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Environmental Assessment and Psychological Type: A Review of Techniques

Daniel W. Salter The Pennsylvania State University and Robert F. Rodgers The Ohio State University
Revised: March 1998

To gain an appreciation of the central issue involved in this paper, one needs only to turn to Appendix D in the back of the MBTI Manual (Myers & McCaulley, 1985). These MBTI data account for literally thousands of individuals in a variety of occupations. Quickly apparent, most vocational areas show heavily skewed distributions of types within them. For instance, human services occupations (e.g., teaching, counseling, or social work) tend to be over-represented by feeling types. Why is that? One might contend that feeling types are more "at home" in work environments that reflect human services goals. Whether or not they call it "feeling", many of these workers comprehend that these behavioral settings possess an underlying attribute that "fits" their own recognized preferences. Generally, Appendix D validates our experiences of type constructs: some settings are simply more friendy (and some more hostile) to expression of our individual gifts. Appendix D offers more insights though. First, not all individuals in human services occupations are feeling oriented. Apparently, thinking individuals can also excel in these settings. Additionally, some "thinking occupations" seem to be a better fit for many individuals with feeling preferences. As is hopefully clear, the nature of an occupation does not always predict the type of people who work in it, nor does psychological types always indicate the choice of workplace. Knowing both pieces seems to improve the situation. To date, a bulk of type theory and research has concentrated on the task of refining and understanding the differences between people, with little regard for identifying the differences between the settings in which they behave. Extending our example, in what ways can we systematic identify and/or measure the aspects of human services occupations that seem attractive and reinforcing to different types of people (especially feeling types)? This paper offers methods by which relevant information on behavioral settings can be gained. Why Study Behavioral Environments?

Most areas of type research and practice can benefit from use of environmental assessment techniques. While many examples can be generated, two specific research projects are offered as a means to illustrate some advantages. In Education Psychological type is a dynamic, developmental process. As such, it relies on environmental stimulation to blossom fully. No other area of practice requires such pervasive interventions in behavioral settings than education. The act of teaching is structuring the academic environment to achieve particular educational/developmental goals. One of our own efforts in this regard has begun to explore the effects of various classroom environments on the performance of different psychological types (Salter, 1994). In this small study, classrooms that exhibited environmental introversion, sensing and thinking (see discussion below) seemed problematic for all psychological types; including introverted, sensing and thinking students. More dramatically however, the negative relationship between thinking classrooms and feeling students was so strong as to beg the question whether gender-bias is actually typebias in education. In the Workplace Psychoneuroimmunologists continue to make new and startling discoveries about the mind/body relationship and the roles of stress and personality. Early on, identification of Type A behavior brought the impact of personality dispositions to the forefront of medical care (Friedman & Rosenman, 1974). Today, the relationship between health and individual differences seems more complex than a simple "bad personality". Rather, the "healthiest personality" may be the one that best fits the environment in which it is required to perform (Friedman, 1991). Looking specifically at work environments, Karras' (1990) study anticipated these suggestions. By examining the fit between different psychological types and their work settings, he was able to account for differences in the subjects' reported levels of stress and anxiety. For example, introverts in his study (who seemed more anxious than extraverts in general) indicated increased levels of anxiety when functioning in what they perceived as "extraverted environments". Understanding the problems presented by some environments to particular types implies a need to do something about it. How do we redesign environments to honor type differences? Can college algebra be taught in a feeling way? Can we redesign the work place (or provide vocational counseling) to minimize workers' stress and maximize their

contributions? Of course we can, and many excellent efforts have been made in the past with this overriding goal. Our point is not that type practitioners have been "missing the boat", but rather that many of these efforts can be enhanced and improved with a more effective means of assessing behavioral settings. Beyond simple identification of a problem, effective use of environmental assessment techniques can also aid in evaluation of intervention strategies (e.g., does a feeling-oriented algebra class really improve learning?). Accomplishing these goals requires a model of human behavior that can accommodate views of the person and the environment as active variables. Psychological Type and the Interactional Model Many of the assessment approaches detailed herein rely on the larger interactional model to accommodate the unique characteristics of both people and behavioral settings. The interactional model depicts human behavior as a function of the interaction between a person and an environment (Lewin, 1936; Walsh, Craik & Price, 1992). As an organizing framework for this paper, this binocular view of behavior will serve to improve our understanding of psychological types. Interestingly, successful implementation of an interactional model seems to demand an understanding of a person's orientation to the environment and the unique ways in which s/he perceives and evaluates it (Salter, 1991). Jung's theory of psychological types offers one viable method to achieve this understanding. To facilitate further discussion however, the four model components need to be be reframed in consistent ways with Jungian psychology. Function: The function that results in a behavior concerns the exchange of psychic energy (Jung, 1971, para 778). In this sense, both the person and the environment make contributions to resulting behaviors. As our opening example suggests, we need to know about both the person and the environment to understand the flow of energy between them. Interaction: The degree to which psychic energy can function within an interaction relies on congruence: the matching process between personal needs and environmental presses (Walsh, Craik & Price,1992). Generally, the level of congruence dictates the behavioral outcome from an interaction. Where gross incongruence may end in dysfunction, optimal levels of congruence may lead to satisfaction and growth (Moos, 1979). Person: As noted, understanding the impact of individual differences in perception and evaluation has been recognized as vital to applications of the interactional model, hence the utility of Jung's work. We must remain mindful however, that psychological type is not a single key. Socialization, physical growth, and cognitive development are also germane to understanding a person's relationship to the environment. Still,

