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Classifying Personality Types with Occupational Prototypes


University of Winnipeg


University of British Columbia



iJniversi@ of Calgary

The interpersonal properties of Holland’s occupational preferences model was

examined with respect to the Interpersonal Circumplex. We investigated the hy-
pothesis that occupational preferences, selected on the basis of their judged in-
terpersonal relevance, may be used to classify subjects into their appropriate trait
category on the Circumplex. In Study 1, eight Interpersonal Occupation Scales
(10s) were developed to map categories from the Circumplex, with Holland’s
Self-Directed Search (SDS) serving as the occupations item pool. The IOS was
designed according to the prototype scale construction strategy (Broughton, 1984).
Intraclass correlation analysis of the IOS revealed high interjudge agreement
among prototype rankings. In Study 2, 236 undergraduates completed the SDS,
IOS, and Wiggins’ Revised Interpersonal Adjective Scales (IAS-R). On the basis
of IAS-R scores, subjects were classified into one of eight personality types on
the Circumplex. Discriminant function analyses, with SDS and IOS scale scores
serving as separate predictors of quadrant and octant criteria, revealed significantly
higher hit rates for IOS scales. Subsequent separate-group discriminant analyses
indicated an average 71% correct classification rate for IOS scale predictors.
Results were interpreted with respect to the link between personality and occu-
pational preference and the use of a prototype approach in exploring this link.
0 1591 Academic Press, Inc.

We are grateful to Beverley Fehr, Stephen Briggs and two anonymous reviewers for their
constructive comments on an earlier draft of this article. Address correspondence and reprint
requests to Ross Broughton, Department of Psychology, University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg,
Manitoba, Canada R3B 2E9.

OO92-6566/91 $3.00
Copyright Q 1991 by Academic Press, Inc.
All rights of reproduction in any form reserved


Of the six factors related to self-reported occupational preferences (‘r-
sonality, ability, achievement, satisfaction, gender, and race), the most
extensively documented has been personality (Hansen, 1984). This is not
surprising given that the two most prominent theories in the vocational
behavior literature are based on personality typologies (Roe, 1956, 1957;
Holland, 1973). Although Roe’s theory continues to inspire research,
Holland’s theory and instruments have virtually captured the research
market in this field of investigation (Hogan, 1983; Wienrach, 1984; Costa,
Fozard, & McRae, 1977). In Holland’s most recent theoretical statement
(1985), he cites close to 500 published research articles in which his theory
and/or instruments were put to use.
Holland’s (1973) theory of vocational choice is based on the assumption
that vocational interest is one important aspect of personality. To the
extent that personality traits can be identified by preferences for activities
(c.f., Buss & Craik, 1983), of which occupational preferences are a subset,
then vocational interests can be viewed as an expression of personality.
Holland’s (1973) hexagonal model of personality and occupational types
is organized around the defining axes of sociability and conformity, which
have been likened to the dominance and nurturance axes of Wiggins’
(1979) Interpersonal Circumplex by Hogan (1983). Similar dimensions
have also been implicated in Roe’s typology (e.g., Crites, 1962).
In Hogan’s (1983) discussion of the similarities between Holland’s hex-
agonal model and circumplex models used in personality psychology (e.g.,
Eysenck, 1953; Leary, 1957; Wiggins, 1979), he points out that Holland’s
model may be viewed as one instance of a generic conceptualization of
interpersonal behavior-“ although the number of organizing dimensions
and their labels change across analyses, all circumplex models . . . appear
to share a common or universal ‘deep structure’ ” (1983, p. 62). This
generic conceptualization has since been captured in Kiesler’s (1983) syn-
thesis, which he called the Interpersonal Circle.
It has been known for many years that the interrelations among inter-
personal variables form an endless circular pattern of highly positively
correlated adjacent variables ( + .71), highly negatively correlated bipolar
opposites ( - 1 .O), and uncorrelated perpendicular variables (.OO). This
circular pattern allows for predictions to be made about the similarity and
compatibility of nodes (e.g., types, traits) on the circumplex as a function
of their angular locations.
Researchers have explored the utility of circumplex models for repre-
senting behavior in a variety of settings ranging from, for example, ma-
ternal and child behavior (Schaefer, 1959, 1961), activities of college

