Career Socialisation and Professional Identity


  • Nóra Hegyi-Halmos



In society and the labour market, we have different positions and statuses, and we have to perform the tasks that go with those roles. According to traditional role theory in social psychology, "a role is a specific mode of response, an indoctrinated, habitual, automatic and mostly unconscious chain of behaviour that takes place in the context of typical social attitudes, emotions and self-identifications." (Buda, 1965 quoted in Csepeli, 2001, 102-103) The elements of behaviour required to occupy a status or position are determined by the roles that the occupant of the status must perform. These roles are associated with attitudes, values and behavioural patterns (Hidy, 2001). In the case of occupations and professions where the roles and tasks can be clearly described (doctor, teacher, architect), the set of roles required can be more easily formulated. In many cases, however, the positions (occupations) on the labour market today require a more varied set of roles from the individual, and it is more difficult to clarify the roles, since these occupations do not have rigid position descriptions, but are rather loosely defined and highly variable (Goffman, 1978). One such occupation is that of community organiser, where it is possible to function successfully in a wide range of fields, even with different attitudes and strengths. Identity formation in careers with such a complex set of roles is therefore difficult, even though a strong professional identity is an important prerequisite for success in any profession.

Author Biography

Nóra Hegyi-Halmos

Nóra Hegyi-Halmos PhD is an assistant professor at the Institute for Adult Education Research and Knowledge Management, ELTE PPK. During her one and a half decade career in higher education, she has mainly taught courses in the fields of human resource development, human resource management, career management, knowledge management and competence development, and has been not only a lecturer but also a curriculum developer. Her research interests include career guidance, professional identity, measurement and development of professional competences and the role of validation systems in higher education. She is a member of the Andragogy Subcommittee of the Pedagogical Committee of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and a representative of ELTE in the Mellearn Network, and an expert in several higher education development projects.