Do ornithologists flock together? Examining the homogeneity of interests in occupations

Christopher D. Nye, Jessamyn G. Perlus, James Rounds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Theory and research on person-environment fit suggest that people in the same environment should share homogeneous patterns of individual characteristics. The concept of homogeneity is central to the notion that individuals can be matched to occupations or academic fields of study and will be satisfied with and successful in environments in which they fit. This idea has been particularly influential in research on vocational interests where interest scores are used for career planning and employee selection. Nevertheless, if interests are to be useful for these purposes, it is important to verify the degree to which employees in occupations have homogeneous interest profiles. The current study addresses this question by looking at homogeneity from two different perspectives: examination of the Strong Interest Inventory manual data and a quantitative review of congruence indices. Taken together, these findings contradict the foundational assumption of interest homogeneity by demonstrating considerable heterogeneity of interests in a range of occupations. These results suggest that a continuum of homogeneity exists and prompt a further look into the homogeneity assumption of interests within occupations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-208
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • Career guidance
  • Holland's theory
  • Interest congruence
  • Person-environment fit
  • Vocational interests

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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