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Cross-cultural validity of Holland’s self-directed search with a specially designed measure of entrepreneurial intentions Masango, Sylvia Janet

Abstract

The most notable attempt to identify and organize vocational interests has been Holland's model of vocational interests and personality types. Holland's theory hypothesizes six occupational interests and work environments: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional. These are arranged in a hexagonal model through which the relationships and interactions among types and environments are defined using the Self- Directed Search (SDS). A review of the literature on the construct validity of Holland's SDS demonstrated support and generalizability of the model among the American population. Adequacy of the model in non-US cultures has not been established. Similarly, empirical evidence on the relation between Holland's SDS and a measure of Entrepreneurial Intentions (EI) is lacking. The current study was designed to (a) investigate the cross-cultural validity of Holland's SDS in terms of whether SDS generalizes to a sub-group of the Zimbabwe culture and (b) examine the relation between SDS and a newly developed measure of Entrepreneurial Intentions. The sample included 378 national diploma students from Zimbabwe representing five academic majors. Two hypothesized models defined the relationship between observed variables and the latent hypothetical constructs based on Holland's theory of vocational interests and work environments. According to the theory, adjacent types have a stronger relationship than alternate types, which, in turn, have a stronger relationship than opposite types. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was computed to establish the hexagonal ordering of the RIASEC types and the construct validity of the SDS in a Zimbabwean cultural setting. Support for the RIASEC ordering was obtained on four of the six adjacent types. Results for the whole group showed strong correlations between the following adjacent types, Realistic and Investigative r = .70, Artistic and Social r = .51, Social and Enterprising r = .61, and Enterprising and Conventional r = .68. Low correlations were obtained between Investigative and Artistic r = .06 and between Realistic and Conventional r = -.15. Results of an exploratory analysis with two subgroups of college majors showed a similar pattern of hexagonal ordering. Results of the goodness-of-fit indices with the whole group showed inadequate fit of the implied model to sample data. In addition, goodness of fit indices with the two subgroups of college majors showed a similar inadequate fit. Comparison of means by gender between Holland's (1994)-college sample and the Zimbabwean College sample showed differences. Mean differences for the male group ranged from -1.20 to 15.86 and that of the female group ranged from .58 to -12.45. Confirmatory factor analysis with the whole group was used to test the relationship between SDS subscales (Social and Enterprising) and Entrepreneurial Intentions subscales. Chi-square² (335,/V = 290) = 783.25, p < .001, ADGF = .81, and RMSEA = .07 were obtained. Results on the specified models showed a poor model fit. Given the results of the current study, it appears accommodation of the cultural value dimension may be needed if Holland's model is to provide a better assessment of occupational interests and work environments in Zimbabwe. In light of this, future research should focus at modifying Holland's theory in the context of the Zimbabwean cultural setting.

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