The Holland codes is the evaluation scheme that shows the six interconnected personality types, based on the personal attitudes toward work, work skills, and work environment, developed by Dr. John Holland. The scheme has two scales of attitudes: toward material objects and mental ones. Former is either thinking in terms of things, objectively and impartially or in terms of people and relationships. Latter is thinking based either on defined and specific data or more complex and general ideas. Based on interconnections of those two scales, there are six types: “Investigative,” “Artistic,” “Social,” “Enterprising,” “Conventional,” and “Realistic,” as one can see in Figure 1.
An example of this theory’s usage is the evaluation of the person who is going to get a job. The company HR should evaluate this person’s personality and decide which work environments in the company will be the best for the person. Holland codes can help with that: for example, if the person thinks in terms of ideas and things, talking about the structures of things and interconnections between them, the person has an “Investigative” code. Such people love to think about everything they see around them and explore it to the smallest details. They will feel great comfort in working with similar people who love to investigate.
The good choice for them will also be the “Realistic” environment, with people who try to look at the world with maximum objectivity, or the “Artistic” one, where their ideas will be readily accepted and understood. However, it will be uncomfortable for them to work in an “Enterprising” environment, where only precise data, quick thinking, and social connections are important: their reflective nature will protest against this.
In that way, Hollands’s theory helps understand people’s work behaviors and predict the most effective working environments for them. It is practical to create teams at work based on Holland codes, at least partially, to improve workers’ comfort and productivity. However, the major drawback of the theory is that it explores only the person’s work attitudes; it tells very little about the person’s inner motivations. In addition, it is usually hard to define the Holland code of the person, as one person can have different attitudes in different situations.