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The career decision making experience of five working class men Lockington, Anne F. 1993-09-12

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THE CAREER DECISION MAKING EXPERIENCEOF FIVE WORKING CLASS MENByAnne F. LOCKINGTONB.Sc., The University of British Columbia, 1982A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTERS OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(Department of Counselling Psychology)We accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTH UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIASeptember 1993©Anne Frances Lockington, 1990In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature Department ofThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate Aeepf is0 /993 DE-6 (2/88)ii-ABSTRACTFive working class men described the experience of decisionmaking related to their participation in paid employment. Eachman was interviewed in depth. The interviews were audio taped andtranscribed, from this data an account of the subject'sexperiences were generated. Each account was validated by thesubject as accurate and complete. The five accounts were thencompared to theories of decision making to determine how theorywould explain the men's experience. The three theories were; TheConflict Model by Janis and Mann, The Rational Model by Horan andThe Deciding in Context Model by Sloan.The divergence between theory and experience, rather than theagreement was more informative. The comparison of the tworational models highlighted the importance of treating thedecision moment as consequential: of focusing one's attentionwith deliberation and awareness. When the decision situation isnot clearly defined and where meaning and significance must bedrawn from the context of a life history these models arelimited. Sloan's deciding in context model provided a morecomplex and complete understanding of the five decisions.Further study is needed to understand the decision makingbehavior of working class men as they participate in paidemployment. The findings suggest that the context in which thedecision is made is a significant factor. For the counsellor andworking class client understanding the importance of the contextof class may be one of the most critical factors in careerdecision making.TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract^ iiCH. I INTRODUCTION^ 1General Topic^ 1Identification of the problem^ 1Research question 3Approach 5CH. II LITERATURE REVIEW^ 8Career decision making 8The working class^ 12Models of decision making^ 21The Conflict model 23The Rational model 26The Deciding in Context model^ 28A comparison of models^ 32CH. III METHODOLOGY 34Personal perspective^ 34Orientation to the research^ 35The design^ 36Selection 37Procedures 38Interviews 39Analysis^ 40Criteria for soundness^ 42CH. IV ACCOUNTS OF DECISION MAKING^ 44Account 1 Ross^ 44Account 2 Rob 52Account 3 Larry 59Account 4 John 65Account 5 Tyler^ 70CH. V ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION^ 78General discussion^ 78Ross's decision 78Rob's decision 80Larry's decision 82John's decision^ 85Tyler's decision 86Commonalties 88^Comparison with theory^ 93The Conflict model 93The Rational model 99The Deciding in Context model^ 102Historical context^ 103iiiivSocial context^ 105Cultural context 106Context of character^ 111Summary^ 114CH. VI CONCLUSIONS^ 115Summary of results 115Limitations of the study^ 117Implications for theory 119Implications for practise 123Implications for future research^ 127Summary^ 128BIBLIOGRAPHY 130APPENDIX^ 134A. Key questions used in the interviews^ 134CHAPTER IINTRODUCTIONGeneral Tonic This thesis examines how five mill workers made a decisionrelated to their participation in paid employment. The aim ofthis study is to describe the experience of decision making, tounderstand those aspects of the experience which are significanceto the decider, in other words to describe the subjective. Or asHamper (1986) declared in his autobiographical description ofblue collar life, "Workers should perform workers songs. Letassembly workers sing about assembly lines. Let waitresses singabout waiting on tables" (p. 197). These subjective accounts werethen compared to three models of decision making to betterunderstand the interface between theory, that which is predicted,and experience, that which occurs.Identification of the ProblemDickoff and James (1968) defined theory as "a conceptualsystem or framework invented to some purpose" (p. 196). Theoriesof decision making fall into the broader category of theories forguidance and counselling which have as their purpose thebetterment of the human condition and the enhancement ofindividual potential (Herr and Cramer, 1988). The majority ofdecision making theories attempt to fulfill this purpose bydelineating the steps involved in ideal decision making. Theprocess is usually conceived of as a rational and sequentialordering of a number of options which culminates in the selectionof the most desired option. Thus a decision is made (Harren,11979). The rational approach to decision theory has enjoyedwidespread acceptance not only in counselling practice; it hasalso exerted extensive influence on how career decision making isconceived of by educators, policy makers and the general public.According to Herr (1982), the mere acceptance andincorporation of theory into counselling practice is no measureof its worth and validity. Herr maintains that the verysociopolitical processes which support the development of theorycan also act to discourage, even prohibit, the emergence ofarguments to the contrary. Therefore all theory must berecognized as carrying a bias and that this bias mayinadvertently favor one group over another. As Collin and Young(1986) concluded, "There is a moral as well as an intellectualand a practical imperative that the theory which informs policyand practice is coherent, adequate, relevant, and applicable" (p.837).March (1973) proposes that ideally all theories have both atruth value (the extent to which a model correctly predictsobservable behavior), and a justice value. A model is deemed just"to the extent to which belief in it and action based on itproduces better people and better worlds" (p. 414). Yet there issubstantive evidence in research to suggest that theories ofdecision making, and counselling practice based on thesetheories, are as yet not just. Researchers, Phillips, Strohmer,Berthaume, and O'Leary (1983), and Osipow (1975) have chargedthat theories of decision making reflect the behavior of thewhite middle-class male more accurately than the behavior of2other groups such as women, the disabled, the economicallydisadvantaged, and ethnic minorities. Willis (1977), Roberts(1977), and Law (1981) contended that the experience of theworking class in determining their participation in paidemployment bares no resemblance to that outlined in the majorityof career decision making models. Ochberg (1984), in his study ofmale career development, recognized such a difference but choseonly to elaborate on middle-class experience to exclusion of theworking man's voice. Such exclusions have the effect ofreinforcing existing theories, suppressing contradictoryevidence, and prohibiting the emergence of alternativeexplanations.Research OuestionThis study addresses the question of how do theoretical modelsof decision making explain the decision making experience of fiveworking class men related to their choice of occupation. Theobjectives are to describe that experience, to understand thatexperience and then compare each decision with three establishedtheories of decision making to examine the relationship betweentheory and experience. The three theories are: the conflict model by Janis and Mann, the rational decision makina model by Horanand the deciding in context model by Sloan.RationaleThe rationale for this study is to contribute to theoreticalknowledge and provide tentative implications for counsellingpractice with working-class males. In his study of classanalysis, Wallace (1988) determined that 36% of the Canadian3population identified themselves as working-class, yet usingstructural and relational criteria he found the percentageincreased to 60. No matter which figure is accepted, theworking class as a group represents a significant portion of thepopulation whose career counselling needs may or may not beadequately met. This study will give voice to the working-classexperience.Gottfredson and Brown (1981, b) point out that most researchin the area of careers has focused on the fate of individuals.They claim that research which deals with the career behavior ofpopulations is worthwhile. Such knowledge would be useful forunderstanding what problems or situations are normative fordifferent groups, what client problems counselors can expect toconfront, and what common patterns of career development mightexist. The results of this study is not generalizable to allworking-class males. However, the study is an explorative firststep in furthering research of the working-class careerexperience.In their review of career development studies of specialgroups Phillips et all (1983) were concerned with the problem ofhow counselors translated traditional theory and counsellingpractice into interventions for non-traditional groups. Theyfound few, if any, special groups were adequately served by suchan approach. These researchers determined there was an urgentneed first to describe the career decision making behavior ofspecial groups and, secondly to develop explanations from these4descriptions to guide practice. This study will describe thecareer decision making behavior of one such group: theworking-class male.According to Wright, Hutton (1977), counselors mayunconsciously employ one decision making process for high-statusclients and another for low-status clients. A middle-class clientwas perceived as more likable and more likely to benefit fromcounselling. They found that agreement between the middle-classclient's and the counselor's conception of reality facilitatedcommunication while incongruity hindered the development of acounselling relationship. By describing the working-classexperience it may be possible to generate a perspective whichwill inform counselors and in small part address the bias incareer theory which favors the middle class.ApproachEthnography is a cultural description; it tells how peopledescribe and structure their world (Marshall, Rossman, 1989).Following this perspective my intent is to understand anddescribe the experience of deciding: how five working-class menmade a significant decision relevant to their choice ofoccupation.Rosenwald (1988) noted that by conceiving of experience as alegitimate focus of research and not mere raw material in need ofbehavioral processing, it was possible to show how the elementsof experience were mutually related and structured. Such reportsprovided the data for the development of descriptive categoriesof everyday life which revealed how each participant constructed5his vision of reality. It was then possible to explore aphenomenon through individual consciousness. This thesis seeks toemulate this tradition by providing five true and accurateaccounts of the experience of deciding. These accounts areavailable for comparison with theories of decision makingenhancing our understanding of both experience and theory.Each informant was employed at mill work as an hourly-wageworker and was willing to share his experience. The format foreach interview followed what Mishler (1986) termed a "naturaldiscourse", a process which recognizes the reciprocal commitmentbetween researcher and respondent to discover the subjectivemeaning underlying experience. The verbatim transcript from theinterviews was used to generate five separate accounts ofdecision making. Each account was validated by the informant anda significant other as true and accurate description of hisexperience. Each account was then compared with the threetheories.The decision to limit the selection of participants to millworkers was a deliberate attempt to confine the parameters of theinquiry. To have selected men from other industries may haveintroduced extraneous issues and contextual complexity whichcould have detracted from, or obscured the discovery of, thephenomenon of deciding. It was important to ensure the phenomenonbeing studied (decision making) was the phenomenon beingdescribed (Yin, 1984).The findings of this study cannot be generalized to allworking-class men. These participants are typical of the working6class but not a truly representative sample of that sub-population. This study is not concerned with verification andproof, rather it is concerned with analytical generalization,the use of a chain of logic to describe the relationship oftheory to experience (Yin, 1984).7CHAPTER IILITERATURE REVIEWCareer Decision Making The earliest conception of career decision making focusedexclusively on occupational decision making, of how individualsdecided to participate in paid employment. Since then this fieldof inquiry has expanded to envisage career decision making as apart of a process of growth and change across the whole spectrumof human activity on the continuum from birth to death. Whilevarious conceptions of "career" exist, it is Super's definitionwhich has gained the greatest acceptance (Herr and Cramer, 1988).Super (1980) defined career as, "The course of events whichconstitutes a life; the sequence of occupations and life roleswhich combine to express one's commitment to work in his or hertotal pattern of self-development; the series of remunerated andnonremunerated positions occupied by a person from adolescencethrough to retirement" (p. 282). The focus of this study is onone aspect of what Super has defined as career: remuneratedpositions, or in other words, the occupations we choose to enableus to make a living, to generate an income.The decision to limit the scope of this inquiry to this oneaspect of career decision making is not an endorsement of theearlier definitions of career, but is a recognition that careeris now understood as a "complex, multidimensional reality" whichis difficult to research in its entirety (Collin and Young,1986). While the decision making behavior of working-class men asthey participate in paid employment represents only one facet of8that multidimensional reality, it is a context which can speakboth to the process of decision making and to the mediatingeffect of class consciousness.A career decision is, according to Super, an attempt by theindividual to shape a life path, a fixing of intention toward thecreation of meaning and purpose within the context of a lifehistory. "Careers exist only as people pursue them; they areperson centered" (p. 282). Not only are they statements ofintention but, according to Herr and Cramer (1988), they arepublic statements of a wished for self, illustrative of themediation process between the inner self (that which I wish tobe) and that which the context is perceived to foster or prohibitme from becoming. Therefore, a decision related to occupationdepicts both the process of decision making and the individual'sunique experience of deciding.Work or occupation is according to Levinson (1978) a primaryfactor in determining a person's income, their prestige and theirplace in society. In his study of adult male development, heconcluded, "A man's occupation places him within a particularsocioeconomic level and work world. It exerts a powerfulinfluence upon the options available to him, the choices he makesamong them and his possibilities for advancement andsatisfaction. His work world also influences the choices he makesin other spheres of life" (p. 45). Decisions related to workhave a very real impact on the course of a life history.During the transition between leaving formal education andemergence into the world of work, a process is enacted. Some9theories suggest ideally this process involves intense planningand self-reflection (Tiedeman, 1961); others believe chanceoccurrence plays a major role in the type of work we choose(Bandura, 1982); while others contend that the options availableto most people are very limited (Gottlieb, 1967, Roberts, 1977).You take work where you can find it. No matter which perspectiveis taken the making and sustaining a commitment to work requiresdecision making. It may be as fundamental as the decision to workor not to work, or as complex as can the commitment to six yearof training produce a meaningful and satisfying career? YetCochran (1983) warns that in making a career decision, "asignificant part of what one does is to assume a psychologicalposition within the social pecking order. One's careeraspirations are a promissory adoption of a social position thatis apt to be fraught with personal implications" (p. 1). Adecision has very real consequences for the individual who makesit.Traditionally there have been two opposing theoreticalperspectives of career decision making: one, the economic andsociological theories which stress the importance ofenvironmental contingencies on limiting or shaping a decisionwhich inevitably suggest that the second, the psychologicaltheories which appear to assume freedom of choice, areunrealistic. Gottfredson and Becker (1981 a) argue that few ifany theorists or researchers studying career decision makingwould now hold to either extreme position, no choice versustotally free choice. Currently emerging in the literature are10theories which attempt to accommodate both aspects: the personaland the external contextual elements impinging on a decision. Anexample of this change is Law's (1981) mid-range focus fortheories. He is interested in both the "big-picture" structuralelements in society that are beyond an individual's control, andthe "small-picture" the unique personal aspects of decisionmaking. For Law "the community" is the modifying agent betweenthese opposing poles. Despite such changes, Collin and Young(1986) believe there is still a preponderance of research andtheory which ignores the importance of context and fails toaddress the experience of special groups including the workingclass. As a result, they suggest that the possibility and natureof career for such groups is eitherinterrupted through a predominantlyperspective.Levinson's study ofignored or inappropriatelymale middle-classadult male development clearlyillustrates this problem. He talks of actualizing the "Dream" andwhen describing the worker he concluded that very few workersdefined an occupational dream. For some,The vision of the good life involves a mixture ofwork, family and community involvements. For others,the dream remains inchoate. Still others, perhapsthe largest number, begin the early adult transitionwith fantasies about exciting kinds of work andaccomplishment, but the incipient dream cannot bearticulated or explored, it is gradually coveredover by the more immediate problems of survival (p. 97)1 1The question arises whether workers's career paths areinadequate or did Levinson use constructs which reflect morefavorably on the middle class. Some of the constructs he usedwere: active striving, competence and rational consideration ofalternatives, a rising trajectory of career, and work as anexpression of self to determine if a occupational dream waspresent. Gottfredson (1979) would dispute the validity of usingsuch constructs to understand workers's careers. Such constructs,he believes have little or no relevance to the reality of mostworking people's lives, and are inappropriate descriptors of adistinctly different life experience. Inappropriate descriptorsmay lead to inappropriate conclusions.The Working Class There is ample evidence, according to Marshell (1983), thatdifferences exist between the working class and the middle classin experience of work and career development. Marshell examinedthe two basic themes which dominate American work life: equatingoccupational success with high self-esteem, and the belief thatwork is meaningful. Marshell found these themes are onlyconsistent with middle-class values and only describe theexperience of a minority of the working population. Marshellbelieves that high unemployment and employment in lessprestigious occupations is a more accurate description of theoverall pattern of working life in America.Using the 1981 Census Bureau categories forclassifying occupations, one sees the over-whelmingmajority of Americans are employed in the traditional12blue-collar and lower echelon of white-collar occupations(73%). While only 27% of American workers are among theranks of managers/proprietors /officials and professional,the two groups at the top of the occupational structure(p.109).For Marshell the perpetuation of "the middle-class careermyth" is destructive because it is illusionary and misrepresentsthe realm of possibility facing the majority of the work force.Dunk (1988), in his study of the working-class culture inNorthern Ontario believes the contention that most white-collarwork is more interesting and rewarding is fictitious. Like blue-collar work most white-collar work, he determined involves fewskills, carries little prestige and is relatively poorly paid.When a disproportionately large sector of the work force islocated in occupations which are said to lack meaning andinterest, one must ask to how this has come about? Is the seekingof an occupation unimportant to these individuals, or are therevery real limits to choice? Is the study of careers betterinformed about the reality of those who hold work to be a centralaspect of self? Or is there a need to explore working-classcareer experience firstly from within, to understand the meaningand purpose as defined through the values of the working class,not through middle-class concepts?These questions are not easily answered because no decision ismade in a vacuum. A multiplicity of forces that come into play todetermine the behavior of both the individual and the group.Therefore the answers to the above questions are determined as13much by the perspective from which they are viewed as they arefrom evidence which supports the conclusions made. This isparticularly true when our understanding of decision makingbehavior is based on the behavior of large groups more typical ofthe sociological perspective versus the individual approach moretypical of human psychology.Roberts (1981), a British sociologist, has writtenextensively on working-class experience of the transition fromschool to work. His views represent the more extreme positionthat the majority of career decision making theories are falseand inconsistent with the known facts. As a prescription forcareer behavior he suggests these theories are inappropriate andlikely to prove positively harmful because they perpetuate theillusion of choice when in reality the opportunities are verylimited. Roberts considers that one's socioeconomic positionpredetermines the career path of the greater majority of theworking class.Like Roberts, Willis (1977) believes the culture of theworking class is a powerful and distinctly different force movingworking-class kids towards what he terms is their own "self-damnation." The critical issue for Willis is in how working-classyouth adopt an oppositional posture at an early age to all formsof authority. The result is that they are alienated from the verymechanisms through which they might advance beyond the factoryfloor and a life of manual labour. Willis found the non-conformist youth viewed academic work, credentials and careercounselling as irrelevant irritants in the meaningless process of14being educated. For such youth, Willis believes the transitionfrom school through to work must be seen not as a process ofchoosing a career or even a particular job, but of committing toa future of generalized labor. He concluded, "it is confusing andmystifying to pose the entry of disaffected working-class boysinto work as a matter of particular choice: this is in essence avery middle-class construct" (p. 99). The working-class culturehe believes, not only limits the choices available but determinesthe time frame in which decision making is possible. Willisargues, class position structures both how the experience isdefined and how the outcome is achieved.Descriptions of North American working-class culture rangefrom descriptions of poverty, alienation and a state ofhopelessness to positive upbeat adoration of the honest workingman. In attempting to describe the working class Rubin (1976)stressed the need to recognize that working-class lifeexperiences are not random nor accidental, they are derived fromreal differences in the types of problems this group faces andthe possible solutions available to deal with the problem. Themistake many researchers make is, according to Rubin, the failureto identify and articulate that which is working-classexperience. Too often, Rubin believes, research resorts todescribing this group as if they are the failing end of acontinuum: failing to advance, failing to be educated, failing todecide and plan. In other words failing to live according to auniversal standard set by the dominant group, the middle-class.15Those studies (Fried, 1973, Levitan 1971) which haveattempted to describe the working-class experience from withinthe culture, have consistently found that the central life goalis the creation of a comfortable and secure place for oneself andone's family. The desire to be secure dominates above all else.It is according to Levitan a "centrifugal reference point" aroundwhich their lives are ordered. An effort to ward off thepossibility of unemployment, layoff or poverty however