CONCEPTUAL SYSTEMS AND HOLLAND'S THEORY OF VOCATIONAL CHOICE

ANNE E WINCHELL, Fordham University

Abstract

This study explored the possibility that conceptual systems underlie vocational interests and choices as described by John L. Holland's typology. The Vocational Preference Inventory (VPI) and O. J. Harvey's This I Believe Test (TIB), a conceptual systems measure, were administered to 660 community college students in a freshman orientation course. Nearly 80% of the participants were found to represent System 1; therefore, to make the data more amenable to statistical analysis, only 100 of the System 1 participants, selected randomly, were included in the study. Of the resulting total revised sample of 233, approximately 43% were System 1, 24% were System 2, 26% were System 3, and 7% were System 4.^ Discriminant function analysis revealed two separate dimensions on which the conceptual system groups differed significantly. The first dimension differentiated between preferences for leader (Enterprising) and follower (Conventional) work roles (p < .01). The second dimension distinguished between aesthetic/intellectual (Artistic/Investigative) and pragmatic (Enterprising) occupational interests (p < .05). System 1 was associated with high Conventional and low Enterprising scores. System 3 was related to high Enterprising and low Conventional scores. System 4 individuals tended to have high scores on the Artistic and Investigative scales and low scores on Conventional and Enterprising. System 2 was not associated distinctly with any of the VPI occupational scales. All conceptual system groups tended to have low scores on the Realistic scale and high scores on the Social scale. Chi-square analysis of conceptual systems and predominant Holland types of participants' stated occupational goals clearly reflected the relationships described above (p < .001). The discriminant analysis also showed that the System 4 group was much more easily distinguishable on the basis of VPI score patterns than were any of the other three groups.^ Degrees of similarity between VPI profiles and stated occupational goals were rated on a seven-point scale based on chance expectancies. A chi-square test revealed that, contrary to expectation, conceptual system groups did not differ significantly with respect to degrees of agreement between inventoried interests (VPI profiles) and stated occupational goals. Participants also were asked to indicate on a four-point scale their degrees of certainty about their vocational choices. Again contrary to expectation, chi-square analysis showed that conceptual system groups did not differ significantly with respect to degrees of certainty about vocational choices. These results suggest that conceptual system characteristics influence the directions taken by vocational interests and goals but do not influence other vocational decision-making variables.^ A one-way analysis of variance indicated that conceptual system groups did not differ significantly with respect to age. A tendency for females to be overrepresented in System 1 and males to be overrepresented in System 2 contributed to a chi-square value which approached significance (p < .10).^ Recommendations for future research included: replication of the study using adults employed in a wide variety of occupations; examination of conceptual systems in relation to differences between ideal and expected occupational goals; and application of conceptual systems theory to the vocational counseling process. ^

Subject Area

Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

WINCHELL, ANNE E, "CONCEPTUAL SYSTEMS AND HOLLAND'S THEORY OF VOCATIONAL CHOICE" (1981). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8120082.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8120082

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