Using narratives and storytelling in career development : a South African distance learning perspective

Chinyamurindi, Willi Tafadzwa (2013). Using narratives and storytelling in career development : a South African distance learning perspective. PhD thesis The Open University.



This research investigated how a career is conceptualised amongst a sample of previously disadvantaged South African distance learners. The research argued and used a narrative and story-telling approach in understanding career development. This method is used given the need to generate knowledge specific to the local context and using this knowledge to inform a wider audience. Although other methods (mostly quantitative) have aided the process of knowledge generation within the careers literature, their limitations are noted in this thesis as well.

Participant narratives revealed three main findings. First, individuals interviewed in this research narrated a life of struggle and challenge as not only affecting their personal lives but also their framing of the nature of a career. Second, stumbling blocks acting as constraints not just to the lived experience but towards career development are presented in this thesis. Third, the way individuals work around these stumbling blocks through a process referred to as enacted negotiation is presented. This process, though driven by the individual, mediates between the individual and their situation. The process emphasises how individuals take action as a result of their situation in aiding their career development. A Career Development/Context/Constraints Framework (CDaCCF) based on the findings from this research is proposed. This research illustrated the use of a narrative inquiry in understanding career development amongst a sample of previously disadvantaged individuals in South Africa. The implications of this are explored.

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