real orremote. The quest to maintain security dominates all aspects oflife regardless of whether the individual has gained a degree ofaffluence (Rubin 1976, Hale, 1984 and Fried, 1973).Csikszentmihalyi & Beattie (1978), in their study of lifethemes also found their blue-collar workers were more concernedwith the problems of concrete survival than their middle-classcounterparts, even though both groups had suffered equally inchildhood. These authors were interested not only in thedifference in experience, but also in why when the initialproblem was similar, the professional apparently transformed ortranscended the problem while the worker continued to live withthe problem. The professional seemingly "discovered" a life themewhile the worker seemingly "accepted" his life theme.They found the difference existed in the attributions eachgroup made regarding the cause of their early childhood problems.Working-class individuals did not attribute causes to theirproblems and according to the authors were therefore unable toconceptualize possible solutions. The 15 professional men wereable to identify specific causes for the problems they16experienced in childhood, to recognize the impact of thisexperience on their adult behavior, and seek ways to resolve theproblem.This suggests that there are two distinctly different ways ofthinking about problem solving which are culturally bound.Therefore it is not only the themes themselves which areculturally specific but also the cognitive processes which areemployed to give rise to these themes. The culture is intimatelyconnected to the process of defining and thinking about problems,decisions and solutions. It is not only a question of what careerto choose, but perhaps more importantly how the worker goes aboutchoosing a career. According to Csikszentmihalyi and Beattie,when workers focus on maintaining security at all costs, theypreclude the possibility of other novel options and solutionsemerging. A decision made in this context is constrained not onlyby that which is perceived but also by the process which allowsthese perceptions to emerge.Yet Rubin (1976) cautions the reader to consider the very realthreat the worker faces in deviating from the secure, of goingbeyond the safety net of organized labor and kin for his accessto other economic spheres is restricted by a lack of formalqualifications, contacts and knowledge. Young working-class mendo not experience a protracted adolescence as is more typical ofthe middle class; they quickly assume adult roles andresponsibilities. As a group they will marry and begin a familyat an earlier age than their middle-class counterparts who willbe involved in further eduction or beginning a career. Authors17such as Dunk (1984) Levitan (1971) & Rubin suggest the earlyassumption of adult responsibility limits the options andresources available to the individual to change careers.Alternative career options are limited once a worker hassettled for the good money, benefits and seniority that come withlong-term tenure on the job. By the early to mid thirties mostworking-class men have reached the peak of their career (Rubin,1976). Skilled craftsmen who set up shop to become their own bossfail in disproportionate high numbers because they lack theknowledge, resources and business acumen needed to be successful(Levitan, 1973).The career path of many workers is already set long beforethey graduate from school. In his study of American blue-collarworkers, Hale (1984) found in general that school was ahumiliating experience during which most men were classified asnon-academic. The majority of his informants were sensitive abouttheir lack of formal education, a topic they were least candidabout. Formal education lacked relevance and purpose to theirlives. The curriculum generally lacked options that catered tothe technical and practical forms of learning or if it did theseoptions were considered the inferior "a dumping ground fordummies" (p. 50). A similar criticism was made by Scullion(1988), Head of the Royal Commission which reported on the stateof education in the Province of British Columbia. He states "thelarger challenge for the provincial system rests in attempting toestablish a system of plurality of excellence; a variety of18career paths in formal schooling leading to different types ofhigh level competence other than academic ability" (p. 104).Willis (1977) also found qualifications were rejected for asimpler way because what is needed in the working world ispractical know how, of:having your head screwed on" and being able to makeyour move. The unofficial criteria the lads used forselecting a job were: "has to be work where he canbe open about his desires, his sexual feelings, hisliking for booze and his aim to 'skive off' as muchas possible." ^ It would be a work situation wherethere was a boss, an us and them situation ^ Workhas to be a place, basically, where people arealright and with whom a general cultural identitycan be shared (p. 96).The working environment is therefore as important if not moreimportant than the nature of the work.Dunk (1984) noted that none of his working-class informantsregretted the lack of meaningful work and that they consideredthe price of striving for career success too high a price to pay.The popular myth of the career workaholic who sacrifices familytime and free time was held in disdain. A man who could providefor himself and his family "a decent income", by working fortyhours a week was the ideal. "The boys do not expect their jobs tobe enjoyable. A good job is a job that pays reasonable well, thatis secure, and that is not too physically demanding" (p. 96). Hisinformants prized the practical above the theoretical with the19"common sense" approach to all problems and decisions. Thenegative consequence of holding this perspective is that manyother forms of knowledge are rejected. Such a rejection Dunkbelieves perpetuates opposition to the very mechanisms whichmight generate alternative career options.If no purpose can be found in formal education it is accordingto Pryor (1985), folly to assume the working-class student willperceive purpose and merit in career counselling initiativesoffered by the very same educational institutions from which theyfeel alienated. This rejection of career counselling is,according to Willis (1977), a continuation of the culture ofopposition to all authority. Yet this is an incompleteexplanation of why career counselling has failed to have animpact on the career behavior of working-class students. Willisfound few working- class students had access to careercounselling service and for those who did it was largelyineffective because of a clash of cultural perspectives.Arbuckle, Corwin and Clark (1969) discovered that schoolcounselors, who usually belong to the middle-class, had problemsworking with lower-class students. In affluent neighborhoods thecounselors relied on objective data while in poorer neighborhoodsthey focused on subjective data which was more likely to be proneto distortion. The counselors had greatest difficulty inunderstanding the needs and aspirations of their clients whenthere was a difference in world view between client andcounselor. These difficulties were further compounded by the20imposition of counselling theory and practise which seemed tofavour the middle-class students.This clash of culture is, according to Ibrahim (1985), oftenignored, misunderstood or inappropriately interpreted as failureby client or counselor to apply themselves to the task. While thedetrimental effects may be minimal, the cost in terms of failedexpectations, and of frustration and disappointment cannot beminimized. While neither career counselling theory nor practicecan be value free, they have a moral obligation to strive to meetthe needs of all, not just a select group of the population.Therefore, can career decision making theory predict the careerdecision making behavior of working-class men?Models of Decision MakingCareer decision making theory represents a central constructand focus for both counselling practice and research. Careerdecisions are seen as intersections which shape a career path.According to Herr and Cramer (1988), personal decisions are theconjunction between self and the environment. They are publictestimonies people make about how they view themselves, how theyview their opportunities and the relationships between theseopposing forces (p. 106).Theoretical models of decision making serve to conceptualizeor explain how individuals choose, presupposing there are "good"decisions and desired outcomes which will, on examination, beevident. Decisions are evaluated by describing the processinvolved in choosing, by the outcome, or by identifying skillsrequired for effective decision making (Jepsen & Dilley, 1974).21Each model is supported by specific theoretical propositions thatrange from a highly rational and logical perspective through tomore intuitive and subjective approaches which are more typicalof human beings (Herr and Cramer, 1988).Current models of decision making reflect their diverseorigins from the fields of statistics, economics and psychology.These models have been applied to business, social organizationand counselling, in particular to career counselling. Themajority of models propose that a rational, sequential andsystematic deliberation before and during the act of decidingwill produce a desired outcome. According to models whichemphasize rationality, a good decision achieves maximum gain withminimal loss: is determined from an objective position, andcorrects the faults wrought by impulses, misperception andsubjectivity common to human behavior (Jepsen & Dilley 1974)In contrast, other theorists argue that personal decisions are"non sequential, non systematic and non scientific (Gelatt,1989)." Harren (1979) concluded that a personal "decision makingmodel is a description of a psychological process in which oneorganizes information, deliberates among alternatives anddetermines a course of action" (p. 119). Horan (1979) proposesthat to understand how individuals decide we must focus on howindividuals actually behave when making decisions and not on anabstract ideal. Personal decisions can therefore be bestunderstood within the context of a life history (Ochberg, 1984.,Sloan, 1977.) or the decision situation (Harren, 1979).22Yet many of the decision making models applied to personaldecisions still emphasize those key aspects of the originalmathematical models while attempting to accommodate the humandimension of choice. The resultant models continue to givedisproportionate weight to that which is calculated and thatwhich is observable and "...relegate the subjective process to asecond even epiphenomenal state" (Sloan, 1988 p. 42).The test of the relevance of a model is best achieved byexamining how it furthers our understanding of experience. Forthe purpose of this thesis the following three major theories ofdecision making will be discussed: (1) the Conflict model (Janisand Mann, 1977), (2) the Rational model (Horan, 1979), and (3)the Deciding in context model (Sloan, 1987).The Conflict Model.Janis and Mann (1977) propose that an effective decisionmaking process is a conflict ridden process. Their model "appliesonly to decisions that have real consequences for the decisionmaker and thereby generate some discernable manifestations ofpsychological stress" (p. 69). Deciding is a "vital affectladen" process. Decisions are not just a matter of cognition butinvolve emotion in what the authors term are "hot cognitions".Implied in this model is that the stress of the decision makinginduces an unpleasant emotional state which may lead to self-defeating behaviors such as procrastination, impulsivity, andsuboptimal choice. An effective decision maker utilizes theurgency induced by the stress in combination with informationprocessing strategies to make a quality decision. An ineffectual23decision maker therefore fears, avoids or denies the emotionalintensity induced by the stress of decision making.The functional relationship between psychological stress anddecisional conflict is outlined in five assumptions. Theseassumptions link goal striving to anticipated loss, to the desireto retain the status quo or the degree of commitment to a presentcourse of action. A degree of risk must be present for thesituation to induce stress. If the decider is subjected to a highdegree of risk when no solution is apparent, maladaptive copingpatterns will emerge. The ideal decision situation has a moderateamount of stress which mobilizes "vigilant informationprocessing".Janis and Mann's seven criteria for "vigilant informationprocessing" by the decision maker are as follows:1. Thoroughly canvasses a wide range of alternative courses ofaction;2 Surveys the full range of objectives to be fulfilled and thevalues implicated by the choice;3 Carefully weighs whatever he knows about the cost and risks ofnegative consequences, as well as the positive consequences,that could flow from each alternative;4. Intensively searches for new information relevant to furtherevaluation of the alternatives;5. Correctly assimilates and takes account of any new informationor expert judgment to which he is exposed, even when theinformation or judgment does not support the course of actionhe initially prefers;246. Reexamines the positive and negative consequences of allknown alternatives, including those originally regarded asunacceptable, before making a final choice;7. Makes detailed provision for implementing or executing thechosen course of action, with special attention to contingencyplans that might be required if various known risks were tomaterialize." (p. 11)To complete the process and achieve the desired pattern ofvigilant information processing, the decider must respondaffirmatively to four questions in sequence. First, are the risksserious if one does not change? A negative response leads to apattern of unconflicted adherence; the need for change isignored. Secondly, are the risks serious if one does change? Anegative response produces unconflicted change; the risksinvolved are minimized. Third, is it realistic to find a bettersolution? A negative response leads to defensive avoidance "alack of vigilant search, selective forgetting, distortion of themeaning of warning messages and construction of wishfulrationalization that minimizes negative consequences" (p. 50).Finally, is there sufficient time to search for information anddeliberate? A negative response leads to hypervigilance underextreme stress the decider fails to search for furtherinformation, to generate alternatives, and prematurely decides ona course of action which may lead to postdecisional regret.If the decider is vigilant and thorough, the outcome will bea contingent plan of action drawn from the decision made.25The Rational Model.The model developed by Horan (1979) proposes a framework forthe counselor and the client to improve the quality of thedecision making. The model is therefore intentionally morelimited in scope and application than is the Janis and Mannmodel. Hogan argues that effective decision making is a skillthat can be learnt if the subjective, emotionality of theexperience can be "managed". An effective decision maker is onewho maximizes the subjective gain with the highest probabilitythat action plans generated from the decision will lead topersonal satisfaction. The theoretical foundations of the model(the classical decision theory and cognitive behaviorisms) giveemphasis to the importance of logic, of systematic deliberationand the quantification of subjective values. The individualallots a numerical value to each desired outcome then subtractsthe potential costs of each option. By factoring in theprobability of achieving the desired goal an overall value willemerge. If a positive indices results then the decision is worthpursuing. This process Horan believes makes concrete the decisionmaking process and diminishes the emotional panic of deciding.The four stages of the model are: (1) conceptualization, (2)enlargement of response repertoire, (3) identification ofdiscriminative stimuli, and (4) response selection.Initially, the decider must determine the scope and extent ofthe problem or decision to be made. Stage two requires thegeneration of responses both known and novel; the client and26counselor jointly brainstorm or hypothesize ideas to create themaximum number of alternative courses of action. At stage three,each alternative is evaluated to determine the positive andnegative consequences of pursuing this option. This stage ischaracterized by an emphasis on information gathering strategies.Finally, with the information from stage three, each alternativeis ranked according to the greatest personal gain coupled withthe highest probability of it being implemented. An action planis generated.According to Horan, the skills of effective decision makingaid the client to perceive the experience with a sense ofdetachment, to define the dimensions of the problem in concreteand quantifiable terms separate from the multiplicity of factorsthat may impinge on the decision. Therefore an effective decisionmaker understands and pursues the process of deciding withdetermination and clarity of purpose. Once the skills are learntthe implication is that these skills are applicable to alldecision situations regardless of context or personalsignificance of the decision.The rational model of decision making provides a workablesynthesis of problem solving and decision making strategies in astage model. Though readily comprehendible, it reduces decisionmaking to a mechanical skeleton devoid of the richness andcomplexity of personal choice and divorced from the context of anindividual life. As a result, Horan's model ignores the role ofthe meaning and the qualities of a decision which make it uniqueto the individual. There is an implied assumption that all27decision making situations can be reduced to a number ofalternative courses of action which will be readily apparent onexamination. This model overlooks the importance of indecision,and self defeating behaviors, of time and environmentalconstraints that the decider may not be aware of.Horan's reliance on qualification of personal values is anattempt to bridge the rational and logical process of classicaldecision theory with the personal dimension of choice. Howreadily quantifiable are personal values? How does the individualweight alternatives when they are perceived to be of equalimportance but offer completely divergent action plans? Suchquestions are largely ignored or considered secondary.Horan intentionally avoids complexity in his presentation anddevelopment of the model. He implies that to attend to the wholerange of possibility is interesting but "leaves the counselorwithout a clear road map to provide direct assistance to theclient (p. 98)." The theoretical strength of the model accordingto Horan rests in the conceptual similarity between behaviorismand classical decision theory. A marriage of these approaches hebelieves offers the greatest promise for a technology of decisionmaking counselling. What Horan's model cannot explain are themotivations of individual to move with a decision when theprobability of success is low or those who move with an actionplan despite mixed agendas.The Deciding In Context Model.Sloan (1987) examined decision making by studying thesubjective, the lived experience within the complexity and28uniqueness of a life story. He is highly critical of thetraditional theories of decision making, "not so much because ourtheories will be inaccurate but because institutionalinterventions based on such misunderstanding have a seriousimpact on the quality of individual lives and social life ingeneral" (Sloan, 1987 p 69). The misunderstandings Sloan speaksof are conceiving decision making as a rational process that canbe reduced to a number of mechanical steps, devoid of complexity,of failing to understand the importance of the personal struggleand confusion that gives meaning to behavior, and by treating thewhole as a process that can be evaluated separate from itsoriginator.Sloan's approach is not a model of effective decision makingbut a method for examining a decision in context through theapplication and development of interpretive categories. Sloandivides the context up into two aspects: a context of characterwhich consists of positive and negative self images developedthrough interaction with others and the life structural context,external to the individual. Life structural categories includesocial, historical and cultural influences. These categoriesprovide the framework upon which to understand the decision. Thekey is to examine the interrelationships between the individualand any one specific context or contexts, to discover the meaningand unique qualities of a specific decision.His system of analysis is patterned on the concept of a lifestructure as conceived by Levinson (1978). According to Levinson,a life structure is an essential design that describes "the29current psychosocial totality" of an individual. A lifestructure is constructed by three key aspects of the self: (1)self-world transactions, i.e., the immediate interaction betweenoneself and others; (2) constraints and opportunities, e.g.,skills, goals, fantasies and intrapersonal conflicts which affectindividuals in realizing their potential: and (3) mediationsbetween individual activities and the socio-cultural contexts. Alife structure is influenced not only by external factors, butalso by self-images and unconscious intentions conceived withinthe individuals own self image. It provides a focal point orpattern for the individual to deliberate between the subjectiveand objective forces shaping an emerging decision. In turn eachmajor decision shapes the future by setting up prohibitions orendorsement to the already existing life structure.Each major decision is unique and has meaning. Decisionsderive their meaning from the context which determines them. Theyreflect the wishes, desires and intentions of the individual, andare an expression of how the decision maker mediates between theinner world of self in relation to others. They requiredeliberation "a fixing of attention" by the decider toward apossible course of action or purpose which may or may not be inconscious awareness.Sloan argues most decisions are denials of the true self inrelation to others. He refers to this phenomena as the"psychological constraints on the rationality of deciding", inother words the tendency of the individual to be self deceptiveand resort to rationalization which results in faulted decisions.30Conflict occurs when the repressed wishes and impulses of thedecision maker contradict the socially sanctioned self imageprojected to the external world. The individual resorts toconceiving a rational argument to mediate between these opposingforces: the result is a compromised vision of self. According tohis thesis, no one is "free to choose"; they are subjected topowerful external pressures (the historical context) whichchallenges the notion of authentic behavior, of deciding foroneself. Sloan believes, through reflection and increasing selfawareness the decision maker can more closely approximate adesired vision of self.In contrast to the rational decision making models Sloanconceives of effective decision making as requiring freedom tochoose: freedom to entertain a full range of possibility; andfreedom from automatic compliance to the culturally sanctionedoptions. In the ideal, a decision would be an uncompromisingreflection of the individual expressing the relationship soughtbetween self and others. The intent of the decision maker wouldbe the dominant force in the process. In reality, Sloan'sresearch suggests we invariably accept the status quo and rarelychallenge our behavior. We compromise the self in exchange formoney, power and influence, potent symbols which distract us fromthe original purpose of the decision. Only through selfreflection, increased self awareness and the conscious deliberatefocusing of attention can individuals maintain their true purposein deciding.31A Comparison of Models These three theories are each concerned with the process ofdecision making and with enhancing the understanding of thatprocess. The differences that arise result in part from thedifferent purpose each author had in developing their model aswell as from the different theoretical foundations on which themodels are based.The rational model and the conflict model share theunderlying theoretical assumption that human beings rely onrationality and logic when making decisions. With careful andsystematic deliberation, the correct decision and an appropriatecourse of action will emerge. Both models break down the processinto discrete stages. Each stage describes behaviors foreffective decision making and addresses influences which willimpede this process. Both models are characterized by an emphasison conscious deliberation, a controlled emotionality and thepersuasion of logic to pursue an ideal option. Horan developedhis model as a guide for decision making within the counsellingrelationship. He choose to deliberately limit the scope andcomplexity of the model in order to facilitate its application.There is no allowance in either of the rational models forexplaining the role of intuition, the unique qualities of thedecision maker, nor the context in which the decision is beingmade. Horan considered these factors to be an "unmanageablemorass" which would only further confuse the decision maker. Incontrast to Horan, the Janis and Mann model is more complex