Founded from Experience
Roger W. Birkman, Ph.D. (1919-2014) became interested in the personality differences between people while serving as a pilot and pilot instructor for the U.S. Air Force in the 1940s.
His experience with the impact that perceptions – both visual and interpersonal – had on pilot performance and student learning led him to the study of psychology.
From these beginnings, Dr. Birkman set out to measure the human characteristics he saw influencing perceptions, behaviors, and motivations. By 1950, Dr. Birkman had developed a unique method of assessment that would come to be known as The Birkman Method.
To bring his unique methodology to people, he founded Birkman & Associates in 1951, which started our story of impacting lives through positive psychology.
Dr. Birkman’s passion for understanding people and helping them create better relationships, better careers, and better lives continues to be the mission of Birkman International today.
Impacting Lives Around the World
In the more than 60 years since our organization was founded, our goal has been quality and excellence, both scientifically and professionally.
Much time, effort, and resources go in to making sure that Birkman behavioral assessments are reliable and valid and that the technology that delivers them is fast, secure, and accessible 24/7.
Beginning as a paper and pencil “Test of Social Comprehension”, The Birkman Method was first computerized in the mid-1960s on an IBM 1401. Around this same time, Roger met Roy B. Mefferd, Jr., Ph.D., a pioneer in the space between psychology and physiology, and a talented statistician. Dr. Mefferd brought new levels of prediction and accuracy to The Birkman Method. He would serve as Birkman’s lead researcher into the 1990s.
By the mid-1970s Birkman had moved to computer punch cards and then onto tape, allowing for higher volumes of assessment processing through faster scoring. Around this time, a second important researcher joined the organization. Tim Sadler, Ph.D., a student of Mefferd’s, would contribute important product development, research and research leadership until the early 2000s.
In the late 1970s Birkman moved to an IBM 4300 Group 1 mainframe that further increased the volume and speed of scoring. The decades that followed would bring additional scientific and technical evolutions to Birkman, including the use of PCs in the early 1980s, software in the 1990s, and then web-based in the early 2000s.
Advancing the Field
Our Research and Development department continues the mission of scientific quality and excellence through ongoing internal research and collaborations with business and academia. The Birkman Information Technology group advances the mission of professional quality and excellence through new technology to deliver services and reporting faster and more efficiently across the world.
In 2002, after 50 years as President and CEO, Dr. Roger Birkman appointed his eldest daughter, Sharon Birkman, as President and CEO. Sharon continues in this role today providing leadership and vision for Birkman International.
Sharon’s daughter, Amy Shepley, is also carrying forward the legacy of Dr. Birkman, leading our product innovations team and pushing Birkman to stay at the cutting-edge of the behavioral assessments field.