View stunning SlideShares in full-screen with the new iOS app!Introducing SlideShare for AndroidExplore all your favorite topics in the SlideShare appGet the SlideShare app to Save for Later — even offline
View stunning SlideShares in full-screen with the new Android app!View stunning SlideShares in full-screen with the new iOS app!
Maslow's hierarchy of needs
Maslow's hierarchy of needs is predetermined in order of importance.It is often depicted
as a pyramid consisting of five levels: the first lower level is being associated with
Physiological needs, while the top levels are termed growth needs associated with
psychological needs. Deficiency needs must be met first. Once these are met, seeking to
satisfy growth needs drives personal growth. The higher needs in this hierarchy only
come into focus when the lower needs in the pyramid are met. Once an individual has
moved upwards to the next level, needs in the lower level will no longer be prioritized. If
a lower set of needs is no longer being met, the individual will temporarily re-prioritize
those needs by focusing attention on the unfulfilled needs, but will not permanently
regress to the lower level. For instance, a businessman at the esteem level who is
diagnosed with cancer will spend a great deal of time concentrating on his health
(physiological needs), but will continue to value his work performance (esteem needs)
and will likely return to work during periods of remission.
 Deficiency needs
The lower four layers of the pyramid are what Maslow called "deficiency needs" or "Dneeds". With the exception of the lowest needs, physiological ones, if the deficiency
needs are not met, the body gives no indication of it physically, but the individual feels
anxious and tense. These deficiency needs are: physiological, safety and security, love
and belonging, and esteem.
For the most part, physiological needs are obvious - they are the literal requirements for
human survival. If these requirements are not met (with the partial exception of sex), the
human body simply cannot continue to function.
Physiological needs include:
With their physical needs relatively satisfied, the individual's safety needs take over and
dominate their behavior. These needs have to do with people's yearning for a predictable,
orderly world in which injustice and inconsistency are under control, the familiar
frequent and the unfamiliar rare. In the world of work, these safety needs manifest
themselves in such things as a preference for job security, grievance procedures for
protecting the individual from unilateral authority, savings accounts, insurance policies,
and the like.
For the most part, physiological and safety needs are reasonably well satisfied in the
"First World". The obvious exceptions, of course, are people outside the mainstream —
the poor and the disadvantaged. If frustration has not led to apathy and weakness, such
people still struggle to satisfy the basic physiological and safety needs. They are
primarily concerned with survival: obtaining adequate food, clothing, shelter, and seeking
justice from the dominant societal groups.
Safety and Security needs include:
Health and well-being
Safety net against accidents/illness and the adverse impacts
After physiological and safety needs are fulfilled, the third layer of human needs is social.
This psychological aspect of Maslow's hierarchy involves emotionally-based
relationships in general, such as:
having a supportive and communicative family
Humans need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance, whether it comes from a large
social group, such as clubs, office culture, religious groups, professional organizations,
sports teams, gangs ("Safety in numbers"), or small social connections (family members,
intimate partners, mentors, close colleagues, confidants). They need to love and be loved
(sexually and non-sexually) by others. In the absence of these elements, many people
become susceptible to loneliness, social anxiety, and Clinical depression. This need for
belonging can often overcome the physiological and security needs, depending on the
strength of the peer pressure; an anorexic, for example, ignores the need to eat and the
security of health for a feeling of control and belonging.
All humans have a need to be respected, to have self-esteem, self-respect, and to respect
others. People need to engage themselves to gain recognition and have an activity or
activities that give the person a sense of contribution, to feel accepted and self-valued, be
it in a profession or hobby. Imbalances at this level can result in low self-esteem or an
inferiority complex. People with low self-esteem need respect from others. They may
seek fame or glory, which again depends on others. It may be noted, however, that many
people with low self-esteem will not be able to improve their view of themselves simply
by receiving fame, respect, and glory externally, but must first accept themselves
internally. Psychological imbalances such as depression can also prevent one from
obtaining self-esteem on both levels.
Aesthetic needs / Self Actualization
The motivation to realize one's own maximum potential and possibilities is considered to
be the master motive or the only real motive, all other motives being its various forms. In
Maslow's hierarchy of needs, the need for self-actualization is the final need that
manifests when lower level needs have been satisfied.
Near the end of his life Maslow revealed that there was a level on the hierarchy that was
above self-actualization: self-transcendence. "[Transcenders] may be said to be much
more often aware of the realm of Being (B-realm and B-cognition), to be living at the
level of Being… to have unitive consciousness and “plateau experience” (serene and
contemplative B-cognitions rather than climactic ones) … and to have or to have had
peak experience (mystic, sacral, ecstatic) with illuminations or insights. Analysis of
reality or cognitions which changed their view of the world and of themselves, perhaps
occasionally, perhaps as a usual thing."
