The Systems Theory Framework of Career Development

  • Wendy Patton Queensland University of Technology
  • Mary McMahon The University of Queensland, Australia


This chapter appears in J. P. Sampson, E. Bullock-Yowell, V. C. Dozier, D. S. Osborn, & J. G. Lenz (Eds.), Integrating theory, research, and practice in vocational psychology: Current status and future directions. Tallahassee, FL: Florida State University. Retrieved from

The chapter is based on a paper presented at the conference of the Society of Vocational Psychology, May 16–17, 2016, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL.  A video presentation of a preliminary version of this paper may be retrieved from

Correspondence should be addressed to Wendy Patton, Queensland University of Technology, Faculty of Education, GPO Box 2434, Brisbane QLD 4001, Australia. E-mail: Mary McMahon, School of Education, The University of Queensland, Brisbane Q 4072, Australia. E-mail:

Keywords: systems theory framework, career development, integrating theory, research and practice, qualitative career assessment, My System of Career Influences, career counselling, storytelling, narrative career counselling

Section 1: Challenges and Opportunities for Integrating Theory, Research, and Practice in Vocational Psychology