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Having a realistic career plan in place is often an essential part of our personal growth and
development. Without goals to strive for, most people find it difficult to stray from the easy norm
or to gain skills which make them a more valuable commodity in the business world. There are
many career definitions that have been written by some authors. According to Parsons (1909),
the definition of career in the wise choice of a vocation, there are three broad factors; First is a
clear understanding of yourself, your aptitudes, abilities, interests, ambitions, resources,
limitations, and their causes. Second, a knowledge of the requirements, conditions of success,
advantages and disadvantages, compensation, opportunities and prospects in different lines of
work and third, true reasoning on the relations of these two groups of facts. Career development
is the lifelong process of managing learning, work, leisure, and transitions in order to move
toward a personally determined and evolving preferred future. Personalities, interests and
personal skills influence the tendency of an individual in making the career choice.

If it is noticed, the individual will usually choose a career that fits into the personality traits of his
or her personality and interests. The study found that this compatibility affects satisfaction
human work. Therefore, if an individual chooses the job that is contrary to his interests, he may
be able to still do it but its satisfaction rate his job might be low. Bill Gothard, Phil Mignot,
Marcus Offer and Melvyn Ruff (2001) described career development is a complex process
involving many different and changing factors. Careers guidance formally began with Frank
Parsons, who established the Vocation Bureau in Boston (USA) in 1908. The following year he
put his ideas into words. First, he stressed, a clear understanding of the individual’s aptitudes,
interests and limitations was necessary. Second, knowledge of the requirements and conditions
of different kinds of employment was essential. Finally, an ability to match these two would
result in successful guidance.

Preparation for and engagement in career management and the career development process
necessitates an understanding of the contemporary career and its diverse depictions over time.
Evolutionary journey of the career concept characterized as four distinct stages: Stage 1 – The
roots of career development derived from Parsons’ (1909) three-step formula for choosing a
career that involved the matching of personal requirements with the external environment.
Stage 2 – An expansive life perspective approach, underscoring the relationship between
professional and personal biographies. Stage 3 – The concept of career returned to a more
restricted occupational and organizational orientation based on stability of career, employment
structures and upward progression across a limited number of firms with a focus on extrinsic
rewards and organizational career management. Stage 4 – This reflects a movement to a more
contemporary understanding of career, experienced-focused, post-organizational descriptions,
attempting to replicate how individuals enact their career in a changing world.

The development of career guidance and development into a global discipline requires a set of
theoretical frameworks with universal validity and applications, as well as culture-specific
models that could be used to explain career development issues and phenomenon at a local level.
Mulhall, S. (2014) stated there are five popular theories in career development that have guided
career guidance and counselling practice and research in the past few decades in the USA as well
as internationally. These five theories are (a) Theory of Work-Adjustment, (b) Holland’s Theory
of Vocational Personalities in Work Environment, (c) the Self-concept Theory of Career
Development formulated by Super and more recently by Savickas, (d) Gottfredson’s Theory of
Circumscription and Compromise, and (e) Social Cognitive Career Theory.

Providing effective career management and career development programs is a critical challenge
for twenty-first century human resource practitioners and business leaders. Such programs have
an important role in building sustainable organizations and for offering employees a meaningful
focus for their future. Organizations and employees, however, bring varying perspectives to the
situation and one of the challenges in the career management process is how such differences
might be recognized and resolved. A partnership approach (Cedefop, 2008; Chartered Institute of
Personnel and Development, 2011; King, 2004) offers one possibility as this entails employers
supporting employees to develop the skills they need tomorrow, but within a context that
appreciates that individuals are different and will have diverse expectations and requirements
from a career. The value of this collaborative approach is that it reflects the current and future
capabilities required by the organization to fulfill l its strategy and meets its objectives, as well as
satisfying the needs of individuals to build the competence and competencies to feel engaged
with, and valued by their organization.
2.1 The Introduction of Holland’s Theory
Holland’s Theory gives explicit attention to behavioral style or personality types
as the major influence in career choice development. Most people are one of six
personality types and matching work environment realistic, investigative, artistic,
social, enterprising and conventional. People who choose to work in an
environment similar to their personality type are more 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.
Holland’s most impressive contributions to psychology were the combining of
two important theoretical traditions, namely vocational psychology and
personality. Holland’s work is a function of self-directedness techniques affords
individuals the opportunity to make their choices. This is demonstrated in the self-
administering and self-scoring Self-Directed Search Assessment technique that
has become popular throughout the world.

