In-Depth Comparison of the MBTI & Hogan Leadership Assessments: Backgrounds, Applications, and Which Is Backed by Stronger Research
Most organizational leaders and leadership coaches have heard of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Hogan assessments, and a significant portion of them have actually taken and used at least one of those tools themselves at some point in careers. They’re both wildly popular assessments, for good reason, with the MBTI being the most widely-taken tool in the world.
There are significant differences between these two assessments, however, and for those somewhat unfamiliar with the details of each one, it can be confusing to assess which one might be a better tool for any given situation.
In this article comparing these two tools, we’ll start with an overview of each, describe how they’re used in the context of leadership, and explore the research and validity of each one. This deep-dive should be useful to new and seasoned leaders and executive coaches alike who might be on the fence about which one to use.
Introductions to the Leadership Assessments: MBTI & Hogan
About the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a widely known and used personality assessment tool developed by Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother, Katharine Cook Briggs, in the 1940s. The MBTI is based on the psychological theories of Carl Gustav Jung, particularly his concepts of psychological types, which he outlined in his 1921 book “Psychological Types.” Jung’s theories focused on the idea that people have innate preferences for how they perceive and process information, make decisions, and interact with the world.
Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Cook Briggs aimed to make Jung’s theories more accessible and applicable to everyday life. They developed the MBTI as a tool for helping individuals gain self-awareness, understand their personal preferences, and appreciate the differences among people.
Although initially designed for personal growth and self-awareness, the MBTI has been widely adopted in various settings, particularly corporate and educational contexts.
How the MBTI Works:
The MBTI assesses an individual’s preferences across four dichotomous pairs, resulting in a four-letter personality type code. These dichotomies are:
Extraversion (E) vs. Introversion (I): This dichotomy indicates an individual’s preferred orientation of energy, with extraverts drawing energy from interacting with others and the external world, while introverts draw energy through solitude and introspection.
Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N): This dichotomy represents the individual’s preferred way of perceiving and gathering information. Sensing individuals tend to focus on the concrete details they received through their senses and the present moment, while intuitive individuals prefer to focus on abstract concepts, patterns, and future possibilities.
Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F): This dichotomy reflects the individual’s preferred decision-making style. Thinking individuals tend to make decisions based on logical analysis and objective criteria, while feeling individuals prioritize values, emotions, and the impact on people when making decisions.
Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P): This dichotomy indicates an individual’s preferred way of interacting with the external world and their approach to structure and organization. Judging individuals prefer order, planning, and closure, while perceiving individuals are more adaptable, spontaneous, and open to new information.
The MBTI assessment consists of a series of forced-choice questions, where respondents must select one of two options that best describe their preferences. Based on their responses, individuals are assigned a four-letter type code (e.g., ESTJ, INFP) that reflects their preferences across the four dichotomies.
There are 16 possible MBTI types, and each type is associated with a unique set of characteristics, strengths, and potential challenges. The MBTI is intended to provide insights into an individual’s personality preferences, helping them better understand themselves, their motivations, and their interactions with others. It is important to note that the MBTI does not measure skills or abilities, and no type is considered better or worse than another; the MBTI aims to highlight and appreciate the diversity of human personality.
About the Hogan Assessments
The Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI) is a personality assessment tool developed by Dr. Robert Hogan and Dr. Joyce Hogan in the 1980’s. The Hogans, both accomplished psychologists, sought to create a personality assessment that could be applied effectively in occupational settings, focusing on predicting job performance, leadership potential, and other work-related outcomes. The Hogan HPI was designed to address some of the limitations of earlier personality assessments, which were primarily used for clinical or counseling purposes and were not as well-suited for organizational applications.
The HPI is based on the Five-Factor Model (FFM) or the Big Five personality traits, which is a well-established and widely accepted framework in the field of personality psychology. The five factors are:
- Openness to Experience
- Emotional Stability (often labeled as Neuroticism in reverse)
How the Hogan Assessment Works:
The HPI consists of a series of statements or items to which respondents indicate their level of agreement or disagreement on a Likert-type scale. The assessment measures seven primary personality dimensions, which map onto the Big Five personality traits:
Adjustment: Measures emotional stability and overall stress tolerance, corresponding to the Emotional Stability factor in the FFM.
Ambition: Measures the degree of achievement orientation, leadership potential, and extraversion, corresponding to the Extraversion factor in the FFM.
