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The PIC Model. Itamar Gati The Hebrew University Jerusalem. Today I will present (and try to justify) the claim that. Career counseling may be viewed as decision counseling, which aims at facilitating the clients' decision-making process, and promoting better career decisions. How?.

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The pic model

The PIC Model

Itamar Gati

The Hebrew University Jerusalem

Today i will present and try to justify the claim that
Today I will present (and try to justify) the claim that

  • Career counseling may be viewed as decision counseling, which aims at facilitating the clients' decision-making process, and promoting better career decisions.


  • Presenting the PIC model (Prescreening, In-depth exploration and Choice), highlighting the ways it addresses the shortcomings of the theoretical approaches which dominate the career-guidance field

  • Demonstrating the PIC’s clinical applicability by demonstrating MBCD - an Internet-based career guidance system based on the model’s rationale

  • Presenting research which examined the theoretical validity and practical effectiveness of the PIC model and MBCD for facilitating clients' career decision-making

Part 1 the pic model rationale and stages

Part 1The PIC Model: Rationale and Stages

Or: Who needs another model?

Theoretical approaches dominating the field of career decision making
Theoretical approaches dominating the field of career decision-making

  • Career development theories -- focus on the developmental circumstances in which decisions are made and the effects of these changes on career decisions

  • Person-Environment Fit approach -- focuses on the congruence between individuals' characteristics and the occupation’s characteristics

The problem lack of reference to the career decision making process
The problem: Lack of reference to the career decision-making process

  • P-E Fit approach – focus mainly on the outcomes of the decision-making process

  • Career development theories focus on the developmental changes that occur before and between decision tasks

  • The challenge is to design a systematic procedure that can facilitate the process of locating the congruent occupational alternatives in specific situations requiring choices along the developmental continuum

Career decision making in the 21th century
Career Decision-Making processin the 21th Century

  • Today, career decision-making is a multi-decisional, unpredictable, dynamic, and life-lasting process with numerous transitions; thus, individuals should be trained as autonomous decision-makers (while P-E Fit models typically focus on a static match)

  • Today, cultural emphasis on self-fulfilment and personal satisfaction increases individuals' awareness to changes in their preferences over time (while P-E fit models make a one-time classification of the individual into one or more personality types – a snap-shot)

Choosing a career as a decision making process unique features
Choosing a Career as a Decision-Making Process: Unique Features

  • Amount of Information:

    • Often large N of alternatives

    • Large N of considerations and factors

    • Within-occupation variance

    • Practically unlimited

  • Quality of Information

    • Soft, subjective

    • Fuzzy

    • Inaccurate or biased

Choosing a career as a decision making process unique features cont
Choosing a Career as a Decision- FeaturesMaking Process: Unique Features(Cont.)


  • about the individual’s future preferences

  • about future career options

  • unpredictable changes and opportunities

  • choice implementation

    Non-cognitive Factors

  • emotional and personality-related factors

  • necessity for compromise

  • actual or perceived social barriers and biases

CDM Difficulties of 15,000 visitors in the Future Directions website (Gati & Meyers, 2003)

  • Are you experiencing difficulties in making your career decision?

Implications and conclusion
Implications and Conclusion Directions website

  • Many factors contribute to the complexity of the career decision-making process and to the difficulties involved in it

  • Decision-making models can be adapted to facilitate career decision-making

  • Career counseling may be viewed as decision counseling, which aims at facilitating the clients' decision-making process and promoting better career decisions.

Among the salient difficulties is lack of information about the career decision making process
Among the salient difficulties is Directions website “lack of information about the career decision-making process”

The Distribution of the Three Levels of Difficulties (negligible, moderate, salient difficulty) in the Ten Difficulty Categories and Four Groups(N = 6192; H-Hebrew, E-English, p-paper and pencil, I-Internet)

Types of decision making models 1 normative models
Types of decision-making models Directions website 1- Normative models:

  • Dominated decision theories for many decades

  • Aim at developing procedures for making optimal choices, based on the assumption that human beings are rational decision-makers

  • Empirical evidence demonstrates that this assumption typically does not hold, especially when the number of potential alternatives is large

  • Thus, normative models are overly rational, too abstract and too quantitative for everyday decisions as well as for decision counseling

Types of decision making models 2 descriptive models
Types of decision-making models Directions website 2 - Descriptive models:

  • Investigate the ways people actually make decisions; reveal biases, inconsistencies and limited rationality, leading to less than optimal decisions.