psychological type seems to be a place where the "rubber meets the road" in our explorations of person/environment interactions. Environment: A behavioral environment provides a context for behavior: the stage upon which (and with which) the actors act. Fortunately, environments can be identified and categorized by their unique systems of shared presses (see below) that are predictable and serve as references for behavior (Levy-Leboyer, 1982; Little, 1987; Magnusson & Allen,1983). The challenge to users of type theory is to find the most relevant and appropriate theories of environments. We should note that intervening in the interactional process is not a simple task, especially if personal development or education is a goal. Human development necessitates both challenges and supports from behavioral environments. On one hand, an environment must be adequately incongruent (in the right way) to challenge us to grow, but not so much so (or in a wrong way) as to be overwhelming. On the other hand, personal growth requires an environment that is appropriately congruent and that supports people as they grow and change ( a safe haven or home base). Maintaining this delicate balance undergirds most of our work with people and relies on our expertise to provide the proper challenges and supports. As practitioners, we set about the tasks of determining and meeting our developmental and behavioral goals (for clients, for students, for employees). And while we have a wonderfully explicit theory that provides insights into the nature of individuals, we must now take the responsibility of understanding the settings in which our goals are achieved. Understanding Behavioral Environments Adoption of the interactional model challenges users of type theory to look beyond psychological type to behavioral environments to understand behavior more fully. Unfortunately, unlike an individual (a relatively self-contained, albeit complex unit), a behavioral setting can be as small as room or as large as a country and still make a contribution to the interactional equation. Therefore, it is critical to begin to define meaningful boundaries and provide organization to the world around us. Environmental Presses Basing his some work on Jungian constructs, Murray (1938) introduced a powerful concept to understanding the impact of behavioral settings on behavior: environmental press. Essentially, the presses of an environment are those stimuli in a setting to which we must respond in some manner. Some presses are stronger than others: We are also more conscious of some than others. Murray distinguished between two types of presses. Alpha presses flow from the objective stimuli in an environment. Beta presses are our

individual interpreted views of alpha presses. Employing an old analogy, alpha presses concern the reality of a car accident and beta presses relate to the various eye-witness accounts of the tragedy. Individuals generate beta presses by selectively perceiving and evaluating alpha presses. And since, as Murray and many others after him have contended, we tend to formulate our behaviors from beta presses; one can begin to see the importance of an appreciation for individual perceptual and evaluative differences (...and the importance of using psychological type). Somewhere between alpha and beta exists a third level of press, however. Extending our analogy, as police officers investigate an accident, how do they figure-out what happened? In the face of a single accident, officers often confront a multitude of interpretations of it (different eye-witnesses perceive different things in the accident and evaluate them differently). To bridge this gap, the officers must rely on a consensus among the interpretations to approximate objective reality. As a group, what did the witnesses say? If the consensus is strong, the officers can be more confident about what transpired (especially if they make their own assessment of the objective cues from the environment, such as skid marks). To illustrate further, let us take the role of counselor to an INFP social worker who is complaining about being "stressed out". On one hand, we could make an objective accounting of the alpha presses facing her in the work setting: the number of clients, policies and procedures, etc. We could explore our client's personal interpretations of her job. Further (and this is often a powerful tool), we could tally the interpretations of the work setting from all the social workers in the agency. Taken together, these three pieces provide a rich picture of this individual's behavioral setting. From there, we can design an intervention that takes into account her introverted feeling disposition within the context of her work setting. Levels of Environments Returning to our social worker's problem, we have several several places where we can investigate. Through observation, we could assess the quality of her one-on-one interactions with clients. Perhaps it is her peer group that is causing problems. Maybe something is occurring at the agency-level, such as policy or procedures, that are over-challenging her. Possibly, she needs to reexamine her career choice and look for other areas to utilize her introverted feeling gifts. The impact of behavioral settings can be described/understood at different levels, ranging from immediate to distant. Focusing mostly on social interactions, we offer this ecological model of behavioral settings, where smaller micro-environments comprise increasingly complex, macro

