Chapter 6. Using Personality Typology to Build Understanding

Toni La Motta

Understanding how others function is a first step in working with them. Organizations consist of people who differ from one another on almost every dimension possible. Diversity certainly is a challenge that is here to stay.

However, diversity also offers an opportunity to appreciate differences. In the face of constant change, organizations need the differing strengths of different types of people. Increasingly organizations are turning to human resource development (HRD) professionals to guide them in managing change and managing diversity. The HRD professional then acts as a bridge between past and future technologies and as a facilitator between employees and managers and among various teams within an organization. As such, an HRD professional plays roles ranging from teacher to technician to prophet to psychologist.

In a dynamic environment, the most important and least understood HRD role may be that of psychologist. People react in many ways to changes around them; some adjust well, but others see change as threatening and react defensively. An effective way to diminish the defensiveness that occurs with change is to define roles clearly and to make personnel feel acknowledged and appreciated. Understanding theories of personality type can help an HRD professional in these endeavors.

This article begins with brief reviews of three related theories of personality typology: Jung, Myers and Briggs, and Keirsey ...

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