A Further Examination of the “Occupational Linkage Hypothesis”

Jeylan T. Mortimer, Donald Kumka

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In response to Lueptow, McClendon, and McKeon's (1979) recent criticisms of the “occupational linkage hypothesis,” we estimate a modified linkage model, using data obtained from a panel of male college graduates over a ten‐year period. The findings indicate differences in the processes of socialization and occupational attainment depending on the character (business vs. professional) of the father's occupation. Specifically, paternal support was more strongly related to sons' extrinsic values in the business sector and to sons' intrinsic and people–oriented value orientations in the professional origin group. The distinctive patterns of value socialization persisted when socioeconomic status and grade point average were controlled. Extension of the linkage model to include sons' adult attainments indicates that the work values transmitted in the family have important implications for sons' occupational outcomes. Consideration of the discrepancy between these findings and those of other studies suggests that future investigators of the “occupational linkage hypothesis” should more closely attend to the socialization process, as it impinges on the child, and to the character of the linkages between parental work characteristics and children's psychological attributes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-16
Number of pages14
JournalSociological Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1982


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