Sociability: Measures the extent to which an individual prefers social interactions and the company of others, also relating to the Extraversion factor in the FFM.
Interpersonal Sensitivity: Measures the extent to which an individual is tactful, likeable, and agreeable, corresponding to the Agreeableness factor in the FFM.
Prudence: Measures the level of conscientiousness, self-discipline, and responsibility, corresponding to the Conscientiousness factor in the FFM.
Inquisitive: Measures the degree of intellectual curiosity, creativity, and openness to new ideas, corresponding to the Openness to Experience factor in the FFM.
Learning Approach: Measures the extent to which an individual values ongoing learning and intellectual development, also relating to the Openness to Experience factor in the FFM.
In addition to the HPI, there are two other Hogan assessments that are often used in conjunction with the HPI:
Hogan Development Survey (HDS): The HDS measures 11 personality-based risk factors that can derail an individual’s career or negatively impact their leadership performance under stress or during challenging times.
Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory (MVPI): The MVPI assesses an individual’s core values, motives, and interests, which can provide insights into the type of organizational culture, work environment, and job roles that would be most satisfying and motivating for them.
Together, the HPI, HDS, and MVPI offer a comprehensive assessment of an individual’s personality, strengths, potential derailers, and values, providing valuable insights for various organizational applications, such as personnel selection, leadership development, team building, and executive coaching.
Hogan assessments offer a wide range of practical applications for leaders, including self-awareness, leadership development, team building, communication, decision-making, and more. By providing valuable insights into personality traits, strengths, and potential areas for growth, the Hogan assessments can help leaders become more effective in their roles and drive organizational success.
Application of the Assessments for Leaders
Although fundamentally different in nature, both of these assessments are effective at helping leaders and teams in a variety of ways. They share a number of common benefits – each of them helps leaders with:
Self-Awareness: Both assessments provide insights into a leader’s personality traits, strengths, and potential derailers, helping them gain a deeper understanding of their own behavior, motivations. The Hogan assessment also takes a deep dive into personal values.
Leadership Development: By identifying areas of strength and potential areas for growth, the both assessments can help leaders create targeted personal development plans, focusing on enhancing their leadership competencies and addressing potential weaknesses.
Team Building: Understanding the personality traits and values of team members can help leaders create more effective, diverse, and harmonious teams. This understanding can also aid in assigning roles and responsibilities that are well-suited to individual team members’ strengths and preferences.
Communication: Knowledge of the one’s own, and others’ personality types can help leaders adapt their communication styles to better engage with and motivate team members of different types.
Conflict Resolution: Recognizing the different perspectives and preferences of team members can help leaders identify the root causes of conflicts and facilitate resolution by understanding and addressing the underlying issues.
Change Management: Leaders can use the knowledge of different personality types, values and profiles to help manage change within their organization, as different types may respond to change differently.
In addition to sharing many strengths that provide valuable insight to each individual and team, each of these assessments brings a unique flavor and specific strengths to the table.
Decision-Making: Understanding the decision-making preferences of different personality types can help leaders consider alternative viewpoints and make more balanced, well-informed decisions.
Emotional Intelligence: The MBTI can help leaders develop their emotional intelligence by increasing their understanding of their own emotions and the emotions of others, improving interpersonal relationships and overall team dynamics.
Career Guidance and Mentorship: Leaders can use the MBTI to provide more personalized career guidance and mentorship to their subordinates, helping them develop and grow within the organization.
The Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI), along with its companion assessments, the Hogan Development Survey (HDS) and the Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory (MVPI), offers various practical applications for leaders. Some of the top main practical uses include:
Decision-Making: Although the MBTI also assists with decision-making, Hogan assessments take this a little further and go deeper in this category. Hogan provides leaders with insights into their decision-making preferences and potential biases, enabling them to make more balanced and well-informed decisions by considering alternative viewpoints and addressing potential blind spots.
Talent Acquisition & Selection: Hogan assessments can be used in personnel selection processes to identify candidates whose personality traits, values, and motivations align with the organization’s culture and the requirements of specific roles. MBTI, however, is not a talent selection tool.
Succession Planning: By assessing the leadership potential of internal candidates, Hogan assessments can help organizations identify and develop future leaders, ensuring a smooth transition and continuity of leadership.
Research & Validation
Any leadership tool is only as powerful as it is reliable. Without robust research and validation to back up its strength, an assessment is really just a fun way of attempting to understand personality and inter-personal dynamics. For that reason, it’s important to consider the reliability and validity of each assessment when considering its application.
