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Myers Briggs MBTI test no good, by Adam Grant on LinkedIn


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Stop using the Myers Briggs test! It is flawed.

Instead use the Big Five personality traits. Adam Grant explains:

In a Washington Post article, Does it pay to know your type? Lillian Cunningham asks whether we can send the MBTI back to the factory for some refurbishing. The response from Little: “It’s a little bit like taking a Dodge Caravan and trying to turn it into a Rolls Royce.” Instead, psychologists have spent the past half century building a better car from scratch, using the scientific method. That car is called the Big Five personality traits, and it meets the standards above. 

Across many of the world’s cultures, five personality traits consistently emerge: extraversion, emotional stability, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness. The Big Five traits have high reliability and considerable power in predicting job performance and team effectiveness. They even have genetic and biological bases, and researchers in the emerging field of personality neuroscience have begun mapping the Big Five to relevant brain regions.

The Big Five are far from perfect, and there’s growing support for a HEXACO model of personality that adds a sixth trait: honesty-humility. Right now, though, the biggest problem facing the Big Five is one of marketing. Most people prefer to be called agreeable than disagreeable—we need to repackage this trait as supportive versus challenging. I hope some of you will take up the challenge.

Big Five is far preferable to MBTI for personality assessment. Eric Barker concurs.

Why MBTI is not science: 

Research shows “that as many as three-quarters of test takers achieve a different personality type when tested again,” writes Annie Murphy Paul in The Cult of Personality Testing, “and the sixteen distinctive types described by the Myers-Briggs have no scientific basis whatsoever.” In a recent article, Roman Krznaric adds that “if you retake the test after only a five-week gap, there's around a 50% chance that you will fall into a different personality category.”

Science requires results be repeatable. Yeah science!

MBTI has no correlation with management efficacy:

A test is valid if it predicts outcomes that matter. If we’re going to use it in organizations, it should shed light on how well I’ll perform in a particular job or with a certain group of people. Although there are data suggesting that different occupations attract people of different types, there is no convincing body of evidence that types affect job performance or team effectiveness. As management researchers William Gardner and Mark Martinko write in a comprehensive review, “Few consistent relationships between type and managerial effectiveness have been found.”

If there's no correlation with managerial effectiveness, then what good is the test?

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