The Strong Ring: A Basic Interest Model of Occupational Structure

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Abstract

A classification system and spatial map of occupations were developed using the Basic Interest Scale profiles of 198 occupational incumbent samples (31,010 women; 32,421 men) from the Strong Interest Inventory. Profile shape was found to be similar for incumbents of both genders, allowing for an analysis of combined-gender samples. Using hierarchical cluster analysis, the authors identified 9 general interest areas subdivided into 19 occupational clusters. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling was used to create a spatial representation, producing a 3-dimensional ringlike structure called the Strong Ring. Dimension labels were identified using property vector fitting of O*NET variables. These dimensions were (a) Persuasion Versus Problem Solving, (b) Structured Versus Dynamic, and (c) Social Service Versus Solitary Work. This new model provides an organizational and interpretive framework for professional, technical, managerial, and skilled occupations.

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