From: Fast Company
Why Everyone’s Favorite Personality Test is BS
Myers-Briggs tests have a persistent hold on many of us. Employers administer them to new recruits. Singles put their results in dating profiles, next to their astrological signs. And, to my dismay, the test was even featured recently in a Fast Company article about remote work and personality types.
Why, you might ask, was I dismayed by this?
For that, we have to dig into the field of personality psychology a bit more.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI, is an assessment that was developed in the early 1940s by Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, based on the writings of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung and his discussion of personality archetypes. The assessment is based around four dimensions, and individuals taking the assessment are classified along each of those dimensions.
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Istanbul Bilgi University
Member Since 07/27/2013
I agree with the author that MBTI is psychometrically weak, and that it should definitely not be used in personnel selection. (I am not sure that personality testing should be part of candidate evaluation in general, except perhaps for well-defined and validated selection for particular traits — certainly not things like “leadership potential”, for example.) Where the MBTI can be useful is in settings like group training, where issues like the advantages of personality diversity in a group, or personal traits and how they function can be discussed. When framed in terms of the “types”, people are often less threatened by examining “less-developed or neglected sides” of themselves than by seeing them as weaknesses or defects. Like any test, the MBTI is a tool. When used for the wrong purposes, of course it becomes BS.
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