The Theory of Work Adjustment
The Theory of Work Adjustment (TWA) assumes that much of the persons (P’s) behavior in interacting with their work environment (E) is about meeting their own needs, which leads to satisfaction (Satisfaction refers to P’s satisfaction with E, while satisfactoriness refers E’s satisfaction with P. Satisfaction depends of the Fit (degree of correspondence) between P and E (Dawis, 2005). TWA uses two constructs to describe P: (1) needs (reinforcer requirements) and (2) skills (response capabilities). Constructs used to describe E are: (1) reinforcers (reinforcement capabilities) which enable it to satisfy P’s needs, and (2) skill requirements (response requirements) – the set of skills P must have.
In TWA’s predictive model, P’s satisfaction and satisfactoriness are dependent variables that are predicted from two P-E correspondence variables: 1. The correspondence of E’s reinforcers to P’s needs predict P’s satisfaction. 2. The correspondence of P’s skills to E’s skill requirements predicts P’s satisfactoriness. (Dawis, 2005). Using these two correspondence variables Counsellors could help clients forecast the types of work in which they would be most satisfied and satisfactory.
How would counsellors use this theory in practice. Let us use Joe as a hypothetical example. Some of Joe’s reinforcers may include a need for variety and socialization. In the past Joe has considered becoming a comedian or a writer, so we can infer a need to express his creative and artistic self, Joe also had considered work that involves helping people, so we can also infer that Joe values compassion and empathy. In order to have the best fit counsellors would need to explore Joe’s abilities in order to make sure that he would be potentially satisfactory for E. For example, if we hypothesize that one of Joe’s potential occupations (based on his needs and values) was that of a counselor, he would have to do a significant amount of schooling to obtain the necessary requirements to be satisfactory for his employer. Joe may or may not be willing to put in the necessary schooling needed, and if such is the case the counsellor would continue to help Joe explore other occupations that would prove a good fit.