Web Paper Title: "Myers Briggs, XYZ Leadership, and Team Roles" by David M. Boje, Ph.D.  January 21, 2001- David Boje, Inside the Leadership Box
Born on: January 21, 2001


Step 8: Philosophy and the Myers-Briggs

Barger, Kubitschek, & Barger (1998) administered the Barger (1999) personality inventory (Ross-Barger test) of idealism, realism, pragmatism and existentialism was given along with the Myers-Briggs inventory to a sample of 50 people. If you want to replicate this experiment, take the philosophy test, and then proceed.  They argue that the four world views of philosophy should some how relate to M-B personality types, and specify several hypotheses.

Idealism - sees reality as spirit or idea, gains knowledge through the mind, value is conformity to ideals, and treats people as a means, never as ends. Treat others as you wish to be treated and judge the intrinsic nature of actions (not the results). Since personality types NF (Catalyst) and NT (Visionary) are thought to be linked to philosophy of idealism, perceiving with the mind, a concern  with the abstract or immaterial dimension of things and gaining knowledge through the mind.  This is thought to be negatively correlated with SP (Trouble Shooter), which is sense-oriented and flexible in approach.

Realism - sees reality as material, physical matter that is knowable via the senses, and our value is our conformity to nature; more concerned with efficiency.  Since personality types SJ (Traditionalist) and SP (Trouble Shooter) are thought to be linked to the philosophy or Realism, perceiving with the senses, a concern with the concrete aspects of reality, order in nature, and gaining knowledge through the senses.

Pragmatism - sees reality as a process or experience, knowledge is gained in trial-and-error, and values are set by norms of society. They seek greatest happiness for greatest number, over the long term. Since personality type SJ (Traditionalist) is thought to be liked to the philosophy of pragmatism, which is more  cooperative and social.

Existentialism - examines how reality is self-defined, and we gain knowledge through personal decisions about what is true, and value is measured by our individual responsibility choices of what is good. The existentialist seeks choices that are true to themselves, seek to exist autonomously, and take responsibility for their own actions and choices. The existentialist is highly variant. No predictions were made for existentialism and M-B.

The results are displayed in Table 10.

Table 14: Correlation of MB personality types and philosophical perspectives (Source: Barger, Kubitschek, & Barger, 1998)
IDEALISM .09 -.18 .16 -.13
REALISM -.45** .36* .11 .08
PRGAMATISM -.38** .22 .08 .17
EXISTENTIALISM -.06 .12 -.01 -.04

N=50 ** = p<.01 * = p<.05

There is a pattern of statistically significant correlations relating the NF and NT personality types with the philosophical tendencies of Pragmatism and Realism. They conclude that while there is some correlation between personality type and philosophical perspective, "Personality and philosophy are truly different. Attempting to understand people solely in terms of their personality is at best an incomplete understanding."


Proceed to Step 9 XYZ Leadership, M-B, and ENNEAGRAM