settings. This model is an amalgam of environmental and cognitive developmental theories and approximates some of Bronfenbrenner's (1979) distinctions. The Interpersonal Level One behavioral setting in which we all must function concerns the me-and-you environment. This level provides a basic organizing context for individual behaviors. As a basic unit to social interactions, the interpersonal level can often be the most challenging and most supportive of all. For example, even in light of the complexities of a university setting, the interaction between a college student and his professor may offer a significant opportunity for problems (Provost, 1985). With "learning" as the expected behavioral outcome, where is the common ground between an introverted intuitive professor and the extraverted sensing college matriculate? As Provost's example suggests, assessment of this level of a behavioral environment can rely on exploration of individuals' psychological types and communication styles. Still, the nature of an interpersonal behavioral setting may transcend the two people in it. For instance, some marriages appear to be negotiated truces that do not seem congruent with either partner. Initially, obtaining spousal perceptions of the "marital environment" may be more important than giving them the MBTI (which certainly could be an asset to an intervention). The Group Level When other people are added to the picture, different situational dynamics are evidenced. By establishing norms and roles, group settings provide an organizing context for interpersonal interactions. When an individual fills a role, s/he has a standardized way to interact with individuals in the group. The establishment and maintenance of norms and roles help to define the unique characters of different groups. Not surprisingly, many staff team groups, which we have worked with in the past, have appeared to be environments that were congruent with feeling-oriented people. With high levels of camaraderie and collaboration, these teams

often maintained norms that dictated personal interactions outside of the workplace. Even in the face of some highlyformalized job descriptions, the informal roles adopted by members seemed consistent with their declarations of "We're just one big happy family around here!" At this environmental level, we begin to see measurable expressions of "group think" or consensus. Many of the techniques outlined in this document are amenable to use in these settings. As will be discussed below however, a group's shared view may not be directly ascertained from the people in it (e.g. with a type average). Other issues must be considered, particularly leadership and task. As a case in point, we encountered one staff team that clearly did not fit the "big happy family" model. They assessed their clinical staff team as thinking-oriented. Although the majority of members were feeling, the team was led by extraverted thinker. Additionally, even though they were all counselors, they spent a lot of time in staff meetings coping with broader agency policies. The informal comments about the "dysfunctional" nature of the team seemed consistent with person/environment incongruence. The Societal Level Some environments are better described as societies, where differing small groups coexist within the same behavioral context (e.g., departments in an agency). In all their varieties, "societies" can carry different labels: organizations, communities, or institutions. Whichever, a society maintains rules and/or traditions that mediate differences among constituent groups. By adopting its mores and rules, a individual can function within any number of groups within an society, as a "good citizen" or "model employee". When administering environmental assessments in a large setting, respondents will ask whether they should focus just on their own department or discuss the organization as a whole (implying the two may be different in some way). As Bridges (1992) has noted, functional areas within an organization may have very different dispositions which can come into conflict. Potentially, mapping departments

within an organization can be very revealing in light of overall organization presses. Continuing, the abovementioned clinical staff was one of two main departments which we examined within a single agency. The clinical department was often in conflict with the other department, which had a strong extraverted feeling disposition. The two departments disagreed on a variety of issues, ranging from petty arguments about "who does which form" to deeper and broader debates on "what are we trying to achieve around here". At the time of the contact with this agency, they were making a change in top leadership and rehashing the agency's mission. The Cultural Level At this broad level, the cultures that mediate the variety of societies and organizations in which people function can be explored. Our initial observations of human services occupations probably speak to the humanistic values and principles that undergird this employment area. In contrast, we could have focused on "big business" occupations that are more competitive and deterministic (e.g., banking and finance); or jobs in "the arts" that prize originality and creativity. Perhaps more difficult to assess with objective techniques, cultural presses can exert strong influences on individual behaviors at every environmental level. For example, belief in the power of the rational and objective "scientific method" as the best means to advance knowledge is quite pervasive in the social and physical sciences. This basic paradigm has governed the formation of our educational institutions, establishment of our peer and work groups, and to some extent, the quality of our interpersonal interactions (Possibly, this manner of influence embodies what Jung was suggesting in the collective power of the thinking function). About Environmental Assessment Techniques Whatever the environmental level, many practitioners seem to employ a form of de facto assessment in their applications of type theory. Since they know that human services occupations seem to attract more feeling-oriented individuals, they interpret this distribution to be an indication of the nature of those behavioral settings. So, when a

knowledgeable therapist is confronted with a feeling client in search of vocational counseling, the recommendation may be toward social work, teaching, counseling, etc. Certainly, nothing is wrong with this approach. The frequency of its successful use supports the strength of this technique. Still, what strategy does a therapist use in the case of our social worker, who loves her work, but is incredibly stressed and/or burned-out? On the surface, her introverted feeling appears to fit her chosen vocation, but she is still having problems. Could it be juggling a case load that requires involvement in the lives of numerous people? Could it be the detailed forms required by any number of individuals or agencies that oversee her work? Could it be growing number of rules and regulations that govern her work? Or, could it be simply the requirement to see clients in her office for a fixed amount time, once a week? In all these scenarios, the environment is providing significant cues to understanding the larger situation. The following environmental assessment approaches are offered to solve some of the problems suggested in this introduction. These techniques are grouped as either quantitatively and qualitatively oriented. In the former, three techniques that rely on standardized instruments and lend themselves to statistical analysis are discussed. In the latter group, four naturalistic techniques are discussed for their utility. Along the way, our own experiences and other selected projects as used to demonstrate these techniques in practice.

