Date of Award
Doctor of Education
Dr. Harold W. Boles
Dr. Richard E. Munsterman
Dr. Carol Sheffer
Dr. David Cowden
Differences between comparable military and civilian upper-level leaders in a single military organization were examined in terms of personality types. The survey instrument used was the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which was developed for use in personality assessment of normal individuals through the practical application of C. G. Jung's (1921/1971) theory of psychological types. Thirty pairs of executives were surveyed. Each participating pair consisted of a chief and his deputy, one military and one civilian, who shared the same office, authority, and responsibilities. Response to the survey was 100 percent.
Two sets of findings emerged from this study, the first covering the relationship between military and civilian MBTI types, and the second concerning MBTI type representation in different organizational units.
The distributions of MBTI types and type processes for the military officers in this study were essentially similar to those for the civilian executives. The most striking similarity was the large and identical percentage (80%) of both military and civilian participants who were thinking-judgers (TJs). The MBTI type and type process distributions for the military participants were generally in line with expectation, as they closely paralleled those in prior studies of military program managers. The distributions for the civilian participants, however, were significantly different from those published for civilian managers and administrators, and, in fact, were more in accord with published distributions for military program managers.
Although the data did not indicate different distributions of personality types for the four organizational units studied, there was a significant difference in the expected direction on the sensing-intuition (SN) dimension. Research and Development and support units were highly represented by intuitives, while the Readiness unit and Program Managers' Offices consisted chiefly of sensors.
It was concluded that the close similarity in types between the military and civilian executives has evolved from the military requirements of the organization. That is, the situational demands have dictated the selection of particular personality types for executive positions. In the same way, each of the four organizational units has attracted personality types compatible with its focus. Thus, situational demands are also responsible for the gravitation of particular personality types to organizational units having correspondingly similar orientations.
DeWald, John Edward, "Executive Personality Types: A Comparison of Military and Civilian Leaders in a Single Organization" (1986). Dissertations. 2299.