Personality traits

The early work in the structure of personality revolved around attempts to identify and label enduring characteristics that describe an individual’s behavior. Popular characteristics include shy, aggressive, submissive, lazy, ambitious, loyal and timid. Those characteristics, when they’re exhibited in a large number of situations, are called personality traits. The more consistent the characteristics and the more frequently it occurs in diverse situations, the more important are the traits in describing the individual.

Why has so much attention been paid to personality traits? The answer is:

Researchers have long believed that these traits could help in employee selection, matching people to jobs, and in guiding career development decisions. For instance, if certain personality types perform better on specific jobs, management could use personality tests to screen job candidates and improve employee job performance.

There were a number of early efforts to identify the primary traits that govern behavior. However, for the most part, these efforts resulted in long lists of traits that were difficult to generalize from and provided little practical guidance to organizational decision makers. Two exceptions are the Myers Briggs type Indicator and the Big-Five Model. Over the past 20 years, these two approaches have become the dominant frameworks for identifying and classifying traits. In this article we are discussing about ‘The Myers Briggs type indicator’.

The Myers Briggs type indicator:

The Myers-Briggs type indicator (MBTI) is the most widely used personality assessment instrument in the world. It’s essentially a 100-question personality test that asks people how they usually feel or act in particular situations.

On the basis of the answers individuals give to the test, they are classified as extroverted or introverted (E or I), sensing or intuitive (S or N), thinking or feeling (T or F), and judging or perceiving (J or P). These terms are defined as follows:

Extrovert vs. Introverted:

Extroverted individuals are outgoing, sociable, and assertive. Introverts are quiet and shy.

Sensing vs. Intuitive:

Sensing types are practical and prefer routine and order. They focus on details. Intuitive rely on unconscious processes and look at the “big picture�.

Thinking vs. Feeling: Thinking types use reasons and logic to handle problems. Feeling types rely on their personal values and emotions.

Judging vs. Perceiving:

Judging types want control, and prefer their world to be ordered and structured. Perceiving types are flexible and spontaneous.

In spite of its popularity, the evidence is mixed as to whether the MBIT is a valid measure of personality — with most of the evidence suggesting it isn’t. The best we can say is that it can be a valuable tool for increasing self-awareness and for providing career guidance. But because MBIT results tend to be unrelated to job performance, it probably should not be used as a selection test for choosing among job candidates.

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