70% women senior executives use objectivity and impersonal criteria to make decisions

The Myers-Briggs Company urges businesses to open the door for a values-driven perspective in their leadership teams

Women’s approach to decision making plays a vital role in how her career develops. This is according to research by The Myers-Briggs Company, the most trusted business psychology provider; that show women who make decisions using a value-driven approach and consider peoples’ personal circumstances represent just 30% of women in top positions.   

The research conducted by The Myers-Briggs Company looks at data from 1.3 million people that have taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment to investigate the role decision making plays in the workplace. The data reveals that women are generally associated with the ‘Feeling’ preference, a value-driven approach to decision making, while men mostly use ‘Thinking’, a preference that use objectivity, logic and impersonal criteria to make decisions. However, when looking at career progression between both genders, fewer women reach senior positions, and for those who do, the ‘Thinking’ preference dominates (70%). While women are over-represented amongst lower-level employees level and at this level, only just over half (55%) have a Thinking preference. This indicates that even when women reach higher levels, a values-driven perspective is lacking in leadership. For men, there was little difference in the proportion of “Thinking” compared with “Feeling” between occupation levels.

Speaking about the research findings, John Hackston, Head of Thought Leadership at The Myers-Briggs Company said:  

“Over the past decade, we have witnessed diversity in the workforce produce positive business results and inspire more women to take on leadership roles. Despite this movement, our research shows that it may be difficult for women with ‘Feeling’ preferences to be promoted to senior positions, while men are far more likely to reach a higher occupational level regardless of their personality preference. It seems that it is not the ‘Feeling’ preference that is inherently undervalued – it is women with a ‘Feeling’ preference who are being excluded from senior positions. This stems from stereotypes regarding the most effective leadership style and goes along with the general under-representation of women. However, there is plenty of evidence to show that a ‘Feeling’ preference contributes to an effective leadership style. A value-driven approach to decision making does play a pivotal role in shaping the culture of organisations.

“Much like any under-represented minority groups in the workplace, without representation in leadership positions to look to as role models, women of all personality types and all employee levels will continue to suffer - and so will the profitability of businesses. 

“A deep understanding of organisational culture and how it relates to individual employees is crucial to making progress with diversity. Leaders are especially important in this because they have the most influence in shaping and transmitting the ‘real’ culture which is not often aligned with ‘ideal’ culture,” concludes Hackston.

About The Myers-Briggs Company 
In our fast-changing world, your edge lies in harnessing 100 percent of your talent – whether you’re at work, home, school, college, or anywhere in between. Your success and sense of fulfilment aren’t just about what you know and what you can do, they hinge on your relationships and interactions with others. The Myers-Briggs Company empowers individuals to be the best versions of themselves by enriching self-awareness and their understanding of others. We help organisations around the world improve teamwork and collaboration, develop inspirational leaders, foster diversity and solve their most complex people challenges. As a certified B Corp (and a registered California Benefit Corporation), The Myers-Briggs Company is a force for good. Our powerfully practical solutions are grounded in a deep understanding of the significant social and technological trends that affect people and organisations. With over 60 years in assessment development and publishing, and over 30 years of consultancy and training expertise, a global network of offices, partners and certified independent consultants in 115 countries, products in 29 languages, and experience working with 88 of the Fortune 100 companies, we’re ready to help you succeed.


Media Contacts:

Hiwot Wolde-Senbet,
Flagship Consulting
Claire Nelson,
Flagship Consulting
Natasha Cobby,
Flagship Consulting
+44 207 680 7104

Petra Merne
The Myers-Briggs Company
+44 1865 404584