A comparison of Myers Briggs type indicator profiles and Belbin team roles. Henley, UK, Henley Business School, University of Reading
(Henley Working Paper Series, HWP 9640).
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As greater organisational interest is being focused on the linkage between teamworking and performance there is an increasing interest in the composition of teams in terms of the roles of team members.
A recent survey (Employment and Development Bulletin 1995) has indicated the dominance of the two Team Roles Models in commercial applications of team selection and development. These models are those developed by Belbin and Margerison and McCann. Whilst Belbins model has been relatively extensively researched there is less evidence available to support the Margerison & McCann model. Both models are derived from differing personality instruments (Belbin from the 16PF and Margerison & McCann from the Jung Type Survey). The role descriptors in both models, however, appear broadly similar in terms of characteristics and expected behaviours. In addition to specific team role models much of the team development literature highlights the potential value of the Myers Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI) in team building. This instrument is closely related to the Jung Type Survey and raises the possibility that there could be a relationship between the profiles produced and the Belbin Team Roles (BTRs).
A study of the results from a development centre conducted for managers in a life assurance company was used to explore the associations between MBTI profiles and BTRs. The study used 16PF scores, Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal scores and MBTI profiles for centre participants as a basis of comparison.
Results from the study indicated some associations between MBTI scales and six of the eight BTRs. Subsidiary analysis of BTRs and associations based on using the CTA in place of 16PF Factor B in the team role calculation is considered in the light of previous research and indicates the value of further research to develop a more complete understanding of BTRs.
The fact that this study was conducted in a single organisation, combined with a number of methodological constraints, limits the confidence with which conclusions may be drawn. However, the potential value of further research to explore relationships in more detail would appear to be indicated by this study.
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