Differentiating occupational decision-making and occupational choice

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Occupational decision-making is currently a nascent term in occupational science literature but we contend it has potential conceptual salience to the field. Occupational decision-making can be understood as a situated process through which individuals, families, or groups respond to a contextually driven cluster of opportunities and choices in order to select the occupations they will engage in. Occupational decision-making is a process that empowers people to be agentic, rather than passive, in meaningful occupational engagement over the course of a lifetime. As a phenomenon, occupational decision-making, though quotidian, remains under-investigated and poorly understood. In this paper we present the concept of occupational decision-making as illustrated through the experiences of women making career decisions after having children, which are drawn from the first author’s doctoral research. We propose that occupational decision-making can extend current understandings of the concept of occupational choice. The benefit of an expanded understanding of decision-making is that it is portrayed as an active, creative process that can increase opportunities for occupational engagement better fitting individuals. We conclude that occupational decision-making is a complex phenomenon that requires further development from diverse ontological and epistemological standpoints.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)442-448
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Occupational Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2019


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