Office Politics

Today, we somehow got to discussing office politics.

Not office politics as in the back-stabbing subterfuge that any group of people who are a “team” will be familiar with, but office politics as in the political viewpoints of the people in that “team”.

Partially reflecting my deep seated desire to quantify and record things,  and partially reflecting the fact that it was the first really nice day in a while (the kind where everyone gets bitten by the Procrastination Bug) I decided it would be “fun for everyone” if they took a look at the Political Compass website and took the test on it, to see how left/right wing they were and how socially liberal/authoritarian they were.


As you can see, we should definitely be bloc voting Green at the next election, and some of us seem to be quite likely to be the ones storming barricades and putting people against the wall when the revolution comes.

One of the group then suggested we assess our Autistic Quotient. Whilst doing the test we noted that some of the questions seemed to have an unfair bias against CHSTM PhD students, (like: “I am fascinated by dates” or “I would rather go to a library than to a party” and , “I like to collect information”) so we thought those results would be quite interesting.

Turns out that in spite of this, we’re only slightly more autistic than subjects in the control group for the original study (with a mean score of 23.3). With scores ranging between 17 and 32 though, the mean is a bit vague – you can see for yourself where you come compared to the original subjects and read the full article (which is actually very interesting) here.

To round off what was rapidly becoming an exercise in proving why I’d got the highest score on the Autistic Quotient, I decided it would be a good idea to see what kind of Myers-Briggs Type Indicators we favoured (largely because they were recently rubbished by French Graphologists in this BBC article).

Given the vastly different personalities in our office, it was surprising to discover that we had: 2 ENFJs, 2 INFJs and only one ‘deviant’ from the NFJ ‘norm’, an ISTJ.

For those of you not familiar with the ridiculousness which are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicators
ENFJ stands for Extroverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging and their personalities are usually characterised as The Teacher
INFJ stands for Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging and their personalities are usually characterised as The Counsellor
ISTJ stands for Introverted Sensing Thinking Judging and their personalities are usually characterised as The Inspector

However ridiculous these tests might be, and particularly the test that we took, we thought that compared to some of the other categories available such as The Commander we’d done quite well.

So, what kind of person do you need to be in order to be a successful CHSTM PhD student?

Well, you need to be socially liberally, economically left-wing, slightly more autistic than an “average Joe”, and vaguely introverted (the ENFJ people still like peace and quiet apparently).

Obviously we need an n of more than 5 for this to be statistically significant, but we’re artsy-fartsy so really I shouldn’t be talking about n like I know what it means (but then again, I didn’t do A-Level Biology for nothing).

If anyone reading this does the tests please let me know and I’ll update the stats, who knows maybe one day n will grow up enough to be statistically significant.

One of our recent graduates @ImogenClarke has just informed me of her results. She increases the diversity of our personalities somewhat (being INTJ Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging: supposedly she is now our over-lord (over-lady?) The Mastermind)
Given that the graph is a painted up version of Excel and I can’t be bothered to edit the whole thing just for one score, I’ll stick it down here in numbers, and if we get some more stats (or I get really bored) then I’ll re-do the graph and the mean – or if enough recent graduates take the test we’ll have one mean for current students and another for ex-students.
Left/Right: -8.50
Libertarianism/Anarchism: -7.79


One of our current students has caught up and done the politics compass test. As you can see the additional data point hasn’t done much for our politics except making one of us even more close to being the political average.

Post by Stuart Butler (with the kind assistance of other CHSTM PhDs and the Procrastination Bug).


2 thoughts on “Office Politics

  1. Vanessa says:

    Perhaps you should start trying to score emeriti to see how things have changed over time? (I’m a -9 -6.5; a 13; an ENTJ or, er, ‘Commander’ oops).

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