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Personality tests in accounting research

Simon Taggar (School of Business and Economics, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada)
John Parkinson (School of Administrative Studies, York University, Toronto, Canada)

Journal of Human Resource Costing & Accounting

ISSN: 1401-338X

Article publication date: 3 July 2007




The purpose of this paper is to present a discussion of the ways that personality tests have been used in accounting research.


The paper is structured as a literature review of the personality testing area, with particular emphasis on its application in accounting research.


The idea of personality impacting accounting has received some attention in recent years. However, it is an understudied area and the research to date is somewhat inconclusive. The findings are that over the last decade personality psychologists have made significant advances in personality theory and measurement. This paper summarizes: the theory of personality; the two most common personality typologies (i.e. the Jungian psychology‐based Myers‐Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Five Factor Model (FFM); and discusses the application of personality in accounting research.

Research limitations/implications

It is somewhat problematical to draw precise boundaries that include all relevant studies, and yet exclude appropriately distant ones, as there are a number of constructs that may, or may not, be considered to be “personality”. Another limitation is that the research studies published so far do not all agree one with another.

Practical implications

The conclusion reached is that, while there is a role for personality/accounting research using both MBTI and FFM, research using the FFM is particularly important for analytical and predictive research in this area and to triangulate previous MBTI studies.


As a literature review, there is little that is intrinsically new here, but the juxtaposition of different approaches and findings will be informative to researchers in the area and, to a lesser extent, practitioners.



Taggar, S. and Parkinson, J. (2007), "Personality tests in accounting research", Journal of Human Resource Costing & Accounting, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 122-151.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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