THE MYERS BRIGGS TYPE INDICATOR INSTRUMENT AND LEADERSHIP EVALUATION

by ALYOU ALEM TEBEJE

B.A, Metropolitan State University of Minnesota, 2003
M.B.A, Argosy University, 2005

A Paper Submitted to Prof. Roxanne Eubank of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree DOCTOR OF EDUCATION

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA
Copyright © 2005

 

 

Alyou Alem Tebeje

MBTI Instrument and Leadership Evaluation.

The Myers Briggs Type Indictor (MBTI) Inventory is used widely in organizations, groups. The MBTI instrument began to be widely used by organizational consultants to help employees work together better, by career counselors to help people make good career decisions, and educators. The MBTI theory measure of applicant dispositions should be an effective way to predict future job behavior. Leadership style is the most often viewed as a dependent variable where the focus is on how does leadership style influence individual behavior and attitudes, and group or organizational performance. Leadership is the ability to influence others. (Hirsh, 1985) Leading effectively involves understanding what motivates each person, identifying characteristics that help or obstacle the team, and determining what I can do, as the team leader, to promote a positive and productive work group. The Determinants of Leadership Style approach asks what factors influence a given leader’s dominant style or how leadership style developed.

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) was developed by Isabel Briggs Myers (1897-1979) and her mother, Katharine Cook Briggs. Isabel Briggs Myers born October 18, 1897, to Lyman J. Briggs and Katharine Cook Briggs and spent her childhood in Washington, D.C., where her father worked as a physicist. She was home-schooled by her mother, a tradition carried on from Katharine’s own upbringing.

(Keyser &Sweetland, 1984) The purpose of the MBTI is to classify individuals based on four dichotomies of different theoretical dimensions (Extraversion vs. Introversion, Sensing vs. Intuition, thinking vs. Feeling and Judging vs. Perceiving).The MBTI is based on Jung’s ideas about perception and judgment, and the attitudes in which these are used in different types of people. The aim of the MBTI is to identify, from self-report of easily recognized reactions. The basic preferences of people in regard to perception and judgment, so that the effects of each preference, singly and in combination, can be established by research and put to practical use. MBTI is a very useful tool to enlarge and deepen our self-knowledge and understanding of our behavior.

The MBTI is a four-dimension model, measuring personality on four scales, with each scale representing two ends of a continuum or two preferences. There are therefore sixteen different combinations of letters corresponding to sixteen different and unique personality Types. MBTI is an instrument for measuring a person’s preferences, using four basic scales with opposite poles. For each of the four scales, everyone uses both preferences at different times, but not both at once, and not, in most cases, with equal confidence. The four scales are: (1) extraversion/introversion, (2) sensate/intuitive, (3) thinking/feeling, and (4) Judging/perceiving.

The MBTI defines the respondent as Extraverted intuitive Feeling (EFN); they are an extravert with preferences for intuition and feeling. For each of the four scales, everyone uses both preferences at different times, but no both at once, and not, in most cases, with equal confidence. The fourth scale of the MBTI (the perceiving-Judging scale) will tell the respondent whether they use their preferred perceiving function of their preferred judging function when dealing with the world (i.e. when being extraverted). Thus, if you are an Extraverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging (ENFJ), the respondent is an extravert who uses the feeling function when being extraverted (i.e. most of the time), but probably uses intuition when being introverted: as the feeling function is the one you use most it will be called the dominant function. If you are Extraverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving (ENFP), then you use intuition when dealing with the world, and so your dominant function is intuition. However, the validity of this assessment has been questioned. Each question provides the subject with certain circumstances, and then questions the subject as to how they would respond. However, the answer may not correspond to how you always think, feel or behave.

It may only sometimes be the case, and only in some particular circumstances. In order for the results to be valid for the employer, Lanyon and Goodstein (1971, P.29) highlight three conditions that must hold true for any personality assessment. A) The psychologist’s interpretation of the assessment data must be correct within the framework of the particular theory he is using: b) his understanding of the theory must be adequate enough to enable him to make a decision which is consistent with the demands of the theory; and c) the theory itself must be a useful one. Aike (1989, p.211) cites Willis (1984) further supporting this view: Unfortunately, no measures of test-taking attitude are provided, a shortcoming that could lead to errors of diagnosis and screening.

