Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Personality and geographical Diversity in a Learning Team

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Personality Differences

Personality, as defined by Schermerhorn, Hunt, and Osborn (00), “represents the

overall profile or combination of characteristics that capture the unique nature of a person

as that person reacts and interacts with others”. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

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(MBTI) is, according to Barkdoll, is “recognized as the most widely used personality

inventory in the world”. There are four scales that are used with the MBTI. They are

1. Extroversion-Introversion (E versus I)

. Sensing-Intuition (S versus N)

. Thinking-Feeling (T versus F)

4. Judging-Perceiving (J versus P)

According to the MBTI website, extroversion and introversion are “the primary

modes of living. (Introverts) deal with things rationally and logically…(Extroverts) take

things in via your five senses in a literal, concrete fashion”.

The ability to gather information through the five senses is referred to as either

sensing or intuitive. Though people have the capacity for both, one is usually stronger

than the other. Those who favor the sensing mode use all five senses to “process

concrete, practical data to work with”. Intuitive people trust their intuition without

needing all the facts.

According to the MBTI website, “people have the capability to make decisions based

on two very different sets of criteria thinking and feeling. A thinker “makes decisions in

a rational, logical, impartial manner, based on what they believe to be fair and correct by

pre-defined rules of behavior”. A feeler “makes decisions on the individual case, in a

subjective manner based on what they believe to be right within their own value system”.

Though each person has the capacity for both criteria, one is usually dominant over the

other. The website states that the judging and perceiving preferences refers “to our attitude towards the external world, and how we live our lives on a day-to-day basis”. Judgers want an orderly neatness without any loose ends. Perceivers prefer open-ended flexibility without a care about loose ends. Spontaneous events are preferred to those that are planned.

Geographical Differences

Business teams have become an indispensable commodity in the corporate world. The ability for a group of individuals to coordinate, communicate, and cooperate has significant influence on the success or failure of a company. Geographical diversities impede the team’s progress within each of these functions. The complication involved with geographical differences such as the hindrances to communication, falls under three subcategories, geographical barriers, language barriers, and cultural barriers (Govindarajan & Gupta, 001).

With team members “…separated by time zones and conflicting schedules, arranging team meetings can pose logistical challenges” (Govindarajan & Gupta, 001). The technology today allows teams to overcome this barrier with email, videoconferencing, and teleconferencing, but not without effort. Coordinating becomes much more difficult and increases time constraints and deadlines to a more substantial concern. Electronic conversations are considerably slower than face-to-face communication carrying the probability for them to last days. There is the inability for

persons to project inflections and tone, which allows for easy misunderstandings and hurt feelings.


Schermerhorn, Jr., J.R., Hunt, J.G., & Osborn, R.N. (00). Organizational Behavior

Section One (seventh edition). John Wiley & Sons, Inc., p.1.

Barkdoll, G.L. Individual Personality and Organizational Culture or “Let’s Change This

Place So I Feel More Comfortable”. Retrieved August 5, 00 from


MBTI website accessed on August 5, 00 from http//

Govindarajan, V., Gupta, A. (001). The manager’s role in building an innovative organization. MIT Sloan Management Review, 4(4), 6. Retrieved August 5, 00 from Business Source Premier database

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