Asian American career development: Qualitative analysis

A Quick Summary

Asian American career development research is written by Nadya A. Fouad, Neeta Kantamneni, Melissa K. Smothers, Yung-Lung Chen Mary Fitzpatrick and Sarah Terry. This article discussed the factors that affect the career of those young individuals who at the base are from some other country (Asia) with some other culture and norms, who are settled in some other country (America). The primary focus of this paper was on distinguishing Asian Americans from other racial groups and ethnic groups in their occupational choices.

Asian Americans are only 4% of the totals of the U.S population out of which 25% are computer engineers, 30% are medical scientist, 17% are Physicians, 14% are dentists and only 1% are in the social services.

It was found that three things were the base of career choices for choosing a career:

  • Acculturation: It is the exchange of cultural features that results when groups of individuals having different cultures come into continuous first hand contact; the original cultural patterns of either or both groups may be altered, but the groups remain distinct (Kottak, 2007)
  • Family Background
  • Self-efficacy

It was seen that the more the person was acculturated the stronger was the relation between his interest and the occupational interest.

Literature also proves that for Asian Americans, the thing that more matters while choosing their career is their Prestige. They ignore their interests, skills and personal characteristic. It is also proven that Asian Americans give more attention towards on extrinsic factors like income, status and prestige, whereas the intrinsic factor is over looked. So it was said that career maturity were grounded in white-middle class norms, they might not be valid for Asian Americans who are not highly acculturated.

The Emic Approach

It is an approach that focuses on the behaviour of the member being examined from with the cultural setting. Here the researcher examines different cultures through comparison of behaviour of the members under consideration. An Emic term is used by anthropologists and by others in the social and behavioural sciences to refer to two different kinds of data concerning human behaviour.

There were three kinds of situations, under cultural influences, studied that can occur to individuals who are in a new country and are to select an occupation or profession for him.

  • The 1st was the situation when an individual with positive view of their own culture prevails and similarly positive view for the host country's culture. In such case an individual is likely to choose career similar to the host country.
  • The 2nd situation is when the individual has positive views for the host culture but negative for his own culture. In such case the career choices would be non-traditional from the Asian American's career choices.
  • The 3rd type is one in which individual has positive views about his own culture but negative views for the host's culture. In such cases the career choices are more parent oriented and family influence and pressure is in the career choices.


Twelve Asian Americans were studied who were employed for the last 5 years in their own disciplines. Age ranged from mid 20s to 80s. They all were the second generation, either born in U.S or did their elementary schooling in U.S.

Semi structured interview questions were asked from the selected people. All the questions were open ended. After a pilot run, the questionnaire was finalized to be appropriate.

The research team for this work was widely diverse in ethnic group. It consisted of one faculty member (counselling psychologist) and six graduates from the same field.

The procedure was snow ball sampling method. First acquaintance was found with some people and then further other Asian Americans were found for interviewing. 60-90 minutes were given to the individuals for answering the questionnaire. Notes and audio used to be formed at the very time of the interview. For the analysis of data CQR method is used in this paper. In this method primary team conducts analysis and external auditor reviews the analysis and provides feedback to primary teams fir interpretations and finalizing the results. In this paper first data was broken down into domains. Then for each domain a core idea was give. Coss-analysis of the data, finding similarities among respondents was seen. Then it was sent to an external auditor for better findings and results.

Author's Contribution

Author has contributed the Emic approach in this article. He has introduced the fact of studying any culture through cross sectional method. In this method the behaviour of individuals was studied and then it was observed that what kind of actions in term of career selection.

Then the author designed a questionnaire that was made after a long and thorough study according to the culture and behaviour of Asian Americans. That was a way to get a better and a closer look to the aspects that directly influence that career intentions of Asian Americans. After that questionnaire the factors that were found were family influences, cultural influences, career goals, role models, personal traits, work values and social structural influences.

Author gives to literature the factors which are bases of career selection for Asian Americans. He found that family influence; cultural influence and career goals were the factual factors which are intensive in the incidence of career selection for Asian Americans.


In this article the author reviews that Asian Americans people are only 4% of the totals of the U.S population out of which 25% are computer engineers, 30% are medical scientist, 17% are Physicians, 14% are dentists and only 1% are in the social services. Whereas another article reviews that Asian Americans is one of the fastest growing minority groups in the United State. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2007), 13.5 million Asian Americans live in the United States, which represents 4.7% of the total population, and by 2050, Asian Americans are projected to constitute 9.0% of the U.S. population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2007).

In this paper it was seen that mostly Asian American individuals prefer to go into lines like medical sciences and Engineering side where as they least prefer to go towards the feild of social sciences or services. Similarly, it is proved that Asian Americans are likely to enter science and technical fields (National Science Foundation [NSF], Division of Science Resources Statistics [SRS], 2003). In comparison with the White majority, Asian Americans have earned a higher percentage of bachelor's degrees in computer science, biological science, and engineering and a lower percentage of bachelor's degrees in agricultural and social sciences (NSF, SRS, 2003).

