This is a common question from people who are familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test. Both systems look at an individual’s preferences or tendencies, however there are some fundamental differences between them. Dr Dan Harrison provided his insights into the two tools.
The major difference is that MBTI was designed to be used as a personality assessment tool only, while Harrison Assessments (HA) is a job suitability tool based on the work context. HA measures work preferences, motivations, values, work environment preferences and interests, in addition to personality.
- In MBTI, respondents are type-cast into one of the 16 types, based on 4 dichotomies. HA does not type cast because in doing so, it would seriously limit its usefulness for recruitment and employee/career development.
- MBTI was not developed for the work environment and consequently the questions are not fully designed to be work focused. The HA questions are work focused.
- MBTI analyses norms based on different populations. HA analyses individual traits in relationship to performance for a wide variety of different job functions. Each role or career is benchmarked against employees in relevant roles to find the traits that contribute to job satisfaction and high performance as well as potential derailers.
- MBTI uses bi-polar scales which assume an either/or relationship between traits. HA uses Paradox technology which allows for the person to be either, neither or both. The Paradox scales provide a deep insight into behavioural competencies as well as stress behaviours and even unconscious tendencies.
- MBTI scales provide a surface view of personality. The paradox technology clearly measures negative tendencies whereas MTBI isn’t designed to do so. Because of the use of the bi-polar scale any conclusion regarding negative tendencies is more tentative.
MBTI is best used for team facilitation
The manufacturers state that the score on the MBTI does NOT relate to job success. Therefore, it has limited usefulness for career planning or recruitment applications.
Human beings can be quite complicated as different factors interplay to drive their behaviour in different situations. The Harrison Assessment looks at 175 traits and examines the paradoxes in the tendencies. Its comprehensiveness facilitates awareness and development as one can zoom into a specific trait and context.
The HA reports enable you to increase effectiveness in career coaching, hiring and developing performance. They do not require a psychologist to interpret and anyone can easily learn to use the reports.
This is an update of a post that first appeared on this blog on18 May 2010