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Toward a Diversity of Psychological Type in Organization: Part Four

© John Fudjack & Patricia Dinkelaker - October, 19941

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section one

In the previous Parts of this paper, we have seen that there is a strong bias toward an ESTJ style in our culture. This bias is amplified in organizations, where the frequency of the ESTJ type increases as one travels up the corporate ladder.

In this section we will see that 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, leads to an overuse of such forms, which in turn makes us culturally vulnerable to the deficiencies that are characteristically associated with bureaucracies. Bureaucracies are less inclined to accommodate, or even tolerate, other kinds of diversity - cultural, ethnic, age, gender, etc. And they have drawn criticism as a form of organization that inhibits creativity and collaborative interaction.

Are there types of organization that encourage and honor traits that are currently undervalued and underused (those that cluster around the I,N,F, and P modes of experiencing the world)? The 'new paradigm' in Organizational Development, which has arisen, at least in part, as a compensatory reaction to current psychological type biases, suggests that there are.

Section One: The Consequences of ESTJ Domination on 'Organizational Form'

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section two
What kind of organization would encourage those psychological types which, under the current reign of the ESTJ, are the 'shadow types'? In order to begin to answer this question, we must look at the relationship between organizational form and psychological type.

Ian Mitroff (1983, p. 58), a leading figure in the field of Organizational Development, uses Jung's psychological typing system to analyze managerial and decision-making styles . He states:

Combining the two data-input modes - sensation and intuition - with the two decision-making modes - feeling and thinking - in all possible ways allows us to talk about the following four Jungian personality types:

  • Sensing-thinking types (STs)
  • Sensing-feeling types (SFs)
  • Intuition-thinking types (NTs)
  • Intuition-feeling types (NFs)

He connects each of these four 'core' types with a form of organization preferred by that type:

[In the following chart]... the ideal organization of the ST is that of Type One; NT, Type Two; NF, Type Three; and SF, Type Four:

The four organizational 'types' are described by Mitroff (1983) in the following manner:

  • The ideal organization of Type Ones is characterized by complete control, certainty, and specificity. ... everybody knows exactly what his or her job is. There is no uncertainty or ambiguity whatsoever. [The organization is] impersonal. The emphasis is on work and work roles, not on the particular individuals who fill the roles. .... authoritarian, perhaps the very epitome of bureaucracy. There is a single leader at the top and a well-defined hierarchical line of authority ...The goals are ... realistic, down to earthy... [and] narrowly economic. ... the heroes or leaders of Type Ones are tough-minded individuals who know how 'to step on people to get the job done'. (pp. 50-51)
  • ... the goals of Type Twos are concerned with broader, less-well defined or precise macroeconomic issues... ... where Type Ones focus on the details of a specific impersonal organization, Type Twos focus on impersonal concepts and global theories of organization. ...[individuals] exist to serve the intellectual and theoretical concepts of the organization in general. [organizations] are impersonally idealistic. The heroes of Type Twos are broad conceptualizers. In the organization literature, the ideal organization of Type Twos are termed matrix. Roles, jobs, rewards, and authority systems are more broadly defined ... Groups must be freer to organize and reorganize... people are not assigned to fixed tasks and to fixed groups but rotate in and out of both as the need arises. Type Two organizations may also be termed R and D (Research and Development) organizations since the emphasis is on the discovery, invention, and production of new technologies. (pp. 52-53)
  • ...the emphasis of Type Threes is on the most general personal and human goals of organizations. [They are] concerned with 'serving humanity', with 'making a contribution to humanity'. ... the organization exists to serve the personal and social needs of people. ...[it] is completely decentralized with no clear lines of authority, no central leader, and no fixed, prescribed rules of behavior. ..[they emphasizes] 'flexibility' and 'decentralization', [and use] diagrams showing their ideal organization to be circular or wheel-like in structure rather than hierarchical. Everyone is free to talk and to interact with everyone else with-out fear of exceeding one's authority or station. ...Type three organizations are the epitome of organic, adaptive institutions, as they are known in the organizational theory literature. ...The heroes of type threes are not only able to envision new lines of direction, that is, new goals, objectives, and so forth, for their organization ... but they are also able to give the organization a new sense of direction in the human or personal sense.
  • 'Type Fours are concerned with the detailed human relations in their particular organization. .. with the human qualities of the specific people who fill the roles. ... with the detailed work environment. .. The heroes of Type Fours are those very special people who are able to create a highly personal, very warm climate in their organization. They make you want to come to work. Indeed, the organization becomes just like home, like a family. (pp. 54-55)

