Examining the duality of Holland's RIASEC types: Implications for measurement and congruence

Wei Ming Jonathan Phan, James Rounds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite theoretical impetus that a person's vocational personality consists of two affective aspects (liking and disliking) there has been little research into this duality of vocational personality. Using semantic differential techniques, we conducted two studies that assessed people's affective responses to different RIASEC work activities. These studies make three contributions. First, in line with Holland's (1997) broader view of vocational interests as a vocational personality, we report evidence for a duality, one based on what people like (work activities they are drawn to); and another based on what people dislike (work activities they are averse to). Second, the emotion interest is shown to be but one potential indicator of vocational personality. By capturing other types of affective response to work activities, different aspects of vocational personality can be assessed. Third, the duality of vocational personality is applied to Holland's congruence hypothesis. A new type of vocational personality misfit—passive-incongruence is tested that relates negatively to intrinsic job satisfaction. Passive-incongruence also provides incremental validity in predicting intrinsic satisfaction with the variance once accounted for by traditional congruence being subsumed by passive-incongruence. These results suggest that examining what people characteristically dislike (find boring) might be important to understanding job satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-36
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • Emotion
  • Interest
  • Job satisfaction
  • Vocational personality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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