Publication Date

1999

Abstract

Using the MBTI® (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) to assess personality types, this re-search was a study of how Feeling types survive within organizational settings that may value Thinking type behaviors over Feeling types. Previous type theory studies have shown that the management and leadership within organizations are primar-ily Sensing-Thinking-Judging personality types. In addition, management theorists talk about employees emulating personality characteristics of their leaders. There-fore, it would be assumed that within organizations, there are preferred or accepted personality types following the example of their leadership. Consequently, with this reality, how do non-preferred types find success in environments where their skills, judgment, and potential are not valued? The study began with a resource group of 30 participants who completed the MBTI assessment to identify their personality type. From this group of 30, 14 were picked for in-depth interviews to learn about their organizational experience - their successes and failures. These interviews were taped and transcribed and later used for the interpretation and discussion. The learning gleaned from the interviews presented an interesting composite of the differences of how people handle life. The responses ranged from people changing jobs frequently, to others discovering very quickly in their careers that they could not survive within organizations, so established themselves outside the organiza-tion as consultants, trainers, and even part-time employees. Those individuals who chose to stay within the organizational setting seemed to compartmentalize their work and life, enabling them to do whatever was necessary to succeed in their work setting. Still others, realizing they were operating within a setting that some-times seemed like a foreign culture, saw value in learning to adapt to other styles. The conclusion discusses the responsibilities of organizations to expand their defi-nition of what a good leader is, to learn to value the Feeling dimension and all it brings to the organization. The suggestions come from both the researcher's con-clusions and study along with an interesting blend of three different organizational theories. These theories, when combined, create an organizational setting that val-ues the diversity of personality, creates a safe place for dialogue and discovery, where both the individual and the organization can learn and evolve.

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