Rene Dawis

Rene Villanueva Dawis continues to be a major contributor to counseling psychology and to the psychology of individual differences. Born in the Philippines in 1928 into the family of a professor of agronomy, Dawis received his B.A. (cum laude) from the University of the Philippines in 1951 and spent 2 years as an instructor in psychology at that same university. He then entered the graduate program in psychology at the University of Minnesota, where he completed his master’s degree in 1955 and his Ph.D. in 1956. Dawis returned to the University of the Philippines for a year as an assistant professor, but his graduate adviser—the legendary Donald G. Paterson— recruited him as the research director for a new research project at the University of Minnesota under then Associate Professor Lloyd H. Lofquist and his colleague George W. England.

The goal of the 2-year project, funded by the then U.S. Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), was to evaluate the effectiveness of the vocational rehabilitation process. The project was so successful that OVR then funded what was to become the Work Adjustment Project with Dawis as its first research director. A major product of that project, which was funded for almost 15 years, was articulation of the theory of work adjustment, which has guided much of Dawis’s research in vocational psychology since that time. With Dawis as its research director for 5 years and then coprincipal investigator with his lifetime colleague Lloyd H. Lofquist for the remainder of the project’s funded years, the Work Adjustment Project was the training ground for many Minnesota psychology graduate students who continue with new generations of students to make important contributions to vocational psychology.

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The Work Adjustment Project under Dawis’s guidance was the source of the Minnesota Importance Questionnaire and the Occupational Reinforcer Patterns, both of which The Work Adjustment Project uses to assist vocational counselors in identifying occupational choices for counselees; the project also uses, among other instruments and materials useful in vocational counseling and counseling research, the world’s most popular measure of job satisfaction, the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire. The theory of work adjustment, originally articulated in a 1964 monograph, was revised in 1969 and has been continually expanded and updated since in two books with Lofquist and in numerous journal articles, monographs, and book chapters even after Dawis’s retirement from the Psychology Department at the University of Minnesota in 1997.

In his highly productive and continuing career, Dawis has published 63 journal articles, 51 research monographs and technical manuals, six books, and 30 book chapters. His research garnered him awards and recognition from organizations such as the American Personnel and Guidance Association, the American Rehabilitation Association, and the American Psychological Association. In addition, he was the graduate adviser to 78 students who completed Ph.D.s in psychology. Like many University of Minnesota psychology faculty, Dawis was not content to just teach and do research, but he also served as a consultant to over 50 organizations in government, industry, and the private sector, sharing his expertise for the good of society.


  1. Dawis, R. V. (1991). Vocational interests, values, and preferences. In M. D. Dunnette & L. M. Hough (Eds.), Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology: (2nd ed., Vol. 4, pp. 833-871). Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.
  2. Dawis, R. V. (1996). The theory of work adjustment and person-environment correspondence counseling. In D. Brown & L. Brooks (Eds.), Career choice and development: Applying contemporary theories to practice (3rd ed., pp. 75-120). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  3. Dawis, R. V. (2001). Toward a psychology of values. The Counseling Psychologist, 29, 458-165.
  4. Vocational Psychology Research. Work Adjustment Project:

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