Hollands Theory of Types applied to case study

Similar to Parsons, John Holland believed there is a relationship between the individual and their career. He believed this relationship to be central to the idea of person-work fit criteria, and affected how an individual saw their world. As stated by (Sharf, 2009, p129-130), John Holland wrote five books explaining this relationship, and from his research he developed two psychological inventories which form the basis his of career development theory. The inventories mentioned are Vocational Preference Inventory (VPI) and the Self-Directed Search (SDS). Both tools took into account the uniqueness of individual or personality, and identifiable characteristics of a field of work offered the idea of categorizing in to groups.

Theoretical foundation and important constructs

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John Holland Theory of Types (Sharf, 2009) mentions a model founded on the idea of six distinct work environments and aligning an individual’s unique personality with those work environments. Gottfredson & Richards, (1999) as stated by (Sharf, 2009, pp 130-135) describe the work environments as:

Realistic (R), an environment which requires physical manipulating with tools, machines or animals; Investigative (I) an environment which requires problem solving ability and the quest for complex and abstract thinking; Artistic (A) an environment which requires free, open expression or creativity; Social (S) an environment which requires understanding, interactive and caring of other people; Enterprising (E) an environment which requires the ability to persuade or lead others to common goal such as the acquisition of wealth; and Conventional (C) an environment which requires the ability to organize, plan and follow directions.

According to Holland (1992) as stated by (Mumme, 1997) individuals develop a sense of personality at an early age in life. As an individual’s personality starts to develop their interest, abilities and ambitions would be distinguishable and consciously or not they would lean toward one or more types of activities. (Holland, 1997, pp 21-27) as stated by (Mumme, 1997) points out there are clearly defined characteristic of an individual that corresponds to the matching work environment. The characteristic mentioned are described as Realistic: practical and dogmatic; Investigative: analytical and intellectual; Artistic: emotional and imaginative; Social: agreeable and understanding; Enterprising: ambitious and assertive; Conventional: efficient and methodical.

The application of Holland’s Theory to career counseling exposes the relationship interaction of individual personality and work environment; this interaction can also be described by four important constructs: congruence, differentiation, consistency and identity. Congruence describes how similar, differentiation describes how different, consistency describes how close together types are. Identity describes how align future goals are. (Sharf, 2009, pp 137-141)

Psychometrics and Properties of Assessment Instrument

The instrument used in the case study is the Self-Directed Search (SDS). The SDS is one of two important psychological inventories helped in the development of John Holland’s theory. (Sharf, 2009, p129) The SDS is also one of the most widely used interest inventories. (Holland,1994; Holland, Powell & Fritzche, 1994) as stated by (Mumme, 1997) This wide use of SDS assessment, lead to the creation of the Occupational Finder, which was design to help locate occupations.(Holland 1994) According to Holland (1985b) as stated by (Gati,& Blumberg, 1991) the SDS has three major sections: Activities, Occupations, and Competencies and as stated by (Sharf, 2009) Self estimates of activities have been shown to indicative of the individuals actual ability. This combination of sections provides a summary profile of six numbers. The highest three number are a reflective of a individuals personal preference.

Introduction of client

The volunteer client used in this case study is Andria C. Andria is a 36 year old SBF, her nationality is Jamaican, she has no children and she is currently working as a second grade teacher. She has been a teacher for the last fourteen years. She has a bachelor’s degree in School Counseling, attended Teachers College and obtained her teaching diploma

Session and collected data

During my initial interview with Andria, she mentioned that she wanted to participate because she feels very unhappy and unsatisfied with her current job at times. She goes on to say “I like working with the kids, but often I check my watch frequently during the day and wish the day was over”. Andria stated she got into teaching by accident, a family friend asked her to apply and the principal called her the same day for an interview, she got the job.

Andria listed her dream jobs as: Dental Hygienist, Police officer, Soldier, Nurse, Lab technician, Biologist, Pastry cook, and a Veterinary. The three letter code for each of these jobs is: Dental Hygienist (SAI), Police officer (REC), Soldier (no code), Nurse (ISA), Lab technician (RIE), Biologist (ICR), and Pastry cook (RAS) and Veterinary (RSI). At first glance Andria’s dream jobs lies in the realistic category.

