A true diversity of psychological type does not presently exist in organizations as we know them in contemporary America. Statistically, there is an uneven distribution of types in the population at large, with a strong bias toward the ESTJ type. This bias is amplified in organizations, where the frequency of the ESTJ type increases as one travels up the corporate ladder. The ESTJ type prefers certain organizational forms, 'bureaucracy' being the leading one. This preference, combined with the dominance of the ESTJ type in the corporate sphere, translates into an overuse of such forms, and thus an enhanced vulnerability to the deficiencies that are characteristically associated with them. Bureaucracies are less inclined to accommodate or even tolerate other kinds of diversity - cultural, ethnic, age, gender, etc. This built-in tendency toward a reduction of diversity of all kinds has a negative impact on both the fairness and richness of the typical organization in our society, resulting in inhibited creativity and a decreased interpersonal effectiveness. Exploration of these root issues leads us to an identification of personality types and traits that are currently undervalued and underused (those that cluster around the I,N,F, and P modes of experiencing the world), and eventually to a discussion of 'new paradigm' views that we believe to have arisen, at least in part, as a compensatory reaction to current psychological type biases.
The following chart, developed from information provided in 'Gifts Differing' , by Myers and Myers, (1993), summarizes the distribution of type across the population at large. We shall use the convention that we adopted above for bolding the dominant function in each category. We remind the reader that this convention does not in any way modify the type - we are just making explicit what is implicit in the fourth letter of the combination, so that readers unfamiliar with the system do not have to apply the cumbersome rules mentioned earlier each time she attempts to read the meaning enfolded into any given letter combination.
We would like to make explicit some of the inferences that can be made from the information presented in the chart. First, we might mention that ESTJ is the largest male category, and ESFJ is the largest female category. Following Myers and Myers, we might call ESTJ the 'typical' male type and ESFJ the 'typical' female type. The word 'typical' here is meant only to designate a current statistical truth, and not to imply that these differences are inherent ones, biologically speaking, or in any other sense.
Notice also that the only difference in 'preferences' between the two types that typify gender differences is a difference between the individual's preferred function, the so-called 'dominant' function. This is a very significant difference though, since it tells us that the statistically typical female uses for her dominant function the function that the typical male considers inferior, and vice versa. Since thinking is the 'inferior' function for the ESFJ, individuals in this class are likely to have underdeveloped 'thinking' functions (since they do not prefer to use them as often).
It is important to note, however, that we can infer from the chart that there are also females in the ESTJ category, and it is likely that some of them will have difficulty in understanding why it is often suggested that 'females can't think'. There are also male ESFJs, for whom the feeling function is highly developed, their preferred mode of dealing with the world.
From the information on the chart we can also see that the type with the largest number of members, both male and female, is the ESTJ. And we can also discern a statistical bias in the population at large toward E, S, T, and J modes of experience when these factors are taken separately: 70% of the population is extraverted, 70 % prefers sensing over intuition, 54 % are Js, and although only 50% are T types, 70% of the males in the population are 'thinking' types.
So although only 15% of the population are actually ESTJs, the ESTJ is a member of four 'majority' groups (E,S,T,and J). In addition, other types with large concentrations of members 'cluster' closely around the ESTJ: 46% of the population are either ESTJs or share 3 letters with ESTJs, whereas only 19% of the population are INFPs (the polar opposite category) or share 3 letters with INFP. For this kind of phenomenon, in which these three attributes occur in one group - that is, when that group is 1) statistically most popular, 2) represents the intersection of four majorities, and 3) has other groups 'clustering' about it in the fashion described above - we would like to give the name 'Prototypical Type', as a helpful technical term.
From the information on the chart, we may conclude that in our society the ESTJ group is 'prototypical', in our specialized sense of the word. One could easily imagine a situation in which the types might be more evenly distributed, or if unevenly distributed in a particular society, distributed in such a way that no single types dominantes in such a way as to be 'prototypical' in the sense that we have defined it.
