Thursday, August 31, 2006

A bolt from the blue!

Sometimes simple concepts strike you with a violent force of realization and leave you stunned. It so happened today that I was interacting with a friend of mine and we discussed how men like planning things, being in control and having an action/activity packed holidays where women in general would prefer a lazy, unplanned, go-with-the-flow kind of time. There are exceptions ofcourse but .. well, maybe I should replace 'men' and 'women' with a neutral some people to save getting distracted into men vs women theories.

Well the core of the issue is that it made me think of how I am an extreme 'P' type person rather than a 'J' type person and that is when it sudden bound on me that :
The MBTI types are just as valid for companies as they are for people!

Lets me first expand the MBTI Type dichotomies for a quick refresh (copied from Wikipedia)

The preferences

Extroversion - Introversion
Sensing - iNtuition
Thinking - Feeling
Judging - Perceiving

The terms Introvert and Extrovert are referred to as attitudes and show how a person orients and receives their energy. In the extroverted attitude the energy flow is outward, and the preferred focus is on other people and things, whereas in the introverted attitude the energy flow is inward, and the preferred focus is on one's own thoughts and ideas.

Sensing and Intuition are the perceiving functions. They indicate how a person prefers to receive data. These are the nonrational functions, as a person does not necessarily have control over receiving data, but only how to process it once they have it. Sensing prefers to receive data primarily from the five senses, and intuition prefers to receive data from the subconscious, or seeing relationships via insights.

Thinking and Feeling are the judging functions. They both strive to make rational judgments and decisions using the data received from their perceiving functions, above. Thinking uses logical "true or false, if-then" connections. Feeling uses "more or less, better-worse" evaluations. When Thinking or Feeling is extroverted, judgments tend to rely on external sources and the generally accepted rules and procedures. When introverted, Thinking and Feeling judgments tend to be subjective, relying on internally generated ideas for logical organization and evaluation.

Judging and Perceiving reveals the specific attitudes of the functions. In J-types, the preferred judging function (T or F) is extroverted (displayed in the outer world). J-types tend to prefer a step-by-step (left brain: parts to whole) approach to life, relying on external rules and procedures, and preferring quick closure. The preferred perceiving function (S or N) is introverted. On the other hand, in P-types the preferred perceiving function is extroverted, and the preferred judging function is introverted. This can result in a "bouncing around" approach to life (right brain: whole to parts), relying on subjective judgments, and a desire to leave all options open. (The terminology may be misleading for some—the term "Judging" does not imply "judgmental," and "Perceiving" does not imply "perceptive.)

So what's so cool about extending the personality types to companies? Nothing, except that I hadn't thought about it before and the simplicity and the aptness of the concept left me dazed. It might be the most normal of 'theories' but with my limited experience in thinking hadn't taken me to this place just yet and when I did reach here, unplanned, I was amazed at the simplicity and beauty of the whole thing. Just like we apply all these 'psychological' theories in finding out compatibility issues, working styles etc for people, why not companies and people, or companies and companies. They would be so useful in finding constraints of a newly hired employee or sorting out the rough edges during merger of two differently cultured companies. Wow! The potential is mind boggling!

Will continue this theory in my next post..


Anonymous said...

This is interesting and calls for further investigations. Whatever are the types of the majority of the employees of a company, that would automatically become for the company itself. However it would be very informative to know this classification for let's say all major technology companies and for an individual and then do sme match-up.

Some random thoughts said...

Even though I agree that most of the employees in the company automatically shape the 'type' of the company, but then, a lot is dictated by the people who start the company/center, HR and the hiring manager. The people are hired for who they are and either fit with the company profile or fill a gap; And they in-turn shape the company and hire more of the same time.