The business world loves measurements, obviously. It’s all about the bottom line. This isn’t such a bad thing, but it turns dubious when the measurements are false and paint a skewed or patently untrue picture with their results.
One of the common glaring falsehoods is Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. That pyramid is the pinnacle of overblown crap. Maslow was merely theorizing and backed up the theory with zero research. Nevertheless, CEOs everywhere plastered the triangular pic on every training manual within their reach. The whole thing is more than a little annoying to anyone who has studied the field of Psychology.
Next on the annoying list is the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, a personality assessment loved by business folks the world over. Whereas Maslow was actually a trained researcher, the people behind the MBTI were hobbyists who hit it big. They mashed up a bunch of stuff from crazy-guy Carl Jung’s unsupported theories, wrote up questions and called it valid. Now it makes millions. It’s a scam of epic proportions.
Dan Ariely, a human behavior researcher and author of a few good books on Behavioral Economics, summed it up nicely in his advice column recently. His answer to writer “Cory” was short, sweet, and cutting:
A few years ago, I discovered the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and decided to take the test, which seemed pretty detailed. When I was shown my resulting “personality type,” I was blown away: It seemed to explain things about my personality that I had felt but had never put into words. But ever since, I’ve been insecure about whether my MBTI type is my “true type” or just confirmation bias. Help, please?
Next time, just look at the horoscope. It is just as valid and takes less time. -Dan
I love this man.