students (Stern, 1970), pathological behaviors (Benjamin, 1974; Freed-

man, Leary, Ossorio, & Coffey, 1951; Kiesler, 1983; Leary, 1957; Wiggins,
1982), human development (Foa & Foa, 1974), social exchange (Carson,
1979), interpersonal behavior (Carson, 1969; Leary, 1957; Wiggins, 1979;
Wiggins & Broughton, 1985) and, as we have discussed, occupational
preferences (Holland, 1973; Roe, 1957). An example of a clear and replic-
able eight-trait circumplex, adapted from Wiggins (1979), is contained
within the perimeter of the circle shown in Fig. 1, which served as the
working model for Study 1.
Circumplex arrangements of variables are particularly suited to pro-
totype analyses. This is because the categories they contain are not mu-
tually exclusive of their adjacent neighbors, rather they merge into them.
As a result of their gradual metamorphosis, such categories are said to
possess “fuzzy” boundaries. The distinctiveness of a category is attained
only by comparing a subset of its elements, the clearest cases, with similar
groupings from other categories around the circle. Rosch (1973) defined
prototypes as the clearest cases or best examples of a category. A pro-
totype is actually a judgment about the goodness-of-fit of a member in
its category. As such prototypes do not exist in nature, they are what
Rosch has called “convenient grammatical fictions,” and are used to help
grade a category’s membership in terms of goodness-of-fit.
Since its inception in 1973, the concept of prototype has been put to
use in many research contexts in psychology. For example, it has been
applied as an organizational construct in clinical psychology in the area
of depression (Horowitz, French, & Weckler, 1982), to categories of
emotion (Fehr & Russell, 1984), and to clarify psychological concepts
such as wisdom (Holliday & Chandler, 1986), love, and commitment
(Fehr, 1988). In personality psychology, the prototype approach has
proven useful in the development of predictor and criteria techniques.
For example, a prototype methodology has been used to help sort per-
sonality test items into scales that significantly outperform traditional mea-
sures (Broughton, 1984; de Jong, 1988). Prototype methods were also
used to develop stimuli for a novel multidimensional scaling approach to
personality assessment (Broughton, 1986; 1990). In the area of criterion
measures, work has been under way with prototype techniques for many
years now (Buss & Craik 1980, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1987). In their act-
frequency approach, Buss and Craik have identified prototypic behavioral
acts for each of the eight trait categories of the Wiggins (1979) circumplex.
In earlier studies (e.g., Holland, 1963; Westbrook & Molla, 1976),
researchers have found a moderate, but consistent, relationship between
Holland’s theoretical occupational types (e.g., realistic, enterprising) and
personality traits (e.g, shy, dominant). Westbrook and Molla (1976) found
that reliable personological stereotypes existed for many occupations. That

is, people seem to have little difficulty in ascribing personality traits ex-
clusively on the basis of occupational information. In the present studies,
we were interested to see if the reverse was true: Do unique occupational
clusters exist for interpersonal personality types? If so, is there enough
interpersonal information encoded in such clusters to allow for reliable
discrimination among interpersonal personality types? If judges could
agree upon the presumed occupational preferences of each of the hy-
pothetical trait characters, then the usefulness of occupational clusters as
indicants of interpersonal traits could be assessed.
In Study 1, judges familiar with the eight trait categories of the inter-
personal circle were asked to rate the presumed relevance of occupations
to these categories. We predicted that eight occupational clusters, or
prototypes, could be reliably developed from these ratings. In Study 2,
a group of subjects completed the Revised Interpersonal Adjective Scales
(IAS-R; Wiggins, Trapnell, & Phillips, 1988) as well as the occupations
section of Holland’s (1985) Self-Directed Search (SDS). We predicted
that occupational scales developed from judges’ ratings in Study 1 could
be used to reliably classify these subjects into their appropriate trait cat-


The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that judges who
read eight stories about hypothetical characters designed to map the eight
trait categories from the Interpersonal Circle (Wiggins & Broughton,
1985), could then rate the occupational preferences of these characters,
and do so reliably. On the basis of past research on occupational ster-
eotypes (e.g., Westbrook & Molla, 1976) and prior experience using the
same trait stimuli to assess personality (e.g., Broughton, 1986; 1990), we
thought it possible for judges to agree on relatively distinct occupational
clusters for each of the eight trait characters.

