MBTI: Personality as Professional Development in Information Science Fields
Zoë Abbie Teel
Background on MBTI
Have you ever wondered what makes people act the way they do? How they make decisions or interact with others? What underlying mechanisms govern individuals’ actions, and how do these mechanisms manifest in unique ways? Such queries have been the impetus for the development of personality psychology theories, which have come to play a crucial role in professional development. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a tool that has become increasingly popular in the world of professional development. To provide background context about MBTI: “In 1942, Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother Katharine Briggs began the work of developing a “sorter” instrument to help people identify their psychological type preferences, as described by the theory of Carl G. Jung” (MBTI Personality Type, 2023). This personality and psychology theory-informed test has become a well-used source in professional development to provide ways for employees, employers, or hopeful candidates to determine how a person will behave, react, act, and conduct business.
—The test helps promote self-awareness of oneself, coworkers, and leaders/supervisors.—
Essentially, the theory-informed test highlights an individual’s strongest character traits. Four opposite traits are identified in the MBTI. They include Extroversion and Introversion, Intuition and Sensing, Feeling and Thinking, and finally, Judgment and Perceiving. Extroverts typically derive their energy from being with people and things. Introverts, on the other hand, derive their energy from inward thoughts and reflections. Intuitive types focus on abstract connections rather than concrete associations. They look for the meanings behind relationships. While sensers use the five senses to gather information and understanding, feelers base their decisions within interpersonal and value-centered processes. Objectivity and logic are the thinkers’ primary tools for making decisions. Those who are judgment-oriented prefer that the physical world be orderly and organized. Those who perceive simply desire to experience the world, not organize it. These four opposite traits result in the MBTI’s identifying four letters that indicate an individual’s personality type. For example, I am an INFJ. That means I am an introvert who typically takes information in by means of intuition. I, furthermore, make decisions based on feelings and deal with the world, situations around me, through judging (e.g., organization and planning).
An awareness of the diverse ways in which individuals operate can be useful in identifying potential areas of conflict between team members, and in devising effective strategies to resolve them. Moreover, it can provide valuable insights into individual strengths, communication styles, and approaches to teamwork, which can contribute to the creation of a positive and productive workplace environment. The MBTI is a dependable and widely used instrument that can facilitate such insights, thereby enhancing workplace productivity and contributing to the development of effective teams. These traits, according to Myers and Myers (2010), include “where you focus your attention, the way you take information, how you make decisions, and how you deal with the world.” The test helps promote self-awareness of oneself, coworkers, and leaders/supervisors. This concept holds the potential for a deeper understanding of not only communication styles but also decision-making abilities. The acquisition of such knowledge can inform and guide individuals in making informed and well-founded decisions with respect to their career paths. By utilizing this knowledge to gain insights into one’s personality traits and preferences, individuals can enhance their ability to navigate professional settings and make choices that align with their inherent strengths and interests.
MBTI Applications in Information Science
MBTI professional development experts, for example, could help individuals studying information science, or those working in information science, figure out where they are best suited. For example, if someone falls into the thinking (T) category they may be more inclined to be analytical or logical. Thus, they may be a perfect fit for careers in data analysis or health informatics. Someone who classifies as feeling (F) may be a better fit for a role that involves working with people and developing networking opportunities or cohesion within a workplace atmosphere. An example would be designing user’s experiences. Now, that is not to say someone who is identified as thinking (T) cannot work with people, as much as it to say that someone who is feeling (F) cannot work with data. Sometimes, the identified personality traits work more as a guide to help make the best match.
Correlation to Professional Development
Once individuals have identified their “type,” this test could also be used as a resource for conflict resolution in the workplace. Understanding how someone’s personality plays a role in the way they work through frustrations, express anger, or even internalize someone else’s words is helpful when trying to make a cohesive and positive workplace. Furthermore, this test could be used to help create team building among the staff. Having effective communication skills is vital in information science due to the technical terms and data. People in the workplace who classify as intuitive (N) may receive information in a conceptual way. People who classify as sensing (S) may prefer concrete examples.
Professional development is the perfect opportunity to pursue learning more about our unique personalities and what they bring to the profession. The MBTI is one tool to consider using because it can help highlight the important personality traits that can help match desired characteristics for specific professions or work-related projects. The MTBI, albeit imperfect, can be used as a reasonable and reliable record of a candidate’s personality.
Engaging in professional development opportunities that involve utilizing the MBTI can lead to effective identification of personality types that are well-suited for specific information science positions. By gaining a thorough understanding of the instrument and its application, individuals can identify the personality traits and preferences that are most conducive to success in their particular professional context. As a result, investment in MBTI-based professional development can enhance one’s ability to pursue and succeed in information science positions, thereby promoting career growth and development.
The Myers & Briggs Foundation Original Research. (2023). Myersbriggs.org.
Myers I. B., Myers P. B. (2010). Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type. Mountain View, CA: Nicholas Brealey.
Cite this article in APA as: Teel, Z. A. (2023, May 3). MBTI: Personality as professional development in information science fields. Information Matters, Vol. 3, Issue 5. https://informationmatters.org/2023/04/mbti-personality-as-professional-development-in-information-science-fields/