American Society of Civil Engineers

Relationship between Personality Traits and Performance for Engineering and Architectural Professionals Providing Design Services

by Paul G. Carr, P.E., (Adjunct Associate Professor, Dept. of Civ. and Envir. Engrg., Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY 14853), Jesus M. de la Garza, (Prof., Dept. of Civ. and Envir. Engrg., Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061), and Michael C. Vorster, (Prof., Dept. of Civ. and Envir. Engrg., Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061)

Journal of Management in Engineering, Vol. 18, No. 4, October 2002, pp. 158-166, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: One of the prominent trends in business organizations today is the attention placed on individual personality traits as a means of predicting job performance. As such, the current study investigates the relationship of personality traits with critical success behaviors in the engineering and architectural professions’ project design services. The four project service categories measured are: conceptual design, contract documents, construction administration, and firm management duties. The measurement of the individual personalities is accomplished through the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). This research found that those possessing a preference for Intuitive data collection (MBTI, N) and Perceiving structure (MBTI, P) outperformed individuals with preferences for Sensing and Judging, in both planning and construction. However, professionals with a personality favoring Judging (MBTI, J) outperformed in the duties associated with the design phase. Contrary to predictions, the decision processes captured in the Thinking/Feeling dimension (MBTI, T/F) did not influence the performance in any of the four service categories. The implications of the results of this research are discussed.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Performance characteristics
Personnel management