Although lip-service is often given to the fact that all four types of organization have their place and purpose, and that managers should be able to switch between types when appropriate (e.g., see the 'competing values' framework of Quinn), does this actually occur in reality? Are the forms of organization appropriate to particular situations actually used in those situations?

It is more likely that insofar as there is a prevailing psychological core-type for executives and managers, that type will 'beget' the associated 'organizational type' which it prefers. And there is empirical evidence that this is what happens. Let us consider the relative frequency of the four 'core' types listed above. As Pederson points out in his study of males and psychological type, 40 percent of men are 'ST's. From this, in combination with Mitroff's assertion that STs prefer bureaucratic organizations, we can conclude that 40 percent of men prefer a single type of organization, 'Type One' bureaucracies. Making similar inferences from the frequency with which the other core-types occur among men, we can conclude that 14 percent of men (the NFs) will prefer Type Three organization, 20 percent (the NTs) will prefer Type Two organizations, and 12 percent (the SFs) will prefer type four.

We summarize the results in the following chart:


But what happens if we consider women in our calculations?


By taking the preferences of women into consideration, 'Familial' forms of organization rise from last to first place. [Note, though, that bureaucratic organizational form still comes in a close second].

Furthermore, we can translate information provided by Kroeger and Thuesen (1993, pp. 393-397) regarding the frequency of occurrence of psychological type in executive, upper management, middle management and entry level positions, into additional columns for this chart :

ST/BUREAUCRATIC41 32.563.650.25848
NT/MATRIX R& D20 1431.942.529.29

Note that:

  • 63.6 percent of executives prefer the ST type organization;
  • 96 percent of executives prefer either Bureaucratic or Matrix organizations, leaving only 4 percent who prefer Organic/Adaptive or Familial organizations.

Is it going too far to conclude that the fact that bureaucracy is the prevailing form of organization in our world today is the result of the predominance and organizational-type bias of one psychological type, the 'prototypical' ESTJ type?

From the above chart we might also predict that:

  • If women were proportionally represented in the executive and management levels, there would be a rise in the preference for the familial form of organization;
  • But even if women were to be represented in every echelon of management, proportional to their numbers in society at large, the preference for the Organic Adaptive (NF) type of organization would not rise above 16.5 percent, which means that at best the Organic Adaptive type of organization would continue to remain under-represented.

If we want an equal distribution of organizational type, and some might argue, as the deficiencies of bureaucracies become increasingly apparent (its inadequately slow capacity to respond to change, the fact that it cannot foster adequate creativity, and the toll it takes on ethics, humane human interaction, and the environment), that an imbalance in the other direction might be appropriate, what must we do? If preference for organizational form in our society reflects numbers of the concentration of associated psychological types in the population AND their willingness to enforce their own preference on others, do the NFs (or NF kind of organizational forms) stand a chance for equitable opportunities?

Under such conditions, how could we expect a genuine diversity of organizational forms to occur? To insure diversity of organizational form we might have to do more than insure that individuals of each type are represented in organizations in proportion to their frequency in the population, although that would at least be a good start, in light of how severely under-represented women and certain minority psychological types are, in management and executive positions!

But, it might be asked, why be concerned that minority kinds of organizational form be utilized equitably? And for an answer we shall appeal primarily to the 'richness' that such forms would bring to organizational life, a richness of psychological type, modes of experience and associated skills.

Section Two: Bureaucracy Optimizes Extraverted (E), Rational- Empirical (ST), and Task- Oriented (J) Behavior, Reflecting a Strong ESTJ Bias.

