Construction of personal work-theory in the young administrator
Statistical predictive validity has regularly been demonstrated for the complex selection procedure by which young high-potential administrative entrants are recruited to the Civil Service. There is, however, a largely unexplored qualitative aspect to recruitment as well. For most successful candidates, taking up appointment as trainee administrators represents a major life-transition - from full-time education to full-time employment. What is that experience like? How do they go about making sense of their new circumstances? Six trainees took part in the enquiry, which centred on a series of interviews carried out over the course of their first year at work. The focus in this ideographic study is on the individual as learner In a natural setting. Analysis of the accounts produced is set in a social cognition framework, and something of the approach of the ethnographer is also brought to bear. Particular attention is paid to the status of narrative as knowledge. A simple model is outlined for narrative-based reflection as a means to development, with the prospect of the individual acting as his or her own mentor in the process.