andallows for the personal dimensions of choice to be considered.32The emphasis is on how emotionality and stress are an integraland necessary part of decision making. High levels of stress andemotional responding are considered to be obstructive to making adecision, therefore it is the management of these two factorswhich leads to effective decision making strategies.Neither the conflict model nor the rational model considerthe context in which the decision is made to be significant tothat process. In contrast, Sloan is interested in the context andmeaning behind a decision. He acknowledges the role ofrationality in the decision making process but determines thatthe tendency to seek a rational argument to support an actionwill more likely lead to a compromise of one's self. He isconcerned with the interdependence that exists between theindividual and the context that leads to a faulted decisions. Hisis not a stepwise model of effective decision making behaviorsbut an attempt to provide a mechanism for examining each decisionas a unique phenomenon that can only be understood via theprocess of self reflection. The examination of their experiencefrom an objective stance allows the decision maker to become moreaware of how they have compromised their own purpose. Sloan isinterested in complexity, in understanding the distortions anddifficulties in making a decision more than finding the idealprocess. Sloan is determined to develop a new theory of decisionmaking which more adequately addresses human frailty in decisionmaking.33CHAPTER IIIMETHODOLOGYThe research method used in this study is from the broadtradition of ethnographic, or field research. The role of theresearcher is to be the disinterested observer, yet at the sametime to be a self-reflexive instrument whose awareness andintuitions may become a source of data available for analysis(Glasser, Strauss 1976). The researcher acknowledges, documentsand examines self awareness, motivations and perspectives. Suchsubjective data is then available for scrutiny by others, who canalert the researcher to possible sources of bias.Personal persDective. My interest in the topic stemmed from a critical encounterwith a male client during a counselling interview. This clientrevealed he had risked his life to salvage a large piece ofmachinery. In response to my disbelief, he stated he had no lifeif he had no livelihood. In that moment I realized how differentmy conception of reality was from his, how different the valueswhich governed my personal and professional life were from his. Ibecame concerned with the appropriateness of the theories andinterventions I employed as a counselor theories that werecongruent with my conception of the world but not with his. Thesource of my discomfort distilled down to a profound sense of notknowing "a working man's experience". I needed to understand inorder to evaluate the worth of counselling theory for suchclients. This state of not knowing is the basic premise I haveworked from throughout the entire process. I have looked for34alternative arguments, I have consulted with my participants andI have questioned and countered my hunches and intuitions toallow myself to be informed by the data.Orientation to the ResearchThe overall orientation of this research project is patternedon the tradition of descriptive psychology. Giorgi (1985)determined that descriptive psychology is concerned withdescribing events in everyday life and through such descriptionscoming to understand how people define events, how they constructreality and how they act in relation to their beliefs. Giorgiclaims "A qualitative analysis of descriptions can yieldpsychological insights of a value at least equal to whatquantitative approaches yield, although different in characterand style" (p. 2).Within this broad field of inquiry is phenomenology, definedby Sloan (1987) as "a philosophical movement and technique whichclaims as its task the descriptive study of consciousness" (p.50). For the purposes of this research, this means attempting tounderstand behavior as the participant understands it, learningabout their world, learning about their decisions and how theydefine the meaning behind their experience. To achieve this, theresearcher takes on the perspective of the informant, observingand analyzing the experience of deciding through theconsciousness of the subject.Research conducted in this manner, according to Marshell &Rossman (1989), operates in a context of discovery, as opposed toa context of verification characteristic of the natural science.35According to Phillips et al. (1983), an over reliance on thehypothesis-testing approach to research in decision making hashad the effect of stressing confirmation of existing constructs,of limiting the generation of new hypothesis, while continuing toyield a one-sided picture of a multifaceted phenomenon. They callfor the design of future research for special populations to bedescriptive and explanatory, to be moved away from an objectivestance to the subjective position of inquiry. According toCollins & Young (1986), the subjective, drawn from thephenomenological tradition of research, is now a legitimate focusfor the study of career and career decision making.The DesignThe design for this research is a multiple case study designmodeled on the case study research method outlined by Yin (1984).He defined a case study as "an empirical inquiry that:investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-lifecontext when the boundaries between the phenomenon and contextare not clearly evident" (p 23). This study generated fiveseparate yet similar case studies of decision making. Eachaccount of decision making gives insight to the unique qualitiesof the individual, the phenomenon of deciding, and the commoncontext of working-class experience.Rather than rely on a single case, a multiple case design waschosen because such a design generates multiple descriptions ofthe phenomenon and multiple examples available for scrutiny andanalysis. The strength of a multiple case design is its relianceof replication logic. If agreement, commonalties and trends can36be identified across cases, the researcher can be more confidentthat the phenomenon sought is the one that has been documented.If there is a convergence of the data in the aggregate of thefive cases, there is compelling support for the propositions thatemerge during the comparison of theory to experience.SelectionThe first participant was selected opportunistically followingan initial contact made to the president of the local union. Hevolunteered to be the first informant. A snowball samplingtechnique lead to the discovery of the other four participant.The fifth participant was more deliberately selected in that herepresented a younger age group. In total, eight individuals wereapproached: one declined to be interviewed and two were excludedbecause they did not meet the criteria for selection.The following criteria were used: that each participant be anadult male who was or had been employed in the milling industry;that he had not been on salary and that neither of his parentshad a salaried position during their working life. A participantwas deemed to belong to the working class if his parents workedfor hourly wages and he did also. Porter (1965), in hisdiscussion of class differences in Canada, determined that thestructural differences between salaried and non-salaried workersis an acceptable criterion for distinguishing class position. Thenon-salaried worker is more likely to be subjected to layoff andreceives a wage which reflects commitment to work measured inunits of time. He has had limited access to decision making poweror control of his work environment.37The decision to not include working-class women in the sampleresulted from a need to find cases which shared commoncharacteristics. This is not to discount the experience of womenbut to acknowledge the additional complexity the issue of genderwould bring to the data. The inclusion of such data would havethe potential of obscuring the phenomenon of deciding within yetanother phenomenon: the stereotypic behaviors of men and women(Yin, 1989).Procedures The research took place in Smithers, a Northwestern town inB.C., the home of the author. Initially I contacted eachparticipant by phone, explained my purpose and set up anappointment some three or four days later. The delay between ourphone conversation and the first interview provided the men withtime to think about their experience: a "warming up period".The first interview generally took one and a half hours duringwhich each participant described his experience. All interviewswere recorded on audiotape and later transcribed verbatim. Ireviewed the tapes to identify key elements of the decision whichI organized into a "map". Again I listened to the tapes andreviewed my notes to identify possible relationships, omissionsand inaccuracies. This map was presented to each participant partway through the second interview.The purpose of the second interview was to add new awareness,to deal with omissions or points needing further clarification.At the beginning of these interviews I invited each participantto speak before I shared my schematic representation of their38experience. It was important to avoid imposing my construction oftheir experience to direct their participation. These mapsfacilitated the conversation, it provide the men with a means toorganize their thoughts and brought forth new awareness.Following these two interviews, I then prepared a draft narrativefrom the verbatim transcripts which was given to the participantto evaluate using the following guidelines: is this a true andaccurate account of your experience. Are there omissions orerrors? Is there any undue emphasis on any one aspect of thedescription. Each man had a period of a week or more to reviewthe account. All participants voluntarily invited significantothers to review the account to assist in the validation process.Correction and validation of the description took place in athird and final interview.Interviews Each interview began with social pleasantries. Inevitably Iwould be asked to explain why I had an interest in this topic.There was a reciprocal curiosity: my desire to understand theworking man's experience and his interest in the motivations of auniversity educated woman. Such an interchange helped build arapport between us and resulted in each participant becoming aco-researcher rather than a subject to be interviewed. Theconsent form was reviewed and signed.The preamble to the interview began as follows: "Can you tellme about how you made a significant decision related to yourchoice of employment, significant to you that is?" An open endedstyle of interviewing modeled on Mishler's (1986) research39interviewing strategies was used. Mishler contends that a focuseddiscourse is more likely to reveal contextual understandings,assumptions and knowledge of everyday life than would thequestion and answer format. He believes a question and answerformat imposes constraints on the explorative process is limitedto utilize serendipitous findings, and is heavily dependent onthe quality and pertinence of the questions asked. A number ofkey questions were developed as a guide to ensurecomprehensiveness (See appendix A). By the completion of theinterview the following areas had been covered: the decisiondetailing how, when, where, and what; family, education, personalambitions, regrets, and satisfactions regarding the outcome ofthe process. The interviewing was considered complete when therewas coherence to the description which was agreed upon by myselfand the individual participant.Analysis For the purposes of analyzing case study data, Yin (1989)states that, "the ultimate goal is to treat the evidence fairly,to produce compelling analytical conclusions and rule outalternative interpretations" (p. 106). This process continuedthrough-out the study. It began with the formulation of thequestion of how well theories of decision making could explainthe career decision making experience. This broad proposition wasnarrowed down to examine decision making within the context of aworking-class man's life and further refined by looking at how hedecided to participate in paid employment. These constructsbecame the parameters for the investigation.40Three theories of decision making were chosen, the conflict model by Janis and Mann (1977), the rational decision making model by Horan (1979), and the deciding in context model by Sloan(1987). Each theory offered a particular orientation to decisionmaking yet still represented the dominant ideas underlyingdecision making theory. These theories were examined and the keyconstructs identified. For the purposes of this research a theorywould be considered relevant and applicable if all key constructspredicted by the theory were found in the description. Relevanceand applicability would then be determined on a continuum fromrelevant and applicable to not at all, based on the judgement ofthe author and supported by a line of logic developed from thedata. Yin (1985) refers to this method as pattern-matching. Theassumption underlying this premise is that the convergence ofdata within a single case and across a number of cases providesevidence to support the conclusions made.The generation of each description followed these step: Areview of the tape-recorded interviews identifying key issues wasfollowed by a review of the verbatim transcript again identifyingkey issues; a map was made which organized these issues in termsof perceived importance and with some chronological ordering;then the text was organized into a description. The original textfrom the transcript was maintained except for minor alterationsor corrections needed to enhance the flow or comprehension of thedescription. Each case was compared and contrasted with eachother as well as with the three theories.41Criteria for soundness Qualitative research, like quantitative research mustaddress the issues of validity and reliability. Yin refers tofour tests that which must be given to the data to determine thesoundness of the study. They are: construct validity, internalvalidity, external validity and reliability.The first test, construct validity, requires that theparameters of the investigation are specified and that thephenomenon described in the proposition (the making of adecision) is the actual phenomenon that is described. This wasachieved by predetermining the criteria for including orexcluding participants, by selecting mainstream theories ofdecision making which had discernable constructs, and by clearlydocumenting the procedural steps taken in generating the data.The second test, is internal validity. Yin states that for adescriptive or explanatory case study internal validity rests onhow well developed and supported by data is the line of argumentfrom which the inferences are made. The validated account, thekey theoretical propositions used are included in thedocumentation and available for scrutiny by the reader.The third test, is that of external validity. Howgeneralizable are the findings. Yin determined that for casestudy research the generalization sought is analytical as opposedto the statistical generalization more typical of a positivistapproach. He defines analytical generalization as, "striving togeneralize to a particular set of results to some broader theory"(p 44). Each description was tested against the established42theory providing different explanations of the phenomenon ofdeciding, consolidating points of agreement between experienceand theory, and highlighting differences.The final test is the reliability of the study; that is themeasure of the agreement any other researcher would come to inarriving at the same findings that have been documented here.Towards that end I have kept copies of all verbatim transcriptsand field notes so they are available for scrutiny. In my fieldnotes I attempted to acknowledge my biases, challenge emergingassumptions as they arose, and seek rival explanations. In thereport I documented my motivation, the procedures and theperspective from which I examined the data. Above all I trustedmy profound sense of not knowing and my seeking to be informed bythe phenomenon.43CHAPTER IVThe ACCOUNTS OF DECISION MAKINGAccount 1, Ross. Ross is a sawfiller, a 38-year-old married man who has twoyoung sons. The note he wrote for the validation interviewstated: "It was a strange feeling reading this (the account).Twenty years of life on 10 pages of paper." He could notelaborate further on this statement but was content to mull itover. For Ross there were two points of decision making: one wasthe decision to work in the mill to start with, and the other wasto begin a trade. His account is as follows:It was 1973, just about everyone I knew was either leaving orhad specific goals, like going to go to university which Ididn't. Actually the only goals I had were to not go any furtherin school; I had totally lost interest in that. But losinginterest in school was all kind of related. I had no goals set ondoing anything in that system, and between what was going on inmy life: the school, the indecision about cadets, the girlfriend. I couldn't decide. I stuck it out at school but I didn'tfeel like I was getting anything out of it either. It wasfrustrating at the time, not really knowing, really undecidedabout what I wanted. It was a tough time for a year or so there.Back then, I came very close to joining the military. I'dbeen in cadets for quite a few years locally and had gone on afew different things through them down to California, Mexico anda few different cruises. I think it was I didn't want to leave mygirlfriend, and in some ways afterward, when the relationship44ended with her, I sort of kicked myself for not joining. It wasalso the work involved in going; I was more interested in whatwas going on at parties on the weekends than school. At that timeI started thinking, "What the heck am I going to do? I have nointerest in school whatsoever." And yet I knew that if I wasgoing to do something like the military or college I would haveto get good marks in school. Finally I think, just losing theinterest won out over the rest of it. I don't think it was "I'mnot going to apply for the military, but I don't really know whatelse I'm going to do." It was,"I got to get out of school,"basically.I never thought to talk to anyone, not the people at school,not my dad. I never talked to my dad much actually, not in thatfive-year period. Things were rather stressed between us. I knowhe wanted me to finish high school and stuff. He wanted me to beresponsible, reliable that was more important than becoming, say,a doctor or lawyer. I think my Dad was quite happy with what Ibecame. I have a good steady job and my bills are paid. You'renot scrambling around all the time. That was important to him.All through the school thing he wanted me to crack down, dobetter in school, but I was not too interested. I'm the kind ofperson that probably unless I more or less had my mind made upfor sure, I would never have approached the military recruitingpeople, or anything like that.From high school I went to work in the mills and I am notsure why. The mills were an easy place to get a job. You think,"I'll work here for a while until I decide what I want to do."45That is nineteen years ago and I'm still there. I've stuck itout but I didn't mind it. There have been good times and badtimes but shortly after (starting work at the mill) I bought ahouse, so I had payments and this and that. I just don't know.Just never minded the work that much and I always shut the workoff. Went and did my job for eight hours, went home and forgotabout it.You know, I still remember my first day at the mill. I hadbeen phoned on Saturday and told to report to this certain fellowon Monday morning. I didn't know anything about a mill, neverbeen in one before. I wandered around trying to find this guy andsomeone said, "Oh he's up by the Scrag saw." I finally found him.He was an old guy and he just looked at me, like I had long hairor something. I said "I'm supposed to report to you." He said,"You got a pair of gloves?" And I said, "Yep." "Well go to thegreen chain." I wandered around and found the green chain.Another guy showed me what to do, but there was no training. Yousort of muddled your way through the first couple of weeks.Actually I was "gung ho" on the first day. It wasn't bad. It washard work. It was the third or fourth day I was about ready tosay to heck with it. That is when blisters and stuff startedappearing. But I stuck with it and within a couple of weeks Ididn't mind the job.I was lucky it was the summer. The weather was good and I wasworking outside. It was the type of job, busy in spurts, say forhalf an hour, and then you'd have half an hour or so to soak upthe sun. When you first got out of school and you got your first46steady pay cheque, that was the most important thing. All of asudden there is money to do whatever you wanted to do. Neverthought more than a month down the road.Mind you, things are different today. It used to be if you hadno education and weren't all that good at anything you couldalways get a job in a mill. It was never really frowned uponbecause it was a good stable job and the pay was always decent.But it wasn't the place where you saw a lot of people with PhDsThere was this social thing of if you were out meeting people youdidn't want to say, "Well I just work in the mill." But at thesame time inside of me I didn't really mind the work I was doing.So, it was sort of like, I don't really mind working there butyou almost don't want to advertise it. It became kind of astanding joke amongst a lot of us that were in that position.People would ask; "What are you going to do?" We would say,"We're just here for a while, till we decide what we're going todo." We'd all kind of laugh at it knowing, I think, that we'llprobably keep working here till we retire.In time things changed; the mill was modernized and morebusiness like. It seemed like people started settling down. Thereweren't the jobs, you couldn't quit on a Friday and get anotherjob on Monday. By that time I had worked my way through torunning a cut-off saw, which was considered to be one of thebetter jobs as far as being on the floor of the mill. It was anoutside job, but you had your own little shack and nobodybothered you. You just ran the logs in, cut them to lengths, andthen they went into the mill from there. It wasn't anybody47pushing you that much as long as you kept the mill going, sort ofthing. You'd see the foreman coming once a night or day. ActuallyI enjoyed it, you could suit the mood you were in. I've alwaysliked swing shift -- two weeks nights and two weeks days. Anywayyou'd bring a radio or tape deck, plug it in listen to some musicand just forget about it. Do your job. But then I got to thinkingabout that a bit. I never really disliked the job I was doing,but what's it going to be like another thirty years from now? AmI going to be doing the same thing? I started to consciouslythink about it; I still had no interest in quitting the mill andgoing somewhere for other training or schooling or anything. Itwould have been very difficult. You know, newly married and allthis kind of stuff. A lot of expenses, it would make it difficultto quit.Then I went back to the cut-off saw, which again wasinteresting for a while. But after I'd been there (at the mill)for probably eight years, I was getting pretty frustrated. I wasmarried with one kid at least, so there were pressures youcouldn't quit as easily as you would if you were single. It wasthe first time I started to actually think like, "Do I want to dothis for another forty years?" You know, trying to imagineyourself as sixty years old standing pushing these stupidbuttons. I probably would have seriously started looking at otherthings, not so much other careers but just, "Do I want to be doingthis?" It was shortly after that, the opportunity to get into thefilling room happened. So I moved in there and I've never48regretted it. That's what I'll be doing until I retire. It won'tbother me.When the opportunity came up in the filing room, I made a bidfor it and I got it. It (the decision to learn a trade) was moreof a conscious decision. Like I didn't know anything about thetrade; I knew a few people that worked in it and I asked them acouple of things about what you do up there (in the machineshop). It was a more conscious effort to get something betterpaid and just a little bit more interesting over a long termthing than just sitting there running the cut-off saw.My first days in the Filling Room were really exciting. I waskind of up (excited). That was a really great moment, I rememberthat. It was a first step; you go from being just the guy thatworks in the sawmill up into the trades. You know, you're now atradesman, and moneywise it was a big jump in wages. Your statusin the mill itself. It was a jump because to a certain extent itwas the kind of job that everybody would have liked to have got,and not everybody could do. You have to be fairly slow not to domost of the jobs in the mill. But once you got up into thetrades, be it millwright or electricians or sawfiling, they(management) were a lot more careful. There were a lot morepeople rejected.After I started work at the mill I thought about otheroptions but never really made any effort to look into it. I don'tknow why; it was probably financial. Like I was married, had thefamily, all that kind of stuff. Financially in a sense in thatprobably held me into the mill more than anything. But also the49fact that I never really disliked my job at any time. I'dprobably really have to dislike my job to push me into goingsomewhere else.There was only one other job I considered at any time that Iremember since working at the mill. Right early, the first yearor two, a neighbor of my parents who was a bank manager was overfor coffee one day and we were chatting. He said I should lookinto working at the bank totally different ends of the spectrum.You work in a sawmill, you work in a bank. They're sort ofdifferent types of people. But I considered it. I actually wentdown to the school and found out what I was missing. It turnedout, it was a Biology 12 course and it wasn't offered bycorrespondence. I'd have had to quit the mill and go back toschool for a semester and that's as far as it got. It was thesame old thing. By the time I walked out of that school aftertalking to the principal, it was, "Ah, it's not worth it."While I've never really disliked working at the mill, I guessit's more that I have never really ever felt great about workingthere. To me, the job part of it has never been an ultimate goal.My idea of an ultimate goal is, just through the job, to be in aposition financially and secure enough to do the other thingsthat I wanna do. It was the other things that come first and itwas sliding yourself into a position in the job where you couldafford to do the other things, not always afford money-wise, butlike shift work (allows for free-time on and off the job.)I think luck and chance has a lot to do with how your lifeturns out. There are always a million and one things that can50change a situation, say, take the two head guys on each shift areworlds apart, they're totally different people. When I firststarted the trade, I had no option to which shift I was going on.It just happened that I was with this guy's shift and we getalong just super. We have stayed together now for twelve years onthe same shift that's probably one reason why it's a lot moreenjoyable. We spend a lot of hours at the job and when things aregoing good you sit back in the coffee room for two hours at atime and B.S. I mean we get along really good. Whereas on theother shift I know the guy fairly well too but we don't get alongin the same way, at all. The whole thing of work might have gonein a different direction, in a sense as it just wouldn't havebeen as enjoyable with this other guy.Today things are different and it is important for kids tothink about work and that sort of stuff. We're almost at thatpoint that if we're going to have any input at all it's now. Wehave chatted with them already about jobs and stuff, but only tothe point to try to get them to look at what they'd like to do.I've seen people locked into jobs that they hate but becausefinancially or socially they feel like they can't get out ofthem, and I would hate that and wouldn't want to see my kids intothat. Probably the big number one is do something that you'd liketo do. Money is something that is also important. I wish itwasn't as much, but in this society with the type of life-styleswe like to lead, it is. And commitment if you're going to dosomething then try and do it good. I've worked with people therethat have the same ticket as I do, but they do a lousy job and51they don't do any more than they absolutely have to do. I don'tthink it's a good way of living; it's not just your job,it'syour whole way of life. Like if you're building a house, itdoesn't have to be a palace, but build it well. Try and do a goodjob and if you feel good about yourself and good with yourselfwhen you're finished, then I think that's important. Whether atthe end of a day's work or something you built at home, youshould feel happy with what you do.Account 2, RobRob was about to start a business of his own at the time ofthe interviews. He is married with three children. His account isas follows:I started in the mill in the 1980s when I was trying tofind work after being laid off. I just took the job because itwas the first thing that came up, but after a couple of years Ibegan to see that working in a sawmill can also be a trap. It'shard to get out of the mill because of the wages and benefits.When I decided to quit the mill, I was making $21.00 an hour withbenefits worth $6.00 an hour. My next job paid $14.00 an hour andno benefits. The high wages at the mills make it hard for aperson to quit and find a job that they will find enjoyable. Youbecome accustomed to the high wages, set your lifestyleaccordingly, and then it is very hard to quit.As a teenager I had no goals other than I was expected tofinish high school. There was never any discussion with my familythat I would go on to college or other things. I was pretty mixedup, hanging out with the wrong crowd, partying. It wasn't till I52received the Lord that I began to straighten out; I began to seethings differently but by then I had left school. Still I managedto finish high school as was expected of me and that was that. Iliked school. I like learning, but sitting in class all daywasn't fun. I guess I'm more practical in a sense; learning newconcepts and new things with my hands is the way I enjoylearning. Even when I was working in the sawmill I tried to keepup by taking various courses through the college.When I first started work I was seventeen at the time and Ihad my own skidder on a rental purchase agreement, but it was abig mistake. My dad had presented the opportunity to me to becomean owner operator and I took it. He was an hourly man and hestill is today, but I think he has always hoped that one day hecould be his own boss. He bought his machine with the idea thathe could get out of working for wages, but he never has. ActuallyI always said I would never work in a sawmill, either. But whenthe 1980 recession hit, my boss cut way back on the logging andas a consequence I was laid off.Even when I took the job at the mill, I knew it would be adrag. I knew I wouldn't enjoy it because I'm not the kind of guythat can do assembly line work where you stand in one place allday. A lot of sawmill work is like that. It was very much a deadend. There weren't the opportunities to work your way up in thecompany unless maybe you were willing to spend twenty-five orthirty years in there. I've always wanted to get ahead and I knewI had the ability and energy to go further than just working in aplaner mill. But in time my goal of working my way up to53management seemed very unrealistic and I began to realize that. Ifelt trapped in a job I didn't like.What I remember about that first time I went to work at themill was that the owner of the sawmill (a member of his church),who was known to me, offered me a job and I took it. It was adecision to work in the mill I guess but I don't remember how itwas made. I had a young family (two kids) and we had just boughta house. I needed a steady income and the job was presented. Itwasn't something I was looking for. I know I could have stuck itout and looked for a job in the bush somewhere else. So I guessit filled a void in a sense. I basically took the job out of aneed for money. The less hungry you are the more picky you get. Ifelt I had a responsibility to my family first, before I had aresponsibility to myself to enjoy my job, because that is whatI'd been taught. When I think about my kids and my wife, they'refar more precious to me then going to work and feeling greatabout it. I can easily put up with eight hours of boring work,more than I can seeing my family having a hard time subsisting,making ends meet, and paying bills and depressed all the time.I was always very frustrated with work in the mills becausethere never seemed to be an opportunity to move into a positionwhere I could find meaningful work. Meaningful for me, that is. Iwas looking for something that I would look forward to doing andsomething with responsibility. For instance, I would enjoy beingin quality control where you're responsible for the quality ofthe product, where you're constantly getting upgraded in yourknowledge of wood, timber and lumber. I have always liked to keep54learning but I never had an opportunity, say, to go full time toschool or get training. My parents never encouraged me to studyor think about college. I don't think they could have reallyhelped me anyway. I've always felt frustrated because I feel surethere is some type of job that would really suit me; I just can'tfind it. No matter what I've done I've always tried to do mybest, like taking evening courses like welding or whatever. Infact I looked for ways to get training through the companies orthe forestry service, but all the time there was nothing, noavenues available to me. I felt trapped in a job and there was noway out.By the time I took my last job I think I was looking for a wayout of the trap, not just from mill work but being tied to thebig income and benefits. I guess I was afraid subconsciously, ifan opportunity to go out on my own presented itself I wouldn't beable to afford to take it. So we seriously looked at our budgetand spending habits. Then we decided to sell our house onViewmont Road and I buy a big lot in Telkwa which we subdivided.That summer I brought one house on the property while stillworking full time at the mill. We built another the followingsummer after the first sold. I was working sixteen hours a dayfor at least five months for a while there. Then we decided tosell the second house and purchased this place which gave us themoney to invest in an opportunity if it ever came up.By the time I quit, I had worked in three mills for a periodof ten and a half years: seven years at the first, then sixmonths at another and three years at the last. My decision to55quit came in steps. It was a gradual process of weighing thingsup and talking and praying. When I took the last job I wasn'tlooking at it as a temporary step, but I knew I wasn't going towork in a sawmill all my life. Even as I say that I have to admitI could have been there for another ten years. If an opportunityin the mill had come up I might still be there.In my last job I was grading lumber; the lumber would go pastup to ninety pieces a minute. You have to grade every secondpiece, so you're standing on your feet, flipping pieces with onehand and marking them with a crayon with the other hand. Thesmaller pieces were going by so fast that you really didn't get achance to look up. You had to kind of guess at them, which wasvery frustrating when I wanted to do a good job. I really likedworking with lumber, and learning about it was interesting. Butonce you mastered the grading it became meaningless kind of work.I don't know how some fellows do it for thirty years. Maybe theylook forward to what they have got going after work all the timeand concentrate on that. Me, I'd rather be able to apply myselfat work. I found when working at the mill, even though I didn'tuse much energy, I had no energy when I got home. Working at ajob I enjoy I can do vigorously, I feel a lot better when I gethome and I have energy for the things that I have to get donewhile I'm there.Eventually I think the frustrations just got to me. Especiallythe frustration of being part of a union because I'm not a unionsort of person. You see I strongly believe it's part of myChristian beliefs, that I'm employed by someone to do a job and56that I should work to the best of my ability and be thankful Ihave the job. If not, you should look for another job or look atyour motives for working.My frustration with the union was if I tried harder that putpressure on other people to work harder. And there wereinstances where I did that: I put more effort into my work, andas a result I was given jobs that were maybe sought after byother people who had more seniority than me. That createdconflicts in a sense subtle conflicts. Yet I got along witheveryone really well, but somehow there's always the resentment.Everyone expects it to work on a seniority basis instead ofmerit. That's the union way, which makes it hard for someone toget ahead. In fact, some people still resent me. I suppose Iwould too if I had been working in a place ten years and somebodycame along after a year and was given a job that I had beentrying to get for ten years.Eventually the frustrations built up and I decided to quit.It was not a sudden thing; I thought about it a lot. I weighedthings up, talked to people and prayed. When I finally brought itup with my wife she said, "Well, if you don't like it then youshould quit and find something you enjoy doing." I guess thatrelieved me of a little of the responsibility that I felt towardsthe family. I was surprised she thought that way, because her dadis one of the guys who could sit at the sawmill all day and notdo anything different the rest of his life. I guess maybe I hadput her in the same category. I spoke to a number of close57friends; some expressed concern about the financial future andthat sort of thing, but I quit and have never regretted it.Whenever I make an important decision, like quitting the millI talk to people a lot. It's often bad for me in the springbecause I get spring fever and I have lots of ideas. So I have tosit down and write the pros and cons. If there is any validity tomy ideas, then I talk to friends about them. It gives medifferent perspectives on the situation, different ideas. Maybemy friends know something I don't. I'm looking for moral supportfor if I go through with the decision. If I've talked and sharedwith these people and they've encouraged me to go through withit, in a sense they are obligating themselves for moral support.I've already experienced that sort of support. Like when wesubdivided the property and built the houses, we had a lot ofpositive support from friends and the Church community I alsomean direct support where they even helped us finish the houses.We couldn't have done it without them.When I make a decision I need some real positive feedback,encouraging word. I'm too chicken to go it alone. Things have tobe pretty clear with me. If I was single and on my own it wouldbe different but I have my family to think of. Once I have made adecision there is this deep down assurance. It's a comfort Ireceive that, even if what I am undertaking should fail I don'tneed to worry about it any more. Like now with this businesswe're buying, I'm at the point where I'm not obsessed withthinking about it that I can't sleep at night. I am at peace withmy decision.58Finally I'll have the opportunity where I'm going to seedirect results of what I do. I may not like what I see sometimesbut I will have nobody to blame for the situations around me. Iguess it is a chance to prove something to myself, I don't know.I have always wanted to do something with my hands, to provide agood service that someone was willing to pay for. It is importantthat I feel good about the service I provide and the peoplereceiving that service feel good about it too. I don't want to berich, I want to feel good about my work and what I am doing forothers.Account 3, LarryLarry is a 38 year old loader operator, married with twoteenage daughters. He wondered whether he had ever made adecision related to his participation in paid employment. By thethird interview he was more confident: he had not. Now, 20 yearsafter starting work at the mill, he is struggling with his firstsignificant work related decision. His account is as follows:It (working) has just happened. You start doing something andit gets easy to do. You get paid for it and you sort of gethooked into it. It's not a decision, I would say, for most hourlypaid people. They start into it as a temporary thing and end upfull time end up for the rest of their life, just about. Likeright now, I'm trying to decide, this is probably the firstdecision of my working career. There's a job opening up in thenext two years for a management position at the mill. And withthe scaling courses and a couple of other courses, I'll beeligible for it -- maybe not get it -- but I'll be eligible. You59know, should I move up into management? I am happy where I ambut?I did well in school, especially with the academic subjectslike sciences and mathematics. I've always liked to read, and atschool I studied anytime on the bus or at lunch, I guess, youcould say I was a bookworm." Larry developed an interest inMarine Biology while working with a cousin on a fisheries projectone Easter. He received further encouragement for this possiblecareer option from his high school biology teacher. During schooland following graduation he fostered this idea but nevertranslated his interest into a career plan or action. He cannever remember deciding not to pursue his interest in marinebiology. In retrospect he sees working at the mill as a lessthreatening choice. "Whereas it would have been a struggle to goaway from my friends and my family to somewhere else where Imight not be accepted." Larry lost interest in becoming a policeofficer for the same reasons: not wanting to leave his family andcommunity even for a limited period of time.Immediately upon graduating from high school he went to workat the mill, as he had the two previous summers before. "You'vejust got to go to work. There is no question about that, but Ican't remember really deciding anything. Back then I just playedit by ear; I went with the flow, kind of thing." His first jobwas to manually sort and pile lumber on the green chain. Whileworking there he meet a number of disenchanted professionals whohad left their respective careers to work at manual labor. Onewas a marine biologist. Larry's interest in a professional career60began to wane further. With his father's help he secured apermanent position at the mill. Thus Larry's working life beganin a similar fashion to his own father's.Larry is perplexed as to why and how his working careerevolved without more deliberation and purpose, beyond the need tosecure a steady and secure income. "It's sort of weird that waybecause I never had to make a decision like that. To make achoice between going to school it was at the time expected, youwere expected to go on. Especially because I had high marks. Butit didn't bother me not to go on. My parents knew I had thepotential but they didn't pressure, there was no pressure to goon."At the time Larry's greatest need was to be independent andself-supporting. Economic security was then of greater importancethan finding personal fulfillment in his work. " You're finishedwith school. You go to work for the summer and summer becomes thefall then the spring. Most of the guys that come through themill, they just get started for the summer or they clean up andthe wages are good. It sort of hooks you the wage. Like if I waspumping gas, it might have been different. I wouldn't have beenhooked as easily. If you had a choice between four dollars anhour and sixteen or eighteen dollars an hour as your start rate,that's a little bit more attractive to stay working, say, at themill there. If I'd never got on the mill then it might have beendifferent. I might have gone to college or something."In contrast to the lack of deliberateness and purpose in hisefforts to decide on a career, Larry was both determined and61courageous in his efforts to overcome his shyness. "Although tome books and stuff were an enjoyment, there were often parts tolife I was missing out on and I knew it . You know, like going toyour own graduation dance." The transition from nerd to extrovertwas difficult, and at times Larry's behavior was forced whichresulted in him inadvertently alienating himself from others.Despite the struggle and setbacks he faced, Larry takes pride inthe degree of social confidence and competence that he hasachieved. "At heart I'm still an introvert but I'm an extrovert.I make myself be an extrovert." In retrospect, Larry consideredhis lack of social confidence was an impediment to possiblecareer options. "It would have been a struggle to go away frommy friends and family to somewhere else where I might not beaccepted."Pursuing an alternative career path would have also meantleaving his girlfriend who later became his wife. " I wasn'tmarried then but it was a decision, you know. Four years inuniversity or stay with her. Anyway, it didn't seem like such abad idea, just working at the mill and staying with her, asopposed to going away and maybe not having a future. I'm not arisk taker then or now. I don't like to take risks. I don't wantto give up one security for an unknown. That is the type of risksI don't like,-- like skiing down a ski hill and not knowingwhat's around the next corner.At age 21, about to become a father, Larry was given adiagnosis of terminal cancer and given a life expectancy of fiveyears. This crisis propelled Larry into taking a risk. In62partnership with his father, he brought a farm. Larry regretsthat decision. He took a risk to pursue a dream which turned sourdespite his hard work and perseverance. "The lifestyle wasn'tenough to compensate for the real hardships that I put the wifeand the kids through back then; it wasn't like I dreamed about. Iwouldn't do that again because I was constantly working, eitheron the farm or at the mill, and as a consequence I had no timefor my family or my wife. I needed to work at the mill so we hadsome income and security. My long term goal had been to developthe farm into an economically viable unit and then quit the millbut it didn't work out that way. I stuck it out ten years beforeI decided to quit the farm. My wife was pushing me to quit andfinally she left me. A few lonely nights and I realized she wasright. You can't go on working that hard and not getting anybenefit at all."Today Larry enjoys his work and accepts the limits to whichhe or anyone else might find deep personal fulfillment in millwork. "You don't get that at the mill (intellectual stimulation).The kinds of decisions you make are very limited, but you know, Ilike manual labour, I like being physically active." At the sametime he jokes about the possibility of remaining there for therest of his working life. When asked if he would know when toquit, he replied, "About 2018 (my retirement date) or the day themill shuts, down which ever comes first." Larry has few regretsand looks back on all his life experience as useful, whatever theoutcome may have been.63Throughout the years Larry has had the opportunity to learna trade as a millwright, a saw filer, or an electrician, "Iseriously considered taking them as a trade better pay, usingyour mind slightly. It's not a heck of a lot more but you do haveto think about stuff." The only drawback was in the first fiveyears he would be on permanent graveyard shift away from home atnight. This situation was unacceptable to his wife, he thereforehas never pursued this option.It is activities outside his work that provide theintellectual stimulation and personal fulfillment that his worklacks. Larry is an avid reader, he is involved with his localunion, and during the summer he runs a small house constructionbusiness. He is frustrated with how his life is fragmented intoactivities which can only fulfill portions of his needs. Inlistening to him there is a sense of longing for the opportunityto be fully committed to a project. He wonders if a professionalcareer may have offered him such an opportunity.From Larry's perspective professionals may have moreinteresting work, but at a cost. He believes they must devotethemselves entirely to their careers, that the long working hourswith additional responsibilities and problems rob them of theirpeace of mind. "I sure don't have the headaches and ulcersprobably they do." He is caught between what he knows a workingman's life, and what he must speculate upon the experience of theprofessional. If he decides to apply for the management positionand is successful, he will forsake the security of his currentposition and hope to begin determining a more satisfying career64path for himself. But he is not convinced nor confident that hewill be better off, so he is relieved to have a six-monthprobationary period in which he can try out the job withoutpenalty or loss of seniority in the union. In contrast with hisexperience on leaving high school, today Larry is very aware ofhis struggle. Today's decision has a context and purpose which isboth evident and compelling to him.Account 4, JohnAt age 60 John took early retirement. He has been retired nowfor two years and enjoys his free time for fishing, maintaininghis house and taking life a little easier. Every day he walksfive miles to help him retain the flexibility in the ankle heinjured while working at the mill. John worked for twenty-fouryears in the mill before he decided to take early retirement. Helooks back on his working life and concludes. "Maybe there wereother opportunities, I don't know. I liked what I did. I wastired and got hurt but I'm satisfied." His account is as follows:John came to Canada from Holland shortly after the war, thoseyears in Holland were not easy. "We didn't have much as kids andwhen the Germans came it was worse. There were a lot of timeswhen there was no coal for the school. It was too cold to go, butthen suddenly they (the Germans) came and took the place over. Wehad to stay home. By then I was thirteen and living with afarmer, helping him milk his cows. You see, my dad had goneunderground. He was supposed to be working for the Germans but hedidn't. I can never forget the day he left. It was the summer and65we were in school when the teacher called us into the hallway andmy Dad said goodbye to us. He was crying and I really didn't knowwhat was going on. I never saw him for a long time