The present imbalance in our society, manifest in a statistical domination of the ESTJ, has its roots in deeply embedded historical biases in the West. Western society, for quite some time now, has been a predominantly extraverted (object-oriented - ie, attending to the 'hard' sciences), rational-empirical in approach, with an emphasis on materialism (commonly associated with a predominance of the 'sensing' function) and pragmatic 'doing' (associated with 'J') as opposed to 'being' (associated with 'P').
About this extraverted/rational-empirical/ pragmatic/materialist bias in the west there has been much discussion over the years. During this century the fields of history, philosophy, and psychology have been permeated by discussions of this topic too numerous to cite. In the contexts of such discussions, comparisons are often made with other cultures that are more introspectively oriented, relying on intuition, feeling, and a capacity to 'be' without feeling a need to 'do'.
Jungian analyst Marie Louise Von Franz speaks of the 'active -masculine stance' and 'one-sidedly extraverted attitude toward life, with their corresponding values and ideals, [which have been] dominants in our society for quite a long time...' (1980 p. 87 ). Her colleague, James Hillman, speaks of 'our extraverted and masculine oriented culture with its collective repression of feeling' (Von Franz & Hillman, 1971, p. 147). And Myers and Myers refer to the 'domination of western civilization by the extravert viewpoint.' ( 1980, p. 54). Maslow cites a cultural bias toward doing ('J') as opposed to being ('P'). And the 'rational-empirical' model of science has repeatedly been critiqued by philosophers of science and psychologists, including Polanyi (1946, 1974, 1974), Kuhn (1962), and Maslow (1966). Herman and Korenich, gestalt-oriented organizational consultants put it this way:
We who have been raised in Western culture and educational traditions have learned to depend on rationality, logic, and theorizing in our dealings with people and situations. As a result of this bias, we have developed magnificent processes for handling complex data in orderly ways. However, in our exclusive devotion to the logical, rational, and theoretical, we have cut ourselves off from a great deal by blocking out much of our access to intuition, inspiration and other noncognitive resources in our lives. Even when we do recognize emotions as legitimate aspects of organizational behavior, many of us treat our feelings and those of others only as data to be factored into our theories. And often, when we have avoided the uncomfortable and unfamiliar by taking refuge in our mind-formed theories and models, we have missed seeing and dealing with what is real. The case we are making here is that much can be gained by learning how to let go of your cognitive, intellectual processes from time to time ... In a number of Eastern religions and philosophies (e.g., Zen and Tao) and in some recent Western experimentation, we may learn that more is going on within each of us than can be grasped with our thinking minds alone. Other parts of our bodies and other ways of perceiving can and do produce marvelous clues to what life is about and the variety of ways there are for being in the world. (1977, p. 220)
The E,S,T and J preferences not only dominate our culture, but the organizations within our society, as we shall see in the following section.
Denhardt, an organizational development theorist, in his work, In the Shadow of Organization, addresses the issue of psychological-type bias within contemporary organization. He refers to the basic assumptions regarding organization in the prevailing paradigm as 'the ethic of organization', and using Jungian terms imported from the Theory of Psychological Types, describes the situation as follows:
Specifically, as the ethic of organization gives preference to decisions (1) on the basis of specific 'factual' data, and (2) in line with strict logical procedures, there is an obvious emphasis on two of the four [Jungian] functions: sensing and thinking. Moreover, the functions of intuition and feeling are neglected. This means, first of all, that persons of these latter psychological predispositions who find themselves in highly rationalized bureaucratic systems are located in situations which simply do not match their preferences. These individuals will consequently be subject to special pressures. Whitmont states the problem in this way: "In our present time and culture, environmental influence is primarily exerted in the direction of extroversion and of thinking and sensation. We quite often find that a distorted typological adaptation has been pressed into these molds. The type most likely to be injured in this respect -- victims of our current Western cultural bias -- are those of introverted feeling and intuition."
