Date of Award

Fall 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Engineering Management & Systems Engineering

Committee Director

Charles B. Daniels

Committee Member

Pilar Pazos-Lago

Committee Member

Ariel Pinto

Committee Member

Virgen R. Wells


Leadership is perhaps the single most important function within the Department of Defense. While the old cliché “everyone is a leader regardless of position” may hold moral meaning, personnel in leadership positions are key. Under the umbrella of leadership is decision making. What leadership is to an organization, decision making is to leadership. Yet, despite this knowledge, unsound decisions are readily conducted. There are various theories as to why this holds true, one of which is personality type. Research however, shows that there is a limited amount of relevant knowledge to determine if there is in fact a significant statistical relationship between personality type and (leadership) decision making style, specifically within the Department of Defense.

The primary purpose of this study is to evaluate leadership personnel in the Department of Defense environment to determine if there is a direct relationship between the dominant mental functions of preferred individual personality types and decision making styles. This study may support Carl Jung’s personality theory to which states that a person’s core personality (mental preference) remains constant throughout his/her lifetime.

Findings show that there is a strong correlation between the mental functions of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and the decision making styles of the Decision Style Inventory. When observing as a unit, S/T personality types showed preference toward behavioral and directive decision making styles, S/F personality type showed preference with the behavioral decision making style and N/T showed preference toward the analytical decision style. Neither the N/F personality function nor the conceptual decision style showed strong preference. This result may be due to the lack of sample size for each component.

Specific finding shows that specific MBTI functions displayed correlation with specific decision making styles. There were correlations with both the sensing and intuition functions with the directive decision making style. There were also very strong correlations with the thinking and feeling functions with the behavioral decision style. Moreover, the thinking mental function showed correlation with the analytical decision style as well.

The results from this research is important because can provide organizations with the knowledge to understand how individual personality types can influence individual leadership decision making styles.