Frequencies of Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) among Military Leaders

By Williams, Dianna Lea | Journal of Leadership Studies, Summer 1998 | Go to article overview

Frequencies of Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) among Military Leaders


Williams, Dianna Lea, Journal of Leadership Studies


Executive Summary

Psychological type distributions of military leaders at various levels show interesting patterns. Military leaders have yet to fully begin to appreciate the psychological type contributions the staff brings to workforce resources. Human resource, a compilation of the workforce's value and worth, is a capital investment and should be recognized in the motif of human development and management. This sample of 193 military members, in a two-year study found support for highly dynamic contributions between extraversion and introversion, sensing and intuition, thinking and feeling, and judging and perceiving preferences among male and female managers. Military executives differ in their psychological preferences and a study such as this one heightens the future expectations of psychological type.

There is a distinct need for valid psychological theories to guide Armed Forces through drawdowns, deployments, and general military activities. As personnel numbers fluctuate and as personnel rotation changes occur, the psychological type in a unit conceivably changes between the interaction of male and female military members. In order for the leaders to harness the power of the psychological type, they must gain understanding and perceive current and future human development potential. This study introduces the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) as a useful psychological management tool in the Armed Forces. The MBTI is a self report inventory (Myers, 1962) developed to measure the variables in Jung's personality typology (Carlyn, 1977).

Methods

Armed Forces personnel in the United States Air Force at a mid-western base installation were the target sample for this two-year research project. Military and civilian executives used the Myers-Briggs Indicator Form G, copyright edition 1977. It requires the respondents to choose between two descriptive terms or phases that describe the same scale (Myers, 1962). The research was conducted as part of a quality-training program. Subjects numbered 66 males and 14 females in the 1993, and 23 females with 90 males in 1994, respectively.

MBTI reliability data is summarized from five main sources: the MBTI Manual (Myers [1962] 1975, p. 20), two review articles (Cadyn, 1977; McCaulley, 1978), and two reports by Carskadon (1979c). In the literature, Tzeng et al (1984, 1989), Johnson and Saunders (1990), and Thompson and Borello (1986a, 1986b) researched the factorial validity. Carlson (1985), Carlyn (1977) Thorne and Gough (1991) Myers and McCaulley (1985) and Myers and Myers (1980) reported on scale intercorrelations and criterion-related validity of the Myers-Briggs Indicator.

Results

The type distributions of the military executives are summarized in Table 1.

Table 1. 1993 Type Distribution of All Subjects
Number of total sample = 80

m - males
f - females

ISTJ       ISFJ         INFJ         INTJ

n=17       n=2          n=2          n=6
m=14       m=1          m=1          m=5
f=3        f=1          f=1          f=1

ISTP       ISFP         INFP         INTP
n=6        n=3          n=4          n=5
m=6        m=1          m=4          m=3
f=0        f=2          f=0          f=2

ESTP       ESFP         ENFP         ENTP
n=7        n=0          n=1          n=4
m=4        m=0          m=1          m=2
f=3        f=0          f=0          f=2

ESTJ       ESFJ         ENFJ         ENTJ
n=10       n=3          n=2          n=8
m=7        m=1          m=0          m=7
f-3        f=2          f=2          f=1

The type distributions of the military members are summarized in the following Table 2.

Table 2. 1994 Type Distribution of All Subjects
Number of total sample = 113

m - males
f - females

ISTJ       ISFJ        INFJ        INTJ
n=28       n=2         n=2         n=5
m=26       m=2         m=1         m=3
f=2        f=0         f=1         f=2

ISTP       ISFP        INFP        INTP
n=14       n=7         n=2         n=8
m=14       m=6         m=2         m=7
f=0        f=1         f=0         f=1

ESTP       ESFP        ENFP        ENTP
n=1        n=1         n=3         n=8
m=1        m=1         m=3         m=7
f=0        f=0         f=0         f=1

ESTJ       ESFJ        ENFJ        ENTJ
n=16       n=0         n=4         n=12
m=14       m=0         m=2         m=11
f=2        f=0         f=2         f=1

As shown in both Tables 1 and 2, the type distribution is similar, even though the proportion of female subjects is underrepresented. …

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