Herzberg Motivation – Hygiene Theory
Frederick Irving Herzberg (1923 - 2000) was a noted psychologist who became one of
the most influential names in business management. He is most famous for introducing
job enrichment and the Motivator-Hygiene theory. His 1968 publication "One More
Time, How Do You Motivate Employees?" had sold 1.2 million reprints by 1987 and was
the most requested article from the Harvard Business Review. Herzberg attended City
College of New York, but left part way through his studies to enlist in the army. As a
patrol sergeant, he was a firsthand witness of the Dachau concentration camp. He
believed that this experience, as well as the talks he had with other Germans living in the
area was what triggered his interest in motivation. Herzberg graduated from City College
in 1946 and moved to the University of Pittsburgh to undertake post-graduate studies in
science and public health. He earned his PhD in psychology with a dissertation entitled
"Prognostic variables for electroshock therapy". He started his research on the workplace
while teaching as a professor of psychology at Case Western Reserve University in
Cleveland and later moved to the University of Utah where he held the position of
professor of management in the college of business.
Two factor theory
Herzberg proposed the Motivation-Hygiene Theory, also known as the Two factor theory
(1959) of job satisfaction. According to his theory, people are influenced by two factors:
Pay and Benefits
Company Policy and Administration
Relationships with co-workers
1. People are made dissatisfied by a bad environment, but they are seldom made
satisfied by a good environment.
2. The prevention of dissatisfaction is just as important as encouragement of
3. Hygiene factors operate independently of motivation factors. An individual can be
highly motivated in his work and be dissatisfied with his work environment.
4. All hygiene factors are equally important, although their frequency of occurrence
5. Hygiene improvements have short-term effects. Any improvements result in a
short-term removal of, or prevention of, dissatisfaction.
6. Hygiene needs are cyclical in nature and come back to a starting point. This leads
to the "What have you done for me lately?" syndrome.
7. Hygiene needs have an escalating zero point and no final answer.[3
McClelland’s Theory of Needs
McClelland proposes that each of us have three fundamental needs that exist in different
balances. These affect both how we are motivated and how we attempt to motivate
n-ach: Need for achievement:
Seeks achievement, attainment of goals and advancement. Strong need for feedback,
sense of accomplishment and progress
n-affil: Need for affiliation:
Need for friendships, interaction and to be liked.
n-pow: Need for power
Authority motivated needs to influence and make an impact. Strong need to lead and to
increase personal status and prestige.
It seems that some people have a very strong need to achieve, whilst the majority of
people are not motivated in this way. McClelland was so interested by this that he
focussed his research on the need to achieve.
In a famous experiment, people were asked to throw rings over a peg (like at a fair). The
distance that one should throw from was not specified, and as a result most people threw
their rings from random distances. However, people with a high need for achievement
chose their location carefully so that they stood a realistic chance of getting the ring on
the peg, but that it was not too easy. They set an achievable goal that would stretch
This seems to be the nub of the whole thing - achievement motivated people set goals
where they feel that they can influence the outcome and ensure that those goals are
balanced between challenge and realism.
An achievement motivated person sees the achievement of a goal as the reward; it is
more satisfying than praise or monetary reward. Money is seen as good only in that it is
seen as a measure of their achievement. This idea of feedback is essential to the
achievement motivated person: the feedback needs to be informative to enable them to
use it to improve their achievement. In addition there is an element of competition - it is
important for the individual to be able to compare their achievement against others.
The key differentiator between this group and others is that achievement motivated
people frequently spend time thinking how things could be improved.
Rather than being the preserve of a privileged few with these characteristic, Mclelland
believed that these characteristics could be taught and developed training programmes.
Dave is someone who has a high need for achievement and I must admit that it does
explain a lot to me. I can normally see very quickly how to improve a system, and
struggle to understand why others might not want to improve it too. I also find it difficult
to understand why people do the things that they do more generally. Maybe it is because
rather than wanting to make everything as good as it can possibly be they have higher
needs for power or affiliation.
It seems that I might not be alone in my difficulties as although n-ach people make good
business leaders and entrepreneurs their management style can suffer because they
expect everyone to be motivated in the same way as themselves.