With the advent of Buss & Craik’s prototypical act lists (Table 1 contains a 204tem list
for the trait of dominance), it was possible to construct stories about hypothetical characters
that each act out prototypical behaviors from a single trait category. Each of the characters
represented idealized trait types, or theoretical fictions that have proven useful for their
clarity and distinctiveness, rather than realism (Broughton, 1986). The vignette that was
used for the trait of dominance with men is contained in the Appendix.
The materials consisted of a booklet containing eight randomly ordered vignette stories
and eight occupational preference inventories (adapted from the SDS). Each of the stories
described a “day in the life” of a hypothetical character who acted out the behaviors deemed
prototypical of a given trait category (Buss & Craik, 1980). Eight characters were developed


1. I demanded that he run an errand.

2. I interrupted a conversation.
3. I argued vigorously on behalf of my personal beliefs.
4. I made a bold sexual advance.
5. I chose to sit at the head of the table.
6. I yelled in order to get my way.
7. I set goals for the group.
8. I decided which programs we would watch on TV.
9. I gave advice, although none was requested.
10. I told him which item he should purchase.
11. I persuaded him to do something he did not want to do.
12. I took the initiative in a sexual encounter.
13. I took the lead in livening up a dull party.
14. I took charge of things at the committee meeting.
15. I took a stand on the issue without waiting to find out what others thought.
16. I settled the dispute among other members of the group.
17. I persuaded others to accept my opinion on the issue.
18. I managed to control the outcome of the meeting without the others being aware of
19. I took the lead in organizing a project.
20. I challenged someone to discuss his/her position.

Note. Number beside each act denotes its prototypicahty ranking.

to represent each of the eight trait categories from around the Interpersonal Circumplex
(see Tables 1 and 2, and Broughton, 1986, for the complete set of vignettes). A set of eight
female characters were used for female subjects, and a set of male characters were used
for male subjects. The behavioral acts were the same for each gender. Six judges (three
males, three females) familiar with the Interpersonal Circle rated the presumed occupational
preferences of the eight trait characters (matched for the gender of the judge). Judges were
instructed to read each of the vignettes and then indicate the relevance of Holland’s SDS
occupational items for each character on a five-place Likert scale. Each judge completed
eight SD%; one for each of the eight trait characters.

Analyses and Results

Interjudge agreement on the eight sets of ratings was assessed with
intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs). The ICC formula for judges
ratings of same targets, with potential tied ratings, was used (Shrout &
Fleiss, 1979). ICCs ranged from .62 to .83, with a mean of .72, indicating
moderately high levels of agreement.
A profile of the 10 best occupational preferences was assembled for
each of the eight characters, based on judges’ ratings. Ten items were
selected, as opposed to some other figure, on the basis of prior findings
that show only miniscule gains in prediction for scale length exceeding
the 7- to IO-item range (Broughton, 1984; Burisch, 1984). Items (positively

and negatively keyed) were chosen according to the prototype scale con-
struction strategy developed by Broughton (1984). For most of the cat-
egories, items were selected by summing across judges’ ratings for each
occupation, then rank-ordering the sums from highest to lowest. Each
prototype scale was composed of the top 10 occupations from their re-
spective list, with the proviso that none of the chosen occupations ov-
erlapped, in the same keyed direction, with other categories. If overlap-
ping occurred, as one would expect with fuzzy categories, then the next
highest occupation would be used, etc., until 10 unique items were found.
Overlapping occurred only in the lower half of the circumplex, possibly
as a result of an underrepresentation of occupations for these trait cat-
egories. In cases where prototypical occupations were unavailable as a
result of either underrepresentation of items or high overlap with other
categories, items with lowest ratings for that category were reverse-keyed.
For example, as shown in Table 2, the negatively keyed item “bank
examiner” was used in the unassuming trait category.
As predicted, judges were able to reliably rate the hypothetical trait
characters for their presumed occupational preferences. We view the
judges’ ratings as analogous to prototypicality ratings in the sense that
each occupational item is evaluated for its centrality of membership (rel-
evance) for a given trait category (exemplified by a hypothetical person).
To the extent that judges can reliably rate the prototypicality of occu-
pations for trait categories, and the results of this study indicate they can,
it follows that personality classification may be made on the basis of
occupational preference. Stated differently, the results of this study sug-
gested to us that occupations, when coded for their interpersonal content,
may qualify as stand-alone interpersona measures. At the very least,
perhaps they could enhance current assessment techniques as unobtrusive
or subtle interpersonal measures of personality.
An important next step in this line of inquiry was to test the accuracy
of our derived occupational prototypes in the classification of personality.
The utility of the occupational prototypes, hereafter referred to as the
Interpersonal Occupation Scales (IOS), was the focus of Study 2.
The link between occupational preference and personality, as mentioned
earlier, has been the subject of extensive theorizing in the vocational
choice literature (Holland, 1978; Roe 1956). Yet, empirical studies de-
voted to quantifying the theoretical links have not been abundant. To use
Holland’s words, this is the case partly because “data show that the VPZ

