Using Personality Type in the Business Communication Classroom

Article excerpt

Abstract

Students, faculty, and, most importantly, employers, have for years recognized the need for improved communication skills. The business communication curriculum is filled with a variety of topics that lead to improved communication skills. Some of these topics, a percentage of students find boring, unimportant, intimidating, and/or nonessential. Other students find these topics to be interesting, significant, challenging, and vital. For example, oral presentations have been found to be a major fear of today's college student. Could the preference or the abhorrence of various business communication topics be related to personality type? To answer this question, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), combined with a Liken Scale, was used to study the relationship between business communication students' personality types and their preferred topics in business communications.

Introduction

Students, faculty, and most importantly, employers have for years recognized the need for improved communication skills (Wedell and Allerheiligen, 1991). The business communication curriculum is filled with a variety of topics that lead to improved communication skills. Some of these topics, a percentage of students find boring, unimportant, intimidating and/or nonessential, while other students find these topics to be interesting, significant, challenging, and vital. For example, today's college students find oral presentations to be frightening. Could the preference or the abhorrence of various business communication topics be related to personality type? Measuring an individual's personality dispositions and preferences, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is one of the most popular and widely used personality measurement instruments. It is designed to identify the personality preferences of an individual along four dichotomous indices. In addition, many researchers (Bowman 1990, Heimlich, 1990; Luh, 1990; and Myers and McCaulley 1989) have supported the application of the MBTI to a variety of educational settings (elementary, secondary, post secondary and higher education institutions) and to a variety of variables (adult learners, learning style, student achievement, and instructional methods).

This research study focused on the personality types of business communication students (BCSs) and their preferences for particular various business communication topics. Certain other related factors were also considered. The following research question was addressed: Do the personality types of business communications students, as they relate to preferred business communications topics, differ? The following primary null hypothesis guided the study:

H0. There will be no tested differences between the personality types among BCSs and their preferences for particular business communication topics.

H1. Tested differences among the various personality types of BCSs will result in differences in their preferences for particular business communication topics.

In summary, Jung's theory of psychological type, identified through the use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) [R] developed by Myers and Briggs (1975), is an appropriate theoretical framework for research to determine the classification of personality types among BCSs. Therefore, Jung's theory and the utilization of the MBTI, combined with a Likert Scale, are appropriate means of studying the relationship between subjects' personality types and their preferred business communication topics.

Instrumentation

Two research instruments were utilized for the collection of data in this study. First, Form G of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) was administered to determine the personality type of the BCSs in the study. Second, a Likert Scale was developed to determine the preferred business communication topics of BCSs. Personality type and preferences for particular topics in business communications were obtained from this typical undergraduate population. …