Holland‘s Theory Discussed –
Of the many career counseling theories, the most studied is John Holland’s theory. His ideas, elaborated on in his Making Vocational Choices: A Theory of Vocational Personalities and Work Environments are both straightforward and widely applicable.
Assumptions behind the theory
- The selection of an occupation can be a reflection of a person’s personality.
- An interest inventory can be a personality inventory. This is because Holland holds that perceived abilities, anticipated success, and expected satisfaction help define interests.
- Vocational stereotypes hold important psychological meaning.
- In our culture, there exist six different personality types against which we evaluate ourselves. Most people are a combination of types, not a pure type.
- There exist six distinct working environments; each is dominated by a specific type.
- People are motivated to seek out hobs that compliment their personalities, thereby maximizing their individual strengths and minimizing their weaknesses.
- Specific career related behaviors, such as success, satisfaction, and job stability, can be reasonably predicted by examining a person’s P/E (personality/environment) fit.
- Realistic Type, known in other interest surveys as mechanical, practical, technology/outdoors. R types are often pragmatic and like to work with their hands.
- Investigative Type, also called scientific or logical. I types are often engineers or scientists and like problem-solving and working alone.
- Artistic Type, also referred to as artistic, literary, and expressive. A Types often have jobs in the visual or performing arts, or as writers. They are known for their high degree of creativity often have jobs in the visual or performing arts, or as writers. They are known for their high degree of creativity.
- Social Type, also called helping or service-oriented. S Types often have jobs in the health or social fields. They are often altruistic people with an intuitive sense for reading others’ feelings.
- Enterprising Type, sometimes called persuasive or assertive. They enjoy influencing others. E Types are drawn to positions in management and politics.
- Conventional Type, also known as socialized, clerical, computational, or organizational. They enjoy order and are often mathematically inclined. C Types are often found doing highly procedural work such as filing or bookkeeping.
Holland believed that the greater the congruency (or compatibility) between a person and their work environment, the greater that individual’s chance of success. Also, the greater the consistency, or degree of similarity, between the first two letters of the code (as determined by their proximity on Holland’s hexagon), the easier it is to make a career choice.
It is easier to decide on a career when there is a high magnitude of difference between the highest and lowest types instead of flatline (like, or dislike, everything about the same). Holland held that if the difference between the scores the first two codes was less than 8, they could be used interchangably. However, if the difference was less greater than 8, then the first code is dominant.