Dominance (.74) Quarrelsome (.71) Submissive (.69) Agreeable (.83)

1. Business executive 1. Credit investigator 1. Bank teller 1. Playground director
2. Hotel manager 2. Inventory controller 2. Payroll clerk 2. Missionary
3. Advertising director 3. Cost estimator 3. Astronomer 3. Youth camp director
4. Restaurant manager 4. Financial analyst 4. IBM equipment operator 4. Clinical psychologist
5. Campaign manager 5. Construction inspector 5. Radio operator 5. Marriage counselor
6. Advertising executive 6. Scientific research worker 6. Court stenographer 6. Vocational counselor
7. School superintendent 7. Bookkeeper 7. Filling station worker 7. Personal counselor
8. Business teacher 8. Budget reviewer 8. (-)Welfare director 8. Speech therapist
9. Juvenile delinquent expert 9. ( - )Missionary 9. ( - )Sports promoter 9. High school teacher
10. Welfare director 10. (-)Youth camp director 10. (-)Advertising director 10. Social science teacher

Arrogance (.73) Introverted (.71) Unassuming (.62) Gregarious (.78)

1. Stock & bond sales 1. Poet 1. Concert singer 1. Master of ceremonies
2. Speculator 2. Author 2. Fish & wildlife specialist 2. Publicity director
3. Quality control inspector 3. Independent research scientist 3. (-)Bank examiner 3. Drama coach
4. Bank examiner 4. composer 4. (-)Stock & bond Sales 4. Retail sales person
5. School principal 5. Writer of scientific articles 5. (-)Speculator 5. Stage director
6. Real estate sales 6. Free-lance writer 6. (-)Real estate sales 6. Travelling sales person
7. ( - )Marriage counselor 7. Geologist 7. Budget reviewer 7. Sales manager
8. ( - )Speech Therapist 8. Tree doctor 8. ( -)School principal 8. Sports promoter
9. ( - )Personal counselor 9. Meteorologist 9. ( - )Credit investigator 9. Television producer
10. ( - )Vocational counselor 10. Cartoonist 10. (-)Quality control inspector 10. Journalist

Note. Item number indicates prototypicality, with 1 the highest. Number in parentheses beside scale label is the intraclass correlation coefficient
for that scale. (-) denotes negatively keyed item.

[Vocational Preference Znventory] scales are low to moderately related to

similar scales in other personality inventories . . . and show a low level of
convergent and discriminant validity” (1985b, p. 20, emphasis added).
The magnitude of the significant correlations between like-named occu-
pational and triat constructs is usually in the .20 to .40 range. The highest
correlation reported by Holland was .47, between the occupational scale
of enterprising and the dominance scale from the Edwards Personal Pref-
erence Schedule. Thus the link between self-reported personality and
occupational preference is not unlike those reported between personality
test scores and nontest measures such as peer ratings (Broughton, 1984).
Given that the link between personality and occupational preference is
at best a moderate one, it was not our intention or expectation to break
through Holland’s (1985b) .47 ceiling. Rather, the focus of this study was
on another consistent finding in the vocational choice literature, namely,
that interpersonal factors seem to account for the majority of shared
variance between these two domains (Costa et al., 1977). Moreover, the
significant zero-order correlations with personality scales reported by Hol-
land (1985b) and others mostly tap either the dominance or nurturance
factors of the Interpersonal Circle. These relations are what one would
expect to find if, in fact, interpersonal aspects of occupations (e.g., the
levels of status and affiliation they entail) underlie the links that exist
with personality. On this basis we hypothesized that a person’s self-re-
ported preferences for occupations would contain enough interpersonal
information to make an accurate personality categorization on the Inter-
personal Circumplex.

Subjects and Procedure
Students from four classes (N = 236) each completed the IAS-R and the occupations
section from the SDS.’ The IAS-R items were grouped into two sets of scales, quadrants
and octants, each based on the revised key (Wiggins, Phillips & Trapnell, 1988). Quadrant
labels (friendly-dominant, hostile-dominant, hostile-submissive, and friendly-submissive,
from Carson, 1%9) reflect the polar contribution of the two circumplex dimensions of
dominance-submission and friendliness-hostility. The octant labels (e.g., dominant, arro-
gant, quarrelsome, etc.) are contained within the outer circle of Fig. 1. The IOS octants
were scored by summing the Likert ratings for each of the occupational profiles contained
in Table 2. The two sets of quadrant scales were formed by collapsing octants into coun-
terclockwise adjacent categories, beginning with agreeable (00). Quadrants and octants were

’ To test for the possibility that a subject’s response style to endorse many versus few
scale items would affect classification, all analyses were carried out twice-once with oc-
cupation scales based on raw scores and once with ipsatized scores (standardized on the
basis of a subject’s own mean and standard deviation). Since the results were very similar
for both methods, we used the raw score format.

