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The relationship between job satisfaction and vocational interest : testing Holland's theory in Kuwait

Hassan, Huda


Huda Hassan


D. I. (David Islwyn) Williams

David Bartram


The study set out to test the validity of Holland's Self Directed Search (SDS) as a measure of vocational interest in a non-Western (Arab) culture and to test Holland's prediction of a positive relationship between person/environment congruence and job satisfaction in a sample of workers in Kuwait.

A major part of the study was involved the production of an Arabic version of Holland's SDS. The problems inherent in such a cross-cultural exercise are examined. The initial translation was piloted using Arabic speakers in the U.K. and the resultant test was back-translated to confirm a match to the original. It was then tested in Kuwait with 182 workers (119 males and 63 females; 118 Kuwaiti and 64 non-Kuwaiti) that represented amongst them nineteen different occupations covering the six types of work environments as defined by Holland.

The structure of Holland's Hexagonal Model and the Validity of the SDS were assessed for "the exploratory factor analysis" and the "Multitrait-Multimethod Matrix" (Campbell and Fiske, 1959). This showed that Holland's model held in the Arabic version of the SDS with a Kuwait population. In particular, the SDS subscales were able to discriminate between each of Holland's personality types except that the activities and the competencies subscales failed to discriminate between the "social" and "enterprising" types.

Using the Arabic version of the SDS, together with a specially developed Arabic job satisfaction scale, Holland's hypothesis that congruence between vocational interest and the current job should be positively correlated with job satisfaction was investigated. No statistically significant relationship was found with either overall job satisfaction or its intrinsic and extrinsic components. The result is attributed to the unique employment market in Kuwait where jobs are more allocated than chosen and where itrinsic aspects of the work (which might be more related to interests) are thereby less important than extrinsic aspects such as money and promotion.

In conclusion: Holland's theory and the associated interest inventory are shown to be cross-culturally robust. although his hypothesis of a positive relationship between congruence and job satisfaction received no support. The new Arabic version of the SDS and job satisfaction scale are offered as valuable aids to career counselling in Kuwait which. in this post-war period, appears to offer more potential for job choice.


Hassan, H. (1993). The relationship between job satisfaction and vocational interest : testing Holland's theory in Kuwait. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date May 4, 2016
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords Psychology
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Psychology, The University of Hull
Award Date Jun 1, 1993


Thesis (9.5 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 1993 Hassan, Huda. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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