Myers Briggs theory is based on four psychological functions – Sensing, iNtuition, Thinking, and Feeling. They are used to perceive facts or possibilities, and make decisions using objective logic or subjective values. (The other letters of the Myers Briggs code – E, I, J and P – describe how those functions are used.)
Isabel Briggs Myers derived her theory from Psychological Types by C.G. Jung (Briggs Myers 1980, p. xvii). However, Jung’s book describes five psychological functions. The fifth, which he called the “transcendent function” (Jung 1921, p. 480), was the most important (Jung 1935). He also produced a paper on the transcendent function five years before publishing Psychological Types (Jung 1916/1957).
One of the reasons that Carl Gustav Jung developed his theory of Psychological Types was that he had fallen out with Sigmund Freud. He wanted to understand what had caused the conflict between two people who, on the face of it, had very similar interests.
One of the causes of stress at work is a having a difference in preference for Judgment or Perception with your boss. This is because the two types tend to have a different orientation toward deadlines. Whether you meet a deadline is nothing to do with your personality type – the J/P difference is concerned with how you meet the deadline.
Personality type theory can help understand some of the causes of conflict in a relationship. But there is much more to it than simply having different preferences. Conflict can also be caused by type dynamics. This describes how the preferences relate to each other inside the individual, and how they relate to the context.
Conflict in the workplace has many sources. One of them is when colleagues have different personality type preferences. For example, extraverts like to develop ideas out loud. Introverts prefer to think them through.
Both approaches can work well on their own, but they can cause conflict when used together – that is, if we assume other people think like us (and that is a very common assumption):