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section three
The predominant features of bureaucracy - its emphasis on role differentiation, specialization of task, hierarchical decision-making, etc., are designed according to 'rational' values. Bureaucracy is penultimately task-oriented (a T related quality) and materialistically/economically oriented (taking fiscal concerns as the 'bottom line'), which reflects 'sensing' values, according to Myers and Myers (1993). A need to control the environment and a belief in 'instrumentalist ethics' (Denhardt, 1983) is typical of an extraverted orientation (in contrast to an 'ethic' that values intrinsic worth). The mental functions that act as 'shadow functions' in a bureaucracy (the undervalued and underused ones) would be the 'feeling' function and the 'intuitive' function. In other words, bureaucracy is not built to optimize feeling (or its correlates - relationship, value-orientation, ethics, etc.). As a 'rationalist' system bureaucracies are more likely to have feeling as their inferior function - underused and undeveloped. They are more likely, in other words, to foster what we think of as 'mean-spirited' bureaucrats. 13

Nor do bureaucracies maximize 'creativity', a quality closely associated to the 'iNtuitive' function. A profile of the everyday work psychology of bureaucrats was recently developed as the result of a psychological study of workers in state government (Heinzen, 1994). The purpose of the study, in which 280 representative state workers were interviewed, was to generate suggestions as to how creativity could be enhanced in large organizations. It asked participants to rank the importance of eight particular skill groups used on their jobs, resulted in the following order (with '1' as the 'most important'):

  1. personal productivity;
  2. providing direction to others;
  3. Managing information;
  4. Coordination and control;
  5. Working with people;
  6. Working with groups;
  7. Using power effectively; and
  8. Innovation and change. (p.24)

In his discussion of this study, Heinzen states that 'the skills and supervisory roles associated with an open systems approach to management [as opposed to Rational Goal, Internal Process, and Human Relations models] consistently ranked lowest across all 16 occupational groups'. The 'open systems' approach, as the reader will recall, was correlated to the 'NF' core group by Mitroff. The 'Rational Goal' and 'Internal Process' models are 'ST' approaches that emphasize thinking and sensing respectively, and the 'Human Relations' model is an 'SF' approach).

'In particular', Heinzein points out,

... note that the average ranking and the ordinal position of innovation and change is consistently at or near the lowest possible ranking while providing direction to others is ranked as most important'.

Participants also ranked the importance of eight component skills within the 'innovation and change' skill group that is clearly associated with iNtuition ('N'), resulting in the following order of importance:

  1. Thinking positively at work;
  2. Supervising in the midst of organizational change;
  3. Coping with ambiguity and delay;
  4. Thinking creatively;
  5. Fostering creative work environment
  6. Taking risks - knowing when and why;
  7. Understanding new trends in office technology;
  8. Implementing automation in the work unit

About this, Heinzen observes that "...'taking risks' is the least valued psychological skill within the least valued group". It is also worth noting that although psychological studies overwhelmingly agree that the skill that is most closely correlated to 'creativity', is the capacity of the individual to cope with ambiguity, the bureaucrats in the above study ranked it as a less important component of creativity than 'supervising others' and 'thinking positively', two distinctly 'ST' skills.

Heinzen's study is one amongst many that links bureaucracy to inhibited creativity. In a similar vein, others studies have detailed the manner in which bureaucracy, in its failure to appreciate the subtle benefits of a developed feeling function, curtails the kind of relationships that foster the kind of open and collaborative communication that maximizes a group or organizations effectiveness. The 'hierarchical' structuring of communication and decision-making processes is often faulted.

Although it is not possible to go into the details of either set of studies here, it may be important to mention that it is precisely the absence of a developed and differentiated feeling function that gives organizations license to participate in scapegoating, to project blame onto individuals selected to 'hold the pain and suffering' of the group, so that pain and suffering might be 'expelled' (via the sacrifice of the scapegoat) from the group. It is a grossly simplistic manner of exercising 'judgment' and implementing values, that type theory would have us suspect of the underdeveloped inferior type of feeling associated with extraverted thinking types.