As a disclaimer, I am both Hogan and MBTI certified. As such, I went through rigorous training in each one, during which I learned about the research methods and experiments used to validate each one. And although it is sometimes claimed that the MBTI assessments lack highly rigorous research, I disagree. In and of itself, it is both a complex and reliable tool, which probably contributes to the fact that it’s the most widely used leadership assessment used on the globe. Hogan, on the other hand, is undoubtedly one of the most robust assessments on the market when it comes to deep research and validation, which probably contributes to its very high price point.
To wrap up this article, then, let’s do a head-to-head comparison of the research and validation for these two popular leadership assessments.
Comparing the Research and Validation Processes for the MBTI and Hogan Assessments
When comparing the research and validation processes of the Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI) and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), several key differences emerge:
Theoretical Foundation: The HPI is based on the Five-Factor Model (FFM) or the Big Five personality traits, which is a well-established and widely accepted framework in personality psychology. In contrast, the MBTI is based on Carl Jung’s psychological theories, which, while influential, have not been as widely accepted or empirically supported as the FFM.
Test-Retest Reliability: Both the HPI and the MBTI demonstrate moderate to high test-retest reliability, indicating that both assessments are relatively consistent in measuring personality over time. However, the HPI generally exhibits higher test-retest reliability compared to the MBTI.
Internal Consistency: The HPI typically shows strong internal consistency, with Cronbach’s alpha values well above the recommended threshold of 0.70. The MBTI, on the other hand, has shown acceptable levels of internal consistency for the dichotomous scales, but the values can be lower than what is considered optimal for psychological tests.
Construct Validity: The HPI’s construct validity has been extensively supported through correlational studies with other personality measures, consistently showing strong convergent validity. In contrast, the MBTI’s construct validity is less consistent, with studies reporting mixed results on the correlations between the MBTI scales and conceptually related dimensions in other personality measures.
Factorial Validity: Factor analysis studies consistently support the five-factor structure of the HPI, aligning with the underlying FFM. In contrast, factor analysis studies of the MBTI have produced inconsistent results, with some studies supporting the four-factor structure proposed by the MBTI theory, while others have found alternative factor structures or failed to replicate the expected factor structure.
Criterion-Related Validity: The HPI has a substantial body of research supporting its criterion-related validity, linking its scores to various work-related outcomes, such as job performance, job satisfaction, and leadership effectiveness. The MBTI’s criterion-related validity research is more limited, and the available evidence is mixed, with some studies finding significant relationships between MBTI type and various outcomes, while others have not.
Predictive Validity: The HPI has been widely used in applied settings to predict job performance, leadership potential, and other work-related outcomes, with research generally supporting its predictive validity. In comparison, research on the predictive validity of the MBTI is limited and shows mixed results, with some studies finding associations between MBTI types and specific occupations or roles, but without strong enough evidence to support definitive conclusions.
The research and validation process for the Hogan Personality Inventory is generally stronger and more consistent than that of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The HPI is based on a widely accepted theoretical foundation and demonstrates more robust psychometric properties across various aspects of reliability and validity. While the MBTI is a massively popular tool for leadership growth and self-awareness, its psychometric properties and research support are less consistent compared to the HPI.
The MBTI and Hogan leadership assessments are both best-in-class tools, as demonstrated by their widespread use and popularity. The MBTI has a lower price point and is widely applicable across many organizational levels and teams. The Hogan assessment is designed specifically for senior-level executives, is backed by highly robust research, and carries a significantly higher price point.
They’re both excellent tools in a variety of situations. I invite you to learn more by visiting the Hogan Assessments and Myers-Briggs websites, and of course I invite you to reach out if you have any additional questions, or use the comments section below.
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Marina von Bergen, MAM, ACC
My 23+ year career as a consultant, leadership development expert and executive coach in large global firms shifted in 2020 when I felt compelled to focus on consulting and coaching small to medium sized businesses that were negatively impacted by the pandemic. Since then, I have continued pursing my passion of helping small businesses and their leaders become future-proof by leveraging best-in-class trends, technologies, and tools. My official, professional expertise lies in consulting and coaching leaders in areas of change management, human capital, communications, emotional intelligence, and leadership development. I have helped organizations and leaders all around the globe, in many industries, and from countless walks of life. Visit The Future-Proof Business to learn more.