What is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)?

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) definition

Psychometric testing tool designed to assess an individual’s personality type, including how they make decisions and perceive external events. The types used in the test are derived from Carl Jung’s theory of how human beings experience the world: sensation, intuiting, feeling and thinking. One of these functions, according to Myers-Briggs theory, is dominant at all times.

MBTI was first developed by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers – both of whom had studied the theories of Carl Jung. The two thought a greater insight into personality preferences would help women entering the industrial workforce for the first time identify the jobs that would best suit their personality types. The initial questionnaire they used eventually became the MBTI, which was published in 1962.

The MBTI breaks down human functions into two types: judging functions (thinking and feeling) and perceiving functions (sensing and intuition). On a base level, Jung believed that each of these functions are expressed by an individual in either introversion or extraversion form. This introversion/extraversion distinction is key in MBTI results.

Human resource departments use Myers-Briggs Type Indicator for a number of reasons, including seeing how they can better support employees, whether new employees will fit into the existing team and whether people are suitable for leadership roles.