Modeling Intention to Pursue a High Tech Career Using Social Cognitive Career Theory

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Saifuddin, Samina M.




This study was the first to apply Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT: Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994, 2000) to predict engineering students’ intention to pursue a high-tech career in a South Asian context. The purpose of this study was twofold. The first objective was to test SCCT’s interest and choice model in a non-Western context in order to test the applicability of the theory. The second objective was to expand beyond the core of the theory to incorporate background and proximal, contextual gender related variables such as gender-role orientation, masculine image of high-tech professionals, and gendered perceptions. The data came from undergraduate engineering students studying in different universities in Bangladesh. Data were collected through self-administered pencil and paper survey. A total of 976 valid surveys were used in the data analysis. As this study was based on a new context -Bangladesh, the construct validity of the measurement scales, was assessed using exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) conducted. EFA and CFA should not be performed on the same data set; the data were randomly split into two groups for this analysis. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to assess model fit for the whole sample. Results indicated that social cognitive theory was a good fit for the data. The multivariate analysis indicated that all of the core SCCT predictors – occupational self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and interest – were important in explaining intentions. Gender-role orientation also played a significant role although gender related variables did not perform as expected. Also, contrasting findings regarding environmental variables of social support and barriers offered further insight into the process. Additionally, an alternative split-group approach was taken to test how the model predictors and relationships varied with respect to gender. Gender differences in the model predictors told a contrasting and compelling story of men’s and women’s career choice process in a patriarchal, traditional South-Asian society. Results suggest that women engineering students in Bangladesh are defying gendered expectations to pursue high-tech careers while men are holding to stereotypical roles and expectations.


Business Administration - Management
Women's Studies




Carleton University

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