This working paper presents the results of an indirect assessment of the personality of Kim Jong-un, supreme leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, conducted 2013–2018 from the conceptual perspective of personologist Theodore Millon.
Psychodiagnostically relevant data about Kim was collected from open-source media reports and synthesized into a personality profile using the Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria (MIDC), which yields 34 normal and maladaptive personality classifications congruent with DSM–III–R, DSM–IV, and DSM–5.
The personality profile yielded by the MIDC was analyzed in accordance with interpretive guidelines provided in the MIDC and Millon Index of Personality Styles manuals. Kim’s primary personality patterns were found to be Outgoing/gregarious and Dominant/ controlling, supplemented by secondary Ambitious/confident, Dauntless/adventurous, and Accommodating/cooperative features. Given his Outgoing–Dominant primary personality composite, Kim may be classified as a high-dominance extravert.
Outgoing individuals are dramatic attention‑getters who thrive on being the center of social events, go out of their way to be popular with others, and are confident in their social skills; they may have an impulsive tendency and be prone to boredom. Dominant individuals enjoy the power to direct others and to evoke obedience and respect; they can be tough and unsentimental and often make effective leaders. Ambitious individuals are bold, competitive, and self-assured; they easily assume leadership roles, expect others to recognize their special qualities, and may act as though entitled. Dauntless individuals tend to flout tradition, conventional standards, and cultural mores, dislike following routine, and may act impulsively and recklessly; they are resistant to coercion and may exhibit a strong need for autonomy and self-determination. Accommodating individuals are notably cordial, cooperative, and amicable; they are willing to adapt their preferences to be compatible with those of others, to reconcile differences to achieve peaceable solutions, and to concede or compromise when necessary.
Kim Jong-un’s major personality-based leadership strength is a distinctly outgoing tendency, supplemented by an accommodating inclination, a fitting descriptive label for which would be congenial–cooperative. Leaders possessing this personal quality can be expected to be jovial, socially gregarious, agreeable, accommodating, and obliging in their relationships with others; they are characteristically gracious, neighborly, and benevolent, preferring to avoid conflict and seek harmony with others. These attributes could serve North Korea well with respect to greater openness in the international arena.
Copyright © 2018 by Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics / Aubrey Immelman
Immelman, A. (2018, April). The personality profile of North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un (Working Paper No. 2.0). Collegeville and St. Joseph, MN: St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict, Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics. Retrieved from Digital Commons website: https://digitalcommons.csbsju.edu/psychology_pubs/119/
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