The author in this paper discusses the fact that while choosing a career there are a number of factors involved. For any individual, the major things, or facts which make him decide him to choose a career are his culture, family influences, career goals and many others. In comparison, another article shows the similar fact that the mainstay themes and issues have that have emerged from current exploration of gender differences, including gender role socialization, parental influences, multiple role issues support and sometimes create barriers for career directions for an individual (Hackett, 1997).

The study should be done on the basis of Emic Approach. Through this approach different cultures are examined on the basis of behaviour under consideration. This approach creates an ease for the researcher to get to a factual model containing the antecedents of specific behaviour.

Family Influences

In this article, it was proved and seen that all the respondents claimed that their family had a great influence on their career decisions. At the time of their career decision, they were heavily backed by their parents. On the other hand, Literature proves that family plays an important role in the process of Asian American youths' career development and it was found that family, participation and association, involvement and feedback in career development have a strong contact with the career choices of Asian American college students (Tang, et al 1999).

Similarly, career decision making is more challenging and difficult for youths if their immigrant parents believe that only certain careers will lead their children to success. Therefore, it is important to gain a better understanding of the variables that manipulate their career decision-making process therefore. It is important to gain a better understanding of the variables that influence their career decision-making process (Tracey, et al 1986). Asian Americans are more likely to follow their parents' suggestion for a career, they may be perceived as fewer careers established compared with their peers (Leong & Hardin, 2002). Different studies has also proved the fact that Asian American college students verified career attitudes that were less mature compared with their European American peers (Hardin, et al, 2001; Leong, 1991).

The family plays an integral role in the process of Asian American youths' career development. Literature shows that family involvement and feedback in career planning have a strong impact on Asian American college students' career choice. They also suggested that the strong parental influence is associated with more traditionally acceptable career choices, such as engineering, medicine, and computer science, for Asians (Tang, et al 1999)

Asian Americans, compared with European Americans, are more likely to follow their parents' advice on career choice. The reason is likely due to Asian cultural values that emphasize respect, obedience and submission toward authority and older individuals (Leong & Serafica, 1995).

An individual's career is often viewed as an expression of the individual's self-concept according to Super's career development theory nevertheless, career decision is often considered a family matter in Asian culture (Super, et al 1963).

Asian Americans are more likely to have interdependent self-construal than are European Americans (Singelis, 1994). People who are high on relational-interdependent self-construal have been found to be more likely to take into account the needs and wishes of close others who are mainly the family, when making decisions, such as career choice (Cross, et al 2002).

Cultural Influences

The respondents in this paper were examined and all of them said that culture did influence their career path. The country of origin was a major influence in terms of culture for all the respondents. The participants also claimed that just due to the fact that they face two cultures, one in the host country and the other of the homeland, they always stay confuse and cannot stick to one culture. So for this reason, different authors claim that when examining the cultural validity of career development theories that are based on Western values, variables that are more specific to each culture should be considered (Leong and Hardin, 2001)

The author in this paper said that it is necessary for researchers to pay more attention towards a specific culture, its attributes and antecedents. The time has arrived to focus on the career development of specific ethnic and cultural groups rather than that of the broad Asian American designation. The need increases for the reason that enormously limited information is available regarding the processes through which Asian American interest developments and science career choices are implemented. Finally, limited knowledge exists of the influence of ethnic identity on career development of distinct Asian American groups (Leong & Chou, 1994).

Career Goals

The participants in this article showed that they were influenced by their career goals. Half of them said that they enjoy having goals in their life as they like to meet them for achievement. First for defining goal it is an intention to engage in an activity (e.g., enroll as an engineering major) to effect a future outcome (e.g., have a career as an engineer). Goals are influenced by self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and interests. Self-efficacy reflects judgment about one's capacity to accomplish domain-specific tasks (e.g., solve math problems, play golf) (Lent et al. 1994).

The strength of relations between self-efficacy and goals and between outcome expectations and goals vary across groups. A sample containing a large proportion of middle school students and found that outcome expectations had a stronger direct effect on goals than did self-efficacy in their career path (Fouad and Smith, 1996). Similarly, found that outcome expectations had a stronger direct effect on goals than did self-efficacy in their sample of high school students while choosing careers (Lent et al, 2003)


The conclusion drawn from this critical review is that the researcher has focused on all those points those were necessary to be considered while performing this research.the way of studying any culture is always to have a comparative study of different cultures. This makes sure that what some similarities and dissimilarities are between. For this purpose Emic Approach was said to be the best approach. The found factors were supported by literature also which makes the fact proven that those findings are true.

Some of the findings that were supported by different authors were the family influence that was one of the main factors was affecting the career choices was mentioned and clearly mentioned in the questionnaire and even in the paper which proved that Asian Americans are majorly influenced by their parent's decision in choosing their career. Then the cultural influence was supported by literature to be another important factor for Asian Americans for choosing career. The career goals were also found true indicator for choosing career paths.

Please be aware that the free essay that you were just reading was not written by us. This essay, and all of the others available to view on the website, were provided to us by students in exchange for services that we offer. This relationship helps our students to get an even better deal while also contributing to the biggest free essay resource in the UK!