2.2 The History of Holland’s Theory

The first presentation of the theory in 1959 emphasized the searching aspects of
person-environment fit: “The person making a vocational choice in a sense
searches for situations which satisfy his hierarchy of adjustive orientation. John
Lewis Holland unflagging devotion to creativity, integrity, empirical evidence
and practical application in revising his theory accounts for its unprecedented
influence. Holland was awarded the American Psychological Association’s
prestigious Award for Distinguished Contributions to Professional Knowledge in
1995 in recognition of his sustained work in vocational psychology.

Holland’s Theory of vocational or career development now pervades career

counseling research and practices. Holland originally labeled his six types as
motoric, intellectual, esthetic, supportive, persuasive and conforming. He later
developed and changed them to “realistic, investigative, artistic, social,
enterprising and conventional” (RIASEC).

2.3. The Founder Background

John Lewis Holland was born on October 21, 1919 and raised in Obama,
Nebraska was an American Psychologist, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at John
Hopkins University and the creator of a career development or creator model
Holland Occupational themes commonly known as the Holland Codes, The Self
Directed Search and The Dictionary of Holland Occupational Codes. Holland
graduated from Central High, Omaha, Nebraska in 1938 and from the University
of Nebraska at Omaha in 1942.

John Holland is primarily identified as a counseling psychologist whose main

theoretical and practical contributions have been in the field of career choice and
adjustment. He has been concerned with the choice and processes involved in
selecting, adapting and changing occupations.

Holland has received a number of accolades for his contributions to the field.
Within 10 years of his Ph.D he received a research award from American
Personnel and Guidance Association. He is Fellow of the American Psychological
Association for his contributions to both counseling psychology and educational
psychology. Holland is clearly world famous among counseling and vocational
psychologists. His theory, concepts, inventories, insights, empirical research and
application have significantly changed the field of vocational psychology.

Holland dies on November 27, 2008 at Union Medical Hospital at the age 89 and
this same month he was awarded the APA Distinguished Scientific Award for the
Application of Psychology.

2.3 Why do we choose Holland’s Theory?

We chose Holland's Theory because career choice must be consistent with
individual characteristics that can reduce and avoid the changes of work. In
addition, this theory is very practical and applicable globally regardless of
religion, race and culture. Individual harmony with the environment will result in
the suitability, determination and individual skills of the career. This situation is
supported by various articles and journals that support the advantages of Holland's
2.3.1 The Strength of Holland’s Theory
a) One of the biggest strengths of John Holland’s theories is easily to understand
Holland’s RIASEC model. It is the most widely used model for organizing career
interest assessments and it used to organize occupational information from many
sources. (Refer to Appendix)
b) Types are intuitively appealing and easily shared with students. Provides helpful
way of oriented to the world of work environments. (Refer to Appendix)
c) Stable over time and across gender and racial lines. (Refer to Appendix)

2.3.2 The Weaknesses of Holland’s Theory

a) Lies in the formulation of stability and change. Environmental, situational,
economic, psychological and social factors can affect the way an individual
perceives them and the way they answer the assessments.
b) Theory does not provide insights into how one develops a type or guidance for
working with student.
c) No insights on how types develop
d) No guidance on how to work with students

2.4 Basic Assumptions in Holland’s Theory

Holland Theory is also known as Holland’s Typology Theory. This theory has some basic
ideas. According to Holland’s (1996), there are four basic assumptions that have been the
fundamental and foundation for this theory.
The basic assumptions contain four ideas which. Holland’s (1996) stated that in American
culture, most individuals can be categorized into one out of six personalities which is
Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional. According to
Holland, each of the personalities is formed due to the interaction of the cultural and
personal enforcements including from peers, biological inheritance, family, social status,
culture and physical environment. This combination or interaction will affect an individual
performance in which he or she is likely to be satisfied and productive in. Therefore, these
activities will gain more interests and lead to the existence of an expertise group.