However, it is the need for power that I have the most difficulty with. It seems very
destructive to have a need for power without a strong need to achieve as well. Surely
having a strong motivation to increase personal status and prestige will always lead to
Vroom’s Expectency Theory of Motivation
The expectancy theory of motivation is suggested by Victor Vroom. Unlike Maslow and
Herzberg, Vroom does not concentrate on needs, but rather focuses on outcomes.
Whereas Maslow and Herzberg look at the relationship between internal needs and the
resulting effort expended to fulfil them, Vroom separates effort (which arises from
motivation), performance, and outcomes.
Vroom, hypothesises that in order for a person to be motivated that effort, performance
and motivation must be linked. He proposes three variables to account for this, which he
calls Valence, Expectancy and Instrumentality.
Expectancy is the belief that increased effort will lead to increased performance i.e. if I
work harder then this will be better. This is affected by such things as:
1. Having the right resources available (e.g. raw materials, time)
2. Having the right skills to do the job
3. Having the necessary support to get the job done (e.g. supervisor support, or
correct information on the job)
Instrumentality is the belief that if you perform well that a valued outcome will be
received i.e. if I do a good job, there is something in it for me. This is affected by such
1. Clear understanding of the relationship between performance and outcomes – e.g.
the rules of the reward ‘game’
2. Trust in the people who will take the decisions on who gets what outcome
3. Transparency of the process that decides who gets what outcome
Valence is the importance that the individual places upon the expected outcome. For
example, if I am mainly motivated by money, I might not value offers of additional time
Having examined these links, the idea is that the individual then changes their level of
effort according to the value they place on the outcomes they receive from the process
and on their perception of the strength of the links between effort and outcome.
So, if I perceive that any one of these is true:
1. My increased effort will not increase my performance
2. My increased performance will not increase my rewards
3. I don’t value the rewards on offer
...then Vroom’s expectancy theory suggests that this individual will not be motivated.
This means that even if an organisation achieves two out of three, that employees would
still not be motivated, all three are required for positive motivation.
Here there is also a useful link to the Equity theory of motivation: namely that people will
also compare outcomes for themselves with others. Equity theory suggests that people
will alter the level of effort they put in to make it fair compared to others according to
their perceptions. So if we got the same raise this year, but I think you put in a lot less
effort, this theory suggests that I would scale back the effort I put in.
Crucially, Expectancy theory works on perceptions – so even if an employer thinks they
have provided everything appropriate for motivation, and even if this works with most
people in that organisation it doesn’t mean that someone won’t perceive that it doesn’t
work for them.
At first glance this theory would seem most applicable to a traditional-attitude work
situation where how motivated the employee is depends on whether they want the
reward on offer for doing a good job and whether they believe more effort will lead to
However, it could equally apply to any situation where someone does something because
they expect a certain outcome. For example, I recycle paper because I think it's
important to conserve resources and take a stand on environmental issues (valence); I
think that the more effort I put into recycling the more paper I will recycle (expectancy);
and I think that the more paper I recycle then less resources will be used
Thus, this theory of motivation is not about self-interest in rewards but about the
associations people make towards expected outcomes and the contribution they feel they
can make towards those outcomes.
Other theories, in my opinion, do not allow for the same degree of individuality between
people. This model takes into account individual perceptions and thus personal histories,
allowing a richness of response not obvious in Maslow or McClelland, who assume that
people are essentially all the same.
Expectancy theory could also be overlaid over another theory (e.g. Maslow). Maslow
could be used to describe which outcomes people are motivated by and Vroom to
describe whether they will act based upon their experience and expectations.
B. F. Skinner’s Reinforcement Theory
B. F. Skinner’s entire system is based on operant conditioning. The organism is in the
process of “operating” on the environment, which in ordinary terms means it is bouncing
around its world, doing what it does. During this “operating,” the organism encounters a
special kind of stimulus, called a reinforcing stimulus, or simply a reinforcer. This
special stimulus has the effect of increasing the operant -- that is, the behavior occurring
just before the reinforcer. This is operant conditioning: “the behavior is followed by a
consequence, and the nature of the consequence modifies the organisms tendency to
repeat the behavior in the future.”
Imagine a rat in a cage. This is a special cage (called, in fact, a “Skinner box”) that has a
bar or pedal on one wall that, when pressed, causes a little mechanism to release a food
pellet into the cage. The rat is bouncing around the cage, doing whatever it is rats do,
when he accidentally presses the bar and -- hey, presto! -- a food pellet falls into the cage!
The operant is the behavior just prior to the reinforcer, which is the food pellet, of
course. In no time at all, the rat is furiously peddling away at the bar, hoarding his pile of
pellets in the corner of the cage.
