This paper was first published in the Proceedings of the 29th Annual Project Management Institute Seminar/Symposium "Tides of Change", Long Beach, California, USA, 1998. (Updated presentation, April, 2002.) Presented here as the sixth in a series linking project type through management style to project success.

Published here May, 2002.

Introduction | General Characteristics | Myers-Briggs
Comparison | Observations | Summary/Conclusions | Appendix A

Comparison of the Two Sets of Descriptions

From Figure 1 it will be noted that the "X" axis, marked "Focus", corresponds to the Introvert-Extrovert axis of the MBTI grid. Similarly, the "Y" axis, marked "Approach", corresponds to the Intuitive-Sensing axis. Keirsey and Bates have indicated approximate percentages of the population that correspond to each of the sixteen MBTI types. Possibly these percentages represent only the North American population, but still the data provide a useful distribution.

Figure 2: The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator 4x4 Grid Structure
Figure 2: The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator 4x4 Grid Structure

On this basis, the distribution of the population on the four axes are as follows: Sensing - 75%, Intuitive - 25%; Extrovert - 75%, Introvert - 25%; Thinking - 50%, Feeling - 50%; and Perceiving - 50%, Judging - 50%. Just examining the four major quadrants of the grid is instructive. As shown in Figure 3, the distribution of population in the primary quadrants of the MBTI grid is heavily weighted towards the Extrovert-Sensing type (about 55%). These people are sometimes disparagingly referred to as the "touchy-feely" types. This compares with the opposite quadrant containing a much smaller number of Introvert-Intuitive types (only about 5%) recognizable as thoughtful but generally unsociable loners. The remaining two quadrants are about equally divided at 20%.

To determine which types of people would be suited to some form of project work, we must understand each of the cell type descriptions. Fortunately, Keirsey and Bates provide extensive and detailed descriptions of those in each cell. Of course, few people fall neatly and exactly into each, and even if they do, they probably have a significant bias one way or another. However, for purposes of a broad population analysis such as this, the distribution is still instructive.

Figure 3: Population Distribution in the Primary Quadrants of the MBTI Grid
Note: The capital figures in the labels above are the MBTI reference letters
Figure 3: Population Distribution in the Primary Quadrants of the MBTI Grid

So, for our analysis, we abstracted from these descriptions key phrases that appear to be most relevant to the project management team environment. We then made a subjective and coarse assessment of whether the population in the cell is strongly inclined towards project management leadership (i.e. 100%); more likely suited to a mixture of leader-follower (50%/50%); probably a mixture of project and non-project oriented people (50%/50%); or unsuited to project management team work at all (100%). A sampling of the abstracted descriptions and percentage assessments for each MBTI type is shown in Appendix A.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator  The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

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