Career Development & The Internet – Some Theoretical Thoughts

How should we think about how the internet and career interact with each other? As some of you may be aware this is the subject of my PhD. It is broadly recognised, to quote Tristam Hooley, that the internet has changed career. But the question is what is the nature of this relationship? How should we think about how the internet and career interact? Bellow I am going to sketch out four possible answers. To some extent people may feel drawn to some of these answers over others. This is fine, their genuinely may not be an equality. But similarly I think it is worth recognising that these understandings may interested and support each other to see extent as well.

1) Instrumental – this approach focuses on the internetbas an opportunity to use for our careers. It looks at how the internet could be seen as a tool or am instrument. From this perspective ideas like digital literacy are focused on as ways of exploring what good use of the internet might be.

2) Social – this approach looks at how the internet brings us into contact with new social arrangements. It looks at how both career and the internet are fundamentally social, they involve relating to other people. This has the potential to see the internet positively as a place for new contacts and relationships or negatively as a place where offline career inequalities might be replicated or even amplified.

3) Technical – This view looks at he role of techno itself. Taking some of its ideas from technological determinism this view argues thay technology effects us in a manner that is beyond how we use it. Technology could be seen to frame how we understand important career related topics like identity, learning and communication and with it frame career.

4) Political – this view looks at power relations and argues that the internet brings us into contact with powerful actors such as governments and large corporations. Their agendas and actions frame how we use the internet and with it frame our careers. Just think about privacy and surveillance as one example of this.

So what do you think? Which of these ideas work best for you?
This is day 15 of my 30 days of blogging challenge

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