FIG. 1. Angular locations for Interpersonal Occupation Scales, displayed on the outside
of the circle. OC, occupation; DOM, dominant; ARR, arrogant; QUA, quarrelsome; ALO,
aloof; SUB, submissive; UNA, unassuming; AGR, agreeable; GRE, gregarious. Interper-
sonal circumplex markers and angles are depicted within the circle.

compared via preliminary canonical and correlational analyses to establish degree of overlap
and bandwidth sensitivity of the IOS measures.

Results of Preliminary Canonical and Zero-Order Correlational Analyses

To determine the link between the interpersonal traits and interpersonal
occupations in this data set, we conducted preliminary canonical and zero-
order correlation analyses. A significant level of association between the
two domains was deemed necessary in order to proceed with further
multivariate analyses. The obtained values of the canonical correlation
(S6) and Wilk’s A (.6S) for the first canonical variate indicated substantial
overlap. The significance of the obtained canonical r was evaluated as a
x2 variable with 64 degrees of freedom via Bartlett’s (1941) test. The test
yielded a xzCMJ = 91.63, p < .Ol.
The zero-order correlations between 10s and IAS quadrants are con-
tained in Table 3. As expected, the magnitude of the significant corre-
lations is in the low (.lO) to moderate (.46) range. The convergent validity
coefficients on the diagonal of the matrix were relatively high (averaging
.30, p < .OOl). Relatively high correlations were also found between polar
opposites, e.g., - . 46 for IAS warm-submissive and IOS hostile-dominant.
This is consistent with the correlational structure of the circumplex model.

Occupations 3
Trait Friendly-Dominant Hostile-Dominant Hostile-Submissive Friendly-Submissive
Friendly-Dominant .36** .08 - .34** .06 5
Hostile-Dominant .14* .33** .10* - .29**
Hostile-Submissive - .23** - .10* .25** - .02
Friendly-Submissive .06 - .46*** - .02 .27**
Note. IOS, Interpersonal Occupation Scales: IAS, Interpersonal Adjective Scales.
* p < .05; **p < .Ol; ***p i .ool. s





AGR .20** .15** -.03 -.ll -.16** .04 - .08 .03

GRE .Ol .23'** .12* .OS -.02 -.10* -.10* -.03
DOM -.13* .19** .24*** .19* .lO .06 -.06 -.15**
ARR -49 .12* .16** .20*** .22*** .07 .05 -.20***
QUA -.10* .02 .11* .12 .16** .13* .09 -.16**
AL0 .05 -.19** -.04 -.06 -44 .17** .18** -.07
SUB .22*** - .15** -.17** -.29*** - .1f3** .02 .13* .02
UNA .33*** .02 - .05 -.41*** -.21*** -.03 .04 .05

Note. IOS, Interpersonal Occupation Scales; IAS, Interpersonal Adjective Scales; Oc,
occupation scale; AGR, agreeable; GRE, gregarious; DOM, dominance; ARR, arrogance;
QUA, quarrelsome; ALO, aloof; SUB, submissive; UNA, unassuming.
*p < .05; **p < .Ol; ***p < 301.

Overall, the pattern of convergent and discriminant validity of the 10s

measures for trait quadrants from the circumplex is compelling.
Table 4 contains the zero-order correlations for 10s and IAS octants.
The magnitude of the significant correlations is slightly less than those in
Table 3. The convergent validity coefficients contained in the diagonal,
however, are all significant and in the proper (positive) direction, with
the exception of unassuming (UNA), which was near zero. There were
four direct hits (highest positive correlations) for the categories of gre-
garious (GRE with Oc-GRE), dominance (DOM with Oc-DOM), arro-
gance (ARR with Oc-ARR), and aloof (AL0 with Oc-ALO), out of a
possible eight. Thus the convergent and discriminant validity of the oc-
cupation octant scales is less than for quadrants, indicating that a broad
bandwidth coverage may be optimal for the Interpersonal Occupation
Finally, as a further aid in evaluating the fit of 10s measures to the
Circumplex, we calculated their angular locations. This was done by in-
terpreting an 10s variable’s correlation with IAS dominance and nurtur-
ante factor scores as Cartesian coordinates, which are then converted to
polar coordinates, yielding the angular locations presented in Fig. 1 (out-
side the periphery of the circle). With one or two notable gaps around
the agreeable and quarrelsome nodes (at 0” and NO”, respectively), the
10s measures are closely placed to their namesake trait locations.
Discussion of Preliminary Canonical and Zero-Order
Correlational Analyses
Our preliminary investigation of the linkage between IOS and IAS
measures required a multilevel correlational analysis. First, to establish

