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A study of personality preferences and emotional intelligence

Myleen M. Leary (College of Business, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, USA)
Michael D. Reilly (College of Business, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, USA)
F. William Brown (College of Business, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, USA)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 10 July 2009




For over three decades the Myers‐Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a typology of personality preferences based on Jungian psychology, has been one of the most frequently used assessments in personal and managerial development. Over the last decade attention to the possibility of non‐cognitive intelligence based on emotions has attracted considerable attention in both the academic and practitioner communities. This paper aims to report on an empirical study examining the possible relationships between the dispositional factors measured by the MBTI and elements of emotional intelligence (EI) as measured by the Bar‐On's emotional quotient inventory (EQI).


MBTI, Form G, and EQI data are collected in a population of over 500 managers and professional workers in an international manufacturing facility. Both categorical and continuous analysis of variance is utilized to test ten hypothesized relationships between personality preferences and EI constructs.


Results support the relationship between extroversion and the components of EI. Somewhat counter intuitively stress management, the measure of EI that captures an individual's internal focus, is related to extroversion. A positive and significant relationship between a preference for the use of feeling in decision making and an individual's EI is also found.


Despite the fact that the MBTI and the EQI are two of the most widely used instruments in organizational development very few studies have been done on their possible relationship. This is the first relatively large sample study of that relationship. Implications of the interaction of personality preferences and EI in organizational development are described.



Leary, M.M., Reilly, M.D. and Brown, F.W. (2009), "A study of personality preferences and emotional intelligence", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 30 No. 5, pp. 421-434.



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