Application of Holland's theory to a nonprofessional occupation

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Date: Mar. 2003
From: Journal of Employment Counseling(Vol. 40, Issue 1)
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Document Type: Article
Length: 2,353 words

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The authors, using the recently developed Position Classification Inventory (PCI; G. Gottfredson & J. L. Holland, 1991), examined male and female perceptions of a nonprofessional occupation. Results suggest that the PCI shows promise as a method of classifying occupations according to J. L. Holland's (1997) theory.


One method to describe occupations is Holland's (1985) theory of people and occupational environments. Holland's theory can be perceived as an explicit attempt to organize and systematize the knowledge of self and, secondarily, to match that self with occupational environments (Slaney, Hall, & Bieschke, 1993). To this end, Holland's theory of vocational choice posits that people are motivated to seek out occupational environments consistent with their personalities.

Both environment and personalities are grouped into six major categories: Realistic (R), Investigative (I), Artistic (A), Social (S), Enterprising (E), and Conventional (C). A central assumption behind Holland's (1985) approach is that "vocational satisfaction, stability, and achievement depend on the congruence between one's personality and environment in which one works" (p. 10). Congruence is defined as the relative proximity in Holland's hexagon between the client's personality and his or her occupational environment (Gati, 1985) and is at the center of any theory of person--environment match (Osipow, 1987).

One goal that is common to all vocational counseling is to encourage clients to consider and explore a broad range of occupational possibilities that are consistent with their personality. For this reason, the more comprehensively that specific occupations are studied, the more useful this information is likely to be in meeting the need of forecasting a match between clients and large numbers of occupations.

One publication that is often used to assist clients in considering occupations consistent with their personality is the Dictionary of Holland Occupational Codes (DHOC; Gottfredson & Holland, 1996). The DHOC provides a way of classifying most occupations according to Holland's (1985) theory. The DHOC, however, does not provide a method of directly assessing any specific position using Holland's personality/environmental typology. The Position Classification Inventory (PCI; Gottfredson & Holland, 1991) was developed, in part, to address this particular shortcoming of the DHOC. The PCI shows promise as a method of classifying occupations according to Holland's theory (Maurer & Tarulli, 1997).

The most straightforward application of the PCI involves classifying occupations (Gottfredson & Holland, 1991). One purpose of this study, therefore, was to analyze the degree of congruence between the DHOC's classification of a specific occupation and actual workers' classification of the same occupation, using the PCI. In addition, we are unaware of any studies that have examined if job classifications differ by gender; that is, whether men and women analyze the same occupation similarly. We hope that information from this article will provide additional support for the usability of the DHOC and supply relevant data regarding perceived gender differences (or similarities) among occupations.

Finally, most of the research on Holland's model has involved students or workers in occupations that require a college degree (Tranberg, Slane, & Ekeberg, 1993). Thus, to draw broader conclusions about the validity of...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A98881427