Creating Effective Project Teams Using Personality Models

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creating effective project teams using personality models

Ki Young Jeong, Ph.D., MBA., University of Houston-Clear Lake

Ipek Bozkurt, Ph.D. P.E., University of Houston-Clear Lake

Surya T. Sunkara, University of Houston-Clear Lake

Hassan, Haider A., Fairway Medical Technologies




Human resources and team formation are important issues in any project success. However, very little research was conducted in project team formation with consideration of diverse characteristics of human resources. Generally, human resources were assigned to project teams based on their availability and technical skills by a project leader. In this research, we considered personalities of human resources as an important factor in creating teams to maximize the team performance and/or to minimize the conflict within teams. For this, three personality models – Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation-Behavior (FIRO-B) and Kolbe Conative Index (KCI) – were discussed in the context of project team formation, and we concluded that both FIRO-B and KCI have advantages over MBTI in terms of project team formation since both models provide quantitative performance metrics while the MBTI just indicates types of personality. Finally, we presented a mathematical model to form effective teams using the results from the FIRO-B with a numerical example.


Forming effective project teams has been an interesting topic for many researchers and practitioners since human resources were considered one of the most important factors in affecting the performance of project teams. Traditionally, human resources have been assigned to project teams based on their availability and technical skills, and the interaction and personality aspects of team members have been often ignored or managed by project manager’s experience during this team assignment process. There is an enormous amount of research on human’s personality and its impact on team performance. For example, Peeters et al. (2006) investigated the relationship between personality types in the ‘Big-Five’ model and team performance through meta analysis. According to them, both agreeableness and conscientiousness have a positive correlation with the team performance. Furnham and Stringfield (1993) used the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to compare the managerial performance in Chinese and European cultures, and they found out that the MBTI generated significant differences between two cultures, however unrelated to robust and multi-factorial measures of management performance. O’Neill and Kline (2008) used the ‘Big-Five’ to analyze the team performance results obtained from a business simulation game, and found out that both emotional stability and an individual’s predisposition to working in a team setting have a positive correlation with the team performance. LaFollette and Belohlav (1981) found out that there was no significant correlation between the team compatibility score computed by the Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation-Behavior (FIRO-B) personality model and the simulated team performance. However, many previous papers did not provide any systematic method to create effective teams based on the results from personality models. Recently, very few researchers started to investigate a systematic way to use personality models to create effective teams. Fitzpatrick and Askin (2005) provided a mixed integer programming (MIP) formulation to create effectives teams based on results from the Kolbe Conative Index (KCI) model. André et al. (2011) presented a formal model to assign human resources to teams where they use the Delphi technique to propose software project roles and competences, and used psychological tests including the MBTI and data mining tools to form a project team. The objective of...
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