A behavior followed by a reinforcing stimulus results in an increased probability of that
behavior occurring in the future.
What if you don’t give the rat any more pellets? Apparently, he’s no fool, and after a few
futile attempts, he stops his bar-pressing behavior. This is called extinction of the
A behavior no longer followed by the reinforcing stimulus results in a decreased
probability of that behavior occurring in the future.
Now, if you were to turn the pellet machine back on, so that pressing the bar again
provides the rat with pellets, the behavior of bar-pushing will “pop” right back into
existence, much more quickly than it took for the rat to learn the behavior the first time.
This is because the return of the reinforcer takes place in the context of a reinforcement
history that goes all the way back to the very first time the rat was reinforced for pushing
on the bar!
Schedules of reinforcement
Skinner likes to tell about how he “accidentally -- i.e. operantly -- came across his
various discoveries. For example, he talks about running low on food pellets in the
middle of a study. Now, these were the days before “Purina rat chow” and the like, so
Skinner had to make his own rat pellets, a slow and tedious task. So he decided to reduce
the number of reinforcements he gave his rats for whatever behavior he was trying to
condition, and, lo and behold, the rats kept up their operant behaviors, and at a stable rate,
no less. This is how Skinner discovered schedules of reinforcement!
Continuous reinforcement is the original scenario: Every time that the rat does the
behavior (such as pedal-pushing), he gets a rat goodie.
The fixed ratio schedule was the first one Skinner discovered: If the rat presses the
pedal three times, say, he gets a goodie. Or five times. Or twenty times. Or “x” times.
There is a fixed ratio between behaviors and reinforcers: 3 to 1, 5 to 1, 20 to 1, etc. This
is a little like “piece rate” in the clothing manufacturing industry: You get paid so much
for so many shirts.
The fixed interval schedule uses a timing device of some sort. If the rat presses the bar
at least once during a particular stretch of time (say 20 seconds), then he gets a goodie. If
he fails to do so, he doesn’t get a goodie. But even if he hits that bar a hundred times
during that 20 seconds, he still only gets one goodie! One strange thing that happens is
that the rats tend to “pace” themselves: They slow down the rate of their behavior right
after the reinforcer, and speed up when the time for it gets close.
Skinner also looked at variable schedules. Variable ratio means you change the “x”
each time -- first it takes 3 presses to get a goodie, then 10, then 1, then 7 and so on.
Variable interval means you keep changing the time period -- first 20 seconds, then 5,
then 35, then 10 and so on.
In both cases, it keeps the rats on their rat toes. With the variable interval schedule, they
no longer “pace” themselves, because they can no longer establish a “rhythm” between
behavior and reward. Most importantly, these schedules are very resistant to extinction.
It makes sense, if you think about it. If you haven’t gotten a reinforcer for a while, well,
it could just be that you are at a particularly “bad” ratio or interval! Just one more bar
press, maybe this’ll be the one!
This, according to Skinner, is the mechanism of gambling. You may not win very often,
but you never know whether and when you’ll win again. It could be the very next time,
and if you don’t roll them dice, or play that hand, or bet on that number this once, you’ll
miss on the score of the century!
A question Skinner had to deal with was how we get to more complex sorts of behaviors.
He responded with the idea of shaping, or “the method of successive approximations.”
Basically, it involves first reinforcing a behavior only vaguely similar to the one desired.
Once that is established, you look out for variations that come a little closer to what you
want, and so on, until you have the animal performing a behavior that would never show
up in ordinary life. Skinner and his students have been quite successful in teaching
simple animals to do some quite extraordinary things. My favorite is teaching pigeons to
I used shaping on one of my daughters once. She was about three or four years old, and
was afraid to go down a particular slide. So I picked her up, put her at the end of the
slide, asked if she was okay and if she could jump down. She did, of course, and I
showered her with praise. I then picked her up and put her a foot or so up the slide, asked
her if she was okay, and asked her to slide down and jump off. So far so good. I
repeated this again and again, each time moving her a little up the slide, and backing off
if she got nervous. Eventually, I could put her at the top of the slide and she could slide
all the way down and jump off. Unfortunately, she still couldn’t climb up the ladder, so I
was a very busy father for a while.
