A Longitudinal Study of Myers-Briggs Personality Types in Air Traffic Controllers
FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION OKLAHOMA CITY OK CIVIL AEROMEDICAL INST
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Over the past decade, there has been increased interest in determining the role of personality factors in attracting and retaining individuals in various occupations. This study was designed to look at the role of personality types as defined by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator MBTI. The instrument assesses personality on four broad, dichotomous categories e.g., extroversion vs. introversion as well as 16 distinct combinations of the four major classifications. The study investigated the relationship between MBTI types and initial success in the Air Traffic Control Academy Screen Program, subsequent field training outcomes, and transition to a supervisory or managerial position about 20 years later. The 300-item MBTI was administered to 5,588 males 87 and 832 females upon their entry into Academy training between 1982 and 1985. Information maintained at the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute and in the Federal Aviation Administrations personnel system allowed the authors to track these individuals from initial selection to their current positions and determine their supervisory status. Comparisons were made of the prevalent MBTI types at each career stage. Results showed that 59 of the entrants successfully completed Academy training. Of those graduates, 83 became Certified Professional Controllers CPCs, and 17 of the CPCs eventually became supervisorsmanagers. A higher percentage of entrants fell within the Sensing-Thinking-Judging combinations whether extroverted or introverted when compared with normative MBTI data. Those who became supervisors were more Thinking- versus Feeling- oriented. Chi-square statistics revealed several statistically significant differences at each career stage. However, most of those differences were of limited practical significance. Consistent with data from other personality measures, the MBTI results suggest that those attracted to the ATCS profession differ from the normal population on several dimensions.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations