Holland Codes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
John L. Holland's RIASEC hexagon of The Holland Codes.

The Holland Codes or the Holland Occupational Themes (RIASEC) refers to a theory of careers and vocational choice (based upon personality types) that was initially developed by American psychologist John L. Holland (1919-2008), Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Johns Hopkins University.[1][2]

The US Department of Labor ETA has been using an updated and expanded version of the RIASEC model in the "Interests" section of its free online database, The Occupational Information Network (O*NET),[3] since its inception during the late 1990s.[4][5]


Holland made a career out of studying the world of work, pioneering the theory that if people were aware of their personality type or combination of types - realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising or conventional - then they would be happier workers.

—Amy Lunday[1]

Holand's theories of vocational choice, The Holland Occupational Themes, "now pervades career counseling research and practice."[2] Its origins "can be traced to an article in the Journal of Applied Psychology in 1958 and a subsequent article in 1959 that set out his theory of vocational choices [....] The basic premise was that one's occupational preferences were in a sense a veiled expression of underlying character." [6] The 1959 article in particular ("A Theory of Vocational Choice," published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology) is considered the first major introduction of Holland's "theory of vocational personalities and work environments."[2]

Holland originally labeled his six types as "motoric, intellectual,esthetic, supportive, persuasive, and conforming."[2] He later developed and changed them to: Realistic (Doers), Investigative (Thinkers), Artistic (Creators), Social (Helpers), Enterprising (Persuaders), and Conventional (Organizers)."[7] Professor John Johnson of Penn State suggested that an alternative way of categorizing the six types would be through ancient social roles: "hunters (Realistic), shamans (Investigative), artisans (Artistic), healers (Social), leaders (Enterprising), and lorekeepers (Conventional)."[8]

According to the Committee on Scientific Awards, Holland's "research shows that personalities seek out and flourish in career environments they fit and that jobs and career environments are classifiable by the personalities that flourish in them."[9] Holland also wrote of his theory that "the choice of a vocation is an expression of personality."[10] Furthermore, while Holland suggests that people can be "categorized as one of six types,"[11] he also argues that "a six-category scheme built on the assumption that there are only six kinds of people in the world is unacceptable on the strength of common sense alone. But a six category scheme that allows a simple ordering of a person's resemblance to each of the six models provides the possibility of 720 different personality patterns."[12]

List of types[edit]

R: Doers (Realistic)[edit]

People who are "independent, stable, persistent, genuine, practical, and thrifty […] no-nonsense, down-to-earth individuals […] physical, athletic, or mechanical." They prefer "things rather than ideas or people […] being outdoors, using tools, operating machines, interacting with animals, and working with their hands." They also value the "natural, concrete, and tangible."[13] Sample majors and careers include:

I: Thinkers (Investigative)[edit]

People who are "intellectual, introspective, […] inquisitive […] curious, methodical, rational, analytical, and logical." They prefer "tasks that are scholarly, scientific, technical, or medical [… and] activities that involve thought, observation, investigation, exploration, and discovery […] They like to solve problems, perform experiments, and conduct research."[13] Sample majors and careers include:

A: Creators (Artistic)[edit]

People who "are creative, intuitive, sensitive, articulate […], expressive, unstructured, original, nonconforming, and innovative [… who] rely on feelings, imagination […], inspiration [and…who] are spontaneous and open-minded." They prefer to "work with ideas, abstractions, and concepts." They also enjoy work that is "literary, verbal, visual, and aesthetic" and excel in "art, music, dance, drawing, painting, sculpting, drafting, writing, drama, communicating, design, fashion."[13][16] Sample majors and careers include:

S: Helpers (Social)[edit]

People who "are kind, generous, cooperative, patient, caring, helpful, empathetic, tactful, and friendly." They prefer tasks that involve "socializing, helping others, and teaching […] teamwork, social interaction, relationship building [… and] humanitarian, educational, philanthropic, interpersonal, and service-oriented."[13] Sample majors and careers include:

E: Persuaders (Enterprising)[edit]

People who "are adventurous, ambitious, assertive, extroverted, energetic, enthusiastic, confident […], optimistic […], dominant, persuasive, and motivational." They prefer work that involves "leadership, business, politics, public speaking […], being in charge, taking risks, debating, and competing."[13] Sample majors and careers include:

C: Organizers (Conventional)[edit]

People who are "conscientious and conservative […] logical, efficient, orderly […], organized […], thorough, and detail-oriented." They are individuals who "value precision and accuracy." They excel in "practical tasks, quantitative measurements, and structured environments" and who "follow the rules." They prefer work that involves "accounting, statistics […], mathematics, numerical activities, and office settings.[13] Sample majors and careers include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "John L. Holland, 1919-2008: A Select Bibliography added to the Tribute & Obituary". NCDA. 2008-11-27. Retrieved 2015-12-07. 
  2. ^ a b c d "The Development, Evolution, and Status of Holland’s Theory of Vocational Personalities: Reflections and Future Directions for Counseling Psychology." Journal of Counseling Psychology, Vol 57(1), 2010, 11-22.
  3. ^ "O*NET OnLine: Interests". Occupational Information Network. Retrieved 2015-12-07. 
  4. ^ Matthew, Mariana (1999). "Replace with a database: O*NET replaces the Dictionary of Occupational Titles" (PDF). Occupational Outlook Quarterly Online,Spring 1999 Vol. 43, Number 1. Retrieved 2015-12-07. 
  5. ^ Rounds, James Patrick (2008). "Second Generation Occupational Interest Profiles for the O*NET System: Summary" (PDF). The National Center for O*NET Development, June 2008. Retrieved 2015-12-07. 
  6. ^ Athanasou, James. "Obituary: John L. Holland 1919-2008" Australian Journal of Career Development, September 22, 2009.
  7. ^ "Holland Codes" (PDF). New Hampshire Employment Security, Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau. Retrieved 2015-12-07. 
  8. ^ Johnson, John (2013-06-13). "Selfless Service, Part II: Different Types of Seva". Psychology Today. Retrieved 2015-12-07. 
  9. ^ "Award for distinguished scientific applications of psychology: John L. Holland." American Psychologist, Vol 63(8), Nov 2008, 672–674.
  10. ^ Holland, John. Making Vocational Choices: a theory of careers. (Prentice-Hall, 1973): 6.
  11. ^ Holland, John. Making Vocational Choices: a theory of careers. (Prentice-Hall, 1973): 2.
  12. ^ Holland, John. Making Vocational Choices: a theory of careers. (Prentice-Hall, 1973): 3.
  13. ^ a b c d e f "Careers and Personality:Birmingham-Southern College Career Services" (PDF). Birmingham–Southern College. Retrieved 2015-12-07. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "OU Career Services: Majors By Holland Codes". University of Oklahoma. Retrieved 2015-12-07. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr cs ct cu cv cw cx cy cz da db dc dd de df dg dh di dj dk dl dm dn do dp dq dr "State of Delaware: Department of Labor, Office of Occupational and Labor Market Information: Publications-Delaware Career Compass". State of Delaware. Retrieved 2015-12-07. 
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq "Career/Major Interests Game". Georgetown University. Retrieved 2015-12-07. 
  17. ^ a b "Advertising and Graphic Design". Central Piedmont Community College. Retrieved 2015-12-07. 
  18. ^ a b "Purdue Career Center" (PDF). Purdue University. Retrieved 2016-05-15. 
  19. ^ a b "Job Environment: Social". Rogue Community College. Retrieved 2015-12-07. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Holland, John L. Making vocational choices: a theory of careers. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1973.

External links[edit]

Free Tests[edit]


College Majors[edit]