Quantitative Approaches to Environmental Assessment

This section of the paper concerns three techniques that lend themselves to quantitative assessments and studies of behavioral settings. By no means an exhaustive list, these three approaches were selected because of their conceptual relationship to psychological type and their ability to be used in conjunction with the MBTI and other such indicators. In general, quantitative approaches can provide valid and reliable methods to answer several questions about the natures of an environment. How do people in an environment view that environment? How do persons from different sub-groups within an environment compare on their views of the larger setting? How do different behavioral settings compare? What is the degree of change in an environment before and after an intervention is introduced? Before examining these approaches, one general observation should be made. As designed and used, these instruments attempt to remain "personality-free". For all their recognition of individual differences, these researchers assume that a diverse group of personalities see things basically the same (e.g., that an extravert and an introvert will recognize the same level of interpersonal involvement in a setting). Some research supports this basic assumption. Studies by Salter (1991) and Grandpr (1994) show surprising amounts of consensus among different psychological types about

shared situations. In each of these dissertations, groups of respondents were asked to provide their views of their shared behavioral settings (members of a staff team, students on a residence hall floor, etc.). Analyses indicated that knowledge of respondents' MBTI scores did not predict their views of a setting. The Social Ecological Approach Influenced by Murray's notion of "beta" press, Moos has described a means to examine the social ecology of environments and focuses on social climate. The social climate is the "personality" of an environment and is inferred from an aggregation perceptions from the people in the environment. He contends that we can rely on consensus to provide a picture of the setting's "personality", especially if participants have been in the setting for a while. Making an easy connection to type constructs, Moos contends that our perceptions and evaluations of the social climate influence our behaviors, attitudes, and physical and psychological health. His method can be employed understand behavioral outcomes such as a person's satisfaction, degree of community, performance within the community, growth and development within the community. As a measure, Moos' methods are often deployed at the group environmental level, but can be used in larger institutional/societal level environments. Making use of the interactional model, Moos concerns himself with the environmental and personal systems, comprised of different facts, that contribute to interaction. Moos' analysis of environments provides one means to understanding the different ways that they interact with the psychological types. The Environmental System Physical and Architectural Aspects Because so many behaviors upon which we focus have a psychosocial flavor, the physical/architectural aspects of a setting may ignored on occasion. Moos counsels that these components should be considered, especially the underlying assumptions behind them. For example, we can infer a great deal about the goals of education (or how it occurs) by simply examining the layouts of classroom settings. Which psychological types would prefer chairs-ina-row and which would prefer sitting in a circle? The physical/architectural aspects of an environment presents some interesting challenges to users of type constructs. Addressing the physical environment of offices, Williams, Armstrong and Malcolm, (1989) have pointedout the potential for problems when the type preferences of

interior designers do not match those of their clients. A recent study on the colors preferred by different types (Anderson, Rosen & Huston, 1994) has suggested however that some of the classic Jungian assumptions are not borne out by research (e.g., red with feeling). Human Aggregate An environment is transmitted by the people in it. Hence the people who populate a setting are important to understanding its nature. As one of the easier pieces to obtain, human aggregate profiles can be formulated by tallying any number of individual attributes (age, SEC, educational level). Then, assertions can be made about the nature of the behavioral setting. This approach to assessment is often employed in applications of type constructs, especially in group work. For example a staff team comprised of two thinkers and five feelers might be designated as having a feeling disposition. This common practice can be misleading, however. As Levy and Ridley (1987& noted, an "average type" may only be shared by a small percentage of the people in the group. Additionally, as was the case in the abovementioned clinical staff, the presses of a setting may have little to do with the people in it and more to do with other aspects of the environmental system. Organizational Factors What kinds of systems manage the environment? How does the environment change? Moos' identification of organizational factors in the environment fits nicely with the J/P dimension elaborated by Myers and Briggs. One primary organizational factor cited by Moos is size. Echoing this contention, Garden (1989) has noted the effects of organizational size in regard to the behavior of types. Other organizational factors which relate to type construct could include the level of innovation, control, involvement and clarity. Social Climate According to Moos, the social climate serves as the mediator of the other aspects of the environmental system. His assessment instruments seek to provide a picture of the

