d i f f e r e n t theories. Since these theories might apply better in some types of decisions but not in others, t h i s study of career decisions of immigrants provides only a p a r t i a l test of these theories. Implications for Immigrant L i f e and Counselling The f i r s t and foremost implication of t h i s research i s that decision making is not e n t i r e l y a product of r a t i o n a l i t y . Rather, decision making i s bound by l i f e h istory and the contexts within which one makes a decision, as suggested by the two cases of t h i s study. Therefore, as Sloan has argued, a more e f f e c t i v e way in helping individuals make better decisions i s to enhance the i r s e l f awareness. Once individuals learn more about themselves, they w i l l become more aware of their needs and the c r i t e r i a that should be used in evaluating their choices. In this way they may exercise better judgment in deciding. Therefore, counsellors should help c l i e n t s gain better s e l f understanding rather than simply teach them some s p e c i f i c , technical guidelines in making decisions, as 97 stipulated by the r a t i o n a l and c o n f l i c t decision making models. The need for greater s e l f understanding is p a r t i c u l a r l y acute for new immigrants because they may be emotionally overwhelmed by the a l i e n environment and frustrated by a sense of d i s o r i e n t a t i o n and i n s t a b i l i t y . Since they have a strong need to re-establish their s e l f - i d e n t i t i e s and develop confidence in a new society, the support and assistance from counsellors would be p a r t i c u l a r l y urgent. Second, while only two immigrants from Hong Kong are analyzed here, t h i s study suggests that counselling is not a well-recognized service for people from a non-Western culture. For instance, counselling seems to be at odds with the authoritarian, moralistic orientation of the Chinese (Ho, 1985; Hsu, 1985). Chinese culture values harmony, mutual obligation, f a m i l i a l s o l i d a r i t y and face. Therefore the underlining assumption of individual autonomy and independence in many counselling approaches in Western countries might contradict the deep-rooted values of people from other cultures. As a r e s u l t , counsellors should be aware that the promotion of i n d i v i d u a l i t y might cause psychological c o n f l i c t not only for t h e i r c l i e n t s , but also between their c l i e n t s and their family members. In short, counsellors should be more sensitive to the special c u l t u r a l t r a i t s of t h e i r c l i e n t s before suggesting any interventions to cope with their problems. Third, t h i s study also reveals that s o c i a l networks are a useful channel for helping people. For instance, t h i s case 98 study shows that the Chinese have a strong tendency to r e l y upon s o c i a l networks, such as family members and r e l a t i v e s , to cope with psychological problems. Therefore, while paying attention to the uniqueness of individuals, counsellors should s e n s i t i z e themselves to s o c i a l networks which might be extremely useful to c l i e n t s from cultures that emphasize f a m i l i a l and other s o c i a l connections. RQCQmmen^tlQns for Further Research The paucity of research on career decisions among recent Hong Kong immigrants in Canada makes i t d i f f i c u l t to offer empirical evidence to support or dispute my findings. Yet several recommendations for further research on decision making and counselling are suggested by thi s study. F i r s t , there seems to be an urgent need for research on the decision making processes of immigrants, whether in Canada or elsewhere. Their choice behavior provides an excellent opportunity not only to study major changes in career choices, but also to test the major theories of decision making. Although the findings of t h i s study have affirmed the usefulness of the deciding-in-context approach, further testing of immigrants from other countries or areas would be needed to ascertain the v a l i d i t y of d i f f e r e n t decision making theories. Second, th i s study has supported Sloan's argument that decisions are often b a s i c a l l y deceptions caused by a lack of s e l f understanding. Deeper s e l f awareness i s often obstructed by other s o c i a l , p o l i t i c a l , economic, and c u l t u r a l 99 factors. Hence further research should concentrate on examining how these d i f f e r e n t contexts in deciding have shaped decision behavior. In p a r t i c u l a r , t h i s study has highlighted the c r u c i a l role of culture in decision making. In view of the fact that decision making theories are based mostly upon empirical experience collected in Western countries, research on the importance of culture in decision making should deserve much more scholarly attention. F i n a l l y , studies on the appropriate type of intervention in helping Chinese immigrants would also be valuable. These studies would improve the a b i l i t y of service professionals to a s s i s t their newly arrived c l i e n t s in adapting to a Western environment. The i n a b i l i t y of many Hong Kong immigrants to integrate smoothly within the l o c a l community, as manifested in various kinds of c o n f l i c t s and misunderstanding between them, t e s t i f i e s to the urgency of t h i s type of research and the need for better counselling of t h i s ethnic group in Canada. In sum, t h i s study has underscored the importance of l i f e history and decision making contexts in understanding career decision making. This work has indicated that the career decisions of two recent immigrants from Hong Kong do not simply involve choices about jobs. Rather, their decisions involve a much more complicated process that is affected by their early childhood experiences, t h e i r s o c i a l , f i n a n c i a l , and family backgrounds, as well as other personal c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . R a t i o n a l i t y has always been i d e n t i f i e d as the key element in decision making by dominant decision 100 making theories, but i t cannot be regarded as the most important factor, as maintained by the ra t i o n a l model. Nor does psychological stress constitute a positive factor that helps one make qu a l i t y choices, as suggested by the c o n f l i c t model. The role of s e l f in decision making, as suggested by Sloan, should receive due attention. 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