Two standard personality assessments used in business and industry are the Myers-Briggs Type Indictor (MBTI) and the Birkman Method. Both were born out of the angst and idealism following World War II. It is imperative for employers to understand how these tests work, when they should be issued, and know the validity and reliability of each test. Employers should also consider certain factors before administering these tests to prospective employees.
The Birkman Method was developed in the late 1940s while Roger W. Birkman, a former WWII pilot, was working with a group of scientists at the University of Texas surveying potentially useful psychological instruments for pilot selection for the US Air Force. Roger Birkman conceptualized, developed, and refined the Birkman as part of his Ph. D. dissertation at the University of Texas. Ultimately, Dr. Birkman believed he could create a much-needed instrument that would measure social expectations, self-concepts, interests, and stress behavior in a single assessment tool.
He further believed that such an instrument would be of great value to both organizations and individuals. The original name of the Birkman assessment in 1951 was "Test of Social Comprehension". Today, Birkman International continues to back Dr. Birkman's original insights and research with ongoing research and development of The Birkman Method. Its research and development department, working with other psychometricians and industrial/organizational psychologists in universities and industry, continues to refine The Method and insure its relevance in the 21st century (Birkman International INC., 2007).
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a self-report instrument that helps to identify an individual's strengths and personality preferences. The mother/daughter team of Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers developed the MBTI. They based their lifelong work on Carl Jung's theories about psychological type preferences. Jung's book Psychological Types published in 1921, studied ancient and modern cultures.