The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ® or MBTI ® was developed by Katharine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Myers. Their work on the indicator started in 1942, prompted by the devastation and destruction of the Second World War which, in their opinion, was caused at least in part by people not understanding differences. Katharine was very interested in the work of Carl Jung (1875-1961), a Swiss psychiatrist who had written about personality types.
Briggs and Myers shared a vision "to enable individuals to grow through an understanding and appreciation of individual differences in healthy personality and to enhance harmony and productivity among diverse groups." They wanted to make Jung's work and writing accessible and useful to ordinary people. To this end, the MBTI can help people have a greater self-awareness of their own personality and similarities and differences to other people.
MBTI is a personality inventory, not a test. It cannot and should not be used for recruitment or selection. It does not measure levels of skills or aptitude. Where it is very useful is for self-awareness, personal development and in team-building and understanding.
All individuals are unique with their own DNA, family background, education, experience and environment. However, there are some personality characteristics that can be described. If these characteristics or behaviours are recognised and acknowledged as different from our own, rather than assume everybody thinks and acts like us, then misunderstanding or conflict can be avoided. If differences are actually appreciated and diversity valued, we can all benefit. Isabel's book "Gifts Differing" (see the Bookstore ) refers to a chapter in Paul's Letter to the Romans in the Bible where he writes about each of us having different but valuable gifts.
An introduction to Type Theory follows.
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