after that. Afarmer picked me up; my brother went with someone else. We justnever knew if he was killed, I had no clues. My schooling stoppedthere.Even if there had not been the war, I don't know if I couldhave gone on to a higher school to, say, learn to be a carpenteror mechanic. We didn't have the money for it, but at least atthat time you could get a job without numbers of pieces of paper.No one said to me to think about what I would do. My dad, henever said much about that sort of thing. He never said get thisjob or that. I was sort of on my own. Now, a lot of people, evenuniversity students, they can't find jobs. Where do they go? It'spretty hard for the kids right now. The time when I came herethere were jobs all over. Now you need an education. Back inthose days you could quit one tomorrow, and the next day you hadanother job. You didn't need an education like you do today.Those days, they are finished.My brother had immigrated to Canada before me and he wroteand said it was a good place to come to, so I followed him out.I was unhappy at home. We had a housekeeper who didn't like anyof us and made our lives miserable; it was better to leave. Tothis day I don't know why she was so mean or why my dad put upwith it. I can't say I made a decision to come to Canada, becauseI didn't know what I was getting into. It was a risk and it wastough, not knowing English and all. I had saved some money so I66paid my way out here. The government didn't help me. I had a jobtwo days after I arrived in Telkwa.My first job was at a mill but I got laid off. So then Iworked for C.N. for the next eleven years. I only quit therailways because they wouldn't give me time off to take myfather, who was visiting me back to L.A., to see my otherbrother. My dad was not well, and the doctor said he should nottravel alone. So before I quit I asked the guy at the mill if,when I came back, could I start there? He said "Sure, don't worryabout it." I wouldn't have quit unless I had the other job to goto. So I started at the mill as soon as I came back from LosAngeles. I was at the mill twenty-four and a half years a longtime. I can't tell you why a person stays that long, maybe youstay because it's a habit, you have debts, or just because it isa good steady income. For me that was really important, to havefinancial security.My first job at the mill was loading box cars. Then theyneeded an edgerman and I learned how to do that. I used to pickup logs and cut them into slabs by pushing them towards the saw.It was dangerous work: the block would get jammed in the saw andsometimes spring back and hit you. Pieces would fly back and cutyou. I got hurt once, pretty bad. It was '69, November 19, therewas a piece stuck in the saw so I stopped the saw but left therollers going. Before I knew it, my feet were caught in therollers and was crushed, I couldn't get it out because I'd leftthe rollers running. My foot was cut up pretty bad, the bone thatsticks out (the ankle) is gone. The doctors fused my ankle and67even today there is a big screw in it. I was off work for a yearand came back to a different job. I never thought of not comingback. Where could I have gone? At the time you were lucky you hada job and I wanted to work.There were good and bad parts to working in the mill. I likedthe men, the joking around, like the day one of the guys wiredthe power up to a work bench and another guy sits on it. "Boom",did he jump up! The company is good to us. But the shift work washard on the family, and in the winter if you were on afternoonsyou came home cold, chilled to the bone. It would be 1:30 in themorning and I had to warm up before I went to bed. You eitheraccept the situation, (the shift work and the cold) or you wereout. What can you do? I was not going to go on welfare, I justwouldn't have done that.When you get to sixty the company gives you a retirementseminar and the wives are allowed to come as well. It was inPrince George and the company paid for everything: the hotel, thefood and everything. The seminar prepares you for retiring, theycover everything: income, filling in time, not staying in thesame town. They did a lot of good lectures. They a had goodspeaker; he explained a lot of things, good things things my wifeand I had not thought about. It was good to have Dorothy theretoo. The company have an early retirement plan which means theypay you to leave early and every year it is less and less. Soeven though I'm not working, the company is paying me. My wifegets a pension and I get one from Workers Compensation. Also I68get a Canadian Pension, and when I am sixty-five then I get myold age. So financially we can manage. I feel secure.We (his wife, Dorothy) talked about retiring a lot, and afterthe seminar it just seemed to be the right thing to do. Theseminar really helped me to decide to retire. Besides thinkingabout the money, I was having trouble standing in place for along periods of time. In my last job as a stacker operator I wasrequired to stand at a board and press a button to activate thestacker to lift a pile of lumber off the chain and place it readyto be taken away. There was no moving about, I had to stand inthat one spot all the time, and my ankle hurt really bad. Aftereight hours of standing I had enough. It was always the standingthat got to me. I was also getting bored with the job I was; on Ihad done it for three years by then.Mill work is hard on you. In the old days it was a lot ofbull work and slower. Now it is different, easier but faster.There is a constant pressure things have to be twenty timesfaster than they used to be. No one job is easy; every job hadits drawbacks, say like forklift driver. You bounce around a lotand when you are young you don't mind that, but after a whileyour back is going to pieces and you don't know this till you're,say, in your forties or fifties; then the damage is done. Wellthe benefits and the wages are good, otherwise I don't thinkpeople would stay and work under those conditions. Still, it is agood living, and today the jobs just aren't there. That's toughon the young kids.69The day I retired I was home early. It was July 29 and on thelast day I just walked around and talked to people, but after acouple of hours that was enough. It was kind of strange. Thecompany still pay you and the guys don't say nothing about yournot working. I was prepared for it because that is what theseminar was about; but it still felt strange. Now I enjoy nothaving to get up in the morning, but you know I never sleep inlate even though I can. Most of the time I work around the house,in the garden. Like yesterday I painted the picnic table.We plan on doing other things, we will travel, last year wewent to Europe for two months. I visited family over there. Lastwinter I bought a snowmobile and I go out with another guy whohas retired from the mill. I enjoy that. I couldn't have takenthe standing much longer.I am satisfied with my life perhaps because when I was a kidwe had so little and the future did not always look great. TodayI have a nice home, a secure income, good friends and my wife. Itis the little things that are important to me, like each yearwhen I go out to the bush at Christmas time and cut my own tree.When I was a kid in Holland I dreamed about having a tree, butonly the rich people had Christmas trees. Then when I came toCanada I couldn't believe it, everyone could have a tree, andevery year I get just as excited cutting my own tree.Account 5, TylerTyler drives a chip truck. He is 25 years old, single and anaccomplished athlete. He is the youngest informant. Heunderstands that his decision to work at the mill was not part of70any career plan but more a matter of "chance happenings". Hisaccount is as follows:Currently I'm a chip truck driver. I haul shavings from theplaner to the burner. I dump them and then burn them. Thisentails running a loader which moves the chips up into the burnerbut unfortunately the burning creates a lot of smoke. I like thisjob because there is some freedom involved; you can look aroundand the scenery is changing all the time, you're not stuck in thesame place. Inside the mill there are a lot of walls around youand you're standing in one spot. I like being free to move about.And I don't mind graveyard shift because I like going to bed inthe middle of the morning and getting up in the afternoon. Then Ihave the whole day to myself. I never planned on being at themill but I have always wanted to work at a good paying job.Actually it was my Dad who helped me get my first job. I hadquit school and was hanging around the house, moping around,nothing to do, and he put me to work. He packed my suitcase andthrew it on a plane. He took me to work with him in camp someseventy miles south of Bella Coola. He put in a good word for mewith the boss and said, "He's a skinny, strapping kid, we got toput some meat on him," and he did just that. I needed him to takecharge. Actually I wanted him to because I wasn't doing anything.Nothing had been working out; my life was a bit of a disasterthen.My first job wasn't that easy. It wasn't the work, it was theguy I was working with; he made it really tough on me. If you canwork with a guy like that first thing, you know you're going to71make it. If you can take it and not crack, you can just aboutmake it anywhere after surviving working with him. I managed and,besides, I liked being out in the bush, the big trees, the freshair. I might still be there if I had not gotten injured. That'swhat put me in the mill.At the time I got injured I was working on a drilling andblasting crew up in Bella Colla building a logging road. This oneparticular job had finished and we went out of camp for atwo-week break. While I was home I had entered a mountain bikerace, crashed and separated my shoulder. I was off work for thenext seven weeks, and when I phoned back to the employer hewasn't too interested. But then when I told him I was ready to goback to work he said, "No, we've hired someone else." That wasthat. I sat around town for the next five weeks waiting, and afriend who worked at the mill as a secretary put in a good wordfor me with her bosses. She told them I was a good worker. Thenshe told me to fill out an application form, and I was hired onthe next day.It was not as if I planned to be at the mill, it was morethat there was nothing else coming in. My friend said, "You'vegot to do something.", but all the time I was expecting to goback to the bush. She pointed out it was a better opportunity atthe mill because you're only going to be working eight hours aday and you can be home every day. In camp it was twenty-fourwhole days in with a week out. So I thought maybe I'd give it atry. But you see when she phoned she caught me off guard. It wasin the morning so I didn't get much time to think about it. She72did all she could on her end, which was a lot, and I wouldn't lether down. But my stomach was in knots when I went there. It waslike walking in with a blindfold on. I didn't know how it wasgoing to go or what was going to happen.I knew I was deciding to go through with applying for the job,but I can't say I really thought much beyond that. I was moreconcerned with, will I get the job, can I do the work? That sortof thing. I tried to be as calm and straight forward as possiblewith him (the planer mill supervisor), I thought it might help,might ease things out. When I walked in, my friend introduced me.I shook his hand, he looked at me and he looked down at myapplication and he asks, "You're twenty years old? He didn't seemto believe me, but then he said "Okay. Can you start tomorrow?" Isaid, "Yes I could start today if he wanted me to." So I signedthe application, said thanks to my friend and then I walked out.When I walked out, to the left of the building I saw the plannermill and I seen the boards falling down. Then my heart started togo. It really set in then that I was nervous. I kept thinking wasI going to be able to do it. I mulled it over that evening butthe next morning when the alarm went, I said "Well, this is it,let's do it." And I put in my eight hours.I needed the work really badly. And I didn't expect it to gothis long (four years). You know in the first week somebody toldme, "Well, it doesn't get any excitinger than this." I said, "Itdoesn't?" acting surprised. We joke around. It's a kind ofeveryday thing to joke back and forth like that all the time.There is nothing really surprising about the mill. It is pretty73straight-forward when you walk in. It's like put in your time andthen you punch your clock and it's out. Actually it's prettyboring, mill work, and so many people say the same thing. "Thisis it. This is all it's going to be." Everyone accepts thesituation.When you asked me am I a "lifer" I don't know. The guys jokeabout that, but things could change the next day or even the nextminute. For new people it's like: "Boy do you mean I've gottawork here for the rest of my life?" But that feeling goes. Youknow you can quit anytime. Not everyone can stick it out, youknow. I don't think you know (if you can stay with it) till youdo it.When I was twelve or thirteen and I had mill work explained tome, and I thought I couldn't do that, it sounded too complicatedfor me. I forgot about those feelings. Some people come in hereand they have been working say in logging for maybe fifteenyears. They come right off the street and they can do it. Theysay, "Well if I can do this, anybody could do it." I didn't havethat feeling. I didn't know if I could do it.It is now seven years since Tyler left school and he remembershis last years of school with a sense of frustration anddisappointment. "Up until grade nine, school was a lot of fun. Ienjoyed going to class, joking around, you know, the wayteenagers do, but the work part was really tough. I tried hardbut even with the teacher's help it got too advanced for me. Iwould just more or less give up on it. I learnt to be responsibleand I had to be patient, but I never got much out of school. I74was faced with being in grade eleven for a third time and I justcouldn't take it. I only completed one month of my last year anddropped out.Luckily for me I enjoyed sports and acting classes, you knowdrama classes. They were an escape for me. It was like I couldforget all about school, all about the paper work and just go outthere and participate. It (school) was really stressful. I didn'tknow it at the time but I do now. It felt like a heavyresponsibility. I just couldn't take that any more. I've alwayswanted the simple life, just everyday things with nocomplications. I think that is what my parents prepared us for.It wasn't, say, college, college, college or say you have to saveup for college or study really hard. They prepared us foreveryday living. Even when I was really young I just wanted tofollow in my dad's footsteps. He's a heavy equipment operator.When I was a little guy, say eight or nine years old, my dadwould take me with him to work on the weekends or during theholidays. He would show me the ropes, how to grease and oil themachine ready for the day's work. I would watch him operate theequipment and sometimes he would let me drive with his help. Icould drive a "crummy" before I could even look out over the topof the steering wheel. I don't know if I would let a kid do thatbut my dad trusted me. It was pretty safe.I've worked at the mill for four years now and I don't plan ondoing anything else at the moment. If you ask me will I be herethirty years from now I have to say I don't know. That's a toughone. I could get ahead in the mill but I'd have to wait till I75have earned enough seniority to apply for an apprenticeship. Whenthe weather is really bad, say if it goes to -40 C, or getsreally hot, then I start thinking about changing things around.Maybe I could go on and do something else, maybe thirty years ofthis kind of work would be a complete waste of time. But then if1 have accomplished things, say, through having a family and setmyself up well, then it is not so bad. Sometimes things get to melike the razzing. Once a guy drove me to the brink where I wantedto drive him one. That would mean automatic dismissal. So I said,"If this keeps up I'm just going to blow up and I'm just going toput in my notice." But I was moved on so it resolved itself.These days, I think you had better hold on to what you haveunless things change.I remember when I was in grade three and they asked us kids,"What do you want to be when you grow up?" I never answered thatquestion with, say, a fireman or policeman. Those jobs neverinterested me. I think I always wanted to be like my dad. He's areally cool guy. I mean you can talk about anything, joke, cussaround, he don't care. He's got a serious side, a financial sideand his family side. I guess you could say I am just like my dad:he moves dirt and I move wood.There are three other jobs in the mill other than the chiptruck that I am interested in. One's the forklift, the other isthe wood in-feed with the log loader (loading logs onto the deck)and the other is the Leturneau. That's the big auto-stacker thattakes the logs off the trucks and stacks them. Even though thechip truck is a bore at times, it'll do for now. I can't make a76change unless a job comes up for bid, and then it depends on whohas seniority. Like with the chip truck I had to decide if I'dtake it and if I did I might then miss out on an opportunity togo beyond it and get a better job. But if I don't take thisopportunity I will miss out on higher wages and have to go onanother shift. I wanted to stay on graveyard. It wasn't just me;other guys with more seniority were looking at it but I got it.When it is an important decision I take my time. I'm prettyslow. Like right now I am trying to buy a piece of property, butthe owners aren't sure they want to sell. I have lost a couple ofsleepless nights over that one. I've put so much time intolooking for the one I found and I really like it. I keepthinking, "Am I going to have to look more?" I have thought aboutit lots, talked with my parents. They are really keen for me toget the property. They will help me do the work, they are reallyexcited. I know already what it is going to look like becausewhen I was in school we got to write up house plans and Idesigned houses as school projects. Even when you weren'tsupposed to be designing I was. I kept all those ideas in myhead. Now I'll get a chance to use them, I hope.77CHAPTER VAnalysis and Discussion The analysis will be dealt with under the following headings:Discussion of the Five Decisions, in which the five accounts aredescribed; Commonalties and Differences, in which the casesarecompared; and Comparison with Theory, in which the fivedecisions are compared with the three theories.General discussionThe five accounts describe the experience of five men working-class men and their decisions regarding their participation inpaid employment. There were five decision situations: one tostart working at the mill, one to quit mill work, two to seekmore interesting work within the system, and one to retire, fivedifferent men with five different situations all of which wereunique yet remarkably similar.Ross's decision. Ross, the confused adolescent, lacked a plan for living. Hewas frustrated with school, unable to decide on his future, andyet unable to seek support from others to help him decide. Hedrifted into mill work because he felt unable to formulate acareer goal. His actions allowed him to temporarily set aside hisdoubts, confusion and frustration regarding his future; but themotivation for change was then lost. This was a critical momentfor him yet he had no awareness of it. He would never again be asfree to decide, unencumbered by the responsibility of providing asecure and steady income. In retrospect he knows he committedhimself to a lifestyle that has limited his options.78Ross acted on the principle that he must work, support himselfand be responsible. He did not pursue a career rather he found away to earn a living and achieve a measure of financial security.He felt pressured to find a job. For Ross there was noopportunity or obvious reason for him to stop, to be aware andfocus his attention on the short or long term consequences ofhis actions. Since he thought of mill work as temporary he had noreason to evaluate or question the direction his life was taking.Had he been more deliberate he may still have chosen to work atthe mill mindful of the consequences of his actions, and more incharge of his fate.A pattern was set in which chance encounters and constantaccommodations to boredom and frustration rather than a clearsense of purpose, propelled Ross forward to his decision tobecome a millwright. He did not seek out the trade so much as thesituation presented itself. He did a cursory information searchby talking to others and then committed himself to a worksituation he dimly understood one that would occupy him for thenext thirty years, the benefits and costs he still has notexamined.While Ross is satisfied with the outcome of his working life,he considers himself "lucky" to be where he is today. Thisawareness leaves him amazed and concerned. He is concernedbecause he wants his children to make good career decisions, yethe feels unable to help them. He is amazed because he realizes hecould have run out of luck and options to be trapped by his ownindecisiveness.79Rob's decision. Rob, unlike Ross, struggled to make a decision. He exploredoptions, he vacillated through periods of indecision and doubt,and he consulted with others until he arrived at the moment ofdeciding. Rob's decision to quit began long before he was awareof it; it began on his first day of work at the mill but took himtwelve years to act on after multiple false starts.For Rob, mill work proved to be boring, and without challengeor personal satisfaction a situation he had anticipated. Despitethese misgivings he chose to work at the mill. He knew there wereother career options available to him but they were dimlyconceived options; such as, acquiring further training orstarting his own business.His overwhelming sense of responsibility to provide for hisyoung family overshadowed his initial fears and misgivings. As asingle man there would have been less risk and no reason for himto endure mill work. In the role of provider, he found adetermination and commitment which gave him a sense of purposeand meaning beyond the nature of the work itself. His work effortwas a means to an end and had no value in itself, therefore hecould banish his fears and misgivings. Had he examined hismotivations closely he would have realized he was committinghimself to doing something he would hate. This neglect cost himthe satisfaction of feeling he was in charge of his work life andthe full awareness of the why he was so dissatisfied.Over time, following numerous efforts to enrich his worksituation, he came to the realization he was very unhappy and80that personal cost was too great. He was secure in the world ofmill work, but he was trapped and dissatisfied. To leave, herisked this security, but to stay he risked losing himself. Hefelt alone and different from his work mates in his desire tofind meaningful work. He was not only caught between twoconflicting needs, but also between two distinctly differentmotivations for working: work as a meaningful expression of self,characteristic of the middle class, versus work as a means tosecure an income, characteristic of the working class (Dunk1988).Rob was not only faced with making a decision related to work,he was faced with accepting he could no longer deny his own needsand aspirations. But he still lacked the confidence to make thedecision alone and so he sought out the unconditional support ofhis wife and church community. While still at the mill heexamined his options and he took business courses, soughtfinancial advice and planned. Slowly a notion of his ideal worksituation crystalized in his mind, he would own his own businessand provide a service to the community.When the opportunity presented itself he found himselfvacillating between confidence and doubt, euphoria and despair;he felt energized and distracted; he prayed. He wrote list of thepositive and negative consequences of all the options. Thedecision consumed his attention for a week; then, forced by adeadline, he decided to risk buying a business and he quit thesecure but stifling world of mill work.81Until Rob was interviewed he had no sense of how protractedhis struggle had been. He was surprised and delighted by therealization that finally he had trusted his own instincts. Inspite of an overwhelming sense of responsibility to his family,his decision to quit work at the mill was a significantvalidation of his own needs and self purpose, a moment of focusedintentionality in which he was striving to create a career asopposed to just being an employee.Larry's decision.After 20 years of mill work, Larry is grappling with hisfirst work-related decision: whether to apply for a managementposition or stay a mill worker. This decision presents Larry withthe same confusion, doubts and questions he faced when graduatingfrom high school. It is essentially the same decision situationto be a professional or not. The difference is that now he isaware and concerned about the future direction of his workinglife. He realize that if he avoids making a decision he willforfeit the very thing he most desires peace of mind.When Larry left school his attention was focused onestablishing financial security and independence in the adultworld. Like Ross, he conceived of his commitment to the mill astemporary, he could suspend