Myers and Myers provide further insight into the harm that can be caused by the prevailing psychological type bias in our society and in our organizations:
The less frequent types find their infrequency an obstacle to their development. In the general population, there may be three extraverts to every introvert and three sensing types to every intuitive... Unless the introverts with intuition are stoutly skeptical of the mass assumption that a difference is an inferiority, their faith in their type will diminish. They will not trust and exercise their preferences, which, accordingly, will not be developed enough to be beneficial. These people are cheated out of the successful undertakings that would give them faith in their type. (Myers and Myers, 1993, p. 182)
And organizations, as well as society at large, we might add, are cheated out of skilled practitioners of the underused functions! Under adverse social conditions such as the one described by Myers and Myers above, minority types may also react by -
But the type-bias in organizations will not only affect the individuals in an organization, but the effectiveness and creativity of the organization itself, as Kroeger and Thuesen point out:
[Successful organizations, can] become too 'one-handed'. For big corporations that's usually Sensing, Thinking, and Judging, which can lead to conservatism, rigidity, and an inability to cope with changing demands of the marketplace. (Kroeger and Thuesen, 1993, p. 189)
Interestingly, there is even a greater concentration of ESTJs in organizations than in the population at large, with density of concentration increasing as one travels up the corporate ladder, as can be seen from the diagram below.
[From Kroeger and Theusen, 1993, pp. 393-397]:
Why does the concentration of ESTJs nearly double as one travels up the corporate ladder?
Well, a few explanations have been offered:
It is often merely assumed that the higher concentration of ESTJs in administrative roles indicates a greater capacity as administrators, and not consider arguments to the contrary. In contrast, we shall deal with the latter hypotheses, each in turn, and show that an argument can be made that ESTJs may appear to be 'better administrators' because their organizations are basically ESTJ-friendly ones.
A. The ESTJ Has Character Traits That Lead to Domination
Myers and Myers (1993) offers the following explanation of the dominance of the ESTJ type in society at large:
Also, In characterizing the traits of 'extraverted thinking types' (ESTJs and ENTJs), Myers and Myers (1993) mention one trait in particular which they believe to contribute significantly to the dominance of ESTJ types in organizations - a predisposition toward making judgments and establishing rules of behavior to which others are expected to conform:
Extraverted thinkers [ESTJ and ENTJ types] construct a code of rules embodying their basic judgment about the world. They aim to live by those rules, and consider that others should as well. Any change in their ways requires a conscious change in the rules. If their perception is not good enough to show them, from time to time, how their rules should be broadened, the code will be so narrow and rigid that it becomes a tyranny not only to the thinkers but also to those around them, especially to their families. Everything that conforms to the rules will be right; everything that violates them will be wrong; and everything not covered by them will be unimportant... The basic mistake here is the infliction of one's own judgment on other people. (p. 86)
Extraverted thinkers [ESTJ and ENTJ types] use their thinking to run as much of the world as may be theirs to run. They are in their element whenever the outer situation needs to be organized, criticized, or regulated. Ordinarily they enjoy deciding what ought to be done and giving the appropriate orders to ensure that it will be done. They abhor confusion, inefficiency, half measures, anything that is aimless and ineffective. Often they are crisp disciplinarians, who know how to be tough when the situation calls for it. This might be called the standard executive type. (p. 85)
B. Psychological Type Begets Psychological Type
Kroeger and Thuesen (1993) suggest that Insofar as type begets type, there is the possibility that the dominance of one type can escalate, a kind of 'amplification' of type dominance occurring : the more ESTJs there are, the more likely NEW ESTJs will be invited and/or accommodated. Until, perhaps, the system breaks down from lack of compensatory skills (I,N,F,P related skills). Along these lines, Kroeger and Thuesen reminds us that -
Since, there is an even greater imbalance of type in the higher echelons of management than there is in the general population, as mentioned above, we would like to explore some of the consequences of that imbalance. There is a predominance of TJ types over FP types in management.
'At the executive level upward of 90 percent are Thinking-Judgers', according to Kroeger and Thuesen (1993).
