It started as a way of determining who would be more likely to develop heart disease, but the idea of a type B personality as opposed to a type A personality is a rather complex and controversial one. While it is sometimes referred to as the Jacob Goldsmith Theory, it has often been used incorrectly to categorize people into virtual stereotypes by how they choose to approach work and life.
Generally speaking there are two basic types; A and B (recently there has been talk of a type D personality, but there has been less research done on this). The theory was developed in the 1950s by two cardiologists, Meyer Friedman and R. H. Rosenham, but has since been challenged in medical journals, casting doubt on the theory in general. Although it is worth noting that the business world has largely embraced the theory in spite of the medical challenges to its veracity. Here are the main differences between a type A personality and a type B personality.
- Work goals. While Type As generally strive for difficult tasks, often finding satisfaction in being pushed to reaching goals others cannot while a type B personality generally works at a relaxed pace, getting assignments done on time, but places less importance on exceeding goals rather than meeting them.
- Competitive vs. laid back. Type As thrive on a highly competitive environment, like advertising or a technology start-up and can be known for creating circumstances that lead to a competitive environment among their co-workers, while the type B personality prefers a more relaxed work place, where a higher value us placed on creativity and innovation than the end result.
- Results-driven vs. creative. Type As are more competitive in both a personal and work setting, which also leads them to be prone to stress-related behaviors and diseases than a type B personality. A type B personality, who will take more time developed a comprehensive solution is often less susceptible to stress-related illness and injury.
- Physical fitness vs. mental fitness. As a result of the increased possibility of stress-induced illness and injury, type As will be more focused on their physical appearance and health than a type B personality. This is not to say the a type B personality is slovenly about their appearance and health, but that it is tends to tale more of a secondary role in relation to their mental and psychological sense of well-being.