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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


The Intuitive Learner: Making Sense of Ambiguity

Dr. Karla M. Back.

This exploratory study investigates the impact that an individual’s personality type has on his/her ability to perform tasks that have a high level of ambiguity.
The nature of organizational settings and strategies is often ambiguous. Work processes such as information technology, logistics systems, and project management are typical contexts that create ambiguity in the workplace. In these environments individuals are expected to excel, yet some are more successful than others in sorting through the clutter, selecting clear direction, and setting effective priorities in accomplishing their goals. The researchers hypothesize that specific personality types preferences are best suited for effectively managing within complex work environments.
. Many valid tools used for assessing various dimensions of personality types exist today. Of these, the Jung-based Myers-Briggs (MBTI) typology is arguably the most popular style indicator. The authors collected data using a combined approach of student MBTI style scores and their ability to solve specific questions within an ambiguous project management scenario.
Results indicate partial support for the hypothesis that individuals who possess a strong Intuitive style preference on the MBTI are more inclined to deal more effectively with ambiguous situations. This research points to the need for additional study into the role that personality style plays in an individual’s performance.within an organization.


Dr. Karla M. Back  (United States)
Assistant Professor in Technology Project Management
College of Technology Department of Information & Logistics Technology
University of Houston - University Park

Dr. Karla Back is an Assistant Professor in the Masters Degree Technology Project Management in the College of Technology at the University of Houston – University Park. Her scholarly interests include: developing technology leaders; action and reflective learning in project teams; systems thinking methodologies; and engagement as a performance improvement tools.

  • Making Sense of Ambiguity
  • Intuition and Learning in Organizations
  • Personality Types and Work Preferences
  • People in Technology Project Management
  • Systems Thinking
  • MBTI

(Virtual Presentation, English)