making a decision. He did not have toaddress the long-term consequences of abandoning his interest ina professional career in marine biology or criminology. Nor didhe have to recognize he may have inadvertently committed himselfto a life-time of mill work.82At this point in his life the congruence that resonatedbetween his public self and his life circumstances was acompelling force in shaping his behavior and obscuring the needto be decisive. He was the son of a working man following in hisfather's footsteps, trading physical labor and resourcefulnessfor a "good steady income." Larry referred to being "hooked",seduced into a lifestyle as if he was powerless to change thecourse of events. Yet, in other aspects of his life he wasdecisive, determined and courageous.There were no warning signs or indicators to challenge Larry,no motivators to alert him to his lack of deliberateness. Family,friends and the prestige of having money reinforced an alreadyexisting life structure (working-class) and inhibited thepossibility of him pursing his private ambition an interest inmarine biology. The cultural stereotype of the worker dominatedover the dimly conceived and perhaps alien image of theuniversity educated professional.The need to satisfy his intellectual curiosity has remainedprivate and relegated to a minor position or satisfied in nonwork related activity. Caught between these two aspects ofhimself the thinking man and the worker he has struggled to findan arena in which he can express both, but has been unsuccessful.It is eighteen years of accumulated frustration, of not beingable to commit himself wholeheartedly to a project, that ispropelling him towards making his first significant careerdecision.83Larry, like Rob, has begun planning for a change but unlikeRob his commitment to this change is conditional. He is waveringand unsure. He debates with himself, arguing and questioning eachpossible option. At times he speaks with authority and confidenceabout possible outcomes of his decision; at others he wonders whyhe cannot just be a loader operator. His decision is not only adecision to change the type of work he would do but a decision toshift his identity from worker to professional. This question ofidentity is the very same dilemma he ignored in his youth. Thistime he has some awareness of the costs he has incurred as aresult of not facing up to himself and addressing his need forgreater personal challenge in his work.He consults with his wife and considers the needs of hisfamily, yet he seems more mindful of their cautions than theirsupport for his changing. Larry fears making a mistake, hisfailed experiment at farming haunts him and has robed him of theconfidence he needs to commit himself wholeheartedly to changing.He has talked to management, to the man whose position he isapplying for; this time he wants to be sure. But he is notwilling to risk his current security, so he has devised two setsof action plans: one to complete the decision and one to abortthe process and return to the status quo if the need arises.He wonders if it is too late to make a career change. There istalk that the position he is seeking may be upgraded, requiringthe incumbent to have some form of training. Larry is steppingback and attempting to take charge of his working life.84John's decisionJohn's decision to retire reflects a rich interplay betweenthe tragedies and triumphs of his life: his overriding need tomaintain security and his declining health. He was only dimlyaware of these factors prior to his taking the pre-retirmentseminar offered by his employer. Yet it is these very factorswhich played a major role in shaping his decision.The seminar did provide John with an opportunity to reflectand evaluate the options before him: to continue working at fullsalary until 65 or to retire at 60 with a reduced pension. Beforethe seminar he had informally weighed up the pros and cons ofboth options but his participation in the seminar heightened hisawareness and broaden his perspective. He had never thought ofhimself as not working and until the seminar had not fullyexplored what would be the gains and losses in deciding toretire. The seminar provided him with a frame of reference onwhich he could organize his thoughts and ideas.While the seminar facilitated the decision-making process,his motivations came from the awareness that now he could trusthimself. He had finally reached a point in his life when he feltsecure. John was not convinced so much by a rational accountingof his financial resources, but he was persuaded by the innerconviction that he could be secure. As a result of his attendingthe company seminar, he was able to find the confidence to make aplan for early retirement. Had he not used this opportunity hebelieves he would still be working, tolerating pain and boredomuntil could put up with it no longer.85John worked at the mill to secure a steady income. Theboredom, the lack of challenge and the rough conditions were theprice to be paid for security. When John decided to leave he wasnot leaving meaningful work but abandoning a work habit, alifestyle and identity which had no direct relationship to thenature of the work he performed. When there is no income tocompensate for the hardships of working in a mill there is noreason to pursue this activity.Despite all of this, the decision to retire was not madeeasily. It required soul searching and a reappraisal of his ownpurpose. John lost the sense of camaraderie and focus that workhad provided in his daily life. The tantalizing illusions ofbeing able to sleep in, of doing what you want when you want todid not give him the satisfaction he had anticipated.John does not regret the decision, but the consequences ofnot working are still a surprise to him. He looks for structureto his daily life and struggles to be comfortable with defininghimself as a retired person. His wife's endorsement of hisdecision was vital; without her support he might not have foundthe conviction to retire. John's life goals are now to enjoyspending time with his wife, to maintain his health and to play alittle.Tyler's decision.Tyler, like Ross, was a confused and disheartened teenagerwith out a career goal when he left school. He had lostconfidence in his ability to cope and felt powerless to decide onhis future. Had his father not intervened he may have drifted86aimlessly into unemployment, and lost hope of ever "getting hislife together". His decision to work at the mill reflects acoming together of favorable circumstances rather than a processof planning and deliberation.Tyler recognized being out of work was a problem. For him thesolution lay in his finding work, not in improving his decision-making ability. This is a simplistic but accurate assessment ofhis situation if his frame of reference is understood. Tyler,like the other men could not tolerate being idle nor would he lethimself go on welfare; his family expected him to be productive.He had a grade ten education and feared being placed in asituation where the demands of the job exceeded his ability. Hadhe gone to a career counselor it is possible that he might havelooked at longer term options such as further training oralternative work options, but the dilemma he faced of not havinga secure income would have not changed. He had to find work.Tyler was immersed in the experience, consumed by it, unable tostep outside his immediate awarenesses and grasp differentthoughts or ideas, unable to generate solutions beyond theobvious and known.It was the intervention of a good friend that initiated theprocess of deciding. She presented the mill as an option,persuading Tyler by listing benefits which were largely unrelatedto the type of work he would perform. He had no knowledge of whatwould be required of him nor did he stop to consider if theremight be negative consequences to working in the mill. Hisknowledge of the mill was drawn from local banter which stressed87the high wages and good benefits. The consequences of boringunchallenging and dangerous work are rarely discussed; these arefactors the men make light of or accept grudgingly as the priceto be paid. Tyler, like all the other men, ignored these factorswhen deciding to sign on not only committing himself to a styleof working but to a process of accommodations and acceptance thatmade it possible to sustain a purpose for working.Tyler sees his commitment as temporary and while he maintainsthis orientation he can suspend looking for a greater purpose anddirection in his life. The consequences of his drifting have notbeen examined nor has he established a criteria by which he couldjudge was the right time or reasons to quit working at the mill.There is always the possibility of moving on if things get bad. Arationalization which allows him to avoid looking at the realityof his life. Tyler, like all the other men, would not declare heis committed to mill work for the next thirty years yet theyinadvertently drift into this situation, seemingly trapped bytheir lack of decisiveness. Tyler derives some satisfaction fromthe knowledge that he is a good steady worker and well liked bythe company, but, derives no satisfaction from the work itself.His decision to work at the mill has meaning only because itaffords him an income and time to pursue his rigorous fitnessroutine.Commonalties A number of features are common to all five decisions. Themen worked in order to provide a steady and secure income. Theyacquired jobs as opposed to the popular notion of pursuing a88career. They valued maintaining security above the need to findmeaningful and interesting work. None of the men fully evaluatedthe risks or benefits of working at the mill: though they all atsome time thought of quitting. They all enjoyed physical laborand relish the opportunity to apply themselves in findingpractical, as opposed to theoretical solutions to problems. Theyaccepted that membership in the union would in large part controlthe choices available to them. The high wages and benefitsoffered by this type of work provided the incentive to sign on,and proved to be a potent force in maintaining their commitmentto this workplace. They all understood that the work wasgenerally boring, and personally meaningless, and, that thepossibility of physical injury was real.Decisions they made related to their work life were notimmediately conceived of as critical moments, requiring attentionor deliberation. They accepted the role of worker as modeled bytheir fathers without determining if it would meet their needsand aspirations. As young men they did not explore career optionsbeyond the idea of seeking work. They all held vague notions ofpossible alternatives but none which could be said to have hadany impact on their decision-making behavior. It was not untilthe adverse consequences of working at the mill was experienceddid the men have the motivation or knowledge to examine what theyhad done. The role of worker proved for each man a limitingprescription, an orientation which constrained their confidenceand retarded their motivation for change. These men were free todecide only through the perspective of the worker.89There was no distinct moment of deciding, no crisis thatpropelled these men to decide, but, typically, a gradualprogression forward. None of the men spoke of following hunchesor intuitions. Except for Rob, and in part, John, they did notdemonstrate a focusing of attention, a directing of energy andawareness to the task of deciding. These decisions initially seemnondescript, in fact almost nonexistent, yet upon reflection,these men's behavior can be understood as a statement ofintention or the creation of meaning and purpose in their lives.This intentionality is fractured and dispersed, lacking awholeness and coherence which would make it readily identifiedand understood. Yet these decisions are acts of intention of, amaking real the self (Osherson 1980), of implementing a processto create the person I am to become within the role of worker.The significance and meaning of each decision was revealedonly as the layers of personal awareness were discovered. Whilethe men had an assurance that the path they had taken was theright one, they had no awareness of how this was so. Bydescribing their decision making process they were able discoverthe factors and people who had played a significant part inshaping their decisions. They came to know the context in whichthey had made their decisions, awareness and knowledge they didnot have during the period of decision making.It is evident that context plays a significant role instructuring the outcome of these five decisions, in particular,the context of class. Support for this argument is drawn from thetheme of resignation and accommodation which resonates throughout90all five accounts of decision making. Working-class youth takingworking-class jobs to live out working-class lives. Yet this istoo simplistic a conclusion to reach. The rebuttal to thisexplanation was provided by the informants' own rejection of thenotion. None believed their lives were predetermined, althoughthey were aware of how their work-related decisions seemed lessdecisive than other decisions they had made. The men couldidentify and gave examples of what they called "real" decisions,those which more closely approximated the rational decisionmaking models: Tyler in deciding to buy land, Larry in hisdecision to be an extrovert, Ross in his decision to buy a house,John in his decision to leave his father's home and Rob in hisdecision to build houses. They do not have explanations for whydeciding on a career should be any less significant but they allfelt confident that by following their fathers's footsteps alongthe same career path, they knew they "couldn't go wrong."Although the working-class culture did not predetermine theirlife path, it provided a confidence and knowledge of the world ofwork which took them into the mill, and for all except Rob, hashelped keep them there.Conceiving of this one aspect of context, the working classculture as a critical influence on decision making is useful, yetlimited. It is useful because from this perspective of class itis possible to trace a number of themes and ideas whichinfluenced the decision-making processes of all five men. It islimited, because none of these men were totally passive, pawnscarried along reacting to the environment and unable to create91their own unique purpose. The individual motivations andaspirations of each man helped them transcended and translatedthe working-class culture in very different ways. The challengein understanding their decision making behavior lay inunderstanding the interchange between the working-class cultureand each man's personal motivation. The boundary between theinfluence of class culture and the personal was in all casesobscure, difficult to define and identify. Each man could readilyspeak to his personal motivation but he was not cognizant of theinfluence his socioeconomic status may have had on his decisionmaking.An examination of the men's experience with formal educationillustrates this point. With the exception of Larry, all the menexperienced difficulty, sometimes major difficulty, in copingwith formal education. Although they were expected to applythemselves in school, they were not expected to excel. They werenot encouraged to think of planning a career, nor to seek furthertraining. On leaving school their parents hoped they could find ajob and prove to be a steady worker. These findings are congruentwith what is said to define working-class attitudes andexperiences of formal education (Dunk 1988). These men did notstate that it is the working class that which shaped theirexperience but they did say how significant were the attitudesand expectations of their parents, in influencing their attitudestowards education and their choice of work. In fact, for Larry,Ross, and Tyler, their fathers played an active role in helpingthem secure a job. Cultural attitudes shaped how they conceived92of the need, the value and importance of formal education andfuture career plans. Cultural attitudes shaped their attitudesand approach to making a career decision.But each man's experience was also unique. For instance,John's education was dramatically interrupted by the Second WorldWar. Despite the war he believed his family could never haveafforded to finance him through further training. For John towork was to survive a belief grounded in the reality of earlychildhood experiences. Both Ross and Rob felt alienated by acurriculum that they perceived as too academic. They werefrustrated in their efforts to find challenging opportunities tolearn which focused more on the technical and applied subjects.Ross, attributed the cause of his difficulties to theinadequacies of the system, while Rob tended to internalize hisdifficulty and considered the deficiency to be personal. Robbelieved his only option was to change himself. Tyler wasmotivated to do well but his inability to cope with "the paperwork" overwhelmed him. Like Rob he assumed he was responsible forhis "failure". As a result of this experience Tyler had learnt tobe cautious, to see himself as not being good enough even for ajob he could master without difficulty. These five men sharedsimilar cultural expectations of formal education but haddifferent personal experiences.Comparison with TheoryThe Conflict Model Janis and Mann (1977) consider an effective decision maker isone who utilizes the urgency induced by the stress of deciding in93combination with cognitive strategies to make the idealdecision. A balance must be found between optimal stress whichenergizes the decision maker and overwhelming amounts of stresswhich force the decider to abort the process or adopt ineffectualdecision making strategies. The model "applies only to decisionsthat have a real consequence for the decision maker and therebygenerate some discernable manifestations of psychological stress"(p. 69). This qualifier requires there be risk or potential forloss which threatens goal attainment. What is implied but notstated is that the decider conceives of the need to make adecision, accepts that the threat is consequential, and is ableto evaluate the risks involved in making or not making adecision.Although each man assumed responsibility for his lifecircumstance, none except Rob conceived of his decision-makingbehavior related to participation in paid employment as acritical moment of deciding, or as Janis and Mann termed,"consequential". At times they all experienced some degree ofstress and self recrimination, yet this awareness did notimmediately propel them to more decisive action. Once they hadsatisfied their principal goal of securing a good steady incomeand had found a tolerable balance between boredom and personalinterest, each crisis passed. Ross described this as "taking thepressure off." The motivation for change was lost. It is not thatthey abdicated responsibility for their fate, but that theirframe of reference their cultural values and knowledge of theworld of work, provided support for this coping strategy. To94endure was more familiar to them than to capitalize on theimpetus of the moment and make a decision. As time passes thepromise of change becomes a seductive illusion which in realityis very difficult to achieve; but the possibility of changeremains the panacea for their doubts and misgivings.For Rob the stress which propelled him to act took time toaccumulate. The conflict he faced was between his dissatisfactionwith mill work and his fear of change. If he quit could heprovide for his family? He tried for twelve years to make theaccommodations but he could not. He tried to change his worksituation without risk by creating minimal change and in doing soput off facing the decision situation. Finally he felt forced toact. At times the stress induced by this awareness overwhelmedhim; at times it energized and motivated him to decide.In Rob's account, and in those of the others there is novigilant search for information, no generation of all possiblealternatives, no weighing of the pros and cons of potentialoptions, and no selection by rational calculation of the mostdesired option. Ross and Tyler considered the need to change butfailed to be vigilant in their decision making efforts and optedfor unconflicted change. While all the decisions had some of thecharacteristics of the conflict model comparison with this modelillustrates that the strategies these men employed wereineffectual and their decisions suboptimal.Both Rob and John did focus their attention on the task ofdeciding, and partially completed the first three steps ofeffective decision making as outlined by Janis and Mann. They did95canvass a range of alternative courses of action, but theirefforts were neither thorough nor complete. They partiallysurveyed the range of objectives to be fulfilled and the valuesimplicated by their choice. This information and awareness wasnot foremost in their consciousness but was vague and fleeting.Rob was motivated by the desire and personal need and hestruggled to evaluate the consequences of each option. Incontrast, John allowed the structure of the seminar to lead himthrough the evaluation process. The impetus to begin deciding andsystematically evaluate his options was in part provided by anexternal circumstance. Had he not attended the seminar it isunlikely that he would have had enough information to feelconfident about retiring. Their failure to effectively completethe three steps outlined by Janis and Mann prolonged the periodof decision making and continued the roller coaster of self doubtand recrimination which resulted.Larry's decision making behavior mirrors what Janis and Mannhave defined as "defensive avoidance", a false start to thedecision making process. That is, the decision maker's appraisalof the expected gains or losses are mediated by hopes or fearsthat are not in conscious awareness but rather operate at apreconscious and unconscious level. Larry fears taking risks andhas a limited understanding of why he has lost confidence in hisability to make work related decisions. It was only as a resultof recalling his experience that discovered the factors which hadaffected his ability to make a decision. Factors such as the96passage of time, the influence of family and previous lifeexperience on shaping how he perceives his situation.What this model illustrates is the need to focus attention, toorient oneself to the task of deciding, and to take charge of theexperience. Had each of the men pursued the seven steps toeffective decision making they may well still have made thedecisions they made. But they would have gained clarity, selfunderstanding and greater individual purpose. Clearly these mendid not incorporate effective decision making strategies asoutlined by Janis and Mann in making decisions related to theirwork. How this came about and why can in part be attributed toclass consciousness which provided them with a collective purposeand allowed the men to abandon their individual desires and needsin the workplace.The men discovered glimpses of this collective purpose as theytalked about their lives: Tyler in his realization that he wantedto be "just like his dad"; Rob in taking on mill work despite hispersonal misgivings; Larry in his rejection of a "professionalcareer" for the secure; and Ross in proving to be a good steadyworker, like his dad. Each man's purpose was created from realconcerns: income, family obligations combined with the collectiveknowing of "the right thing for them to do." It is the impact ofclass consciousness which directs this sense of "the right thingto do" but at the same time eclipses the individual's will tobecome his own person. John's discussion of mill work illustratesthis point well:The company was good to us, but the shift work was97hard on the family, and in the winter if you were onafternoons you came home cold, chilled to the bone.It would be 1:30 in the morning and I had to warm upbefore I went to bed. You either accept the situationthe shift work, the cold, or you're out. What can youdo? I was not going to go on welfare, I just wouldn't havedone that.On a rational level one can argue that there werepossibilities for John other than going on welfare, but none thatJohn could conceive as possible. He feared being without workeven in times of high employment. From some place of intuitiveknowing John had come to accept his circumstances. He understoodthe cost in both physical and emotional terms that mill work hasexacted from his life, yet he would not change his lifecircumstances. John has few regrets and is satisfied. He hassurvived yet, how much of his potential has never been realizedin the workplace?Janis and Mann would argue that each man needed to treat thedecision as consequential, then they would have understood thechallenge they faced. They did not, they lacked the awareness andorientation from which to examine all the possibilities beforethem. Nor did they have the direction and purpose with which tocommit themselves to the task; they therefore compromisedthemselves in the act of deciding. They forfeited the possibilityof being fully in charge of their work life and of findpersonally rewarding work.98The Rational Model The model proposed by Horan (1979) was developed as a guideto counselors in assisting their clients to make betterdecisions. The model combines classical decision theory withcognitive behaviorism emphasizing logic, systematic and rationaldeliberation and the qualification of subjective values. Thedecision maker must identify the situation as a problem requiringa