Does Corporate America Have a Personality Type?

Most people are familiar with personality type using the Myers-Briggs personality type.  It assigns people four letters which represent preferences for where we focus our attention, what information we value, how we make decisions, and how we structure our lives.  The introvert and extrovert classifications are probably the most well known aspects of the system and most people think they know which one of these they are.  Hint: it’s not just about how loud or quiet you are, but that will be a topic for another day.  

What many people don’t know is that Myers-Briggs personality type can be use to describe other entities in addition to people, such as pets, movie characters, and companies.  Oddly enough, it can even be used to describe groups as large as entire nations, but right now I am going to focus on the business world in the United States.  

Corporate America has an ESTJ personality type.  Those of us that interact with businesses should understand what that means and how it affects us every day.

E - Extroversion

People and organizations with a preference for Extraversion focus their energy outward and are energized by group interactions, rather than isolated settings. Most business want their employees to be outgoing and interactive. Collaboration is valued and encouraged, and employees are often pressured to be representatives of their company 24 hours a day.  Introverts may be talked over during meetings and often viewed as not having valuable contributions, even though it is actually the setting that is not setup to receive their manner of input.

S - Sensing

Those with a Sensing preference pay the most attention to information that is real and tangible.  They value details and specifics and usually like to see tasks completed in a sequential order.  Although their counterparts, future-focused visionaries, are celebrated at the CEO level, most organizations want their staff to have a keen attention to detail.  Projects and everyday tasks get boiled down to the numbers and facts, which can be great for people who love managing large amounts of data and information. Those with an iNtuition preference who think more about the next big idea rather than the numbers for the daily report may be viewed as meandering and rebellious.

T - Thinking

People and organizations with a preference for Thinking typically value logical decisions rather than decisions based primarily on emotion.  Considering makes sense ends up trumping what feels good.  When empathy is not given the same weight as logical analytics, employees become just another line item on a budget rather than an invaluable and irreplaceable asset.  With a few notable exceptions such as Southwest and Trader Joes, organizations want employees that will make decisions that put the need for profit above than the needs of the staff.  People with a Feeling preference who give precedent to emotion and values may be viewed as too soft or sensitive for dog-eat-dog corporate environments.

J - Judging

A preference for Judging doesn’t mean the person or organization is judgemental, rather, it indicates a desire to process the world in a planned and organized manner.  This manifests itself in ways such as calculated schedules, project due dates and midway check-in points, clean and categorized work areas, and a strong desire to stick to plans once they are established.  Corporations want both short and long term plans for the work of their employees as well as the company’s growth.  Obviously this is a necessary and important aspect of the business world, however, a constant implementation of deadlines may actually decrease the productivity of people with a perceiving preference.  


The main takeaway here, as it almost always is in matters of personality type, is that all the types are important, there is no bad or wrong combination of type.  Corporate America is an ESTJ for good reason, it’s a type that will likely produce valuable results and output. What we need to keep in mind is that every day at every organizations there are moments where financial value is not the most important result.  At those times other type preferences should not only be recognized but utilized for the value they will add to the organization.  Give the introverts a chance to talk and let the perceivers challenge the upcoming deadline; the results will be a more robust and effective work space with satisfied employees.

Contact me to set up a Myers-Briggs session for you and your team!

Levi Baer

Chicago, IL