Review Article

Relevance of the person-environment fit approach to career assessment in South Africa – A review

Nabeelah Bemath
African Journal of Psychological Assessment | Vol 2 | a22 | DOI: | © 2020 Nabeelah Bemath | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 December 2019 | Published: 18 June 2020

About the author(s)

Nabeelah Bemath, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa


Despite concerns regarding its relevance, the person-environment fit approach to career counselling assessment remains a popular one in the South African context. This may be due to a lack of awareness of, or regard for, these concerns among career counselling assessment practitioners working in South Africa. This narrative review thus aimed to summarise literature regarding the relevance of the person-environment fit approach to career counselling assessment in South Africa and alternatives to this approach. Keywords were used to search for, and identify, literature on several electronic databases. Additional literature was identified through citations and citing publications in the initial literature obtained. Given the nature of a narrative review, no inclusion, exclusion or appraisal criteria were specified. Based on the review of literature, the following themes and subthemes were identified: questionable relevance of the person-environment approach (inadequate reliability and validity of tests in the South African context, Western-based theoretical underpinnings, language and socio-economic bias, and inadequate norms for the South African context) and alternative directions of career counselling assessment in this context (development of emic tests, qualitative assessment approaches and integrated assessment approaches). The findings suggest that an integrated quantitative-qualitative approach to career counselling assessment may be a feasible alternative to the person-environment fit approach. However, further research and development regarding the person-environment fit approach and other career counselling assessment approaches is required in order to move towards a more relevant career counselling assessment practice in South Africa.


Person-environment fit approach; career assessment; career counselling; relevance; South Africa


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Crossref Citations

1. Enhancing Career Interest Assessment in South Africa: Lessons Learned From the Development of the South African Career Interest Inventory-IsiXhosa Version
Nicola Jansen van Vuuren, Stephan Rabie, Anthony Vernon Naidoo
Frontiers in Psychology  vol: 13  year: 2022  
doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.854351