  • Because descriptive models cannot serve as a reference point for justifiable decisions, they cannot be used as a basis for adequate decision-guidance.

Types of decision making models 3 prescriptive decision models
Types of decision-making models Directions website 3 - Prescriptive decision models:

  • Aim at outlining a framework for making better decisions, while acknowledging human limitations

  • Correspond with the intuitive ways individuals make decisions

  • In the context of career decision making, aim at providing a framework for a systematic process for making better career decisions, instead of striving for rational ones

Prescriptive models should
Prescriptive models should Directions website :

  • be intuitively appealing

  • be feasible – compatible with cognitive and material limitations

  • avoid complicated calculations on the one hand, and fuzzy abstraction on the other

  • strive for maximal simplification but at the same time minimize the potential loss resulting from a non-comprehensive search process

  • offer flexible complexity

Our proposal the pic model prescreening in depth exploration choice gati asher 2001
Our proposal - The Directions website PIC Model Prescreening, In-depth exploration, Choice (Gati & Asher, 2001)

  • PIC is a prescriptive model designed to possess these desirable features by offering a systematic framework for career-decision making

  • Facilitates the decision-making process by separating it into three distinct stages:

    - Prescreening

    - In-depth exploration

    - Choice

The pic model1
The PIC Model Directions website

  • Encompasses the entire career-decision making process

  • Clients can begin the process from any of the stages according to their progress in the decision-making process

  • Is a dynamic and flexible decision process

  • Encourages clients to move back and forth between the stages in order to rethink and reinforce their previous responses

Prior to beginning the decision making process assessing and increasing clients readiness
Prior to beginning the decision-making process: Assessing and increasing clients’ readiness

  • Evaluating the client’s general level of career indecision

  • Examining his or her specific difficulties in reaching a decision

  • Assessing career choice anxiety

  • Identifying dysfunctional beliefs

  • Explaining the steps of the decision-making process to the client

Prescreening and increasing clients’ readiness

  • Goal: Locating a small set (about 7) of promising alternatives that deserve further, in-depth exploration

  • Method: Sequential Elimination (based on the elimination-by-aspects strategy - Tversky, 1972, which was shown to be compatible with the ways people actually make decisions)

  • Outcome: A list of verified promising alternatives worth further, in-depth exploration

Steps in sequential elimination
Steps in Sequential Elimination and increasing clients’ readiness

Locating and prioritizing aspects or factors

Explicate the within-factor preferences of the most important factor not yet considered

Eliminate incompatible alternatives


Too many promising alternatives?


This is the recommended list of occupations

worth further, in-depth exploration

Career-Related Aspects and increasing clients’ readiness(e.g., length of training, teamwork, using verbal ability, work environment – indoors-outdoors)

  • The search for promising career alternatives is based on individuals' preferences in career-related aspects -- all variables that can be used to characterize either individuals' preferences and abilities or career alternatives

  • The use of a large set of career-related aspects provides a more accurate description of both preferences and occupations, thus leading to a better person-environment fit

1 selecting the relevant aspects to be used in the search
1) Selecting the relevant aspects to be used in the search and increasing clients’ readiness

  • it is impractical to consider all possible aspects; therefore, the individual must choose a subset of aspects to focus on

  • The list should include objective constraints (e.g., disability), personal competencies (e.g., creativity, technical skills), and core personal preferences

2 ranking the aspects by importance
2) Ranking the aspects by importance and increasing clients’ readiness

  • The sequential elimination process begins with the most important aspect, continues with the aspect second in importance, and so on, until the list of remaining alternatives is short enough (i.e., 7 or less)

