Pigeonholing Goes Corporate

YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF enneagrams? You may soon. This system of personality analysis, once faddish pop psychology, is becoming a personnel tool for Corporate America. The enneagram (pronounced any-a-gram) system, whose origins are obscure, types people into nine personality groups, using a written test. It's similar to the oft-used Myers-Briggs test, but enneagram fans say their test is more in-depth.

Greek for "nine" and "drawing," the enneagram is a nine-pointed star with a personality type at each point. Every type has pluses and minuses. A One, or Perfectionist, is conscientious but can't handle criticism. An Eight, the Asserter, is energetic--plus abrasive. Knowing your own and others' numbers is supposed to make both bosses and underlings cooperate better.

For $1,000 a participant, Doyle-Farley in Hartford conducts five-day programs at Hewlett-Packard and other companies. Says Dominick Robertson, who had 20 people from the HP division he heads take the course, it's better "to talk about your type than about aspects of your personality that irritate me."

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