The trait factor theory was introduced by Parson. He matched personal traits to job characteristics. He stressed on psychological tests to measure traits and started classifying occupations. This led to the compiling of the “Dictionary of Occupational Titles (1972) a compendium of more than 40,000 jobs. His assumption is that people possess stable and relatively unchanging characteristics (traits) including interests, special talents and intelligence. Many counselors felt that mechanical tests alone did not play the role in choosing careers. In today’s world the emphasis is on flexibility and adaptability rather than on a "one hole, one peg" approach.
He introduced a developmental theory, which was divided into three periods. (a) Fantasy period – up to the age of 11 where their career interest are unrealistic (b) tentative period – from age 11 – 17 when they become aware of the necessity to make a vocational decision, and (c) realistic period – late adolescence to early adulthood when they narrow their career choices and opt for a specific job. Ginzberg made no attempts to explain how career development occurs within each stage or from stage to stage.
Anne Roe (1956)
Based her research on personality traits of eminent artists and scientists. According to her, occupational choice is the result of personality and is based on early parent – child relationships. She proposed that individuals who enjoy working with others were raised by warm and accepting parents. She divided occupations into 8 groups: service, business contact, organization, technology, outdoor, science, general culture, arts and entertainment. Her theory did not receive the support because her belief that different child-rearing practices produce different vocational choices was difficult to validate.
Donald Super (1957)
Super’s model is self-concept. As people grow they develop a view of their own roles, personality traits and abilities. They compare their self-view with various occupational concepts. Super’s theory is also a matching theory. He also stresses extensively on career maturity. For example, a teenager who shows a high level of career maturity is deemed ready to make a career choice. Super also incorporated socioeconomic status, gender, social change and the process of change. His theory became more complex and was not practical to use.
Tiedeman and O’Hara (1961)
Based on the work of Super and Ginzberg, they identified a series of decisions a person makes in the course of his career development. They divided the process into two periods, each with several stages. Tiedeman’s decision-making paradigm was used as the basis for a computer-assisted career counseling program in1969. It was not widely accepted because it was not cost effective in terms of computer time.
His theory is based on social learning theory and in classical behaviorism. According to him personality develops as a result of interactions with the environment. For example, a young girl ‘s new stepfather is a farmer, so the family moves from the city to the country. She has no interest in animals but enjoys her stepfather’s company and comes to associate caring for animals with a feeling of being loved. In time, caring generalizes from animals to people and forms the basis of a later career in child welfare. He sees life as involving a dynamic interaction between person and environment, which means that changes is constantly occurring or is at least able to occur. In other words, personality traits, interests, and even self-concept are capable of alteration at any point in life.
John Holland (1985)
His theory of vocational personalities and work environments has been revised five times since 1959. Holland began with the principle that people with certain personality traits are attracted to and suited for jobs with certain specific definable characteristics. Therefore, if we know what a person is like, we can predict what sort of occupation is most likely to produce satisfaction and achievement for that person. If we identify a particular job clearly, we can assess what sort of person we should look for to fill that slot. According to Holland, career choice need not be as complex as is often maintained and that effective self-help is to be preferred to invasive and unnecessary career counseling. Holland’s “Self Directed Search” is widely used as a simple and effective way to introduce people to the subject of career choice.