Presentation of Data

Activities: R(0) I(4) A(3) S(3) E(2) C(3)

Competencies R(1) I(3) A(2) S(3) E(0) C(1)

Occupations R(0) I(0) A(1) S(1) E(1) C(1)

Self Estimates R(2) I(3) A(4) S(6) E(4) C(2)

R(3) I(4) A(3) S(4) E(3) C(3)

Total Scores: R(6) I(14) A(13) S(17) E(10) C(10)

Summary Code: S(17) A(14) I(13)

Summary Code: SAI

Occupations: Speech Pathologist, Librarian, Acquisitions Librarian, Dental Assistant, Dental Hygienist.

Summary Code: AIS

Occupation: Philologist (study of language)

Summary Code: ASI

Occupation: Artist (Exhibit), Copy Writer, Dance Therapist, Painter, Reporter, Restorer (Ceramic)

Summary Code: IAS

Occupation: Dictionary Editor, Art Appraiser, Economist

Summary Code: ISA

Occupation: Psychiatrist, Medical Technologist, Nurse Practioner, Physician Assistant, Video Operator.

Counseling application with the Andria
Analysis of data

Looking over the data, I find Andria’s code only matched three of her aspiration job codes. Nurse (ISA), Veterinary (RSI), Dental hygienist (SAI). Her SDS code of SAI represents more of a social interest in helping and understanding others, she also has a high level of artistic interest in being expressive and imaginative, and she has investigative interest which leads me to believe she is a precise and analytical thinker. The before and after codes is incongruent with each other. Before the SDS, Andria appeared to have a desire for more realistic type of work environments correlating to a more realistic type of personality, but after the assessment her scores reflect a more social type of work environments and personality. Her Holland scores reflect congruency (compatibility) and identity (similar goals) with her current job as a teacher. Her Holland codes of (S) social and (A) artistic reflect consistency in current work environment as a teacher, and not her dream jobs, which reflect a more realistic type of work environment.

Discussion of results with Andria

In going over the results with Andria, she first stated the only job in the list she was interested in was the Dental hygienist position. Going down the list she responded “I don’t know what half of those jobs do”. Andria asked if she had done the assessment incorrectly because it produced so many jobs she wasn’t interested and she could see herself doing.

In going over the description of each of the job titles, I asked Andria if anything about the job duties reminded her of anything she did in the past. She responded by saying when she was in high school she wanted to learn “a whole bunch of languages”. This interest correlated with the job titles of Philologist (AIS) (study of language). She went on to say as a child she wrote poems and was at one time interest in working in front of the camera. This interest correlated in job titles of Reporter, Artist (ASI). Andrea also said she wanted to learn how to publish a magazine in college. This interest correlated in job title of Copy Writer (ASI). Andria stated “It seems I have given up on a lot of my childhood ideas.” When asked why she gave up, she replied “fear, my fear and I wasn’t sure how much it would cost me to learn how to do those things”.

Andria mentioned the SDS peak her interest so much she went online looking for other career assessment which will help locate another profession. In the process of her looking she took the Myers-Briggs Personality test. She shared her letters with me and they were ISFJ. These letters indicate she is an Introvert, Sensing, Feeling and Judging type. These are personality preference. She discovered this assessment also listed occupations which were compatible with this personality, and they were Dental hygienist, Nurse, Teacher, Secretary, Librarian and Housekeepers. She said “it was good to see both test showed me the same jobs.” Andria mentioned she checked in to schools for Dental hygienist and looked on a job search website for jobs in the Dental hygienist field.

Counseling the Andria

The theoretically orientation I would use in counseling Andria is combination of a Person-Centered, Postmodern and Cognitive approach. The person-centered teaches me to be caring and empathetic and showing positive regard toward Andria and allow for increased self awareness and trust in one self. The Postmodern approach allows for the discovery of strengths and resources and “creating solutions in the present and the future”. Also the Cognitive approach allows for treatment of “faulty thinking”. (Corey, 2005; Corey, 2005, p 470-471) Andria mentioned she had given up on her child hood dreams due to fear, and I would like to address those concerns and find out if they still exist with cognitive therapy.

Andria’s feedback and my thoughts

Andria’s feedback was positive and she felt it provide her with a starting point in which to do some research of her own. She said “it was good to see I have other options”. During the interview she stated while living in Jamaica where she from, the children are not exposed to all the different options for careers which means we normally chose careers of our parents or the careers of people we most see.

My thoughts of the SDS assessment and its application to Andria were good. It was good to have the experience of a live person using the assessment tool and finding practicality in its use and confirming all of research studies. This experience brought the theory off the pages of the book and into real life.

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