nature of the social climatethe personality of the environment. Elaborated below, Moos outlines three dimensions that are common to various social climates: the interpersonal relationships dimension, the personal growth dimension, and the systems maintenance and systems change dimension. The Personal System While his model of person/environment interaction is broad enough to include stylistic differences, such as those embodied in type theory, Moos also stresses the impact of cognitive development and psycho-social experiences when considering the "person variable". But, while his environment assessment tools focus on social climate, Moos has not offered a direct, objective means to understand differences among people. Instead, a view of the person can be indirectly inferred by introducing a distinction between "real" and "ideal" views of an environment. For the real environment view, respondents are asked to indicate their perceptions of the environment as it really is. Using the same basic response format, respondents can also indicate what they see would be the ideal environment for them. A discrepancy score between real and ideal is used not only to describe the person, but as a means to document incongruence. For example, an employee may indicate that there is very little traditional social orientation in her living environment and that she would prefer much more. We might say that she is socially oriented and incongruent with her living situation. Work-in-progress by Grandpr (1994) takes-up this issue by looking at psychological type as the mediating variable between real and ideal views of a setting. Apparently, the different types see their real living environments similarly on the University Residence Environment Scale (Moos & Gerst, 1974) or URES. When respondents were asked to indicate their "ideal" living environment, psychological type seem to be a good explanatory model. For example, intuitive seemed to want more opportunities for innovation that currently existed in the setting. Social Climate Assessment Beside the URES, Moos and his associates have developed other objective measures of social climate to be deployed in different situations: the Work Environment Scale (Insel & Moos, 1974), the Group Environment Scale (Moos & Humphrey, 1974), the Classroom Environment Scale (Moos & Trickett, 1974) and the Family Environment Scale (Moos & Moos, 1974). Their scales are detailed below. To facilitate our discussion of the three dimensions of social climates, URES scales have been presented within their dimension. Sample items are also provided, which are presented and scored as true/false.

The Interpersonal Relationship Dimension concerns the nature and intensity of personal relationships that are perceived to be present in a setting. They include the degree to which people are involved in an environment, support one another, help one another, and express themselves freely and openly.

Involvement: the degree of commitment to environment, amount of interaction and feeling of friendship.

Support: extent of manifest concern for others and emphasis on open and honest communication.

The Personal Growth Dimension addresses basic goals of environment and areas of selfgrowth and self-enhancement that tend to occur.

Independence: diversity of behaviors allowed.

Traditional Social Orientation: stress on dating, parties, etc.

Competition: degree to which behaviors are cast into a competitive framework.

Academic Achievement extent to which academic (in classroom) accomplishments and concerns are prominent.

Intellectuality: a broader view of life that emphasis on cultural, artistic, and scholarly activities (out of classroom).

The Systems Maintenance and Systems Change Dimension concerns the degree to which environment is orderly, has clear expectations, controls behavior and how it responds to change.

Order and Organization: formal structure

Student Influence: control over the environment

Innovation: organizational and individual spontaneity of behavior and ideas, number and variety of activities.

Other Social Climate assessment include the following scales:

Group Environment Scales Work Environment Scales Cohesion Involvement Leader support Peer Cohesion Expressiveness Supervisor Support Independence Autonomy Task Orientation Task Orientation Self-discovery Work Pressure Anger and Aggression Clarity Order and Organization Control

Leader Control Innovation Innovation Physical Comfort

Classroom Environment Scales Family Environment Scales Involvement Cohesion Affiliation Expressiveness Teacher Support Conflict Task Orientation Independence Competition Achievement Oriented. Order and Organization Intellectual/cultural Rule Clarity Recreational Oriented. Teacher Control Moral-religious Emp. Innovation Organization Control

Evaluation of the Social Ecological Approach

Positively, Moos' work is grounded in years of study in a variety of behavioral settings. His instruments continue to show acceptable levels of validity and reliability. Given the studies such as those by Barrett (1989), who used the Classroom Environment Scale; Grandpr with the URES and Salter (1991) with the Work Environment; type constructs seem to be easily combined with social climate measures to understand behavior within an interactional framework.

More negatively, as noted, Moos focuses primarily on environmental systems and their impact on the people within them. Equally detailed descriptions of the personal system and the effect that people have on the environment seems lacking (what is a "traditionally

socially oriented" student?). Furthermore, his discussions of interaction, especially in the form of human development, could be stronger.

Personality Types and Model Environments

Similar to Myers and Briggs original efforts, Holland's work (1985) merges vocational psychology with personality theory. Operating within an interactional framework, he contends that people's choices of vocations are expressions of their personalities, and as such, career interest inventories can serve as indicators of personality. To that end, he developed the Vocational Preference Inventory or VPI and the Self-Directed Search or SDS. By clustering different personal attributes gleaned from these instruments, he elaborated six personality types.

Realistic types like realistic jobs and tend to have strong mechanical skills.

Investigative types are found in occupations that require investigation and inquiry, as well as math and science skills.

Artistic types tend to be creative, intuitive and nonconforming; and prefer unstructured environments.

Social types prefer to work with people and groups, and exhibit strong social skills.

Enterprising types are found in occupations that fit their abilities to be aggressive, persuasive, and resourceful.

Conventional types like jobs that are traditional, routinized, and concrete.

Holland believes that our vocational stereotypes have reliable and important meanings. For example, a person's belief that accountants are precise provides a useful basis to understand that person's decision whether or not to become an accountant. Because workers in an occupation tend to be congruent with that occupation, we can view behavioral environments in the corresponding terms (as we did in our opening example of human services). Using the same six terms, he defined six model environments that parallel the personality types and are measured with the Environmental Assessment Technique or EAT.

