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Holland’s Theory related to South African Air Force Pilots ; Navigators
Lt N. Letcher
[email protected]
10 August 2018
I herewith declare this work to be my own, that I have acknowledged all the sources I have consulted in the assignment/essay itself and not only in the bibliography, that all wording unaccompanied by a reference is my own, and that no part of this assignment/essay has been directly sourced from the internet without providing the necessary recognition.
I acknowledge that if any part of this declaration is found to be false I shall receive no marks for this assignment/essay, shall not be allowed to complete this module, and that charges can be laid against me for plagiarism before the Central Disciplinary Committee of the University.

Signed: N. Letcher
Date: 10 August 2018
Holland’s Theory related to South African Air Force Pilots & Navigators4
Holland’s Theory4
Six Modal-Personal-Orientations and Occupational environments 4
Hexagonal Model5
Theoretical Constructs5
Air Force Pilots ; Navigators according to Holland’s Theory6
Personality Type 7
Hexagonal Model7
Theoretical Constructs7
Holland’s Theory relating to South African Air Force Pilots ; Navigators
According to the Oxford Dictionary of Psychology (A.M. Coleman, 2015), Holland’s Theory/Code is a classification of personalities with regards to careers and career choices. There are six types of classifications whereby this assignment will mainly concentrate on the correct classification for aircrew in the South African Air Force. However, there are numerous testing and selection processes for selecting a Pilot or Navigator which can determine your personality classification and potential to be a successful Pilot/Nav. It is extremely important to classify personality types according to vocational ability in the flying fraternity due to safety hazards through machine, man, management, mission and medium.

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Holland’s Theory
Holland’s Theory revolves around six personality types, mainly Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional (RIASEC) (Nauta, 2010). The closer a person is to portraying one of these personality types, the better understanding managers will have of the person and what type of work they will enjoy. It is stated that individuals choose situations and environments that satisfy their personality orientations (Savickas, 2013).

According to Holland (1997), individuals enjoy and commit to their working environments if they can “exercise their skills and abilities and express their attitudes and values and take on agreeable problems and roles.”
Six Modal-Personal-Orientations and Occupational environments
Each modal-personal-orientation is constructed with interests, activities, beliefs, abilities, values and characteristics (Nauta, 2010).
With having a realistic personality, it is likely to include personality traits of conforming, persistence, practicality, and being materialistic. Occupational environments include airline pilots and farmers. For this assignment, I will use the example of an airline pilot in lieu of a South African Air Force pilot.

Investigative personalities are analytical, curious, passive and independent. Occupational environments include engineers and psychologists.

Individuals with artistic personalities are complex, emotional, impulsive and original. Occupational environments include architects, musicians, and designers.
With having a social personality, it is likely to include personality traits of being friendly, tactful, sociable and helpful. Occupational environments include a librarian and fire fighter.
Enterprising personalities are adventurous, ambitious, impulsive and energetic. Occupational environments include attorneys and bankers.

Individuals with conventional personalities are defensive, inflexible, practical, and persistent. Occupational environments include office workers and receptionists. (Walsh, 1992)
Hexagonal Model
Holland constructed a hexagonal model of interaction between personalities and occupational environments (Holland, 1997). Adjacent personalities on the hexagon are the most similar out of the six personalities. Personalities that are opposite each other on the hexagon are dissimilar (Du Toit & De Bruin, 2002). The circular/hexagonal model shows the RIASEC codes where Artistic and Social are similar and Investigative and Enterprising are dissimilar.
Holland’s circular/hexagonal model. R=Realistic, I=Investigative, A=Artistic, S=Social, E=Enterprising, C=Conventional. (Du Toit ; De Bruin, 2002)
Theoretical Constructs
There are four theoretical constructs that Holland’s theory has dedicated to improve judgement on individuals in their occupational environment, namely: congruence, consistency, differentiation, and identity (Schreuder & Coetzee, 2016).

Congruence. Congruence emphasises how a personality type fits into an occupational environment and the compatibility thereof. Congruency is at its peak if personality type and occupational environment match. Incongruency arises if personality type and occupational environment do not match, causing job dissatisfaction (Schreuder & Coetzee, 2016).

Consistency. Consistency emphasises the similarities amongst personality types and occupational environments. Adjacent personalities on the hexagonal model represent consistency due to personality patterns that have personal characteristics overlapping. Personalities opposite one another on the hexagonal model represent inconsistency due to personality patterns that have fewer and diverse characteristics (Schreuder & Coetzee, 2016).
Differentiation. Differentiation is a “defined” individual or environment. A single personality type or occupational environment is referred to as differentiated. Numerous personality types or occupational environments is referred to as undifferentiated. Being both differentiated in personality type and occupational environment is stated by Schreuder & Coetzee (2016) to have the highest predictive value for the outcomes of career choice.
Identity. Identity is the perception of goals and characteristics, as well as the stability an occupational environment provides. According to Gevers et al. (1992), the higher differentiation and consistency are, the higher the degree of identity.
Air Force Pilots & Navigators according to Holland’s Theory
Potential Pilots and Navigators are carefully selected through a psychological assessment throughout the duration of one week. This assessment uses the nomothetic approach which compares people and groups in terms of their similarities and differences in attributes and behaviour (Moerdyk, 2009). Psychological and psychomotor tests were created for Pilots/Navs to determine if the individual has the correct characteristics, values, determination, interest and abilities for the job, as emphasized by Nauta (2010). Psychometrics is extremely important in this field of work as not to compromise aviation safety and other people’s lives.
Personality Type
The typical personality of a Pilot/Nav, keeping in mind the image of Tom Cruise in Top Gun, is a realistic personality. Conforming to norms is what keeps aircrew alive in the cockpit. Without conformity, unsafe practices can creep in. Persistence and practicality are also a key aspect. Persistence through a difficult decision or situation can mean life and death. Practicality in the air will give you the easiest and quickest solution to any problem that could occur.
Hexagonal Model
According to the hexagonal model (Holland, 1997), individuals do not have to have one specific personality, but rather an overlap of characteristics. For a realistic personality, the consistent personality types are investigative and conventional. Having an investigative personality as a Pilot/Nav would be beneficial to aviation. This personality includes characteristics such as, analytical, cautious, rational, methodical, and unassuming (Schreuder & Coetzee, 2016) which is positive characteristics on the safety front, analyzing the best solutions, thinking rationally and methodically during emergencies according to checklists and following facts. A conventional personality is practical, persistent, and orderly, which clearly overlaps with a realistic personality.
Theoretical Constructs
Incongruency has started developing due to budget cuts in the South African Air Force. This leads to job dissatisfaction. Flying hours and operational objectives are not being met. Due to the limited amount of flying hours, admin and political motives amongst colleagues have increased. This is classified as a social personality, being opposite on the hexagonal model, and therefore showing inconsistency due to fewer characteristics with a realistic personality.
A Pilot/Nav is a clearly defined occupation and is differentiated. The psychometric testing and assessments are biased to choose differentiated individuals that fit the differentiated occupational environment which will have the highest predictive value for the outcome of career choice (Schreuder & Coetzee, 2016). This enables functioning air power for South Africa’s Defense Force.
Aircrew should be able to identify with each other and themselves. Their goals and characteristics are similar to each other and their occupational environments (South African Air Force). As we’ve established, these individuals are differentiated and portray consistency, therefore showing a higher degree of identity Gevers et al. (1992).

Holland’s theory clearly has an impact on the psychometrics and selection processes in selecting Pilots and Navigators. In an aircrew’s occupational environment, many individuals share the same personalities, attributes, values, characteristics, morals and goals. Pilots and Navs have realistic personalities that show congruency, consistency, differentiation and identity in the South African Air Force.

Coleman, A.M. (2015). Oxford Dictionary of Psychology, New York: Oxford University Press.

Du Toit, R., & De Bruin, G.P. (2002). The Structural Validity of Holland’s RIASEC Model of Vocational Personality Types for Young Black South African Men and Women. Journal of Career Assessment, p63-64.

Gevers, J., Du Toit, R., ; Harilall, R. (1992). Manual for the Self-Directed Search Questionnaire. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council.

Holland, J. L. (1997c). Making vocational choices: A theory of vocational personalities and work environments (3rd ed.). Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.

Moerdyk, A. (2009). The Principles and Practice of Psychological Assessment. Pretoria: Van Schaik.

Nauta, M.M. (2010). The Development, Evolution, and Status of Holland’s Theory of Vocational Personalities: Reflections and Future Directions for Counselling Psychology. Journal of Counselling Psychology, p11.

Savickas, M.L. (2013). Career Development and Counselling: Putting Theory and Research to work, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
Schreuder, A.M.G., & Coetzee, M. (2016). Careers: An Organisational Perspective, Cape Town: Juta and Company.
Walsh, B.W., & Holland, J.L. (1992). A Theory of Personality Types and Work Environments, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Zunker, V.G. (2006). Career Counseling: A Holistic Approach, Belmont, CA: Thomson Higher Education.

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