Friday, 6 January 2012

Is Myers Briggs a valid psychological assessment tool?

Personality assessment tools are widely used by organisations these days for recruitment and selection or to help employees understand themselves or their co-workers. Myers Briggs type indicator (MBTI), based on Carl Jung's work is a favourite for many. MBTI classifies people into types based on 4 bi-polar dimensions - Extroversion-Introversion (E-I), Sensing-Intuition (S-N), Thinking-Feeling (T-F), Judging-Perceiving (J-P).

But how reliable is this test?

Having reviewed data from MBTI research centres back in the 90’s, The National Academy of Sciences committee concluded that only the MBTI Introversion-Extroversion scale has adequate validity. Overall, it concluded that the MBTI has not demonstrated adequate validity and that there is insufficient research to justify the use of the MBTI in career counselling programs. 

I quite like the tool as a general guideline although I do find results often vary for people taking subsequent tests, which tends to diminish confidence in the results we see. I do think people should be very careful about placing the right amount of emphasis on MBTI and other similar tools output.  

What are your views and experiences with MBTI?