  • Ranking is necessary in order to avoid stopping the search before the most important aspects have been considered

3 defining the range of acceptable levels for the more important aspects
3) Defining the range of acceptable levels for the more important aspects

  • Within aspect preferences: descriptive labels are used to represent within-aspect qualitative variations

  • The individuals’ preferred level is labeled the optimal level. Additional levels, which are less desirable but still acceptable, are labeled acceptable levels

  • The choice of a compromise range explicitly guides individuals to consider compromise, encouraging a more realistic perspective

4 comparison of individuals range of acceptable levels with the alternatives characteristic levels
4) Comparison of individuals’ range of acceptable levels with the alternatives characteristic levels

  • Occupations are also characterised by a range of levels ( within-occupation variations)

  • For each aspect, the characteristics of all potential alternatives are compared with the individual’s preferences, and incompatible alternatives are eliminated

  • The process is repeated for the remaining aspects (in descending order of importance) until the number of remaining “promising” alternatives is manageable.

A schematic presentation of the sequential elimination process within aspects across alternatives
A Schematic Presentation of the with the alternatives characteristic levelsSequential Elimination Process (within aspects, across alternatives)

Potential Alternatives

1 2 3 4 . . . . N


a (most


b (second in





Promising Alternatives

Sequential elimination is a non compensatory decision strategy
Sequential elimination is a non-compensatory decision strategy

  • even a small gap between the individual's preferred levels and the characteristics of the occupation is enough to eliminate an alternative

  • an advantage in one attribute cannot compensate for a disadvantage in another (indeed, in important decisions such as career decisions, not all disadvantages can be compensated for)

Four Examples of a within-aspect compatibility test: strategyA comparison between the Acceptable Range for the individual (ar), and the Characteristic levels of an alternative (cl)

(a) Inclusion (b) Partial Overlap (c) No Overlap (d) Almost Overlap










Sensitivity analysis
Sensitivity Analysis strategy

  • A potentially suitable alternative might be eliminated because of a slight mismatch in a single aspect – therefore, there is a need for a "safety check“; reexamining the implications of changes in the individual's inputs upon the outcome – the list of "promising" career options:

    • Rethinking the range of acceptable levels reported

    • Understanding why certain alternatives considered intuitively appealing before the systematic search were eliminated

    • Locating alternatives that were discarded due to only a small discrepancy in a single aspect and considering compromise

The Five Steps of the Prescreening Stage strategy

Initial List of Potential Alternatives

(a) Selecting Relevant Aspects

(b) Ranking Aspects by Importance

(c) Defining the Range of Acceptable Levels for the Most Important Aspect Not Yet Considered

(d) Comparing the Individual’s Range of Acceptable Levels with the Characteristic Levels of the Alternatives: Eliminating Incompatible Alternatives

Is the list of remaining occupations too long?



(e) Sensitivity Analysis

List of Promising Alternatives


In depth exploration
In-depth exploration strategy

  • Goal: Locating alternatives that are not only promising, but suitable for the individual.

  • Method: “zoom in" on one promising alternative at a time, collecting additional, comprehensive information about it:

    • Is the occupation INDEED suitable for me?

      • verifying compatibility with one’s preferences in the most important aspects

      • considering compatibility within the less important aspects

      • considering willingness to meet the occupation’s requirements

    • Am I suitable for the occupation?

      • probability of actualization

      • fit with the core aspects of the occupation

  • Outcome: A few most suitable alternatives (about 3-4)

Core aspects gati garty fassa 1996
Core Aspects strategy(Gati, Garty, & Fassa, 1996)

  • While many aspects are required to describe any career option, usually only a few of them are crucial for the characterization of a particular occupation

  • core aspects significantly contribute to the prediction of occupational-choice satisfaction (Gati, Garty, & Fassa, 1996)

A suitability test for a promising alternative during the in depth exploration stage

Promising Alternative strategy

Does the alternative suit me?

Do I fit the alternative?

