The Problem with Myers-Briggs

By Brad Smith on August 2, 2014 1:07:17 PM EDT

Much has been written on the differences between DISC and Myers Briggs (MBTI). Both are methods for measuring personality and behavior, but is one better over the other? A recent article suggests that there is one major thing that distinguishes DISC from Myers-Briggs: Reliability.

According to an article called “Why Myers-Briggs is Meaningless” that was published in 2015 by Vox Media, Myers-Briggs personality tests are a very inconsistent way of measuring personality type. The biggest problem the article points out is that when users take the Myers-Briggs test multiple times—even in back-to-back testing sessions—the results are often dramatically different. When taking a Myers-Briggs test on a Monday, you might be labeled an INFJ. Take it again on a Tuesday, and you might come out an ENFP. In fact, their studies have shown that “as much as 50% of people arrive at a different result the second time they take the test.”

myers-briggs-chart

There’s no disputing that DISC and Myers-Briggs are both valuable tools that teach us about the complexities of human behavior. But, the two tests aren’t the same. Based on different psychological theories and testing strategies, DISC has been shown to have a much higher rate of reliability.  When contrasting DISC with Myers-Briggs, a 2015 Validation Study by PeopleKeys reported that the consistency and reliability of DISC was in the 90-95% range. In other words, within a short span of time, people taking the DISC assessment multiple times are labeled with the same dominant style over 90% of the time. When you compare that with the reported 50% reliability rate Myers-Briggs, that’s a difference significant enough to give anyone pause.

So, when you encounter someone wondering about the difference between DISC and MBTI, this data can offer you a valid reason to recommend DISC over Myers-Briggs. The difference in the reliability scores of MBTI and DISC are high enough to show that the two testing instruments are based on methodologies that allow DISC to clearly stand out as the more reliable measurement of personality and behavior.

Read more on our blog: Why DISC is the best (and legal) choice for hiring

About the Author: Brad Smith

Bradley Smith, Ph.D. is the Director of International Business Development at PeopleKeys, and works directly with our international distributors and business partners. He enjoys providing custom solutions outside of our "normal" realm of business, such as corporate consulting and custom technology applications. He especially enjoys taking the lead and reaching goals quickly on new and challenging areas. A proud dad of an infant baby. Personality Style: D

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