The purpose of the MBTI is to make the theory of psychological types understandable and useful in people’s lives. One of the main criticisms of the MBTI is that it has not been shown to fit the assumptions of Jungain theory. Rytting and Ware (1996,p.2) reveal that the use of continues scores which measure the strength of traits rather than dichotomies which are used to categorize types. Thus the MBTI does not allocate individuals to type groups but rather measures personality traits. Furthermore Rytting and Ware (1996, p.6) confirm that people can and do identify their preferences on most of the dimensions and can come up with a best-fit type or perhaps two that they switch between. This does not help the researcher to find significant differences that might actually exist.

The MBTI will help employees identify their strengths and help them to better understand and appreciate the valuable diversity of others. Employees can use the information to understand themselves better, their motivation, their strengths and competencies in the workplace, and potential areas for growth. The MBTI also enables managers to examine organizational type profile, how employees will work most effectively within this culture. Employees will gain great benefit from an understanding of their own and other’s personality type. It has helped people worldwide in their choice of career, understanding of how they react, and work in both social and job situations. What makes them comfortable and uncomfortable in their interactions with others, and what they can expect in their personal development as they mature.

Reliability and validity

In reliability and validity, the MBTI appears to be at least comparable to other personality measures currently available. Its expanding and successful applications in a variety of settings suggest its versatility as an assessment instrument. The begins with a general introduction to the instrument the structural issues of standardization, reliability and validity; and some of its practical applications in counseling psychotherapy, career management and counseling, management and leadership, teams, education, multicultural use, Interestingly, the MBTI has been largely ignored by the professional community, even among proponents of construction and evaluation psychometric instruments according to personality theory though it remains one of the few attempts to thus implement the principles of construct development (Wiggins 1989).

MBTI, designed to ascertain as correctly as possible the true personality preferences of an individual, is that its validity is based upon the validity of the very constructs of type it seeks to identify.  For the one who does not accept the basic assumptions inherent in the theory, no amount of data, however vast, will be sufficient support for the instrument’s validity (Kaplan & Saccuzzo; Wiggins, 1989). A test must be reliable if it is to be valid.  If reliability reflects the amount of error in a test, you can’t say that you’re accurately measuring some trait/characteristic if scores vary a great deal.  Reliability is necessary for validity, but not sufficient (more information is needed).

Validity of MBTI

An assessment instrument is valid if it does what it is supposed to do and measures what it is supposed to measure. If such an instrument is not valid, it is of little use because it is not measuring or doing what it is supposed to be doing. The validity of MBTI instrument data are summarized in three categories of data all speak to question of validity: (1) evidence for the validity of the four separate scales; (2) evidence for the validity of the four preference pairs as dichotomies; and (3) evidence fro the validity of whole types or particular combinations of preferences. Validity is the degree to which an instrument measures what it intends to measure, and degree to which the “thing” that the instrument measures has meaning. Why is this important? If type is real (or rather, if it is an idea that reflects the real world with any accuracy), then we should be able to use type to understand and predict people’s behavior to some degree. Type should help us make useful distinctions in the values, attitudes and behaviors of different people. The validity of a test indicates its integrity, whether it actually measures what it is supposed to measure and how well it does so (Paul, 1978). The instrument’s reliability, its validity  and its effectiveness in some of the situations for which it is  recommended. The MBTI types and makes a more positive assessment about their validity. The validity of the MBTI can be evaluated independently, and research is required to really establish the instrument’s validity

Reliability of MBTI instrument

            Reliability addresses the degree to which someone answers questions consistently on any given scale on the same taking of the MBTI instrument. This isn’t surprising called internal consistency reliability. The MBTI instrument requires that results be delivered with interactive feedback and that a person be able to choose his or her best-fit type regardless of the results of the instrument. .The reliability of the MBTI instrument would be helpful to know…on retest, people come out with three to four type preferences the same time. Reliabilities are as good as or better than other personality instruments. When people change their type on retest, it is usually on one scale, and in scales where the preference clarity was low. The reliabilities are quite good across age and ethnic groups, although reliabilities on some scales with some groups may be somewhat lower. The T-F scale tends to have the lowest reliability of the four scales. There are some groups for whom reliabilities are especially low and needs to be exercised in thinking about using the MBTI instrument with these groups.