In a future work we intend to show how practitioners of the 'new paradigm' in Organizational Development are striving to re-incorporate both the feeling function and the intuitive function into organizational development practices. The work of Karl Weick is exemplary in this regard. We will demonstrate how his views regarding organizational design can be grounded in 'non-rationalist' philosophies of science (such as the one articulated by Michael Polanyi, 1946, 1974, 1974), models of consciousness based on Polanyi's work which give a central place to the role of 'feeling states' (Evans and Fudjack, 1976) and current psychological research relating selective attention to affective states (Niedenthal and Kitayama, 1994). What these theories have in common with each other, and with Weick's work, is an appreciation for the fact that decision-making, perception, and action cannot occur independently of feeling in the human being. To assume that it can is an incorrect assumption, albeit a primary one on which bureaucracy as a form of 'rationalist' organization is built.

Section Three: The New Paradigm Embraces Feeling and Intuition

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In a recent work, Limerick and Cunningham (1993) present their views on the nature of the emerging new paradigm in organizational development. Citing Morris (1987), they identify the following 'key characteristics, competencies, and skills' of collaborative individuals: they are "autonomous, proactive, empathetic, intuitive and creative, transforming, politically skilled, networking, mature." Note the inclusion in this list of 'empathic' and 'intuitive' skills as as core competency areas.

The focus on the development of empathy in managers has brought with it new areas of interest and lively debate in the management literature. The 1980s saw a reawakening of interest in the use of Jungian personality typology, represented in the burgeoning use of the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory and the Hogan and Champagne Personal Styles Inventory among managers. The Jungian typology distinguishes between the more linear 'thinking' and 'sensing' personality functions, on the one hand, and the more holistic 'intuitive' and 'feeling' functions, on the other. Its widespread use in industry in the 1980s provided a cognitive bridge between rationality and empathy; by identifying intuitive and feeling functions and by allowing managers to map the extent to which they have developed these capacities, they gave holism and empathy legitimacy.

The use of such instruments has had two potentially very important spinoffs. First, the Western stereotype of the rational-sensing manager has come under challenge as just that - a Western stereotype, and a male Western stereotype at that. It has become clear that other societies, such as those based on Zen Buddhism, give as much or even more weight and legitimacy to the affective functions of intuition and feeling and that management in such countries (for example, Japan) has benefited from such capacities (Pascale, 1978). (p. 138)

Although we agree with the spirit of what they say, we believe that they have overestimated the extent to which the MBTI has actually suceeded in legitimizing the presence and utilization of feeling and intuition in the workplace. Nonetheless, it is interesting to note that they appear to agree with the view that there is a significant relationship between 'old paradigm' organizational views and practices and fundamental personality biases in western culture (toward thinking and sensing as primary functions). They also seem to recognize that feeling and intuition will be key competency areas for practitioners of 'new paradigm' organizational development.

In a book that we are writing as a sequel to this paper, we take a close 'inside-out' look at feeling and intuition and demonstrate how a deeper appreciation of these modes of experience lead to a radically different understanding of what an 'organization' is. Drawing on the work of exemplary practitioners of the 'new paradigm', we strive to articulate its fundamental principles and assumptions, and suggest specific ways in which the new paradigm in organizational development can be practically applied.

In the upcoming work we focus on the role of 'manager' in organizations (a distinctly 'ST' notion) and trace how that concept might transform under a shift in paradigm toward a viewpoint based on the experience of the introverted feeling type or the introverted intuitive. We demonstrate how profoundly these perspectives differ from the more common perspective, based on extraverted sensing and extraverted thinking. We also look more deeply into what constitutes the most developed and differentiated forms of feeling and intuition, according to the literature in psychology and philosophy of mind, and how these might comprise competency areas for practitioners of the 'new paradigm' in organizational development.


1. This paper was presented at the First Annual Antioch University Management Faculty Conference, in October of 1994. back to text


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