A Suitability Test for a promising Alternative during the In-depth Exploration Stage

Examining probability of actualization

Verifying compatibility with preferences in the most important aspects

Confirming the fit to the core aspects of the alternative

Considering compatibility with preferences in the less important aspects as well

Unsuitable Alternative

Suitable Alternative


A schematic presentation of the in depth exploration stage within alternative across aspects
A Schematic Presentation of the In-depth Exploration Stage (within-alternative, across aspects)

Promising Alternatives

1 2 3 4 5 6

Suitable Alternatives





Choice (within-alternative, across aspects)

  • Goal: To choose the most suitable alternative and rank-order additional, second-best alternatives

  • Method:

    • A detailed, refined comparison among the suitable alternatives, focusing on the differences among them

    • pinpointing the most suitable alternative

    • is it likely that I can actualize it?

      • if not: selecting second-best alternative(s)

      • if yes: am I confident in my choice?

        • if not: Return to In-depth exploration stage

        • if yes: Done!

  • Outcome: An alternative or a rank-order of alternatives

Comparing and evaluating the suitable alternatives
Comparing and evaluating the suitable alternatives (within-alternative, across aspects)

  • The comparison can now be based on a normative-compensatory model, aimed at locating the optimal alternative, because:

    • the number of alternatives under consideration is small it is possible to evaluate each alternative across all aspects

    • the considered alternatives are all acceptable, thus the compromises involved in a trade-off are more subtle

The cancellation operation based on the search for dominance model montgomery 1989
The Cancellation Operation (within-alternative, across aspects)(based on the search for dominance model, Montgomery, 1989)

  • Attributes that the individual perceives as advantageous and as related to one another are grouped and used to counterbalance an advantage of the other alternative on a different combination of attributes, which are equivalent in desirability until the net advantages of one alternative will show that it is more suitable

A Schematic Presentation of the (within-alternative, across aspects)Choice Stage

Return to In-depth exploration stage

Suitable Alternatives

Is there only one suitable alternative?

Compare the suitable alternatives and choose the most suitable one



Most suitable alternative identified

Select second-best alternative(s)

Is its actualization certain?



The choice is made

Am I confident with my choice?





Pic versus p e fit approaches
PIC versus P-E Fit Approaches (within-alternative, across aspects)

  • Common Feature:

    • The goal is to maximize the fit between the individual and work environment.

  • Differences:

    • P-E Fit mainly focuses on the outcome, whereas PIC also focuses on the process.

    • Screening which is based on aspects in PIC (rather than on interests or needs only) is “richer” and more flexible.

    • P-E Fit implies a single-step prescreening (without explicating additional steps), whereas PIC prescribes a multi-step, systematic, and interactive process.

    • The notion of core aspects yields a promise for improving congruence.

Pic versus normative decision theory ndt
PIC versus Normative Decision Theory (NDT) (within-alternative, across aspects)

  • Common Feature:

    • The choice is the outcome of a systematic, analytic decision process.

  • Differences:

    • “Bounded Rationality” in PIC substitutes Rationality in NDT.

    • PIC is less quantitative (but still permits a structured search during prescreening).

    • PIC is less complex and more natural.

    • PIC is especially useful in cases where N of potential alternatives is large

To sum up the pic model
To sum up: The (within-alternative, across aspects)PIC model

  • The search for suitable alternatives is based on:

    • a wide set of career-related aspects rather than only vocational interests,

    • A range of levels to represent both the individual's preferences and the occupations

    • Includes a reexamination of one's input

       therefore the P-E fit resulting from it should lead to greater career-associated well-being than that based on a single-step-based person-occupation match.

Summary continued
Summary (within-alternative, across aspects)(Continued)

  • The PIC model turns the complex process of career choice into a sequence of well-defined tasks

  • Career-guidance based on the PIC model allows the deliberating client to play not only an active role, but a leading one in the decision-process

  • The PIC model deals with career choice from a cognitive point of view, however, some of the emotional problems and indecisiveness in choosing a career may be attributed to the lack of a framework for approaching career decision making - provided by PIC

T (within-alternative, across aspects)

End part 1

The PIC model – Rationale and Stages