whether general overlap existed between the two domains, and if so to

what extent, canonical analysis was carried out. Finding moderate can-
onical overlap, the next step was to look at the manner in which individual
10s measures were linked to the Circle, i.e., whether each variable sam-
pled broadly or finely from a trait category (or categories). This was an
attempt to establish the bandwidth of each scale. That is, a high bandwidth
scale would share interpersonal components with multiple adjacent nodes
on the Circle, whereas a low bandwidth scale would be more narrowly
focussed around one node. High bandwidth scales tend to have lower
fidelity (or discriminant validity around the Circle), and vice versa. How-
ever, the bandwidth/fidelity distinction is made relative to the number of
circle categories one is interested in. If one is interested in, say, quadrant
classification (e.g., Carson, 1969), as opposed to octant classification (e.g.,
Kiesler, 1983), or even sixteenth discriminations (e.g., Wiggins, 1979),
then bandwidth decreases while fidelity increases. The Interpersonal Oc-
cupation Scales clearly fall in the wide bandwidth, low fidelity category
for octants, and in the narrow bandwidth, high fidelity category for quad-
rants. If high fidelity is the criterion of choice, then quadrant trait precision
may be an optimal level, or foci of convenience, for 10s discrimination.
In terms of making accurate personality classifications on the basis of 10s
scores, quadrants may be the best targets. In the next two analyses, we
look at the classificational effectiveness of the 10s and SDS measures
with quadrant versus octant targets. We expected to find that hit rates
would vary negatively as a function of the number of target categories
Discriminant Analyses
To compare the accuracy of the Interpersonal Occupation Scales with
the SDS scales to classify personality types, we undertook a series of
discriminant analyses. Double cross-validation techniques were used to
gauge the level of cross-sample shrinkage in classification efficiency (hit
rate). To double cross-validate, discriminant functions were developed in
each of two halves of the sample (the derivation samples), then applied
to the other half (the validation samples). The difference between the
averages of the derivation and validation hit rates constitutes the amount
of shrinkage one would expect to find in future observations. In an analysis
with many variables and groups, as in the present one, high shrinkage
rates are often found (Cliff, 1987). Another issue to consider with hit
rates is their relation to base rates. Hit rates are a function, to some
degree, of base rates, which in turn are determined by group sizes. To
offset base rate effects, the group ns were equal in the present analyses.
To begin, subjects were placed in trait categories on the basis of their
angle locations on the circumplex. This was done by converting subjects
IAS-R octant scores to interpersonal factor scores (which can be viewed

as Cartesian coordinates) and then to polar coordinates, which provide

an angle location for each subject (for details, see Wiggins et al., 1989).
Three discriminant function analyses were planned. The first was a linear
design to simultaneously classify subjects into four circumplex trait groups,
or quadrants, on the basis of occupation scale scores. The four quadrants
were labeled (starting in the upper right quadrant and moving counter-
clockwise; see Fig. 1) Friendly/Dominant, Hostile/Dominant, Hos-
tile/Submissive, and Friendly/Submissive (after Carson, 1969). This over-
all analysis was performed for each set of predictors to compare
classification efficiency, operationalized by the hit rate. With the proviso
that overall hit rates reach significance, a second series of discriminant
analyses was planned for octants. Again, depending on hit rate signifi-
cance, a third series of discriminant analyses was planned for individual
trait criterion measures. Individual analyses can be used to explore hit
rate variance that may be distorted in multiple criterion problems due to
multicollinearity among criteria (Cliff, 1987). As a result, hit rates ob-
tained from complementary-group, or dichotomous discriminant problems
(e.g., extroverted versus not extroverted) can sometimes be very different
from the multiple group case.
For 10s predictors, the overall cross-validated hit rate for the four-
target (quadrant) problem was 74% correct classification, compared to a
29% hit rate for SDS predictors. Hit rate significance tests (from Huberty,
1984) indicated that only the IOS scales performed above chance levels
(z = 17.03, 1.32, for IOS, SDS respectively), and that the difference
between the 10s and SDS rates was also significant (z = 15.02). Figure
2 reveals that IOS discrimination in the quadrant target problem was
consistently higher than that obtained with the SDS. For the eight-target
(octant) problem, Fig. 3 portrays the average profile of hits and misses
(percentages) for 10s and SDS predictor variables. Compared to the
quadrant problem, hit rates dropped markedly for octant classification.
The average percentage of target category hits was 30% for the 10s (z
= 7.61, p < .OOOOl) and 19% for the SDS predictors (z = 2.79, p <
.Ol). As with quadrants, the difference between the two hit rates was
significant (z = 4.05, p < .OOOl) for octants. As shown in Fig. 3, the
classification profile is much flatter for SDS predictors, indicating less
discrimination among trait categories and less elevated hit rates for target
and adjacent categories.
Having passed the four- and eight-category classification tests, the 10s
measures were then subjected to a series of two-category, or separate-
group, discriminant analyses. These were carried out to further explore
individual trait classification accuracy that may have been distorted in the




