Sunday, June 19, 2011

Kritik av personlighetstest del 1: Myers-Briggs

Syftet med denna lilla serie av blogg-inlägg är att kritiskt diskutera vissa mycket ofta använda personlighetstest. Först ut blir MBTI, Myers-Briggstestet, använt i många sammanhang som vid anställningar, "team building", rådgivning etc.

Det finns många kritiska analyser av detta test, som ytterst bygger på Jungs typlära. En kortfattat, populärt skriven och glasklar artikel har publicerats av professor David J. Pittenger, klicka här.

Jag citerar ur hans slutsatser:

"In summary, it appears that the MBTI does not conform to many of the basic standards expected of psychological tests. Many very specific predictions about the MBTI have not been confirmed or have been proved wrong. There is no obvious evidence that there are 16 unique categories in which all people can be placed. There is no evidence that scores generated by the MBTI reflect the stable and unchanging personality traits that are claimed to be measured. Finally, there is no evidence that the MBTI measures anything of value.

The MBTI reminds us of the olvious truth that all people are not alike, but then claims that every person can be fit neatly into one of 16 boxes. I believe that MBTI attempts to force the complexities of human personality into an artificial and limiting classification scheme. The focus on the "typing" of people reduces the attention paid to the unique qualities and potential of each individual.

Many readers may be surprised by my interpretation and objections to such a popular test. It has been my experience that this reaction stems from how they view the MBTI. In many cases, the popularity of the instrument is interpreted as an indication of its accuracy and utility, which then leads to wider use and less inclination to question the foundations of the test. As a consequence, the MBTI has become a popular instrument for reasons unrelated to its reliability and validity.

The publishers do a very good job of promoting the test and providing support for its users. The MBTI also has much intuitive appeal. The descriptions of each type are generally flattering and sufficiently vague so that most people will accept the statements as true of themselves. If you tell people that they are "innovative thinkers and good problem solvers, and good at understanding and motivating people, but may have trouble following through on details of a project," they will believe that the statement is an accurate description of themselves regardless of the truth of the statement. 

Because of its apparent simplicity, the MBTI may be misused unintentionally by some people. A manager, for example, may come to believe that only certain personality types are appropriate for specific jobs. After learning about type, such a manager may conclude that only ISTJs make good accountants whereas the best people for the sales force will be the ESFJs. Thus, the type label may bias a manager's decisions on hiring, firing, evaluating, and promoting. Similarly, employees may use type labels inappropriately. Thus, one might feel that "She's an INFP, so I will never be able to work with her on an assignment," or that "I'm an ESTP and don't do well when it comes to details."

Några källor till ska nämnas i korthet. Garner och Martinko (1996) fann inga tydliga bevis för att  MBTI hade någon relation till arbetsresultat. Pittinger (2005) påpekar att MBTI inte ger någon information utöver vanliga Big Five-test, men behandlar denna information på ett ineffektivt sätt (och vilseledande, kan man tillägga).En mycket upplysande diskussion av MBTI - och många andra test - finns också i en bok av Paul (2004).


Gardner, W. L., & Martinko, M. J. (1996). Using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to study managers: A literature review and research agenda. Journal of Management, 22(1), 45-83.
Paul, A. M. (2004). The cult of personality. How personality tests are leading us to miseducate our children, mismanage our companies, and misunderstanding ourselves. New York: Free Press.

Pittenger, D. J. (1993). The utility of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Review of Educational Research, 63(4), 467-488.

Pittenger, D. J. (2005). Cautionary comments regarding the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 57(3), 210-221.

Sjöberg, L. (2005). En kritisk diskussion av Myers-Briggs testet. Organisational Theory & Practice. Scandinavian Journal of Organisational Psychology, 15(1), 21-28. Klicka här.

1 comment:

  1. Finns det någon som jämfört Big Five och MBTI vad gäller t ex validitet?


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