Structure of interests and competence perceptions

Terence Tracey, Sandro M. Sodano

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Scopus citations


Hollands’s (1985a, 1997) model of interest types is broad and inclusive. He posited the existence of six personality types: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Conventional, Enterprising and Conventional (hereafter referred to collectively as RIASEC). These types encompassed not only interests by many personality characteristics. He further proposed that these six types could be represented in a hexagon with the distances between the types indicative of the relative similarity. Finally, he proposed that occupations and social environments could also be classified into the same six RIASEC types enabling a relatively simple personenvironment match due to their commensurate representations. Hence, the model is noteworthy in its simplicity, elegance and applicability. It has served as the basis of conceptions of interest research and assessment for over 50 years (Nauta, 2010). Holland’s claim of RIASEC types as being more than simple summaries of vocational interests was first supported by his research examining the overlap of RIASEC scores with the five factors of personality (Holland, 1999). Similar research documenting the overlap of RIASEC types with the big five dimensions has continued as exemplified by Larson, Rottinghaus, and Borgen (2002) as well as the overlap of abilities with interests (Randahl, 1991). Ackerman and Heggestad (1997) examined the overlap among RIASEC interests, intelligence, and personality and they provided several nice graphical representations of how the structures of the many different aspects of each were related. Armstrong, Day, McVay, and Rounds (2008) have taken this a step further and demonstrated how the RIASEC types could be used as a structural model to understand personality dimensions. Armstrong, Smith, Donnay, and Rounds (2004) similarly used the RIASEC types to examine aspects of vocations. All of these studies demonstrate the utility of the RIASEC model in being able to characterize a wide variety of factors just as proposed by Holland in his original conception. The RIASEC structure is elegant and inclusive. It represents a wide variety of personality and vocational characteristics in a very parsimonious and simply understood model. Being able to conceptualize all of these personality, interest, and work characteristics in a simple visual model is one reason for the impact of Holland’s model on the field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Vocational Psychology
Subtitle of host publicationTheory, Research, and Practice, Fourth Edition
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9781136500008
ISBN (Print)9780415808170
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Psychology(all)


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