Friendly/Dominant Friendly/Submissive
Hostile/Dominant Hostile/Submissive
FIG. 2. Quadrant hit rates for IOS and SDS measures.

eight-category test due to multicollinearity effects or high hit rate variance

among the trait criteria. It is also the case in situations such as these
(where group sizes and base rates are very different) that a separate-
group analysis should be used to determine the significance of observed
hit rates for individual criterion categories. Separate-group analysis is
based on a comparison of the number of target hits against an expected
rate that is determined by the ratio of group to sample size (Huberty,

0 - ‘0
-3 -2 -1 Target -1 -2 -3 -4

Trait Category
FIG. 3. Average profile of classification hits and misses (percentages) for Interpersonal
Occupation Scales (10s) and Self-Directed Search (SDS) predictor variables. Trait categories
that are adjacent to the target on the circumplex are represented by - 1, categories twice
removed from the target by -2, etc.


Representative Hits
Analysis Trait group occupation N KR-20 (%I 2
1 Dominant Business executive 29 .76 81 11.30*
Stock and bond
Calculating sales person 26 .74 70 10.80*
Quarrelsome Credit investigator 23 .64 74 11.37*
Introverted Poet 25 .72 56 9.50*
Submissive Bank teller 25 .72 72 11.12*
Unassuming Concert singer 23 .68 61 10.12*
7 Agreeable director 26 .80 78 11.51*
Master of
8 Gregarious 28 .85 68 10.56’

Note. KR-20, Kuder Richardson formula 20; Hits (%), the percentage of correct clas-
sifications based on group N.
*p < .OOOl.

1984). Experimentwise error rate, which is inflated by multiple testing,

was controlled by adopting the Bonferoni inequality criterion. An (Y level
of .006 (.05/Q was used. In the two-category analyses, subjects could be
placed in one of two groups-the “target” trait group (average n = 26)
or the “other” group (average n = 180). This was repeated for each of
the octant categories.
The results of the eight discriminant analyses are summarized in Table
5. The average hit rate for the IOS predictors was 71%. Hit rates ranged
from 56% for introversion to 81% for dominance. As expected, the pri-
mary interpersonal dimensions of dominance-submission and nurturance-
hostility were the traits with the highest hit rates. Table 5 also contains
estimates of internal consistency (KR-20) for the interpersonal occupation
scales. The values range from a low of 64 for quarrelsome to a high of
.85 for agreeable, with a mean of .74. For hypothesized measures still in
the early stages of research, the Interpersonal Occupation Scales can be
said to possess a satisfactory level of reliability (Nunnally, 1978, p. 245).
Overall, the results supported predictions for trait classification on the
basis of occupational preferences. The prediction we made was a general
one-that enough interpersonal trait information was encoded in certain
occupational preferences to enable us to make reliable trait classifications.
The purpose of this study was not to simply classify subjects on the
Interpersonal Circle. That could be done optimally with the use of in-
terpersonal trait scales such as the IAS-R. Rather, the focus of this study
was on the perceived occupational correlates of the trait types from the

