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Do Supply Chain Professionals Have Personality?

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

Unlike some, I did not learn about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test on a dating app. Our strategic sourcing team used it as a tool to understand each colleague’s preferences and styles better. I can’t comment on any meta-analysis or the current stance of psychology or human resources on this model. Still, anecdotally, our team thought it was a good tool to improve how we worked with each other.

To summarize, the MBTI test assigns one of two types to four categories:

1. (I)ntroversion or (E)xtraversion (how you derive your energy);

2. (S)ensing or I(N)tuition (how you take in information);

3. (T)hinking or (F)eeling (how you prefer to make decisions); and

4. (J)udging or (P)erceiving (how you orient to the environment).

Each person will lean towards one of the two types in each of the 4 categories. There is a total combination of 16 personality types that can be assigned.

Your personality can play a part in your career preferences. If you are reading this, you may be wondering if you are a good fit for supply chain management. I cannot tell you this but a poll with 1787 professionals from the Institute of Supply Management showed that the most common type was ESTJ with 21% of the total while a study published by PersonalityMax showed that the overall population for this type is only around 8.7%. If all 16 types are equally distributed, each type would consist of 6.25% of the population.

ESTJs are referred to as the “Executive” or the “Guardian”. This personality type likes tradition and order. They are decisive and focus on getting things done while using clear standards and systems. A downside of this type is that they may be seen as too rigid and overlook others’ needs...sounds like the procurement stereotype to me!

As an INTP, which overlaps with ESTJ in only one category, I still enjoy this line of work. I don’t think there are perfect predictors when it comes to human behaviour, the more important part is that we think about it. A follow-up question I have after preference is regarding performance. Are there personality types that perform better at certain functions? I know recruiting departments sometimes use personality tests to help find matches. Are they company/team/culture/function specific? Are they successful? If you have insight, please share it in the comments section below.


Mitchell, P (2015, March 25). Procurement’s Personality Revealed! And it’s a Clear Winner. Spend Matters.

PersonalityMax. Distribution of Personality Types in Percentages.


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