Realistic environments require technical competence, realistic understanding of tasks, mechanical skills, and the ability to hand explicit and detailed activities.

Investigative environments require investigative skills, scientific achievement, abstract and original thinking, mathematical abilities, and the talent to manage complex tasks, independently.

Artistic environments require artistic abilities, creative and unconventional thinking, expression of personal characteristics, independence, and flexibility.

Social environments require engagement in social activities, social competence, altruistic acts, cooperation and collaboration, and a sensitivity to social values.

Enterprising environments require sales and promotion skills, self-confidence, social skills, and the ability to manage power, authority, and status.

Conventional environments require organizational skills, a conventional (conservative) viewpoint, orderliness, dependability and conformity. In Holland's hexagonal model, some types and environments are more closely related or consistent than others. For example, artistic types more consistent in their natures with social types than with conventional types. Additionally people or environments can be defined as differentiated if they resemble one particular dimensions; or poorly define or undifferentiated if they tend to embody characteristics of multiple types. Applying the

concept of congruence, Holland implies that at satisfying situation is a consistent person in a consistent environment.

Psychological and Environmental Types

In his writings, Jung often employed the term "collective" or "collective psyche" when discussing what we have used herein as consensual behavioral presses. As defined in Psychological Types (1971): "The antithesis of collective is individual." (para 692). Earlier in that same paragraph, Jung also suggested that the functions can have a collective quality: thinking with laws of logic or feeling with a general moral consciousness. Our own work in this area has been an attempt to refine and measure the "personality" of the collective psyche in a behavioral setting.

Also working within an interactional framework, environmental dimensions were defined to be consistent with constructs used in environmental psychology (Salter, in press-a, 1995a, 1991). Because of the relevance of psychological type to utilization of the interactional model, which we have noted above, it was not difficult to build an explanatory taxonomy of environments

The Dimension of Behavioral Environments

Like the psychological typology, this taxonomy1 describes four underlying dimensions that serve as the warp and weft of environmental types. Brief descriptions of these dimensions follow.

Extraversion and Introversion

When examining the differences in presses of environments, as related to extraversion and introversion, a type of duality is evidenced in the bipolar nature of the relative obtrusiveness of a setting. This pull/push of psychic energy by the environment has been tied directly to an individual's ability to make perceptions and interpretations (LevyLeboyer, 1982; Murray, 1938; Spoto, 1989). Again, this basic Jungian construct served as a foundation to Murray's seminal work on environmental presses (Little, 1987).

An extraverted environment would be one that is full of salient stimulus energy and requires the attention and participation of the people in it. This type of environment "pulls" people into it and openly manages the exchange of psychic energy. The environment serves as a catalyst for a broad array of events and actions. It may be loud, noisy, bright and social, not unlike some cocktail parties.

Conversely, an introverted environment, such as a library, would allow individuals to regulate the level of the stimulation that they receive. By pushing management of the exchange of psychic energy back to the person, this type of environment would be more facilitative of private actions and individual functioning. It might be described as subdued, quiet, sedate, and reserved.

Judging and Perceiving

As related to individual perception and evaluation, environments also exercise two interactive functions within the exchange: constructing a recognizable repertoire of elements and maintaining a predictable level of organization (Barker, 1968; LevyLeboyer, 1982; Magnusson & Allen, 1983). In other words, our individual perceptions must have some source of energy and our evaluations must make sense within the shared context.

Perceiving environments accentuate the elements that serve as sources of energy or stimulation. In some perceiving settings, the task of establishing a repertoire could be sufficiently challenging as to thwart any efforts at maintaining a consistent reality.

Disorder and change would be conspicuous. As is sometimes the case with newly formed groups, environmental perception can provide opportunity and/or confusion.

A judging environment would manifest orderliness and/or plannedness of the setting, both in operation and organization. Environmental systems (e.g., laws or customs) would function to maintain a coherent, collective reality. Occasionally, these systems could be so pervasive as to possess a life of their own. Modifying a judging reality could be difficult, if not impossible, in some instances.

Sensing and Intuition

The distinguishing characteristic of these two perceptive environmental functions appears to follow the convergence/divergence dichotomy suggested by Argyle (1981). In order that individuals are able to interact with it, does the environment require them to step-up and "sense the trees" or to step-back and "intuit the forest"?

The direct stimulus energy offered by existent environmental elements ( e.g., people, things, facts, or values) drives the sensing environment, and no movement occurs beyond them. Elements are identified for their immediate, practical applications and honed to the task. A primitive judging process would attempt to facilitate efficiency of operation, but might be quite tedious to learn.

By contrast, intuitive environments diverge from a focus on existent elements. Instead, energy flows from the broader relationships among elements. Diversity and experimentation would serve to stimulate continued generation of new environmental intuitions. Change may occur often because the "tried and true" would be rejected as confining. Creativity would be aided by a loose and simplistic judging reality.