decision, generate possible options both familiar and novel,evaluate these options by a criterion and finally rank order theoptions and select the option providing the maximum gain. As inthe conflict model, decision making is conceived of as a rationalprocess, the difference is Horan focuses on the need toincorporate personal values. He measures personal values byarranging each value in order of importance and then assigns anumber to give a quantifiable index the subjective motivations ofthe individual.Stage one of this model is conceptualization, the deciderdefines the situation as one of choice and understands the scopeand extent of the problem. As has already been discussed, thefive men may have understood they had a decision to make but theydid not know or were able to appreciate the importance of thesituation. At a rational level of awareness, deciding to committo thirty or forty years of physically demanding, boring work,would suggest poor judgement or poor decision making. All the menlaughed when asked could they give a rational argument to supportchoosing mill work as a career. They all laughed at the idea thatanyone would entertain such a question and rationally decide to99do this. Yet all these men did choose to work at a mill and forsignificant portions of their work life. In fact, Larry, Ross andTyler all alluded to how the men joke about their situation as ifthey all know they may never get out of it. Only Rob felt"trapped" and thereby compelled to get out of the system.To enhance the five men's decision making processes, Horanwould encourage them to firstly treat the moment as significant,and thereby commit themselves to focusing time and energy to acritically evaluation of the situation. By doing this they mighthave pursued a more planned and satisfying career; failure to doso diminished their sense of control over their own destiny. Itis this act the deliberate focusing oneself on the task ofdeciding in a systematic and organized way, which aided Rob andJohn to make their decisions even though they where neithercomplete nor thorough in the process.Horan's second step is designed to correct the tendency ofmaking a decision when the decider lacks ideas, has not exploredall alternatives and prematurely forecloses the explorationprocess. While Rob and John did consider a number of responses,their options were drawn from a narrow range of possibilities asdefined by the context of their working lives. None of the menentertained novel or dramatically different outcomes nor did theyhave the benefit of an objective other (counselor) during theirdeliberation.Yet herein lies the contradiction: between what can be definedat a rational level of awareness as cursory or perhapsineffectual decision making behavior, yet as a part of a total100life story their actions have other meanings and significance.It is only by examining these other meanings can there be anappreciation for why and how the men where motivated to behave asthey did and to understand why rational problem solving heldlittle or no sway on the process each man pursued. John'scommitment to mill work allowed him to establish himself andretire early, secure and proud of his achievements. The youngLarry was not ready to deviate from his working class roots andlaunch into a professional career, but over time he has gainedthe confidence to "give it a try." Committing to mill work gavehim the time he needed. Ross "got himself into position" withinthe mill. He has a trade, good workmates and a lifestyle helikes. Shift work provides him with enough quiet time at home topursue his hobbies while still allowing him time with his family.Tyler needs the daylight hours to train on his bicycle thereforeworking graveyard shift is ideal for now.The positive outcome to each of the five situations reflectshow each man has adapted to his situation rather than takencharge of his fate. For Tyler and all the other men, a secureincome equates to security, and security to survival in much thesame way as the blue collar workers in the Csikszentmihalyi andBeattie (1979) study of life themes determined. These authorsfound that despite having a secure economic base, the blue collarworkers continued to define their experience from this locus. Ifthis idea is followed through, it is possible to conclude thatTyler, like all other blue collar workers, perceives he haslittle or no choice until the basic need for security is met.101Once that need is met then the possibility of other options canbe entertained. Unfortunately this commitment to work for ahourly wage which provides security may also limit futurepossibilities. Willis (1977) referred to this as "the factorydoor slamming shut behind them" and thereby restricting futurecareer options.The Deciding in Context model Of the three theories, Sloan's (1987) deciding in contextmodel provides the most germane process to explain the behaviorof these five men. His is a method to examine decisions as theyare lived. He is interested in the complex array of influenceswhich come together to give each decision meaning and purpose,hence his interest in context. Thus a decision reflects personaldesires and needs. At the same time it is composed of elements ofpast experiences mediated by the life historical and culturalinfluences external to each individual.Sloan acknowledges the role of rational deliberation indecision making. But he argues the over-emphasis and over-reliance on this one aspect of decision making to explainbehavior has lead most traditional models to a very incompleteand inaccurate understanding of a multifaceted phenomenon. ForSloan a decision can only be understood through the reflectiveunderstanding of the decider. That is, as the individualdeliberates on his motivations, awareness and life circumstances,only then can the unique purpose and meaning supporting adecision be expressed.102In the ideal, the decision maker is "free to choose"unconstrained by others or life circumstances. The perceivedconstraints which limit decision making are most often identifiedas being external to the decider. Conflict occurs between thatwhich the individual desires and that which the social culturalcontext will sanction. Based on his research, Sloan believesindividuals are more likely to resort to rationalization and selfdeception than they are to feel free to choose.The context according to Sloan can be divided into two broadcategories: the context of character which deals with thepositive and negative self images, and the life structuralcontext which is further divided into three other contexts: lifehistorical, social and cultural.The life historical context. Each man's life story was affected by world wide events thatin turn had an impact on the decisions they made in John's casein a dramatic way in the case of the others the influence wasmore subtle. John grew up in Holland during The Second World War.His home life and schooling were abruptly altered when his onlyliving parent, his father, left without explanation to join theunderground. This was a time of fear and worry for the thirteen-year-old John, never knowing whether his father was alive ordead. When the war ended his family reconnected, but by then Johnhad lost his sense of security and belonging. A steady incomemeant much more to John than just being able to afford alifestyle. It was as vital as breathing oxygen. His decision toseek early retirement allowed him to relax, to trust he will103survive in what John now perceives is a less hostile and morepredictable world.Larry, Ross and Rob were adolescents during the sixtys, atime of social unrest which affected on their lives. What of thedisenchanted professionals who Larry meet in his first year ofwork at the mill? Their opting out did not stop him from choosinga professional career, but their rejection of the very thingLarry sought challenged his failing interest and courage. Asteenagers, Ross and Rob alluded to a time when dropping out,partying and living for the moment were valued. There wereunlimited opportunities for unskilled laborers and the realpossibility of making "good money". The future was always a longway off not so today, they observed.Today both John, Ross and Rob wonder aloud where young menlike themselves will end up. The labor market is tight andshrinking; they know this because they have seen the effects onthe work force at the mill. It is well known by the men that inthe future mill workers will need a grade twelve educationbecause of the increased use of computers and the modernizationof equipment. They know that the choices available to them whenthey first started work have evaporated. This awareness induces afear of change and intensifies the need to hold to the secure andknown or as Tyler put it, "These days, I think you had betterhold on to what you have unless things change."The local economy of the town and outlying communities isheavily invested in the lumber industry. Problems related to thatindustry have had, and still have, an immediate impact on the104lives of these men. If the wood supply to the mill is reducedthere will be lay lay-offs, mill closures and no increase inwages. The "Greenies", conservationists who are calling for areduction in the timber supply, are seen to threaten the securitythat these men value. Management can justify holding the line onwages, hiring and or improvements to the workplace because of a"poor outlook". This debate is real and of immediate concern toall the men, including Rob, whose new business is directlyrelated to the lumber industry.During the time of the interviews, the men were on a three-daywork week because of poor lumber prices. Despite these threats,none of the four men employed is talking of moving away from theresource sector. It is as if each is prepared to wait and seeresigned but vulnerable.The social context.The social context includes, immediate family, friends andcommunity. For all the men, the expectations of their familiesshaped how they conceived and valued work. Family values andexpectations shaped the decisions they made. Their fathersplayed a significant and for some an active role in helping themlaunch their working lives. Tyler's father took him in hand andloaded him on the plane. Larry's parents "knew he had thepotential but they didn't pressure" him to go on to university.In fact, his dad helped him get his first full- time job at themill. The message they heard from their families was: "get a job,support yourself and settle down."105Except for Tyler, all these men married in their earlytwenties, bought houses and had begun to raise a family. EvenTyler talks of buying land and being set up. He speculates thatif working at the mill allows him to build a house and support afamily, then it will be worth it. That promise is enough tosustain him and buffer him from moments when he questions thewisdom of possibly committing himself to a lifetime of mill work.Maintaining the ability to support a family was a key factorin why Larry, Ross and Rob continued to look for career changewithin the system. Any change which threatened their ability tofulfill this function was avoided until the accumulatedfrustrations of their situation forced them to act. Rob decidedto quit but had made adequate provision for the family. If Larrytook the management position he would have a six-month trialperiod during which he could try out the professional lifewithout jeopardizing his current secure senior position. And Rosskept bidding for more interesting work in the mill until hedecided to pursue his trade.Two other elements of the social context have had and stillhave an impact on the lives of these men: the union and thelarger community. The union gives these men a voice, a collectivesense of power and is seen to protect their interests. But thiscollective force also limits the freedom of each man in some way.Rob felt unable to excel and advance on merit alone; Tyler has towait until he acquires enough seniority to bid on the position heis interested in; John accepted the predetermined retirementpackage which management and the union had worked out. For Rob106the restrictions of union membership were too great he feltstifled so he left. The decisions these men made and willcontinue to make are in part accommodations to that collectivewill as much as they are expressions of individual intention.The mill is the largest employer in the area. The boom andbust cyclical nature of the resource sector has a real impact onfortunes and misfortunes of this community. When lumber pricesfall, there are layoffs, cutbacks, restrictions on hiring andfear. The promise of a secure future is then up for question.This still affects Rob and John. If the forest industry fails sowill Rob's directly related business venture. John would beaffected because when the local economy fails, people leave thecommunity, services are downgraded and the sense of communitywell-being, gives away to uncertainty and doubt. Each man mustlive with these changes, powerless to alter the fate of thecommunity but at the same time he must struggle to pursue his ownlife path. Although each man is concerned none is defeated, eachinstinctively know he will pull through.The cultural context. Already some mention has been made of the impact of theworking-class culture on the decision making behavior of thesemen: the valuing of security, the family and community; thesignificance of the father as a role model; the decision to takea job versus pursuing a career. The men recognize that they"work" for a living, trading labor for an hourly wage. If thework has some measure of interest then it is a bonus, but this isnot an essential ingredient.107It is significant to note that none of these men perceived ofthe need "to make real" decisions related to participation inpaid employment. The question to be asked is: in this situation,is decision making unimportant to these men: or can they know theimpact of the cultural context of their lives and decision whenthey are enmeshed in it? These men care about the course anddirection their working lives have taken: they see they havechoices and they know the importance of making a decision. Butthey are at a loss to explain why the decisions related to worklook different from those made in other areas of their lives.They cannot define, and are only dimly aware of, the structuresthat shaped their decisions related to paid employment. Theimpact of class culture is a mystery to them.Although each man's motivations were different, they allshared a common underlying orientation to their decisions. Towork requires the expenditure of physical energy and the abilityto put up with boredom and physical discomfort. The reward forworking is a predictable income which allows them to feel secure,and to be able to find enjoyment in activities outside of theworkplace. They know that if they can "tough" it out at the millthose criteria will be met. This knowledge of the working worldwas not taught to them in a formal sense, it was learntvicariously, from their families and the community. It isknowledge they live with, it shapes the course of their lives anit is a way of thinking. This knowledge is not easily describedbut it significant in determining the process of their decisionmaking.108While this orientation to decision making dominated, the menwere able to keep making minor choices while maintaining theiroriginal purpose. For instance, the men kept looking out for thebetter positions, more interesting work, better pay. This processof approximations worked until each man reached a limit. ForLarry, there were no other positions to go to; Ross could nottolerate the boredom; John was tired of enduring pain andboredom; Tyler could not tolerate being out of work so he took ajob. When compelled to act they did so but still within aworking-class world view.Rob was different, he initiated a major change in orientationto work; he stopped making the accommodations and began to createa new decision frame, different from the working man's culture. Adecision frame according to Cochran (1987) is composed of anumber of hierarchically ordered vocational constructs, ideas andbeliefs that the individual has formulated about the world ofwork. In the ideal, these constructs act as a map or design toassist the individual in organizing multiple sources ofinformation in such a way that the purpose and meaning behind thedecision is congruent with the person's world view. Framing adecision is "concerned with identifying and integrating aims intoa more harmonious whole ^ To consolidate a decision frame isto consolidate in vocational terms a person's general plan ofliving" (p. 264).It is in the contrast between Rob's behavior and that of theothers which illuminates some of the constructs, ideas andbeliefs that shape a working-class view of the world of work. Rob109felt a moral obligation to do a good job no matter what thecircumstances; he could not tolerate the limitations unionmembership placed on him. Above all he desired meaningful workand he wanted recognition of his own worth and contribution tothe work-place. For Rob his work was intimately connected to hissense of self-worth. Although the other men experienced similarfrustrations and dissatisfactions with work the overall impactwas less they did not feel compelled to change.The change to Rob's work orientation began not when hedecided to quit mill work, but at age eighteen when he joined hischurch. Over time, the church has provided Rob with a differentset of values and beliefs about his world. His faith in God andthe support of the church community helped him to have thecourage to initiate change. When he could no longer tolerate theworking man's culture, he had an alternative set of values andbeliefs on which to structure his life. Rob was able toconsolidate a decision frame because he had an alternative valuestructure to support a new conception of the world of work.Rob was able to step back into what might loosely bedescribed as the observer position and to reflect on hisexperience. Sloan refers to this as moving within the dialecticof subject and object. For the other four men, the degree ofharmony between their working-class construction of the world ofwork and their needs inhibited such movement. The discontent andfrustration which compelled Rob toward a decision is not evidentin their accounts. They have no regrets and remain oblivious to110the powerful influence that the class context has played in theoutcome of their lives.The context of characterAccording to Sloan, the context of character is a set ofpositively and negatively toned self and other images which formthe basis of conscious identifications. "I am bright, I am likemy parents." It is the negative self images, Sloan argues, thatwhich present the greatest impediment to effective decisionmaking. He concludes "psychoanalytic theory informs us withcompelling evidence, that unacceptable wishes are excommunicatedfrom consciousness by repression" (p. 14). The decider "wardsoff" the unacceptable self and focuses only on the appealingaspects of a project which results in compromise and selfdeception. This propensity to self deception can only becountered through self-reflection and awareness when deciding.The context of character is both useful, yet problematic.Useful, because it illustrates how decisions are an expression ofa unique individual whose behavior is governed not only byexternal forces but by intrapersonal struggles. In each man'saccount it is possible to capture glimpses of such intrapersonalstruggles. Larry is shy and retiring, but wants to be outgoingand social; Tyler fears he will fail at a task he cannot believein his own success; Rob wants to be different but he can nottrust his own instincts to lead him there; Ross knows he hassettled for less to keep the peace; and John yearns for his lostchildhood as an adult he still looks for ways to heal that grief.111The challenge in using the context of character as amechanism for understanding decision making behavior requirescertain skills from the individual to attend to preconscious andunconscious motives the intuitions and beyond awareness factorsthat shape the outcome of a decision. If the decision maker isnot practised in the art of self reflection, and none of thesefive men were learning the skills of self reflection becomes aprerequisite to understanding one's own decision-making behavior.The presumption is that individual well practised in the art ofself reflection knows himself well and this knowledge enables himto define the meaning and significance of a decision. But Sloandoes not deal with the converse question of how the inability,rather than an unwillingness to be self reflective, blocks thediscovery of meaning.This challenge presented itself during the interviewing whenthe men would recount their experience and stop, unable toexplain further. They knew there was an explanation but theycould not think of one. Then when prompted with questions whichsought to establish relationships they often came to a newawareness. For example: Larry is talking about how he would havetaken the secure route no matter what.L. I talked about intellectuals tunneling into their field,me I tunneled into security. Would you say that?Larry is aware but unable to go further with that thought. WhatLarry had said prior to this moment would provide rationalsupport for his tentative conclusion but it is the tentativenessof the conclusion that suggests there is more to be understood.112I. Security is a theme that seems to predominate (interrupted)L. Yeah. I can't say why.I. It seems being secure gives you something; security seemsto be more than just financial security.Larry then started talking about his reluctance to take risks,his need to be able to predict the outcome of a decision. Larrybegan to reflect, he argued with himself as if thinking outaloud. As the interviewer, it was difficult to strike the balancebetween facilitating his discovery and not leading the discoveryof feeling confident it was Larry who defined the meaning andsignificance of his actions.In his research Sloan is guided by the thesis of selfdeception drawn from the psychoanalytic ideas of repression.Therefore he is able focus his examination of the context ofcharacter from this perspective and to extend the interpretationsto inferred unconscious motivations. These extension are credibleonly if argued from the basis of that theory. Therefore the useof the context of character as a mechanism for understandingdecision making also requires the acceptance of thepsychoanalytic theory as the basis of explaining human behavior.Despite this limitation, the examination of context ofcharacter provided rich images and insights into the men'sbehavior. How much more there is to know about each of these men:the importance of Christian values in Rob's life, John's joy incollecting a Christmass tree, why Ross believes it is importantto do a good job, what helped Larry deal with life threateningcancer and why success as a cyclist is so important to Tyler. The113answers may seem obvious but they are not; they exist only asthese men define them, subtle, complex and perhaps evencontradictory. These explanations exist only in the context ofcharacter.SummarySloan's method for analyzing a decision in context provides adepth of understanding and complexity, which transformed theseordinary accommodations of men participating in the world of workto personal statements of intention. This model was pertinentbecause it treats the context a critical component of decisionmaking. It stresses the importance of the meaning andsignificance underlying a decision: of how contexts shapes theprocess, and, when preconscious or unconscious motivations drivethe decision making process. These five men made decisions inwhich the context and in particular the context of class played asignificant role in determining the process and outcome.The limitation of this model is Sloan's determination thatdecision making is essentially a process of self-deception. WhatSloan has attributed to self deception I would argue could alsobe said to represent a lack of opportunity to reflect and moreimportantly a not knowing how to be self reflexive, of rarelyhaving experienced the worth and relevance of such a process.Working class men have few opportunities in their working life tobe self reflexive.114CHAPTER VI CONCLUSIONS This thesis compared the experience of making a decision todecision making as predicted by theory. Five working class menwere asked to recount their experience of making a decisionrelated to their participation in paid employment. These accountswere then compared to three theories of decision making.Summary of results Each theory offers a different dimension to understanding,what constitutes effective decision making in the ideal; eachaccount of decision making documents what actually occurred, whenfive individuals made a career decision. While there is somemeasure of agreement between theory and experience it is thedivergence which in this instance was more informative.These five decisions were not distinct moments set apart,readily identified as points of decision making. Each decisionhappened without intense debate or questioning. The men did notuse logic and calculation to decide. They were moved towardstheir goals by a knowledge and awareness that they could noteasily describe or understand. The sense of purpose whichdirected their behavior came from an inherent knowledge of the"right thing to do" not from a deliberate focusing ofconsciousness on the task of deciding. Nor did they considertheir own behavior to be decisive in a traditional sense yet