Druckman and Bjork (1991) in reviewing data for the MBTI express concern that the fluctuation in type over time suggests that caution should be exercised in making career decisions on such data. Reliability is how consistently a test measures what it attempts to measure. Why is consistency important? Well, when you measure something with an instrument two times, you want it to come out with the same answer (or close to it) both times. With the MBTI instruments, as with other psychological instruments, you want the person to come out the same type both times they take it (this is test-retest reliability, the kind most people care about). Reliability estimates are typically reported on a range of 0.00 to 1.00, with b1.00 being perfect.

Scoring

MBTI scoring system is based on Big Five theory (Digman, 1990) could be developed for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Our results indicated that a 5-factor model that closely matches the general definitions of the Big Five constructs can be  produced using the full Form F MBTI item pool. The ability to score the MBTI in big five dimensional fashion should prove valuable to researchers and organizational practitioners dimensional fashion should prove valuable to researchers and organizational practitioners. Although opinions vary regarding the desirability of scoring the MBTI to produce categorical type (Harvey & Murry, 1994), such methods remain popular, and our Big Five-based scoring system may provide a valuable alternative for MBTI users who have previously relied on the categorical type-based scoring system.

MBTI offer simply to warn you that accuracy (validity of data) of even well researched questionnaires. A reliable measure gives consistent results, while a valid measure gives accurate results. A reliable measure may or may not be valid, but an unreliable measure cannot be valid.

Biases of the Instrument

There are biases effects in leadership teams that do not balance their personality and leader types along the different dimensions. There is a bias toward Leadership performance. There is a big bias for managers to be thinkers. Management positions tend to attract, then reward and promote objective, analytical decision-makers and there’s a strong bias for managers to be judgers, not perceivers.

The MBTI is not an aptitude test. It doesn’t examine skill or ability, but rather what a person prefers to do. The test can help you maximize your abilities and minimize your liabilities by identifying your sources of energy as well as areas where you feel most confident and competent. A trained and qualified MBTI administrator is also equipped to help you properly interpret your results and act as an informed guide for your continued self-exploration of personality type. Each person has a natural bias towards one over the other so that when they give us conflicting directions. Within the whole individual, all sets exist, but the individual’s life history leads to biases; in favor, or against. Unfortunately, our type preferences can become biases that prevent us from accepting and utilizing the strengths of other peoples’ natural styles. At times it is hard to understand that what feels so natural and right for ourselves is not the way that others see the world and do things. Administrators need to be aware of, and sensitive to their own type biases and exert every effort to present feedback in an objective way. Be aware of their own type biases and how they influence communication about type information.

The MBTI is one of the most widely used personality profiles in use today, not only in the US, but also in other countries. We use the MBTI to assist people when they are experiencing change in their employment as a tool in interview preparation and background information or careers advice. The MBTI is used to understand yourself better, why other people “behave” as they do, and the relationship between work and personality style. Combined with the MBTI evaluation these seminars can be quite helpful to the individual or the organization.

Conclusion

The MBTI model offer management guidance for hiring and firing, team building and achievement of employee self-assessment and self-awareness. Through knowledge of the employees’ personality type, it is easier for management to identify whether employees will be suited to a certain type of job, enabling management to identify how employees will react to different situations and how they will go about solving problems. In reliability and validity, the MBTI appears to be at least comparable to other personality measures currently available. Its expanding and successful applications in a variety of settings suggest its versatility as an assessment instrument. Research on the instruments has increased my respect for it psychometrically, and stimulated possibilities for its use in my counseling practice.

I believe in particular value for those individuals whose types are under-represented in the general population of our culture and who, having been required to live and work against their natural tendencies have suffered physically or for these people, simply to learn that their differences are not pathological, but simply a matter of type, brings healing and motivation to grow. The MBTI is a very popular assessment instrument, which is easy to administer and score. There have been concerns raised about the dichotomous nature of the four types, and some authors have pointed to fluctuating results over time. Finally, preliminary research suggests that MBTI type frequencies tend to vary according to cultural group.

 

 

 

References

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