Thinking and Feeling

For people to be able to make judgments, an environment must have an underlying set of rules that govern operation (Barker, 1969; Levy-Leboyer, 1982). Argyle (1981) alluded

to two approaches for maintaining reality within an environment. One is the predominantly accepted, logical/ empirical approach to truth. The other is the lesser discussed, value-oriented pole on the scale.

A thinking environment contains objective sets of logical operations that are based on a central, depersonalized truth or science. In the hierarchical thinking environment, psychic energy is treated as a finite resource. As in the business world, rewards are dispersed to those individuals who can "climb the ladder" and acquire "the biggest slice of the pie". Competitiveness, skepticism and distrust might also be conspicuous.

Feeling environments on the other hand would stress connectiveness in making judgments. These settings are concerned with values and interpersonal interactions. A basic trust and warmth, which is unexpressed in a thinking environment, might be evidenced. In a feeling environment, psychic energy is an infinite resource because it can always be generated through new or strengthened connections. This type of environment might be described as socially-oriented, humanistic, or sentimental.

Building on these dimensions, eight environmental types have been formulated to be consistent with Jung's psychological types (Salter, 1993). They are appropriately metaphorical. The reader should note that these environmental types are speculative and meant to guide subsequent exploration of this area. To move toward an interactional view of Jungian theory, each type includes a description of the setting, its goals, workplaces where we might expect to see this type, and a description of a "leader" in each.

Introverted Sensing Type: in the Workshop, energy flows from the primal nature of an element. The goal is to repair or restore it to its pristine or original quality (museums, hospitals). The Craftsman is skilled in the ways of the element and the tools of the trade.

Introverted Intuitive Type: in the Inner Sanctum, energy flows from the undiscovered relationships between unrelated elements. The goal is to divine the mystical intuitions (academia, artist's studio). The Magician dabbles in these magical relationships for good/evil purposes.

Introverted Feeling Type: in the Church, energy flows out from the hidden web that connects all things. The goal is to access this energy by belief in the greater good (social work, religious vocations). The Cleric enlightens and guides others about life's basic, unrevealed truths.

Introverted Thinking Type: in the Laboratory, energy flows from the science by which the entire universe operates. The goal is to solve the universal equation (engineering, farming). The Scientist can determine the best methodologies and can judge results.

Extraverted Sensing Type: at the Party, energy flows directly from the existent elements in the world around us. The goal is to experience their richness and glory (supermarket, restaurants). The Hostess controls the party, including the guest list and the entertainment.

Extraverted Intuitive Type: in the Classroom, energy flows from the fact that relationships can be used to build new ones. The goal is to learn about our complex world (schools, journalism). The Teacher can change theory into fact and guide the learning experience.

Extraverted Thinking Type: in the Business, energy flows from the consistent logic by which all things are ordered. The goal is to climb to the top of the thinking pyramid (business offices, military). The Boss understands and employs the system to the benefit of all in the business.

Extraverted Feeling Type: in the Family, energy flows from the bonds that connect elements, especially people. The goal is to form and strengthen bonds and connections (social groups, staff teams). The Parent brings others into the family and determines their places within it.

The Salter Environmental Type Assessment

The Salter Environment Type Assessment (Salter, in press-b) was designed to operationalize the taxonomy. Unlike items on the Social Climate Assessments, which are artifacts of factor analysis, SETA items were rationally-produced to be indicators of the four proposed dimensions of environments. Environmetric studies of the SETA show it to be as reliable as MBTI and to a relatively valid measure of the dimensions (Salter, in press-a, 1995b, 1991). Its generic design, allows it to be used in a variety of behavioral settings. And, as with the two abovementioned approaches, the SETA appears best suited for group and societal levels.

Evaluation of Environmental Types and the SETA

For users of psychological type constructs, a primary benefit of this approach is its consistency with the MBTI. Both instruments offer similar four-letter profiles that can then be juxtaposed against each other, as was done in Karras' (1990) study of work settings, Van Rooyen (1997) examination of organizations, and Salter's (in press-c, 1996, 1994) on-going assessments of classroom environments. This approach also adds structure to an informal process and provides devotees of Jung's work a more comprehensive model of human behavior.

The major drawback is that this approach is new. Where Moos' and Holland's instruments have received years of testing with thousands of subjects over decades, the SETA (in all its forms) has only been used with +1300 individuals over the past several years. While we believe that early assessment of this method shows it to hold significant potential, more refined and testing are indicated.

Qualitative Approaches to Environmental Assessment

Not every assessment situation requires or allows for deployment of an objective measure. Often, practitioners must rely on naturalistic techniques to assess and adapt behavioral environments. With their ascendancy in the social sciences, qualitative methods have been recognized for their abilities identify new areas of study and to provide insights into research questions.

Because an inquirer is often the primary assessment tool, qualitative assessment techniques mandate a thorough understanding of Jungian theory, however. For example, the positive outcomes that were achieved in the examples discussed below (e.g., Bridges, 1992; Schroeder & Jackson, 1991), were probably a direct result of their years of experience with type constructs.

