A test of Astin's model of career choice and vocational behavior in academia

Diane Sill Schaupp, Fordham University


The literature that examined the differences between faculty women and men in the vocational behavior, publishing activity, generally lacked a theoretical framework. Both psychological and cultural-environmental factors have been found to correlate with publishing activity. This study tested a causal model of vocational behavior based on Astin's (1984) model of career choice and vocational behavior that incorporated both psychological (work motivation and work expectations) and cultural-environmental (gender-role socialization and the structure of opportunity) factors. The research question examined the direct and indirect effects of these variables on publishing activity. Measures of work motivation (measured as need satisfaction) work expectations (measured as work-related expectancies), gender-role socialization (measured by the Personal Attributes Questionnaire), the structure of opportunity (measured as institutional bias and organizational climate), and publishing activity (measured as publication rate between 1987 and 1991) were administered to 113 faculty women and 103 faculty men who were employed at universities throughout the country that awarded post-master's degrees. Demographic information was also obtained. None of the variables in the model explained a significant amount of the variance in publication rate for the total sample. However, when the model was tested separately for men and women, work expectations explained a small amount of the variance in publication rate. The effect was not in the expected direction for faculty women. For faculty women, high expectations predicted lower research productivity. However, for faculty men, high work expectations predicted higher research productivity. In addition, femininity scores contributed to faculty men's publishing activity, but femininity scores dropped out of the analysis altogether for faculty women. The structure of opportunity (i.e., organizational warmth) exerted an effect on publication rate indirectly through work expectations in the reduced model for faculty women and men. In summary, although some interesting relationships among the model variables were found, the present study did not support the use of Astin's (1984) model to explain the vocational behavior of publishing activity.

Subject Area

Academic guidance counseling|Vocational education|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Schaupp, Diane Sill, "A test of Astin's model of career choice and vocational behavior in academia" (1994). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9511245.