Apparently, not so valid at all according to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review by Organisational Psychologist Ben Dattner. Such tests have long been extolled to employers as the most effective way of ensuring they hire the right people. And, equally, prospective employees have taken these tests in their droves to determine which careers they should pursue, and spent a great deal of money in the process. Do they work or are they giving false hope instead?
Consider this extract from Ben Dattners article and make up your own mind;
“Stereotypes are shortcuts that preserve cognitive resources and enable faster interpretations, albeit ones that may be inaccurate, unfair, and harmful. While few people would feel comfortable openly describing one another based on racial, ethnic, or gender stereotypes, most people have no reservations about explaining others’ behavior with a personality typology like Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (“She’s such an ‘INTJ’”), Enneagram, or Color Code (“He’s such an 8: Challenger”).
Personality or style typologies like Myers-Briggs, Enneagram, the DISC Assessment, Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument, Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument and others have been criticized by academic psychologists for their unproven or debatable reliability and validity. Yet, according to the Association of Test Publishers, the Society for Human Resources, and the publisher of the Myers-Briggs, these assessments are still administered millions of times per year for personnel selection, executive coaching, team building and conflict resolution. As Annie Murphy Paul argues in her insightful book, The Cult Of Personality Testing, these horoscope-like personality classifications at best capture only a small amount of variance in behavior, and in combination only explain tangential aspects of adversarial dynamics in the workplace. Yet, they’re frequently relied upon for the purposes of conflict resolution. An ENTP and an ISTJ might have a hard time working together. Then again, so might a Capricorn and a Sagittarius. So might any of us.”
Food for thought indeed.