Holland also stated that there are six environments in Holland’s Theory which is Realistic,
Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional. Each of the environments will
be dominated by certain personality and will be categorized by the physical environment
that will cause certain problems and chances. For example, the realistic environments will
be dominated by individual with realistic personality, which is most of the population who
live in the realistic environment is similar to realistic. The conventional environment will be
dominated by individual with conventional personality. An individual will be seeking for
the environments that can offered them the chances to practice their own skills and ability,
to create the attitude and values and considering all the problems and the approved roles
which existed in that particular environment.

The last basic assumption of Holland’s Theory is the behavior of an individual is determined
by the combination between the personality and the environment. According to Holland’s, if
we are able to understand the pattern of one’s personality and the pattern of the environment
principally based on our knowledge about the types of personalities and the environmental
models, we can predict some consequences that might be happened due to the combination
of these two ideas. This includes the career option, career change, vocational achievement,
personal competencies, educational behavior and social.

2.5 Diagnostic Theoretical Indicators in Holland’s Theory

2.5.1 Congruency
Congruency refers to relationship between the personality and the environment. Some
people will have resemblance of any six of the basic personalities. The more resemblance
will affect a person behavior and personality. In other words, the degree of the
congruency is affected by the fit of combination between the personality and the work
environment in which she or he currently anticipates entering. According to Holland’s
Hexagonal Model, the congruency of each individual in their career path is depends on
how similar the personality with the environment. For example an individual with social
personality will be more productive and effective in a social environment of career

2.5.2. Consistency
Consistency is a measure of internal coherence of an individual’s type scores. Using
Holland’s Model of Hexagon, consistency is measured by the degree of similarities
between the personalities with the same characteristics. The closer the position, the more
consistent it will be.

2.5.3. Differentiation
Differentiation refers to a measurement of crystallization of interests and provides
information about the relative definition of types in an individual’s profile (referring to
Holland’s Hexagonal Model). According to Holland’s (1996), some individual is more
genuine. They will show the highest resemblance to one type than the other types of
2.5.4. Identity
Identity refers to an indicator or the measurement of the degree of the clarity of the
picture of one’s goals, interests, and talents (Holland’s, 1997). It defines the strength of
differentiation and consistency between personalities and the environments.
2.5.5. Calculus
According to Holland’s (1973), the relationship in or between personalities and
environment can be identified using Holland’s Hexagonal Model. The range of types of
personalities and the environment are theoretical inversed. Thus, the sharp spike of the
hexagon defines the range of two personalities that will affect the psychological

2.6 The Application of Holland’s Theory in The 21st Century

The main focus of Holland’s Typology Theory is to define the behavioral in vocational
context and to suggest practical ideas to help an individual in their career options, to change
their work environment and to experience the high level of satisfaction in their career
(Holland’s, 1996). This theory is applied since 1959 until the 21st century. Here is some of
the research that proves the application of Holland’s Theory in Career Counseling.

2.6.1 Holland’s Theory in an International Context

Emily E. Bullock, an assistant professor at University of Southern Mississippi has led a
research team on vocational psychology career counseling. The team had done a
literature review on the applicability of the RIASEC model’s structure and Holland-based
assessments in global cultures and context for where they were not originally intended.
Holland’s RIASEC Theory was stated to be designed to meet the vocational needs of
people in the United States.

In their writing, the team stated that according to Stead and Watson (1998), there are
some values of people in the U.S such as individualism, independent decision making
and immediate family structure are not a culture in other place. This difference in culture
and values has driven some criticism about Holland’s Theory contribution to the non US
citizen in the 21st century. The main focus of the literature review from the team is about
how applicable is the theory to suit the global needs in career counseling or career

2.6.2. The Reflections and Future Directions of Counseling Psychology

Margaret M. Nauta from Illinois State University has conduct an article entitled “The
Development, Evolution, and Status of Holland’s Theory of Vocational Personalities:
Reflections and Future Directions of Counseling Psychology. She wrote that Holland’s
Theory is user friendly and could be implemented in practice on a widespread basis. The
effectiveness of Holland’s Theory is proved by the frequent implementation in practice
and its use by scholars. The writer stated that according to Brown & Lent (2005),
Holland’s Theory is the most extensive examined career theory, which we can give a
credit to the theory. Holland’s theory, instruments, classifications materials and its other
principals has been used globally to guide counseling interventions. This shown that the
theory is still applicable and suits the needs of career counseling in this 21st century.

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