Case Studies

As a "qualitative researcher" before the term was coined, Jung's investigations typify the case study approach to understanding a phenomena. Psychological Types was written to account for the range of behaviors he discerned in his patients (as well as Freud and Adler).

A case study is a focused accounting of an isolated phenomenon. Rigorous study of a single person within a particular behavioral setting could lend insights into the natures of each. As in many of Jung's reported cases, this approach fits well with interventions for a single individual. The introverted feeling social worker, upon whom we have focused through this paper, serves as an example of this approach to environmental assessment.

Because it makes fewer theoretical assumptions about the nature of interaction, a case study approach can lend insights into a person's world that no objective measure can achieve. Furthermore, study of interactions over time could certainly reveal insights into the negotiation that occurs between the person and the environment called devolvement. Often, a more quantitative technique only provides a snapshot of a situation.

One suggested drawback to many naturalistic techniques, especially the case study approach, is generalizability. How far can we extend a case study on one introverted feeling social worker's workplace? Nonetheless, while we may be more comfortable generalizing our findings after years of experience with many cases (as Jung did), an intervention with this social worker may not need to extend beyond her own view of the situation. (In actuality, the need to "generalize our findings" may be a cultural press of the quantitative research environment!)


To develop his theory of cognitive development, Jean Piaget, made simple observations of his own and other children and how the environment helped them develop. Barker (1969) also used this approach in his large-scale examinations of behavioral settings (e.g. focusing on an entire town!) Again, making few assumptions, these researchers recognized that studying people in their "natural habitats" can often lend insights that are unobtainable any other way. Given the fact that Jungian theory encompasses unconscious acts, observation of individuals in the situation seems especially cogent.

Previous work by Schroeder and Jackson (1991) illustrates the power of this technique. From their years of experience in student housing and psychological type, they discerned those aspects of residence hall environments that seemed incongruent (or non-existent) with intuitives. Years of observation, coupled with an understanding of type theory, also strengthens Bridges' (1992) assertions about organizational climates. In both scenarios, these practitioners were able to make effect inventions.

One advantage to observational studies can be conservation of time and resources. Administering and debriefing any of the quantitative instruments noted above can involve substantial person-hours on the part of the participants and the investigator. Furthermore, if young children are the targets of our interventions, observation may be the only viable approach to understanding their behavioral environments.

Observer/researcher bias is a complicating factor to both qualitative and quantitative assessment techniques, however. Naturalistic techniques may be especially prone to this problem, as they rely heavily on human observers (who cannot be standardized and factor-analyzed!). Because of its explanatory potency, the temptation to use psychological type as an "all purpose solution" should always be considered in observational studies.


An insightful comment was made by a participant during one environmetric study of the SETA. A staff of preschool teachers had, as a group, indicated that their work

environment had presses toward environmental extraversion, intuition, feeling, and perception. As if to provide verification of her incongruence, one ISTJ teacher stated in the debriefing session that: "every time I figure out the best way to do something (her educational interventions), they ask me to try something new." The affect in her comment only underscored its prophetic aspect: she has since quit.

In the interview approach, a researcher directly asks individuals about a behavioral environment. The questioning can be very open-ended, and thus, allow for any number of unanticipated and/or insightful responses. On the other hand, an interviewer(s) may use a prepared set of questions. Structuring the interview process often makes it easier to use multiple interviewers.

With perception and evaluation as cornerstones of the interactive process, we are called upon to explore a person's personal experience of an environment. As is often the case, the information is gleaned from an interview can be quite useful. On the other, the contrived quality of an interview may affect the quality of the response. If an employee feels pressured to provide the "situationally correct" responses, vital information may be tainted. Furthermore, the pros and cons of flexible and structured interview questions must be weighed against the goals for them.


In a sense, our initial look at Appendix D in the MBTI manual offers a nonexperimental approach to studying the interactions of environments and psychological types. By scrutinizing this archival data, we can get a picture of the person/environment interaction.

A correlation provides a view of the relationship between factors: for example, a feelingorientation and human services These data are naturalistic, in so much as no experimental situation was used to assign psychological types to different vocations. Correlational studies are interesting in that they can yield both qualitative (direction) and quantitative (magnitude) information.

Positively, sources for archival type data are numerous and growing daily. Beyond the expanding number of research articles documenting distributions of types within

particular behavior settings, the MBTI Atlas is one excellent resource. In our practices, many of us obtain MBTI scores on clients, students, employees that can be rich sources of information.

A well-recognized problem with correlational data concerns causality: just because two phenomena correlate does not mean that one causes of the other. Still, issues of causality raise one problem in applications of the interactional model. Often, we find ourselves in a "chicken/egg" scenario: trying to determine whether the person or the environment is the primary causal variable to understanding. It is probably best to focus on the interactional process (how chickens procreate?) to explaining behavior.


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