ECONOMIC & SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL

Managing Research Projects

Managing Research Projects

Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator

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The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is the most famous of the personality type indicators.  It was created by Isabel and Katherine Briggs, based on the extensive psychological theories of C G Jung. They, and other supporters of personality type indicators believe that identifying your individual personality type (and even that of your colleagues!) can assist in many areas of your life, eg choosing your career, working in a team, identifying the ‘best fit’ lifestyle.

The personality type indicators are usually questionnaire – based and are now routinely filled in by individuals and teams in organisations in a bid to understand themselves and their colleagues 'drivers', working styles etc.  Some of the personality type indicators are self-administered.  Others, such as MBTI, need to be conducted by trained and qualified practitioners. Many large institutions may employ such a practitioner within their HR/Training/Careers functions.

To give an example of how personality type indicators work, MBTI identifies 16 distinctive personality types that are identified from preferences – it does not measure traits, abilities or characteristics and it must be remembered that all types are equal, one is not better than the other, they are just different. However, different types will prefer to live, work, act in different ways.

From completing the questionnaire a combination of four letters will emerge, these define the personal preferences and are based on:

  • Where, primarily, people prefer to direct their energy
  • How they prefer to process information
  • How they prefer to make decisions
  • How they prefer to organise their lives

In terms of working in a team, knowing how people prefer to operate will be a great benefit. It might even avoid disagreements/conflicts before they emerge.

Further information on MBTI is available from:

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