Holland's Theory of Career Choice and You
Choosing a Business, Occupation, or Instructional Program
The Career Key Self-Employment Assessment and Entrepreneur Test is based on John Holland's theory of career choice. The theory explains work-related behavior – such as, which career choices are likely to lead to business or job success and satisfaction. It also explains other human actions, like success and satisfaction in school and training programs. It is the best known and most widely researched theory on this topic and is used by most career counselors.
Understanding Holland’s theory will help you make good choices – decisions about which self-employment opportunities, occupations, majors, or training programs best fit you.
Holland's theory can be summarized in six statements:
- In our culture, most people are one of six personality
types: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising,
- People of the same personality type working together in a business create a work environment that fits their type. For example, when Artistic persons are together on a job, they create a work environment that rewards creative thinking and behavior -- an Artistic environment.
are six basic types of work environments: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising,
- People search for environments where they can use their skills and abilities and express their values and attitudes. For example, Investigative types search for Investigative environments; Artistic types look for Artistic environments, and so forth.
- People who choose to work in an environment similar to their personality type are more likely to be successful and satisfied.
For example, Artistic persons are more likely to be successful and satisfied if they choose a job that has an Artistic environment, like choosing to be a dance teacher in a dancing school -- an environment "dominated" by Artistic type people where creative abilities and expression are highly valued.
- How you act and feel at work depends to a large
extent on your workplace environment. If you are
working with people who have a personality type like
yours, you will be able to do many of the things
they can do, and you will feel most comfortable with
How is this related to the scores you receive on the Career Key S-E? According to the theory, you want to choose a business (or occupation) whose personality type is the same as, or similar to yours. This is most likely to lead to your job satisfaction and success. (Learn more about how this applies to college majors, training programs or to Career Clusters, Fields, and Pathways).
Compatible Work Environments
- Your Personality Type
Most people, in reality, are a combination of types -- like Realistic-Investigative, or Artistic-Social. Therefore, you will probably want to consider businesses in more than one category.
If your two strongest personality types are Realistic and Social, Investigative and Enterprising, or Artistic and Conventional -- read the following.
In summary, you are most likely to choose a satisfying business if you choose one that fits your personality type.
John Holland created a hexagonal model that shows the relationship between the personality types and environments.
Notice that the personality types closest to each other are more alike than those farther away. You can see this most clearly when you compare the personalities opposite each other, on the hexagon. For example, read the description of the types for Realistic and Social. You will see that they are virtually the opposite of each other. On the other hand, Social and Artistic are not that far apart.
The same holds true for the work environments. Read their descriptions and you will see.
You will learn more about this fascinating and respected theory when you read What Your Test Scores Mean.