As a result of all this we can predict three things about the typological makeup of the higher echelons of the workplace: In other words, as a consequence of type dominance, women will not be permitted to be represented proportionately to their frequency in the population at large as long as there is a bias in management toward certain psychological types [in this case a 'TJ' bias is being discussed, related to ESTJ dominance]. We can also expect women who typologically 'fit' to be more successful in rising within an organization. Opposite types [in this case 'NFs'] even if they do rise to executive positions, do not have the power to make permanent changes in the organizations they lead.
Insofar as type begets type, there is the possibility that the dominance of one type can escalate, a kind of 'amplification' of type dominance occurring : the more ESTJs there are, the more likely NEW ESTJs will be invited and/or accommodated. Until, perhaps, the system breaks down from lack of compensatory skills (I,N,F,P related skills). Along these lines, Kroeger and Thuesen reminds us that -
Since, there is an even greater imbalance of type in the higher echelons of management than there is in the general population, as mentioned above, we would like to explore some of the consequences of that imbalance.SECTION FOUR: THE CONSEQUENCES OF A STATISTICAL IMBALANCE IN FAVOR OF ESTJs
There is a predominance of TJ types over FP types in management.
'At the executive level upward of 90 percent are Thinking-Judgers', according to Kroeger and Thuesen (1993).
As a result of all this we can predict three things about the typological makeup of the higher echelons of the workplace:
In other words, as a consequence of type dominance, women will not be permitted to be represented proportionately to their frequency in the population at large as long as there is a bias in management toward certain psychological types [in this case a 'TJ' bias is being discussed, related to ESTJ dominance]. We can also expect women who typologically 'fit' to be more successful in rising within an organization. Opposite types [in this case 'NFs'] even if they do rise to executive positions, do not have the power to make permanent changes in the organizations they lead.
From the chart we can conclude that as terribly as women may suffer the consequences of a bias toward 'TJ' types (and against FP types), there are types that suffer a greater bias, amongst which is the INFP. In addition we might recall that the INFP not only suffers the 'TJ' bias, it shares none of the orientations with the predominant group in management, the ESTJs. It is, indeed, diametrically opposed - I instead of E, N instead of S, F instead of T and P instead of J). In fact, using Jungian parlance, such a polar opposite of a type could be called a 'shadow type'. Accordingly, we could say that the INFP is the shadow type for the ESTJ. Now, after a moment's reflection, it is clear that each of the 16 types could be said to have a 'shadow', but it is the misfortune of the INFP to be the shadow type of the most popular and politically powerful type, the ESTJ - a type who has least qualms about enforcing conformity, punishing non-conformity, and ignoring issues of 'social justice'. It is also an 'unfortunate' state of affairs for the INFP because it is his 'shadow type', according to Jungian theory, on which the ESTJ is most likely to 'project' all his fears and hatred. He will see the INFP as evil incarnate. Myers and Myers (1993 p. 162) cite the contrast between ESTJ and INFP as being of the most extreme nature; and in his study of men, Pederson (1993) (a Jungian psychotherapist) recognizes that being an INFP is:
... the most difficult type for a man to be. The INFP shares neither the extraversion (75 percent) nor the thinking dominance (65 to 70 percent) of the male group. Further, he does not share the sensation preference with 70 percent of the total population. Because the INFP's dominant function represents the inferior function (introverted feeling) of a major part of the population, someone who has that type as a dominant function is a potential shadow carrier for most other men. ... a good 75 percent of the population may think of him as at least 'a little strange'. (p. 168)
If scapegoating is permitted in an organization (and we shall see later that scapegoating in various types of organization is not only permitted but an essential feature of organizational process), it is the INFP who therefore stands the best chance of playing the role of scapegoat in the ESTJ predominated organization.
