Understanding the Role of Parental Support for IT Career Decision Making Using the Theory of Self-Authorship

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Women's representation in the information technology (IT) workforce has declined to an all time low of 18.5% in the last 8 years. In order to support women to become interested in, enter and remain in the IT field, this study uses the theory of self-authorship and path analysis to investigate the role of parental support in influencing IT career choice and interest for a sample of 954 US high school and college women. A 167-item, paper and pencil Career Decision-Making Survey was developed, containing 11 four-point Likert type scales (Cronbach's alpha = 0.58–0.80) designed to measure levels of parental support and a number of factors related to how students consider information in the process of making a career choice. Results document that when all other things are considered, interactions with others, such as counsellors and teachers, about career options did not have a significant effect on career interest that overrode the direction provided by parents. Women were significantly more likely than men to seek input about careers, but encountered developmental dissonance when that advice conflicted with advice provided by trusted others. Implications from this study reveal the need for more parental education in understanding the role of self-authorship in providing career decision-making support to young women. Journal compilation



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