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Career Development Theories & Personal Reflection Analysis


The focus of this research paper is on identifying the career development of two business leaders; Larry Page of Google and Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic and subjecting it to immense analysis in relation to the existing theories of career development. The paper also provides a personal reflection on personal values in comparison to the two aforementioned leaders.

  1. Career Development Theory

Larry Page, CEO of Alphabet/Google Inc. is an example of businessperson that I admire the most. He is a persevering leader that can take on any given challenge. In fact, it is presumably clear that Google would not have accomplished what it has been able to achieve on pure intellect alone without having been influenced by the immediate values of an ethical leader. It can be safely argued that Page has been a successful example of supportive leadership to his overall team regardless of their positions within the company. Page’s career development can be best explained using the Lifespan theory. According to Super (1990), the notion related to self-concept suggests that a career choice and developmental framework is basically focused on a process related to the development and implementation of a person’s immediate self-concept. Self-concept is perceived to be an immediate product of sophisticated interactions within a given number of factors that include; physical and mental growth, personal experiences as well as underlying environmental attributes and stimulations (Super, 1990). Life and work satisfaction provides a continual process of affecting the notion related to self-concept through work and other pertinent life roles. Page’s ‘Don’t be Evil’ business approach ascertains that he has immense respect for both customers and market the company he serves. In fact, even in the midst of intense media and market criticism, he has not at any single point allowed the opinions of other people derail him from going after his values and personal ideals and experiences. It is noted that the CEO is a kind of person who feels that improbable is a given and the seemingly impossible is more than a likely occurrence. He does not seem to fancy being ahead of his engineers and research scientists since he seeks to inhabit alternate universe where the future has already occurred, which serves to the best interest of the company.

Richard Branson; I Admire Richard Branson because he is inspirational, friendly to his employees; and never wants to be visible in the day-to-day undertakings of his workers. He understands that failure does not mean the end of trying. Despite him not proceeding with his high school studies, he has managed to build a fortune empire almost out of nothing. Branson’s career development can be best explained using Holland’s theory of vocational personalities in work environment. According to Holland (1997), this theory provides an immediate framework that is simple and easier to comprehend on matters related to career interest and environments that could be basically adopted in career counselling and guidance. The theory ascertains that vocational interests can be conceptualised into six typologies that include; Realistic(R); Investigative (I); Artistic (A); Social(S); Enterprising (E) and Conventional (C) (Holland,1997). An individual’s first letter code connotes their fundamental interest type, which has the capacity to play a significant role in career choice and satisfaction. Branson’s first letter code would be Realistic(R) given that he dropped out of high school to pursue an idea whose time had come. He figured out earlier in time that studies would not guarantee his success in the future. He is also realistic because he embarked on a philosophy; ‘Fail is the mother of Success’ so that despite him failing many a times; he would still be persistent to implement his ideas even further.

Thinking ahead to future career, I think that I would apply the Lifespan and Chaos theories. In relation to lifespan theory, the aspects related to age and experiences provide a basic platform for a continuous development career. I expect to be very productive, ambitious and aggressive in my very young age before retiring successfully at age of 65. Considering my interest in business, my short goals in career life is to be a concierge in my very early career development before becoming a front office manager at my early 30s and later be promoted to be a general manager in my establishment and maintenance life stages and retiring at the age of 60. I am also likely to adopt chaos theory given that I aspire to be resilient and always come up with tools to adapt in such environments. For instance, I am currently working in ICMS as a function team where I would strive to learn skills related to event organisations; a tool I would use later in my career in hospitality industry.

2.0 Personal Values

Using the Valued Living Questionnaire, I score highly in such areas as family, friends/social life; work and citizenship/community life. In each of these areas, I have an average score of 8, which indicates that these areas are somehow extremely important in my life.

Taking these scores into considerations, I believe that my passion for family and community life is somehow similar to Richard Branson. Despite his divorce in 1979 to Kristen Tomassi, he still remarried Joan Templeman in 1989, which is an indication that he values family as much as he prioritises work. He is also philanthropic in nature, which explains his love for community life area. He has continued to support humanitarian activities in Africa, with the recent being the opening of a school in the semi-arid parts of Kenya. I tend to be also realistic like Branson and would somehow understand that short failures are only but a trigger to strive even harder.

Just like Larry Page, I am a practical ad easy-going person that likes to meet people and share information. Larry would mostly take time to encourage his workers to strive for the better in future and creates time to have a share of information amongst all workers. Each and every week, Google Inc. requires that all employees across the different world stations present their ideas over the internet to their superiors. In this, the employees are allowed a time to grow and share ideas freely, which has a positive effect on career development.


To sum up the discussion above, it can be noted that Larry Page and Richard Branson both adopt a different form of theory to expound on their life achievements as successful businesspeople. Larry’s career is best explained using the Lifespan theory while Branson’s career life is based on Holland’s theory of vocational personalities in work environment for which he is depicted as being more of a realistic person. Personally, I am best explained using the lifespan and chaos theories as par my personal values of family, friends/social life; work and citizenship/community life in Valued Living Questionnaire.


Holland, J. H. (1997). Making vocational choices: A theory of vocational personalities and work environments (3rd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall

Super, D. E. (1990). A life-span, life-space approach to career development. In D. Brown & L. Brooks (Eds.), Career choice and development: Applying contemporary approaches to practice (2nd ed., pp. 197–261). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass