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Holland’s Personality Types in Action


Author: Rispa Akello Date: 1st March 2013

Holland’s Personality Types in Action

John Holland, a psychologist and professor at Johns Hopkins University dedicated his career to studies investigating people’s career choices and job satisfaction. He came up with the John Holland’s theory of career choice, as well as assessment tests to aid people in choosing careers in which they fit best. According to his theory, there are six personality types to which people belong to namely; realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising and conventional. In line with the above personality types are six corresponding work environments namely; realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising, and conventional. Holland asserts that the individuals who decide to work in environments which are akin to the personality types to which they belong, have a high chance of experiencing success and satisfaction. For this reason, people seek work environments that will allow them apply their skills and abilities as well as articulate their attitudes and values.

Holland has represented the six personality types in a hexagonal model. On the hexagon diagram, the types that are closest to each other have the most similar qualities. On the other hand, the personality types furthest from each other or those opposite each other have the least similarities in terms of characteristics. According to this theory, people’s personality types are a combination of a number of the six types with rare occurrences of “pure types”.

Realistic type

People with this personality type are stable active, task-oriented, practical, realistic and mechanical. They have adequate skills in tool, equipment, mechanical and electrical operations. They also enjoy physical activities and prefer doing outdoor activities such as working with animals or plants. They keep away from   social activities such as teaching or informing others. A mechanical engineer falls under this personality type.

Investigative personality

Individuals with this personality type are observant, analytical, and intellectual. They enjoy studying mathematics and science and are skilful at comprehending and deciphering mathematical and scientific problems. However, they are avoidant of situations that require leadership, persuasion or selling. A system analyst fits this personality type.

Artistic personality

Individuals with this personality like to indulge in creative activities such as crafts, music, art, dance, or creative writing. They are imaginative, innovative and intuitive. They search for opportunities that will enable them express their artistic creations. Individuals with this personality are eccentric, avoid repetitive procedures and independent. An interior decorator falls under this personality type.

Social personality

People with this personality type are responsible, humanistic, helpful, trustworthy, idealistic, and friendly. They like to engage in activities such as teaching, providing first aid, nursing, as well as providing information.  They steer clear of handling equipment or machinery, tools or animals in order to get a job done. They are socially responsive and value alleviating social ills. A nurse is a superb example of an individual with this personality type.

Enterprising personality

These people are energetic, sociable, adventurous, self-confident, and energetic. They prefer to take charge, persuade others, articulate their ideas, and sell things. They hold success in high regard in various spheres such as politics, business, and leadership. Enterprising personalities are avoidant of situations that entail careful observation or analytical assessments. A salesperson is an individual who with this personality type.

Conventional personality

People with this personality type are orderly, efficient, organized, careful, and systematic. They prefer to work within a hierarchical system with specified duties and responsibilities, as opposed to leading others. They are also efficient and reliable. A good example of a person with this personality type is a secretary.

Dualistic thinking is what comes into play first when an individual is considering his or her starter job. During this stage, they will take into consideration and analyze the things they like and those that they do not like about different career options. The relativistic thinking stage comes after this. Here, the person looks deeper into other specifications of the career options such as the level of skills and knowledge required. Commitment plays a prominent role in relativistic thinking as it enables a person make a decision on their preferred career option.


  1. Felicia Folefac says:

    Hello, I will like to get direction how to cite your work. Thanks

  2. CINDY MAN GING says:

    hi, I would like to cite your work in my assignment. Please let me know how. I don’t se dates or authors.

  3. getanessay says:

    The article is now updated with reference information (author,date).

  4. Mbang oju says:

    Hello, i will like to use this theory in my assignment but i wish to no were to get the authors names and dates for reference purpose tnx.

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