Interpersonal Circle. As to the value of these perceived correlates, the

question was whether they could provide us with any systematic infor-
mation about personality. Depending on how fine-grained an analysis one
wants to perform, the results range from excellent, for quadrant classi-
fication, to fair for octant classification.
The value of the Interpersonal Occupation Scales may ultimately lie as
subtle measures of personality. This would require further testing and
refinement, but work currently under way in this area looks promising
(Trapnell, 1989). For now, the present experimental scales seem to shed
light on two fundamental aspects of this research. The first is the link
between traditional occupations scales and the Interpersonal Circle. The
second is the usefulness of prototype theory in teasing out these links.
These issues are discussed in the general discussion.
As we mentioned at the outset, the Interpersonal Circle is a model
with proven heuristic value in a wide variety of research contexts (c.f.,
Benjamin, 1978; Kelley, 1983), yet occupational choice has not been one
of those areas targeted for indepth “circular reasoning,” as Wiggins et
al. (1989) have put it. Until now the connection between personality and
occupational preference has been more theoretically than empirically
based. Given the low to moderate overlap, it is not surprising that re-
searchers would be less than sanguine about exploring the intersect of
these two domains. But the resemblances noted in the work of Holland
and Wiggins (by Hogan, 1983, and Trapnell, 1989) provided the impetus
for a possible new look at an old problem. As Hogan (1983) postulated,
perhaps the two models tapped the same underlying deep structure of
interpersonal processes. Yet traditional occupational preference inven-
tories were designed to assess noninterpersonal constructs such as “ar-
tistic, ” “conventional,” “mechanical,” and the like. Occupation scales
that could measure the interpersonal dimensions of dominance and nur-
turance were lacking. Clearly what was required was a better alignment
of the two assessment domains to test the possibilities. Thus our intent
was to interpersonally fine-tune occupation scales from the SDS. This
could have been done in many different ways, e.g., factor analytically,
rationally, etc.. On the basis of past research (Broughton, 1984; de Jong,
1988)) we opted for a prototype, rational scale construction strategy, which
was evaluated on the basis of psychometric and predictive criteria.
The results revealed good psychometric characteristics and high pre-
dictive effectiveness for quadrant classification. These findings suggest that
there may be something to Hogan’s “deep-structure hypothesis.” It ap-
pears that the two methods do indeed tap the interpersonal dimensions
of dominance and nurturance, when properly aligned. Building on the

methodology of the present studies, it should be possible to further shore

up this alignment. This could be achieved with the aid of a taxonomy of
occupations that has been expanded to include more items to tap dom-
inance and nurturance categories. As well, circumplex refinement tech-
niques (Wiggins et al., 1989) could be employed to improve the structural
fidelity of future scales. Thus the next generation of occupation scales
designed to tap personality should be better able to do so. Finally, an
investigation of the relation between occupational preference scales de-
veloped from a prototype approach and the remaining three factors of
the Big Five model of personality, namely, Conscientiousness, Stability,
and Openness to Experience, would serve to further our understanding
of the link between personality and vocational interests. In fact, research
conducted by Costa, McCrae, and Holland (1984) suggests that the Open-
ness to Experience factor is an important component of the SDS.
In conclusion, the findings of the present studies also reflect positively
on a prototype approach to scale construction. Taken together, the results
of Studies 1 and 2 represent an important extension and application of
the prototype approach to the occupational preference area of personality
assessment. These studies indicate that the perceived relations between
personality types and occupations can provide important information
about the actual relations among self ratings in these domains. In fact,
enough information can be gained from a person’s occupational prefer-
ences to make a reliable classification on the Interpersonal Circle. It
appears that interpersonal processes play a meaningful role in our un-
derstanding of the relation between personality measures and occupational


A Day in the Life of Phil Armstrong
That morning, Phil told others to do the menial tasks instead of doing
them himself. Before the committee meeting, Phil interrupted Harold’s
conversation and demanded he run an errand. Harold offered to do it a
bit later, but Phil refused to compromise, and persuaded Harold to do
what he obviously didn’t want to do, right away. As he was leaving, Phil
told Harold exactly which item he should purchase.
At the committee meeting, Phil sat at the head of the table and took
charge. He took the lead in organizing the latest project, and issued orders
that got the group organized. He had already set goals for the group,
making decisions without consulting the others involved.
Phil didn’t hesitate to take a stand on issues without waiting to find
out what the others thought. At the meeting, he vigorously argued his
personal beliefs, and challenged others to accept his opinions on an issue,

and yelled, when necessary, to get his own way. Phil settled disputes
among other members of the group, and managed to control the outcome
of the meeting without the others being aware of it.
That Friday night at a party, Phil spoke with friends, monopolizing the
conversation, as usual. When someone talked about buying a new car,
Phil gave him advice, although none was requested. The party got a bit
dull in the early going, but Phil took the lead in livening things up.
Before long, Phil made a bold sexual advance and left with a woman
he had been talking to earlier. When they got to her place, Phil imme-
diately took the sexual initiative. Later, they watched a movie in bed.
Phil decided which channel to watch.


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