This article explains the concept of the Jung Personality Types, developed by Carl Jung in a practical way.
The sense and nonsense of personality tests, based on the Jung Personality Types theory
These days, there are many different personality tests available for anyone to access. It is especially the tests that are based on doctor Carl Jung ‘s Personality Types theory that are gaining significant popularity among managers and supervisors. But why are personality tests so popular exactly? What is the Jung Personality Types theory? How can you use personality tests in your company? In this article, we discuss the various aspects of personality tests in greater detail.
Why use Personality Tests?
More and more companies conduct personality tests as part of their selection process. The idea is that personality tests are be able to validate a potential employee’s true character. After all, during a standard interview procedure, a potential employee may present him/ herself in a more positive light and hide any negative characteristics. A personality test can assess whether someone is truly suitable for the job and whether they’re a good fit for the company as a whole. A good match can reduce employee turnover and increase productivity.
Jung Personality Types theory
Jung first introduced his personality theory in his book ‘Psychological Types’. He used four psychological functions: thinking and feeling (rational functions) and sensation and intuition (irrational functions). In addition, he differentiates between to fundamental life attitudes: introversion and extraversion. According to Carl Jung, every person has a dominant life attitude and a primary function that characterises him/her as a certain personality type.
By combining the different life attitudes and functions, you end up with the 8 Jung Personality Types:
- The extraverted thinking type
- The introverted thinking type
- The extraverted feeling type
- The introverted feeling type
- The extraverted sensation type
- The introverted sensation type
- The extraverted intuitive type
- The introverted intuitive type
To understand the personality theory, it’s important to define the aforementioned concepts the way Carl Jung intended them.
Introverted versus extraverted
Someone who is introverted, focuses on their own mental world. Extraverted people focus more on the world outside themselves.
The thinking type versus the feeling type
The thinking type acts based on reason. Feeling types act on what’s in their heart.
The sensation type versus the intuitive type
The sensation type is led by external sensory stimuli, while the intuitive type is led by undefinable internal feelings.
Dominant life attitude supported by a primary function
As described above, different life attitudes and functions can be regarded as opposites. According to Jung, one life attitude is always dominant. In addition, there’s also a primary function, secondary functions and lower, lesser developed functions. Take the introverted thinking type, for instance. The introverted thinking type’s dominant life attitude is introversion, their primary function is thinking. Sensation and intuition are the secondary functions, and feeling is the lower, lesser developed function.
What did Carl Jung think of personality tests?
Carl Jung introduced his personality theory as a model to categorise different people for the purposes of psychotherapy. He never intended his model to become a way to label people. If he had known his teachings would be used to define people based on simple questionnaires, he wouldn’t have approved. Although he does mention opposites in his theory, he never believed people were always on one extreme end of the spectrum or the other. The aim is to find a harmonious balance between the different attitudes and functions using psychotherapy.
Different Personality Tests
Today, there are many different personality tests based on Jung’s ideas easily available online For instance, there are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the Management Team Roles Indicator, the Type Dynamics Indicator, the Jungian Type Indicator, Insights Discovery and the Golden Personality Type Profiler.
The downside of all of these tests is that they’re founded on a theory that was never intended to select employees based on their character. The results are often snapshots that can be a way to gain some insight into a (potential) employee’s personality, but they are hardly scientific. These types of tests miss the mark when it comes to the goal of such personality tests.
The Big Five Personality Test: Professional and scientific
If you wish to implement a personality test as part of the selection process for potential employees, it’s best to opt for a professional and scientific test like the Big Five Personality Test. The Big Five Personality Test uses five dimensions to define someone’s personality, namely:
- Extraversion/ Introversion
- Emotional Stability/ Neuroticism
- Openness to Experience
Implementing a personality test in the selection procedure for potential employees can be an effective method for recruiting people that are a good fit for a position in the company. A good match can reduce employee turnover and increase productivity. Always remember though; it’s better to opt for a scientific test like the Big Five Personality Test, rather than one that is based on Jung’s personality theory.
It’s Your Turn
What do you think? What is your experience with Jung Personality Types and Personality Tests? Do you recognize the practical explanation or do you have additions? What are your success factors for gaining insight into the personality of (potential) employees?
Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.
- von Franz, M. L. (1975). CG Jung: His myth in our time. Putnam.
- Jung, C. G. (2014). The development of personality. Routledge.
- McCrae, R. R. & Costa, P. T. (1989). Reinterpreting the Myers‐Briggs type indicator from the perspective of the five‐factor model of personality. Journal of personality, 57(1), 17-40.
- Boyle, G. J. (1995). Myers‐Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): Some Psychometric Limitations. Australian Psychologist, 30(1), 71-74.
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