The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI) is a psychometric test used to measure psychological preferences in how a person makes decisions and perceives their surrounding environment. A mother-daughter pair, Katherine Briggs and Isabel Myers developed the test based on the typological theories of Carl Gustav Jung. After more than fifty-years of research and development, the MBTI has become the most widely used and respected personality tool. Eighty-nine companies out of the US Fortune 100 make use of it for recruitment and selection, or to help employees gain a better understanding of themselves and their colleagues (Psychometric Success, 2013).
The primary theory behind the MBTI is that each person's personality fits into only one of sixteen types. These categories are based on four features of personality, each consisting of two opposite preferences called dichotomies. The MBTI combines an individual’s preferences from each dichotomous pair, denoted by a letter, to yield one of the personality types. Each type is equally valuable and according to the theory, everyone has an innate preference that determines how he or she will behave in all situations (Myers-Briggs, 2013). The four dimensions are:
Extroversion (E) vs Introversion (I). This dimension reflects the perceptual orientation of the individual. Extroverts are said to react to immediate and objective conditions in the environment. Introverts, however, look inward to their internal and subjective reactions to their environment.
Sensing (S) vs Intuition (N). People with a sensing preference rely on that which can be perceived and are oriented toward that which is real. People with an intuitive preference rely more on their non-objective and unconscious perceptual processes.
Thinking (T) vs Feeling (F). A preference for thinking indicates the use of logic and rational processes to make deductions and decide upon actions. Feeling on the other hand, represents a preference to make decisions that are based on subjective processes that include emotional reactions to events. Judgment (J) vs Perception (P). The judgment-perception preferences were invented by Briggs and Myers to indicate if rational or irrational judgments are dominant when a person is interacting with the environment. A judgmental person uses a combination of thinking and feelings when making decision, whereas a perceptional person uses sensing and intuition processes.
Applications of the MBTI
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a versatile tool and is used in a variety of settings. The main purpose for an individual taking the test is to gain a better understanding of themselves and how they interact with others. It has also helped organizations of all sizes address their needs from team building, leadership and coaching, conflict management, career development and retention.
The MBTI Instrument
The applications of the MBTI have expanded in a variety of settings. While many versions of the test are available online, they are only approximations of the real test. The current version of the test includes ninety-three forced-choice questions, where the test taker only can choose between two answers for each question. The choices are a mixture of word pairs and short statements. Choices are not literal opposites but chosen to reflect opposite preferences on the same dichotomy. The MBTI must be administered by a trained and qualified practitioner and includes a follow-up and interpretation of the results. An actual example of results and feedback that one would receive from a MBTI practitioner is attached. A test-taker will receive their reported type, which is the four-letter combination of the preferences chosen, and the preference score which shows how consistently one preference was chosen over another. In addition, feedback is given in many areas such as strengths, weaknesses, work style, conflict resolution, and popular occupations for the...
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