theyrecognized their actions had purpose, significance and meaning.These decisions reflect the interplay between the aspirations ofthe individual and the potent forces of class consciousness. This115process which can only be understood if the decision makingexperience is conceived as a complex phenomenon and not a linear,stepwise process.The comparison of theory to experience illustrated theimportance of applying oneself to the task of deciding withawareness and purpose. Failure to do so resulted in a diminishedsense of control, and mastery for the individual. Whileconversely the deliberate focusing of attention; the assigning ofsignificance, and the examination of all possible consequenceslead to an enhanced the sense of self-worth and self purpose.What the models describe are strategies and methods ofdecision making which direct the decision maker to be moreintentional, systematic and thorough in making a decision.Processes which all five men had an understanding of, yet theyfailed to use this knowledge in making their decisions. Careerdecision related to their participation in paid employment werenot conceived of as consequential and requiring wholeheartedeffort. What was lacking was, the focusing of consciousness; astructure to guide the deliberation, and the means to introduceplanning and novel options. As a result the significance andimportance of the moment of decision making was ignored, unknownor denied, circumstances rather than self purpose provideddirection to their career paths.The explanation as to why these men were not more decisiveis found in the examination of both the personal motivations ofthe individual, and the context in which the decision is made.While personal motivation can explain some of the lack of116decisiveness and the variance across the five accounts; it is thecontext of class which offers the most compelling explanation forwhy they did not treat this decision making moment asconsequential. The men shared an orientation to making a careerdecision which was embodied with the values and attitudes of theworking class. This orientation influenced the ideas, thestructures and concepts that supported all five decisions. Itboth supported and inhibited the men in determining their fate.It is therefore the deciding in context model which is themost useful of the three models for explaining the behavior ofthe five men. It is the most pertinent because it provides amethod to examine the decision context, to understand the roleand importance of context in shaping a decision. It is onlythrough understanding the context of these men's lives, are weable to draw out the purpose and meaning underlying theirdecisions and to discover explanations for the lack ofdeliberateness in making a career decision.Limitations of the study. The findings from this study cannot and were not intended tobe generalized to the larger population of working-class men.The small number of informants, five, and the fact that eachinformant was selected as a typical example of the working-classand not a true representative of that sub-population, precludesany possibility of generalization in the statistical tradition.What was sought was analytic generalizations (Yin, 1989) theexperience of decision making to be generalized to a broadertheory of decision making.117The decisions that were examined were very specific in typeand context, that is decisions related to paid employment in thecontext of working at a mill. It is not possible to extrapolatethese findings to other types of decisions, such as non-workrelated decisions or different contexts, such as other resourcebased industries. All inferences and conclusions drawn beyondthis context must be held tentatively. While the findings supportthe proposition that in general there is a discrepancy betweentheory and the experience of decision making this finding mayonly hold true within the parameters outlined. Further study ofboth work related and non-work related decisions is needed.It is important to note the similarity between the method usedto collect the data (the interviewing) and the process of self-reflection (a necessary ingredient of decision making accordingto Sloan). It could be argued that the similarity biased thefindings in favour of the deciding in context model over theother models. If the margin of difference between theory andexperience had not been as dramatic or corroborated by all fivecases, this would be an issue. The evidence is overwhelming insupport of the conclusions made, therefore this potential sourceof bias may be set aside.Marshall and Rossman (1989) claim the greatest challenge indoing qualitative research is to take everyday explanations andtranslate those into compelling academic arguments withoutdistorting the original. For instance, the more skilled theinterviewer, the more focused the awareness and the greater thechance of capturing and accurately describing the phenomenon.118Within the personal limitations of the author this has beenachieved. I was most aware of how middle-class values and ideas,which shape my construction of reality, limited my ability toquickly and perceptively capitalize on the subtlies of thediscourse. These descriptions, although adequate for the purposesof this thesis, must be judged as incomplete and awaiting furtherrefinement before they can be said to describe decision making asexperienced by working-class men.Implications for theoryCollin and Young (1986) require decision making theory to beadequate, relevant, coherent and applicable. Theory musttherefore help us understand experience as well guide theapplication of this knowledge in the client-counselorrelationship. Clearly all three models offer a unique scope onthe process of decision making but each is only a discreteglimpse of a complex phenomena. In combination they offer a morecomplete and expanded explanation of how the men decided yetthere are omissions and areas for requiring further refinement.If one combines the results of the comparison of experiencewith theory the conclusions are: that what is needed is adefinition of effective decision making which incorporates theobjective or stated goal of the decider, with the subjectiveexperience of the making a decision; that the decision isrecognized as a part of an on going life history; that themeaning and significance of a decision is drawn from anexamination of the that life history. Theory needs to definesuccessful decision making in terms of the decider's frame of119reference and recognizes the role of intuition and preconsciousawareness to enhance decision making. Clearly rational thoughtand calculation play role in decision making but they are a partof and not always the dominant aspect of that process.The difficulty is that personal meaning, motivations andawareness are not immediately available for examination orexplanation, they await discovery. Therefore prior to deciding oras an integral part of the process initiatives which foster selfawareness need to be learnt and practised in much the same way asthe rational skills of decision making are taught. Sloan (1987),refers to this as the gaining of wisdom, of ensuring that theimpetus which is driving the decision is from within. The scopeof self examination ideally will reflect upon decisionsituations, decision which are life shaping will require a morewholehearted effort those of lesser importance a more cursoryexamination of the self. All decision situation require anexamination of the self.The strength and yet the limitation of the rational models isthey offer clear and explicit explanations which can be universalunderstood and communicated. Yet Cochran (1983 a) points out thatdecision making is more typically characterized by doubt,indecision, struggle and uncertainty, decisions are oftenprotracted over time or arrive in an instance, they reflect anongoing process that moves the individual by minor or majorincrements closer to their vision of the good life. Rather thandevaluing or attempting to offer corrective processes it isimperative that theory recognize the function, importance and120meaning underlying both those behaviors deemed effective andthose labeled ineffective. Perhaps there is more to be learnedfrom moments of indecision and doubt than there is in the suretyof a logical choice.What was not well illustrated by the three theories was thoseaspects of the process which set up the decision situation asnon-consquential, what makes these five decisions more of anaccidental occurrence than a conscious focusing of attention.Sloan's model addresses this issue through his ideas of selfdeception and repression but these concepts are difficult toreduce down to clear and explicit ideas which might be readilyunderstood by a lay person.Understanding the context supporting the decision proved tobe critical and neither of the two rational models addressed thisaspect of the process. Horan deliberately avoids what he terms isa morass of information, yet in doing so he predetermined anarrow and limited range of decision situations in which hismodel can be applied. His model can only apply when the clientdefines the presenting problem as one of choice, where thedecider is able to define the parameters of this problem and whoaccepts that resolution to the problem lies in improving decisionmaking skills. The conflict model is likewise limited and canonly apply to decisions of "consequence" which induce some degreeof emotional stress, the decider is presumed to be aware of theneed to decide, no accommodation is made to explain the functionof context. These theories are limited to decision situationswhich require rational solutions.121The strength of Sloan's Deciding in Context model is itconceives of decision making as a multidimensional phenomenon nota linear process. This approach offers a much needed alternativeperspective to the dominant ideology and requires the reader toaccept that context plays a significant role in decision making.However it is Sloan's method for examining the importance ofcontext which is the greater contribution to furthering ourunderstanding of an individuals behavior. His method of analysisallows for a number of levels of explanation dependent on thenumber of contexts involved. It is this "flexibility" whichenhances the applicability and comprehensiveness of this model.One of the propositions which shaped this research was theidea that decision theory was biased to favour the middle classbecause of an over reliance on research conducted on white malecollege students; a failure to describe the career decisionmaking behavior of other groups and a conception of careerdecision making which more closely models the professional manthan the worker. While this thesis cannot be said to prove thatthis bias exists or what the potential source of the bias mightbe, the findings of this research suggest that there is adiscordant interface between working class experience and careerdecision theory.While it is acceptable to dismiss theory as inadequate it isunethical to dismiss the lived experience as deficient because itdoes not fit the way theory has conceived of decision making.Therefore either theory is modified to accommodate alternative122explanations of career decision making or a different morecomprehensive model needs to be developed.None of the three models could be deemed to be comprehensiveor just, "where belief in them and actions based on them producebetter people and better worlds" (March, 1973). While Sloan'smodel is a move closer to this ideal it requires furtherrefinement to explain more fully how contexts interact, how toexplain the importance of this interaction and whether it ispossible super impose his model onto another theory of humandevelopment other than the Psychoanalytic theory.Implications for Practise Cochran (1987) determined that "Helping a person make a careerdecision is a deceptively simple affair" (p. 261). It isdeceptive if the counselor automatically assumes the goal ofcounselling is to assist the client to make a decision. Inpractice, that ideal may have little or no relevance to thegoals, motivations and needs which brings the client tocounselling. For according to Cochran, the client may need togain clarity of purpose, to decide not to make a decision, togain self understanding before moving on to make a decision. Itmay well be the greatest folly of career counselling to assumethere is, or can be, a discrete decision to be made.While classical or rational approaches to decision making areimportant they determine a focus for career counselling which isnarrow. According to Gelatt (1989), these models do not reflectthe uncertainty of our lives and times. He states "What is nowappropriate is a decision and counselling framework that helps123clients deal with change and ambiguity, accept uncertainty andinconsistency and utilize the nonrational and intuitive side ofthinking and choosing" (p. 252). It is evident from this researchthat prior to using the rational models some efforts must be madeto examine the decision context and therefore discover themeaning underlying the decision.To further develop this notion that decision makingcounselling is not a simple process, it is important to look atthe role of context, both the context of the client's life andthe context of the counselor-client relationship. For thepurposes of this thesis, it is in understanding how the working-class culture shapes these contexts. While the culture of classmust be understood as only one aspect of a multidimensionalprocess for a number of working-class clients enteringcounselling it may be the critical ingredient that the counselormust grasp in order to develop an effective relationship.Here, there is a real potential for counselors, (whoseexperience has been the world of academia and who are pursuing aprofessional career and holding to middle-class values) to beunable to bridge the gap between themselves and their working-class clients. Cultural misunderstandings lead to difficulties incommunication, affect the quality of service provided, and maylead to premature termination of counselling. Cayleff (1986)claims "The sex, race, social class and sexual orientation of theclient must be considered, understood and honored to preventdoing harm, to serve the client's welfare and to ultimately124provide effective service" (p. 346). Failure to do so accordingto Cayleff impinges on the client's rights and is unethical.Arbuckle (1969) refers to such counselors as the alienatedcounsellor, one who holds not only to middle class values forthemselves but also the clients they serve. This alienation canstem from a clash of world views (Sue 1978): a failure bycounselor to recognize their own bias, the adoption ofcounselling theory and practice which is congruent with thecounselor's world view and not the client's (Carney & Kahn 1984).While recognizing that bias exists, it does not automaticallyfollow that the counselor can suspend their value system andprovide competent service to the client.What is required is a more proactive position, a valuing ofthe difference, an examination of theory and related treatmentstrategies to ensure they are culturally specific and to adoptwhat Ibrahim (1985) terms is "a culturally puralisticphilosophy." To achieve this, counselors must be aware of theirworld view, have developed the skills to understand and acceptthe world view of the client's (Kelly, 1955) and recognize whentheir needs and the needs of the clients are at odds.Understanding the working-class world view requires more thanempathy, it requires a knowledge of the culture, the ability tounderstand the language of the shop floor and a willingness to beinformed by the clients how they define their specific and uniqueworld view.The working-class men in this study did not talk of making acareer decision, they spoke of "setting oneself up, of doing125better for oneself" of "just knowing the right thing to do."Simple statements with powerful meanings if the counselor fullyunderstands the context in which they are made. While thecounselor does not need to emulate this linguistic style it isimperative they have the confidence and skill to move with suchordinary explanations of career and to facilitate the clientfurther in the discovery process. These ordinary explanations ofcareer are according to Young (1988) the bridge between theobjective theoretical model of career and the subjectiveunderstanding of the client. The difficulty is that such ordinaryexplanations are just that ordinary, easily overlooked and proneto misinterpretion. A counselor conversant with some of thestructures which define a working class conception of career willhear such statements and immediately understand them asstatements of intention.The counselor must understand the importance of security,family, practical wisdom, and how a sense of solidarity is soughtand accepted in the workplace. These are the core values whichshape the working-class perception of career and choice.Decisions requiring a shift in these values, such as a desire tofind intrinsically meaningful work and greater possibility ofindividual expression must be understood not only as a decisionrelated to work but also as a shift in cultural identity whichmay come with both positive and negative consequences.Willis (1977), in his study of British working class, foundthat the conformists (the individuals who sought a career asopposed to a job) suffered "cultural clash". They had aspired to126better themselves, yet they lacked cultural supports for thischange. They were isolated and could not identify either with theworking class concept of work or the more middle-class concept ofcareer. This transition was often difficult and problematic inthe short and medium term.If the counselor and client attend to the possibility of thiscultural clash any number of strategies may be devised to supportthe client during the transition. Failure to do so may wellresult in the client aborting the change process and beingdiscouraged from pursuing future initiatives.The working-class client is not always the high-school dropout, the frustrated worker, or the hard working stiff whoendures, but an individual whose life is in part an expression ofthat culture. The counselor who has the flexibility and skill toutilize this knowledge can facilitate change. Such a counselorwill be aware of the limitations of theory and practise,recognize the very real constraints the external world places onchoice, and still be mindful of the indomitable human spirt whichseeks growth and change.Implications for Future Research. This thesis examined the decision making behavior of workingclass men as they participate in work compared to what theoriesof decision making predicted is effective decision making. As anexplorative first step, the results suggest that there is adiscrepancy between theory and experience. To consolidate thisfinding, further research needs to be conducted.127Research is needed to clarify the distinction between workand non-work related decisions and to ascertain if there is adifference and how that difference is manifest. Is it in thecontext of making a work related decision that the impact ofclass is more potent? A number of other questions have emerged.For example, how does the decision making behavior of these mencompare with other working-class men who choose a professionalcareer? Are there differences and what are they? Would the tworational models of decision making be more relevant andapplicable?Research which includes a larger pool of participants drawnfrom a variety of occupations and locations is needed and wouldproduce more robust results. A combination of survey and in-depthinterviewing could be used to consolidate a more accurate generaldescription of working-class decision making behavior. A generaldescription would assist both client and counselor understand thecontext of class and its potential impact.The question of access to service was not a topic dealt within this thesis but it is a related subject which needs to beexamined. For if theory is not relevant to experience and ifpractice is based on this theory, then how does this affect theworking class consumer of career counsellingSummaryFive working-class men described their experience of decisionmaking related to their participation in paid employment. Thesedescriptions were generated from in-depth interviews which wereaudiotaped and transcribed. The five accounts of decision making128were validated by the participant and a significant other asaccurate and complete. Each account was then compared withtheories of decision making to determine how theory would explainexperience. The three theories were; the conflict model by Janisand Mann, the rational model Horan and the deciding in context bySloan.The divergence between theory and experience rather than theagreement was more informative in this instance. The comparisonof the two rational models highlighted the need for the deciderto be focused, deliberate and aware: of the importance oftreating the decision moment as consequential rather thanignoring or avoiding the decision. When the decision situation isnot clearly define: where the meaning and significance is drawnfrom the context of a life story or are shaped by intuition,preconscious or unconscious motivations the rational models werelimited. It was the deciding in context model which provided thefullest understanding of the men's behavior. Sloan's modelpresents a mechanism for examining the context in which adecision emerges. It provided a more complex and completeunderstanding of the forces which determine the life path of thefive men and in particular the context of class.Further study is needed to understand the decision makingbehavior of working class males but the findings suggests thatthe context in which a decision is made is a significant factor.For the counselor and working class client understanding theimportance of the context of class may be the most significantfactor in facilitating effective decision making.129BIBLIOGRAPHYArbuckle, D.S. (1969) The alienated counselor. 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(1979) Aspiration-job match: Age trends in alarge, nationally representative sample of young white men.Journal of Counselling Psychology, 26, 319-328.Gottfredson, L.S.,& Becker, H.J. (1981.) A challenge tovocational psychology: How important are aspirations indetermining male career development. Journal of Vocational Behavior 18 121-137.Gottfredson, L.S. & Brown, V.C. (1981.) Occupationaldifferentiation among white men in the first decade afterhigh-school. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 19, 251-289.Gottlieb, D. (1967) Poor youth do want to be middle class butit's not easy.  Personnel and Guidance Journal, 46, 116-122.Giorgi, Amedeo. (1985) (Ed.) Phenomenology and Psychological Research, Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press.Halle, D. (1984) America's Working Men. Chicago, Universityof Chicago Press.Hamper, Ben. (1986). Rivethead:tales from the assembly lineNew York: Warner Books Inc.Harren, V.A. (1979). A model of career decision making forcollege students. 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Self deception in life choices.New York. Methuen.Sue, D.W. (1978) Eliminating cultural oppression in counselling:Towards a general theory. Journal of Counseling Psychology.25, 419-428.Super, D.E. (1980). A life span approach to career development.Journal of Vocational Behavior, 16, 282-298.Sullivan, B. (1988) A Legacy for Learners: The Report of the Royal Commission on Education, 1988. Victoria: GovernmentPrinters.Tiedman, D. V. (1961) Decision and vocational development: Aparadigm and its implication. Personnel and Guidance Journal, 40, 15-20.Wallace, C., (1988) The Challenge of Class Analysis. Ottawa:Carlton University Press.Willis, P., (1977). Learning To Labor: How working-class kids get working-class lobs. New York. Columbia University PressWright, J.A. & Hutton B.O. (1977). Influence of clientsocioeconomic status on selected behaviors, attitudes anddecisions of counselors. Journal of Counselling Psychology, 24^(6) 527-530Yin, R.K. (1989) Case Study Research: Design and Methods Rev. EdApplied social science research methods series vol. 5Newbury Park. Sage.133APPENDIX INTERVIEW FORMAT Each interview began with the following question; Canyou tell me how you made a significant decision related toyour work, significant to you that is?The Decision1. How were you aware there was a decision to be made?2. What did you understand was the decision to be made?3. When was the decision made?4. What alternative options did you have?5. How did you explore possible options, was each examinedin detail?6. How long was the period of deciding.7. Describe your motivation for making this decision?8. At any time did you feel pressured to make a decision?If so how or by whom?9. What were you aware of before, during and after theperiod of deciding?10. How do you feel about the outcome of your decision.? Isthere anything you would have done differently?11. How does this decision compare with other decisions youhave made in your life?12. Did you seek out information, discuss your situationwith anyone?13. Could you define for me what you think is effective orineffective decision making?(3414. Could you comment on this statement; that not choosingis a form of choosing?Other related toDics to be covered. 1. What role has formal education played in the outcome ofthis decision?2. What influence has your family and friends had on yourcareer decision?3.^Do you have unfulfilled dreams and ambitions?135


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