Frank Parson’s Trait and Factor Theory

Frank Parson’s Trait and Factor Theory


Frank Parson’s Trait and Factor Theory was developed in 1908. Parsons states that occupational decision making occurs when people have achieved:

  • an accurate understanding of their individual traits (aptitudes, interests, personal abilities)
  • a knowledge of jobs and the labour market
  • rational and objective judgement about the relationship between their individual traits, and the labour market.


Seven Stages of Trait and Factory Theory

  1. Personal data: create a statement of key facts about the person, remembering to include every fact that has bearing on the vocational problem.
  2. Self-analysis: Self-examination is done in private and under the instruction of the counsellor. Every tendency and interest that might impact on the choice of a life work should be recorded.
  3. The client’s own choice and decision: this may show itself in the first two stages. The counsellor must bear in mind that the choice of vocation should be made by the client, with the counsellor acting as guide.
  4. Counsellor’s analysis: the counsellor tests the client’s decision to see if it is in line with the “main quest”.
  5. Outlook on the vocational field: the counsellor should be familiar with industrial knowledge such as lists and classifications of industries and vocations, in addition to locations of training and apprenticeships.
  6. Induction and advice: a broad-minded attitude coupled with logical and clear reasoning are critical at this stage.
  7. General helpfulness: the counsellor helps the client to fit into the chosen work, and to reflect on the decision



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