Progress on the Journey to Total Quality Management: Using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Adjective Check List in Management Development

By Mani, Bonnie G. | Public Personnel Management, Fall 1995 | Go to article overview

Progress on the Journey to Total Quality Management: Using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Adjective Check List in Management Development


Mani, Bonnie G., Public Personnel Management


The primary objective of this paper is to describe and assess a management development process that can be used in public sector agencies to develop new managers. This process was employed in the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), a public sector agency that applies the principles of Total Quality Management (TQM). The Richmond District enhanced the program that was conducted in other offices by using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and The Adjective Check List (ACL). Thus this research could be applied by those interested in management development programs, bureaucracies, TQM, the MBTI, and the ACL.

Three steps will lead to accomplishment of the primary objective of this paper. The first step is to describe the generic, four step career development process used in the IRS. The second step is to review relevant literature about leadership, emphasizing theoretical applications related to the MBTI, the ACL, bureaucracies, and total quality organizations. The third step is to analyze the results of groups who completed the program in 1991 and 1992 and to discuss the implications of the data within the four step career development process.

The Management Development Process

The program in the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was designed to identify those interested in managerial positions. The program provided an opportunity for non-managerial employees to learn about themselves and about the organization's expectations for managers. After completing a self-assessment the participants had information that helped them decide whether they wanted management careers with this agency.

Employees who expressed interest in management careers, who were not yet managers, might begin the process displayed in Figure 2. The Pre-Leadership Development Program is the central part of this process. The self-assessment, Phase II of the Pre-Leadership Development Program, is described in Figure 3. It is within this portion of the management development process that the MBTI and the ACL are administered.

The IRS program employed a generic career development model. Through the process the participants discovered the answers to four questions.

Who am I?

How am I seen?

What is the organization like and what are my options?

How can I achieve my goals?(3)

Program participants used several questionnaires(4) to answer the question, "Who am I?" The questionnaires enabled the participants to assess their values, managerial styles and attitudes, and career interests. In addition to the questionnaires used in other offices, a qualified facilitator in the Richmond District also used the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and The Adjective Check List (ACL) in this self-assessment.

The second step in the process was answering the question, "How am I seen?" To find the answer to this question the participants were encouraged to share the results of their self-assessments with their managers. They asked their managers whether they agreed or disagreed with the assessment results and for other feedback that could help them to be more successful.

The insights gained by answering the first two questions could lead the participants to make decisions about the type of work they would like to do. The next step would be to answer the question, "What is the organization like and what are my options?" In this part of the process the participants learned more about career options within the agency. They used this information to choose career goals they believed were realistic.

The final question was, "How can I achieve my goals?" Using all of the information gathered to answer the first three questions, the program participants prepared individual development plans. In these plans they specified:

* Their career goals.

* Objectives for enhancing qualifications they needed to achieve career goals.

* Activities they needed to complete to enhance their qualifications. …

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