OPP company history

From a small business psychology consultancy to a leading European force in personality assessment

OPP started out as a modest set-up, with company founder Robert McHenry pursuing an interest in the burgeoning occupational psychology field. The company is now one of the foremost experts in personality assessments in Europe.

OPP has 25 years of experience in personality assessment and bringing psychological insights to the workplace.

It all started with Dr Robert McHenry, a professor in Experimental Psychology at Oxford University, and his interest in how people saw and judged each other. What followed was a business that flowered from cottage industry to a global organisation entrusted with the sole European rights to distribute some of the most well respected personality assessments on the market, including the MBTI® and FIRO® instruments.

1970s: Ground-breaking business psychology

  • Robert is commissioned by an American company specialising in pipeline equipment and services, using psychometric tools to improve their recruitment processes and ongoing development 
  • The MBTI, FIRO-B and CPI® tools are used – Robert’s research leads him to write to the creator of the CPI, Harrison Gough, who had founded CPP, Inc in 1956, to express his enthusiasm about the CPI 
  • Impressed, Gough agrees to support Robert in a research project on the CPI 

1980s: Personality assessment with personality

  • Robert sets up a consultancy business and starts using psychometric tools and other techniques with businesses 
  • He brings in a staff of skilled team members – in particular Betsy Kendall, a former student of his whom he bumps into again when their bicycles collide on a cobbled street in Oxford! 
  • From Robert’s living room, Betsy and associate Sally Carr work together on a series of research projects for consulting clients, and build further links with US test publisher CPP 
  • Oxford Psychologists Press is founded in 1989, after Robert and Betsy wow CPP with a conference presentation and convince CPP that more could be done to support people using the MBTI, CPI and FIRO tools in the UK 
  • Respected MBTI experts from the US travel to the UK to work alongside Betsy and Sally in running MBTI qualification training; OPP is in the apprenticeship of MBTI gurus Al Hammer, Jean Kummerow, Nancy Barger, Naomi Quenk, Sandra Hirsh and Linda Kirby – all of whom have written some of the biggest selling books on the MBTI tool 
  • OPP starts distributing questionnaires for CPP to UK clients 

1990s: High-quality psychology tools for Britain and beyond

  • OPP introduces new rules for customers to be eligible to buy the MBTI tool, requiring them to take qualifying training, even if they have a Psychology degree. This is a fairly controversial step, but cements the credibility and focus on excellence in the MBTI brand 
  • The company expands to include a dedicated Research and Development team, responsible for collecting data on core instruments MBTI, FIRO-B and CPI, developing European validations of the questionnaires, and proving that the tools work well in the UK and rest of Europe 
  • CPP’s psychology tools are available in the UK solely through OPP’s distribution agreement 

2000s: The bright future of psychometric publishing

  • In 2001, OPP becomes the sole distributor for all of CPP’s personality assessment tools across all of Europe, opening offices in Paris and Amsterdam
  • OPP develops translations of the MBTI Step I and II, and FIRO-B questionnaires into European languages, ensuring they are fully validated and meet industry standards, and reaches a whole new client base 
  • OPP introduces online administration of its psychometric tools via the OPPassessment platform 
  • OPP acquires two companies in the US: IPAT, who own the world-renowned 16PF questionnaire, and Hilson, who own a series of public safety and security assessments. The 16PF portfolio is extensively researched, updated and modernised, with new products and languages added 
  • As the decade unfolds OPP continues to add new European translations to the CPP product portfolio 

2010s: a bright future for psychometric assessment

  • Robert steps down as CEO to focus on new ventures, including a new project that integrates personality assessment with social media. He is succeeded by Dr Penny Moyle, a business psychologist who has worked for OPP in many different capacities since joining the company in 1999 
  • OPP continues to expand globally, with large multinational clients working with the MBTI and other tools at all levels of their business
  • OPP consultancy services continue to flourish, delivering projects to public and private sector clients, leveraging the deep expertise in OPP tools along with robust psychological theories and methods
  • The company establishes an Alliance Partner programme to recognise and reward business consultancies throughout Europe that put OPP’s psychometrics at the heart of their service offering
  • OPP launches the Emotional Judgment Inventory™ (EJI), a robust measure of emotional intelligence 
  • IPAT, the company’s US operation, and the 16PF and Hilson portfolios are acquired by PAN (Performance Assessment Network) 
  • OPP develops the MBTI Development Journey, supported by a Learning Journey, to encourage end users to make the most of MBTI Type knowledge
  • Typies, Personal Typies and Team Typies are developed, providing a visually engaging and informative reference for each of the 16 personality Types and Step II profiles 
  • In 2016, OPP is acquired by CPP – The Myers-Briggs® Company and its founder, Robert McHenry retires from the business

People remain at the heart of the OPP success story, with the company gaining the Investors in People accreditation in 2009, 2011 and again in 2013, and with a talented, committed staff in Oxford and Continental Europe. Since its inception, OPP has been committed to unlocking the potential of individuals and businesses with psychometrics, and with over 20,000 customers worldwide, we believe that, in OPP’s hands, business psychology has a future as bright as its past.