Image for Episode 1

Play now 25 mins

Episode 1

Duration:
25 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 08 July 2012

Around the globe, personality tests are increasingly being used in the office and one of the most popular is the Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator or MBTI, which has been translated into over 20 languages.

Devised by a mother in Washington DC because her daughter married a man whose personality seemed diametrically different, it claims Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung as its source, emphasising his theory that we think and behave according to pairs of opposed character traits.

Proponents of personality tools say understanding our differences and becoming more self aware leads to a more efficient, integrated work force.

Is there an ideal type for leadership? Can it help people in high-stress jobs? Do some employers manipulate their findings to screen out some workers and do employees cheat to gain promotion?

After filling out a questionnaire and meeting an assessor, Lucy is given four letters, which determine her orientation towards life; her learning style, how she processes information and makes decisions.

Lucy talks to a Swiss HR manager, a workplace mediator, a Royal Air Force trainer, a psychologist in China, investigative writer Barbara Ehrenreich and follow a group of businesspeople in Sydney, Australia who like Lucy, are learning about their personality type and role-playing their differences.

(Image: (Left to right) anxious man; angry woman; smiling man; woman hiding behind her jumper. Credit: Thinkstock)

  • Do we really give introverts a hard time?

    Do we really give introverts a hard time?

    It is often assumed extroverts do best in life, but according to a new best-selling book, introverts are just as high achievers. It claims there is a bias towards extroverts in Western society

    So do we discriminate against introverts?
  • What would Carl Jung make of 2011?

    What would Carl Jung make of 2011?

    Carl Gustav Jung died 50 years ago today. Alongside Sigmund Freud, he is arguably one of the two people of the 20th century who most shaped the way we think about who we are

    But what would he make of the 21st century so far?

Broadcasts

Podcasts

  1. Image for Documentaries

    Documentaries

    An indepth look at stories and issues from around the world. This podcast offers you the chance to…

  2. Image for World Service Music Documentaries

    World Service Music Documentaries

    All the World Service's music podcasts gathered into one place. New documentaries will be added…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss