How sustainable do you think you are?

Posted 24 April 2024 by
Kevin Wood, Global Marketing

5 min

If you’re working with an organization whose mission is to function more sustainably—perhaps they’re pursuing a net zero target, for example—then that organization needs the will and the action of its people to achieve its objectives.

And, as with any other behavior-related initiative or goal, an understanding of personality type, preferences, and motivations can increase the chances of success.

New research into type and sustainability by The Myes-Briggs Company helps us share some key areas for practitioners, leaders, and organizations to consider—and pitfalls to avoid—when focusing on climate change initiatives in the workplace.

MBTI® type and sustainability

MBTI® type, attitudes to the environment, and sustainable organizations explores how the MBTI® model relates to pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors, and climate change skepticism and denial. 

It also reveals how people view the pro-environmental credentials of their organizations and how this relates to personality type, job satisfaction and intention to leave. 

This blog will focus on MBTI type-specific findings but first, here’s a broader point from the research:

The vast majority of respondents agree or strongly agree with statements like: 

This is good news for organizations that want to be greener. Everyone’s on the same page, right?

Not quite.

The research shows a gap between people’s beliefs about climate change and their actions about climate change. 

For example, the most common non-environmentally friendly behaviors that were usually or always carried out by more than 20% of respondents were: 

But the research also shows that a sizeable minority of respondents agree or strongly agree with statements such as: 

If there’s one thing this tells us, it’s not to make assumptions.

Pro-sustainability leaders can’t assume that everyone will follow or be committed to their goals. And leaders who don’t see sustainability as a business priority may well be in conflict with pro-sustainability employees, especially if those employees’ personal values are compromised. 

Being inclusive and open to the possibility of different perspectives helps to prevent antagonism or negative conflict in an area where people may well have deep-set beliefs. 

Fortunately, the MBTI model provides a framework for understanding difference and working positively with it. Here are some headline findings relating to MBTI preferences:

Personality type and pro-environmental attitudes

Personality type and pro-environmental behaviors

Personality type and organizational sustainability

What does this mean for different MBTI types?

With information like this, it’s possible for practitioners to help organizations, leaders, and managers gain a more accurate picture of how different people and employees might be likely to behave. At the very least it confirms the diversity of preferences, attitudes, and behaviors on the topic of sustainability. 

This means leaders can tailor their environmental messages and activities a little more.  

Here are just three examples of findings and recommendations relating to favorite processes, taken from the full report. 

MBTI type provides information on what people value and what matters to them, which helps leaders and managers get a better grip on what’s likely to motivate (or demotivate) their people. 

For the full findings and recommendations at both the individual and organizational level, download the research report.


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