Incidentally, psychotherapists tend to be NF types, about which Pederson (1993) says:
Because of the ST-NF opposition, there is also a natural shadow relationship between psychotherapists and the male population. The relational and communicational styles of these two groups is even likely to create a natural psychological opposition between them. Many therapists and counselors intuitively know this, but may not adequately account for it in their practice. (p. 195)
A similar 'shadow' relationship may exist between organizational development consultants and their clients, according to Colman (1992). In a paper on this subject, in which he proposes a 'marriage between Jungian analysis and organizational consulting', he focuses his attention in particular on the phenomenon of 'scapegoating' in organizations, concluding that the consultant is particularly vulnerable to being scapegoated:
I believe that all consultants who work in depth will inevitably be contaminated by the scapegoat/scapegoater archetype. No matter how carefully they work, and at what pace, they are outsiders who say the unsayable, who speak the truth. They shame those who know; they anger those who don't. They are like the proverbial messengers who bring bad news and are punished for it. Even if their work and information improves the situation, their presence is an embarrassment. Consultants will need to contain this group anger, usually at some personal and professional cost. (p. 110)
It is the unenviable task of the consultant to assist the organization in directing its attention to the group's underlying conflicts without attracting the unconscious wrath of the organization upon him or herself and suffering the role of scapegoat. Organizations which can learn the capacity to uncover and face repressed conflicts without resorting to scapegoating are more healthy than those that are not. The unhealthy organization, accordingly, would be one in which there is a tendency to project the 'problem' which the group is not willing to consciously face on to identified individuals or types:
The scapegoat holds the pain and suffering for the group, the pain and suffering which the group can no longer handle within its own boundaries but must project and expel from its midst. The scapegoating process must be swift and merciless; the humanity of the victim must be denied. Anything less would elicit sympathy and support and the possibility of more-explicit examination of the conflicts between member and member, subgroup and subgroup, which in this [kind of] organization would move quickly into ancient and modern blood feud. (Colman, 1992, p.105)
According to Colman (1992), the most common reason for an organization to develop a dynamic of scapegoating is 'fear of confronting real and imagined difference in the collective'. If the challenge of diversity, he says, 'becomes great enough to threaten what is seen as the cohesion, unity, and, ultimately, the survival of the group, the group will defend itself by invoking the scapegoating process'. In addition, according to Colman, scapegoating is not just an interesting phenomenon which sometimes occurs in organizations, it is characteristic of organizations before they have attained a certain degree of 'maturity':
An organization develops, much like a child, by fashioning a provisional identity that excludes and represses those parts which are troublesome and dystonic. Early in most organizations' lives, there is a need for a quality of cohesion that denies the complexity and confusion inherent in origin and task. Projection and repression is used in the service of furthering this cohesion: the price is exclusion of dissident elements and a loss of wholeness. In the individual, these excluded elements are coalesced and personified in what Jung called the shadow, that part of us that is deeply unacceptable to the ego. So, too, with organizations, whose excluded parts hold the creative and change-producing elements without which stagnation is all but inevitable. Like the adult who must reclaim and acknowledge these discarded and repressed parts in order to feel whole and real, the mature organization must also struggle to include what has been left out, pushed, denied, and ignored, in order to function at the highest level. Thus, from the point of view of the collective's as well as the individual's development, the shadow - individual and collective - must be acknowledged and reclaimed for the self to operate fully and transformatively.
In order to be successful, the consultation process must turn conscious attention to the repressed group problems, by involving the group in a '... willingness to take responsibility for exploring the meanings of its collective shadow - its scapegoats and scapegoating processes'. (Colman, 1992, p.111)12
Turning this around, we might ask, 'What type of organization would encourage 'shadow types' (minority types opposite from the types who prevail in the organization) to speak their 'truth'? What type of organization would facilitate, in this way, ease of access to information about repressed underlying conflicts within the organization?' To these questions we turn our attention in Part IV.
1. This paper was presented at the First Annual Antioch University Management Faculty Conference, in October of 1994. back to text
12.Colman, 1992, (p. 11). Similarly, the successful introduction of a new paradigm into the field of organizational development would require that attention be turned toward the 'collective shadow' of the old paradigm, e.g., to its repressed unanswered questions, undervalued and underutilized 'functions', disregarded modes of experiencing the world, and associated underdeveloped skill areas. back to text
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