Not So Fast! Rethinking the Use of the Five-Factor Model of Personality When Studying Vocational Interests

Topic(s): personality

Topic: Personality
Publication: Journal of Vocational Behavior (OCT 2012)
Article: The HEXACO and Five-Factor Models of Personality in Relation to RIASEC Vocational Interests
Authors: Derek A. McKay & David M. Tokar
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

In human resource management, there is a longstanding interest in the relationship between personality traits and vocational interests. To date, most research has focused on the relationship between the five-factor model (FFM) of personality and Holland’s RIASEC job interests taxonomy. However, it is possible that this reliance on the FFM is unwarranted, and that a different personality model may show more substantial relationships with the RIASEC dimensions. This possibility was the motivation for a recent study conducted by Derek McKay and David Tokar, who evaluated relationships between the six-factor HEXACO model of personality and RIASEC interests.

The HEXACO model has many similarities with the more familiar FFM; the most notable difference between them is the addition of a sixth factor in the HEXACO model, an honesty-humility factor. McKay and Tokar predicted that the HEXACO model would not only show important relationships between personality traits and vocational interests, but that the HEXACO model would improve prediction of vocational interests over and above what the FFM has been shown to do. Overall, using a sample of several hundred undergraduate students, the authors found support for their hypotheses.

Research will undoubtedly continue to evaluate the relationship between personality and vocational interests, and practitioners are uniquely suited making contributions in this area. Specifically, given that the present study used a student sample, it would be interesting to evaluate the generalizability of these relationships by assessing them among working adults in an organizational setting.

McKay, D. A., & Tokar, D. M. (2012). The HEXACO and five-factor models of personality in relation to RIASEC vocational interests. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 81, 138-149.

human resource management, organizational industrial psychology, organizational management



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