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Briggs Myer’s Personality Type

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“What appears to be random behavior is actually the result of differences in the way people prefer to use their mental capacities” Carl G. Jung (1875 – 1961) Psychiatrist

Myers Briggs Type Indicator is based on the theory of psychological Type thought by C. G. Jung and published in the 1920’s.

According to this Swiss Psychiatrist, each person has a psychological type. A person is either taking information (perceiving) or organizing information and coming to conclusion (judging). From each of these two characteristics, the individual will have preferences; introverted (energized by the internal world) or extraverted (energized by the outside world).

However, very few people understood and implemented this theory until the 1940’s when Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother, Katharine Cook Briggs simplified it so anyone would be able to identify his/her psychological type.

In today’s society, Briggs Myers’ type indicator test is commonly used in the work environment, careers, personal growth, relationships and educational purposes.

This report will be focusing on Briggs Myers Personality Type test within the work environment in order to understand better how this personality test helps to put the right teams together to achieve companies’ goals and synergies. This report will then focus on today’s mission of Human Resources in the scope of Briggs Myers’ Personality Type and to which extent this theory may be used.

I. What is the Briggs Myer’s Personality Type test?

In 1921, Carl Gustav Jung defined “Psychological Types”, which gathers three “pairs” of psychological preferences. These preferences are both conscious and unconscious and help understand how an individual perceives the world and makes decisions. These three pairs of preferences are the following:

* Extraversion (E) and Introversion (I): Extraverted people “outward-turned” draw their energy from the outside world whereas the introverted individual, “inward-turned”, draws his energy from within. Introversion and extraversion are the two main psychological preferences as they show where the individual’s energy lies.

* Sensing (S) and Intuition (N): The sensing preference allows the individual to perceive his/her environment through his/her senses. Intuition, on another hand, is irrational as it finds its roots: * In our physical senses when the individual feels a situation is unsafe * In our emotions when it comes to basing oneself on a first impression * In our intellect when suddenly everything becomes clear and the solution pops up. According to Jung, “Intuition is defined as a perception gained through the unconscious”. These two preferences define how an individual gathers and perceives information.

* Thinking (T) and Feeling (F) these functions are both used to make decisions: Thinking is an intellectual function, analytical and objective organizer that has nothing to do with a high degree of intelligence or culture. Feeling on another hand is based on looking at a situation from the inside and is more based on instincts and emotions. Thinking individuals have trouble communicating with other and will be very direct when giving a feedback, Feeling individuals will show more empathy and consider other people’s feelings.

Isabelle Meyer has designed two new functions in 1980, which are Judging (J) and Perceiving (P). These allow us to understand whether the individual is rational or irrational and therefore his mode of action. Isabel Myer has created this function to identify people’s preference when relating to the outside world: either their judging function (thinking or feeling) or their perceiving function (sensing or intuition).

Based on these datas, the MBTI indicator identifies 16 major personality types:

Source: http://batonrougecounseling.net/personality-types-and-the-mbti/ Source: http://batonrougecounseling.net/personality-types-and-the-mbti/

To reliably determine the type of each MBTI, Katherine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers invented a test that exists in 6 different shapes ranging from 93 to 222 questions. Some tests indicate the percentage of each psychological preference making the test more accurate.

II. BMPT in today’s mission of Human Resources

Nowadays, the MBTI is widely used, according to the Center for Applications of Psychological Type, approximately two million people take this test every year. It is widely used in Anglo-Saxon countries to assist students in their career, in relationships… However, it is important to underline the fact that the MBTI does not identify an individual’s skills in a specific area. It only allows to understand how this individuals works. Regarding Human Resources, it can be a valuable ally to deal with employees from recruitments and throughout their entire careers until they live the company. When it comes to hiring, one might think that the test enables the employer to hire the candidate according to his/her ability to fit in the team less than his/her skills and knowledge. However it appears to be necessary to have a qualified individual on the MBTI to conduct the test and inform the human resources department on the results and on the advantages and disadvantages to hire the candidate. MBTI can also be used in the following situations:

* Career management: MBTI can indeed help to provide orientation to employees in one position rather than another one, taking in account various aspects such as relationships, working comfort (intellectual and non intellectual) * As part of the conversion of a person, it can allow an individual to adjust to a new path in another field or team where he/she may have the appropriate personality, the individual will be more effective in his work and the company will not have lost time. Here is an example of an individual for whom the MBTI has been a revelation and the start of something new: « When I learned that I was a strong NF it gave me an important insight on my career path over the previous thirty years. I started as an elementary particle physicist, gave up academia to form a solar manufacturing business, and then taught computer science and consulted on information technology issues until my mid 50′s.

The whole time I felt a need to organize and run conferences around these topics, and I didn’t really understand why. Suddenly the arc of my professional life made sense. I had been continuously moving away from the T-focused (Thinking) work that I was good at and had been told I should pursue and towards the people-oriented/inspirational/consensus-seeking work I strongly preferred. My thirty years of organizing conferences had been about facilitating connections between people, a preference of mine that I had always been drawn to but never acknowledged. Jerry’s workshop started me on a more conscious journey that led to my deciding seven years ago to retire from information technology consulting and write a book about what I had learned about designing, organizing, and facilitating participant-driven conferences. And here I am. »

Regarding conflict management, it can allow everyone to get to know to better interact with one another: * It is very important in order to conduct an efficient teambuilding. Team members get to know in depth their team members which improves communication as they understand each other as well as the work organization. * When managing anxiety at work: when an individual knows himself well enough to know where the anxiety comes from as well as his colleagues stress, the individual will be able to handle it a lot better. * So an employee may improve communication with a customer. In terms of Human Resources, MBTI offers the opportunity to better handle employees as well as to make sure each employee is fitted for the job. Conclusion

MBTI, as previously seen is a complex tool, which requires a good knowledge and understanding of the theory in order to be properly used. Since, Isabelle Myers and her mother have simplified it so anyone would be able to identify his/her psychological type, this test as been commonly used within various situations. However this test should not be discriminatory within the recruitment and process and it must allow everyone to position himself or herself without retreating in the test result. Even Carl Gustav Jung, warned his book readers that “it is quite sterile to label people and put them into categories.” (Carl Gustav Jung – Modern Man in Search of a Soul, 1959). Recommendations

“Personality tests measure not what we know but what we are like, not what we do, but who we are” I believe that only using the MBTI is not enough; this test should be completed with other personality tests such as the “traits theory” one. I also believe that Human Resources should not base themselves on this test to manage employees. The MBTI should be used as a tool of human resources management to be used in a specific situation that requires this test. And every time this test is used, the person should refer to the percentages of each functions and preference.


* http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/c-g-jungs-the

* http://conseilrh.unblog.fr/2010/08/06/quest-ce-que-le-mbti/

* http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp

* http://www.russellrowe.com/Myers-Briggs%20Typology%20System.htm#What%20is%20the%20Myers-Briggs%20System/

* http://www.reussirmavie.net/Decouvrir-son-type-de-personnalite-en-quatre-questions_a843.html

* Naomi L. Quenk, Essentials of Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Assessment, Published by Alan S. Kaufman & Nadeen L. Kaufman, Series Editor, 2009 http://books.google.fr/books?id=ZqPFa8jy1s4C&printsec=frontcover&dq=briggs+myers+indicator+type&hl=es&sa=X&ei=xZ6WUJv-Le-Y1AXvnIHABw&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false

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