Convergence of Personality Frameworks Within Vocational Psychology

Authored by: Patrick J. Rottinghaus , Aaron D. Miller

Handbook of Vocational Psychology

Print publication date:  May  2013
Online publication date:  June  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415808170
eBook ISBN: 9780203143209
Adobe ISBN: 9781136500008


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Although the topic of personality has important connections to vocational behavior, the coverage of this construct has not been consistent. Pioneers such as Gordon Allport and Henry Murray established methods of studying personality from diverse perspectives that emphasized traits (Allport, 1937) while including holistic and dynamic ideas from depth psychology that incorporate interpretation of motives through idiographic methods (Murray, 1938). Raymond Cattell (1943) later advanced personality measurement and theory through factor analytic techniques and trait taxonomies. These approaches led to important advances in understanding how characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors may be applied to vocational settings, especially for personnel selection and placement in military, educational, and industrial-organizational contexts (Danziger, 1990). Driven by broader forces within psychology during the mid-twentieth century, especially the rise of behaviorism and Mischel’s (1968) Personality and Assessment, which challenged the very concept of a personality trait, the field of personality psychology made limited progress due to a polarization between various research camps (Hogan and Roberts, 2001). This trend changed in part due to the ongoing advances in research examining traits and the wide acceptance of the Big Five traits (Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to Experience, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness) since the 1980s (Goldberg, 1993). These broad factors have been discovered through factor analyses and have been influential in vocational psychology theory and assessment. Vocational psychologists have built a substantial literature applying the Five Factor Model (FFM) to career choice, selection, and satisfaction (Barrick and Mount, 1995; Walsh and Eggerth, 2005) as well as demonstrating connections with vocational interests (Larson, Rottinghaus, and Borgen, 2002; Mount, Barrick, Scullen, and Rounds, 2005).

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