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How the MBTI Conquered the Office

Posted on: 30 March 2010 at 07:58 SAST

± minute read

If you are an MBTI® practitioner you might be interested to know that BBC Radio 4 is broadcasting a program on the Myers-Briggs® (MBTI®) assessment titled "How the MBTI Conquered the Office." The program is airing live tonight (30/03/2010) at 10pm (9pm UK time) for about 30 minutes.

Click here if you wish to listen live via the internet. You can join in discussions around this topic on LinkedIn and Facebook. Get updates of what's going on via Twitter Kind Regards Jopie de Beer **************************** Our After-thoughts on the programme ****************************

The discussion on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday about “How the MBTI conquered the Office” provided an interesting opportunity to listen to the programme whilst interacting with other listeners on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. This experience has been new to many of us but probably serves as an example of what we can expect in years to come. We are truly living in an electronic global village.

The journalist provided a broad overview of the MBTI® instrument, which started with her receiving feedback on her own type and getting descriptions of the preferences. The programme described the development of the MBTI® instrument, and provided different opinions on the utility of the instrument in the workplace by experts from different theoretical standpoints. The journalist explored the popularity of the MBTI instrument in the workplace, and illustrated the international reach of the assessment, referring specifically to the MBTI® instrument being used in countries such as China and Japan. There was a discussion about the process of validation of the MBTI® instrument in such contexts.

Listening to various views on the value of the MBTI® tool, once again, highlighted the following for us:

  • The MBTI® instrument is not a trait based personality assessment - it has a different nature and a different purpose.
  • The MBTI® instrument should not be used for selection but can be very valuable for self understanding, self management and communication with others.
  • The process of verification remains the cornerstone of using the MBTI® tool correctly.
  • Even though it sounds counter-intuitive, the 16 personality types, identified by the MBTI® tool, allow for much individuality, uniqueness, and depth.
  • Like any other self-report inventory, the MBTI results are directly related to the quality of the responses of the person doing the assessment. Where motivation is lacking, interpretation should be made with care.

All over the world the MBTI® instrument has been extensively researched. Really important though, is that any assessment is only as useful and effective as the person using it. This places an important responsibility on all who make use of the MBTI® instrument.

For further information on the MBTI® instrument in the South African context, you are welcome to download our data supplement. If you have any thoughts or comments, you are welcome to post them below – we would love to hear your views!

Kind regards/ Vriendelike groete,
Dr. Jopie de Beer

For more information, please contact us on +27(0) 11 781 3705/6/7 or send an email to

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