11/01/2004

"Know Yourself, Co-Workers and Your Organization"

Book Review by Debbie Walker


Know Yourself, Co-Workers and Your Organization, Jack A. Juchnowski, New York: iUniverse Star, 2004, 231p.

Jack A. Juchnowski, author and career consultant, has written a book that not only elaborates on the works of the well-known psychologist, John L. Holland and his theory of types but is also an invaluable resource for career development professionals, counselor educators, psychologists, and other individuals who have an interest in the work and research of Holland. The author states "the advantage of Holland's approach over others is that it is a concise formulation without being simplistic or needlessly complex"(xxiv). Know Yourself, Co-Workers and Your Organization covers Holland theory in three distinct parts: Part One: Learning about Yourself, Part Two: Taking a Closer Look at Yourself, and Part Three: Discovering Where You Will Be Happy.

In Part One, Learning About Yourself, the author provides a basic overview of the Holland six types or themes and presents each type individually in chapters 1 through 6. The first six chapters establish the foundation to understanding how the Holland theory "categorizes careers, occupations, job environments, interests, and ultimately, people into six types or themes" (p. 1). These chapters are comprehensive and packed with a lot of information about each type. Each chapter has seven sections and concludes with a final comment. The seven sections include talents, abilities and decision making, work style and motivational factors, leadership, interests: occupational and academic, self-test, and developmental advice. Readers are able to match their interests and descriptions of themselves against three different lists of phrases, words, and occupations and colleges with a particular Holland type in the self-test section in chapters 1 through 6.

In chapter 7, readers get instructions on how to summarize all their scores from the six test results and directions on how to rank their three highest scores. In the developmental advice section, the author provides 12 suggestions on how readers can enhance their types that scored in the high to average ranges. For example, if someone scores high in the investigative type, the author gives the following suggestion, "when working on particular intriguing or challenging problems or projects, avoid devoting more time to them than necessary" (p.29). The author recommends working on no more than two suggestions at one time. The final comment section is one paragraph that emphasize that readers need to stretch their interests beyond their preferred types and be open to individuals with different types. The author concludes this section the with the Holland type that is the most different in interests, personality, and values.

The author continues to elaborate on Holland six types or themes in the next two parts. In Part Two: Taking a Closer Look at Yourself, the author provides fifteen possible Holland themes based on the top two scores from the self-tests given in the book or the scores from the Self-Directed Search or Strong Interest Inventory. Each chapter beginning with chapter 8 through chapter 22 covers one of the fifteen possible paired Holland types. Each chapter has seven sections, which includes potential strengths, potential shortcomings, other attributes, incompatible pairing or source of conflict or tension, illustrative occupations, illustrative interests, and potentially extreme behavior. In chapters 10, 15, and 19, the author discusses how the Artistic-Conventional, Realistic-Social, and Investigative-Enterprising pairs are pairs that are opposite of each other on the Holland hexagon and are theoretical opposites of each other. The author outlines potential conflicts or tension for these pairs and gives suggestions on how to address these problems. The other 12 chapters have a section called incompatible pairing which focuses on the incompatible pairing of two different pairs for example the opposite of the Artistic/Enterprising pair is the Conventional/Investigative (reverse) pair.

Several examples on how incompatible pairs operate differently in decision-making, interests, and behaviors are included in this section. In Chapter 23, Developing Your Own Personal Profile, the author provides fives exercises that bring together the information presented in Part One and Two. The first four exercises build on each other and the last exercise recommends that readers get feedback from others on their completed personal profiles. The author connects how the completing the personal profile and receiving feedback from others can help readers in their job search process.

The third part of the book, Discovering Where You Will Be Happy focuses on the work environment as it relates to Holland theory. The author reminds readers "for each theme there is a corresponding environment that possess certain identifiable attributes or characteristics" (p. 181). Chapter 24-29 focuses on the corresponding environments for the six Holland themes. Juchnowski presents an in-depth discussion of the characteristics of the six matching environments, which include the following sections: (1) What they are like, (2) Nature of the work, (3) What is rewarded? (4) Getting ahead, (5) Pitfalls, and (6) Leadership. Chapter 30 includes three exercises; the first two provide directions on how readers can connect their top two highest Holland-theme scores with their two matching work environments. The third exercise brings the first two exercises together and guides readers in the process of ranking the things that they believe are important qualities in their work environments.

In summary, Juchnowski's book Know Yourself, Co-Workers and Your Organization, can serve as invaluable learning resource for new professionals in the career counseling profession and as a reference book for seasoned professionals who are familiar with John L. Holland's theory.



Debbie Walker, M.S.Ed, JCTC, NCC, LCPC, is principal of P.A.C.E. Consulting and Career Management Services, a career development consulting and training company, in Carbondale, IL. She received her B.A. degree in Management from University of Illinois at Springfield, and her M.S.Ed. degree in counselor education from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL. She can be reached at debcareerconsult@aol.com

Author Jack Juchnowski can be reached at Email:
strategic1@earthlink.net


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