This is the same method that is used in the therapy called systematic desensitization,
invented by another behaviorist named Joseph Wolpe. A person with a phobia -- say of
spiders -- would be asked to come up with ten scenarios involving spiders and panic of
one degree or another. The first scenario would be a very mild one -- say seeing a small
spider at a great distance outdoors. The second would be a little more scary, and so on,
until the tenth scenario would involve something totally terrifying -- say a tarantula
climbing on your face while you’re driving your car at a hundred miles an hour! The
therapist will then teach you how to relax your muscles -- which is incompatible with
anxiety. After you practice that for a few days, you come back and you and the therapist
go through your scenarios, one step at a time, making sure you stay relaxed, backing off
if necessary, until you can finally imagine the tarantula while remaining perfectly
This is a technique quite near and dear to me because I did in fact have a spider phobia,
and did in fact get rid of it with systematic desensitization. It worked so well that, after
one session (beyond the original scenario-writing and muscle-training session) I could go
out an pick up a daddy-long-legs. Cool.
Beyond these fairly simple examples, shaping also accounts for the most complex of
behaviors. You don’t, for example, become a brain surgeon by stumbling into an
operating theater, cutting open someone's head, successfully removing a tumor, and being
rewarded with prestige and a hefty paycheck, along the lines of the rat in the Skinner
box. Instead, you are gently shaped by your environment to enjoy certain things, do well
in school, take a certain bio class, see a doctor movie perhaps, have a good hospital visit,
enter med school, be encouraged to drift towards brain surgery as a speciality, and so on.
This could be something your parents were carefully doing to you, as if you were a rat in
a cage. But much more likely, this is something that was more or less unintentional.
An aversive stimulus is the opposite of a reinforcing stimulus, something we might find
unpleasant or painful.
A behavior followed by an aversive stimulus results in a decreased probability of the
behavior occurring in the future.
This both defines an aversive stimulus and describes the form of conditioning known as
punishment. If you shock a rat for doing x, it’ll do a lot less of x. If you spank Johnny
for throwing his toys he will throw his toys less and less (maybe).
On the other hand, if you remove an already active aversive stimulus after a rat or Johnny
performs a certain behavior, you are doing negative reinforcement. If you turn off the
electricity when the rat stands on his hind legs, he’ll do a lot more standing. If you stop
your perpetually nagging when I finally take out the garbage, I’ll be more likely to take
out the garbage (perhaps). You could say it “feels so good” when the aversive stimulus
stops, that this serves as a reinforcer!
Behavior followed by the removal of an aversive stimulus results in an increased
probability of that behavior occurring in the future.
Notice how difficult it can be to distinguish some forms of negative reinforcement from
positive reinforcement: If I starve you, is the food I give you when you do what I want a
positive -- i.e. a reinforcer? Or is it the removal of a negative -- i.e. the aversive stimulus
Skinner (contrary to some stereotypes that have arisen about behaviorists) doesn’t
“approve” of the use of aversive stimuli -- not because of ethics, but because they don’t
work well! Notice that I said earlier that Johnny will maybe stop throwing his toys, and
that I perhaps will take out the garbage? That’s because whatever was reinforcing the
bad behaviors hasn’t been removed, as it would’ve been in the case of extinction. This
hidden reinforcer has just been “covered up” with a conflicting aversive stimulus. So,
sure, sometimes the child (or me) will behave -- but it still feels good to throw those
toys. All Johnny needs to do is wait till you’re out of the room, or find a way to blame it
on his brother, or in some way escape the consequences, and he’s back to his old ways.
In fact, because Johnny now only gets to enjoy his reinforcer occasionally, he’s gone into
a variable schedule of reinforcement, and he’ll be even more resistant to extinction than
Behavior modification -- often referred to as b-mod -- is the therapy technique based on
Skinner’s work. It is very straight-forward: Extinguish an undesirable behavior (by
removing the reinforcer) and replace it with a desirable behavior by reinforcement. It has
been used on all sorts of psychological problems -- addictions, neuroses, shyness, autism,
even schizophrenia -- and works particularly well with children. There are examples of
back-ward psychotics who haven’t communicated with others for years who have been
conditioned to behave themselves in fairly normal ways, such as eating with a knife and
fork, taking care of their own hygiene needs, dressing themselves, and so on.
There is an offshoot of b-mod called the token economy. This is used primarily in
institutions such as psychiatric hospitals, juvenile halls, and prisons. Certain rules are
made explicit in the institution, and behaving yourself appropriately is rewarded with
tokens -- poker chips, tickets, funny money, recorded notes, etc. Certain poor behavior is
also often followed by a withdrawal of these tokens. The tokens can be traded in for
desirable things such as candy, cigarettes, games, movies, time out of the institution, and
so on. This has been found to be very effective in maintaining order in these often
There is a drawback to token economy: When an “inmate” of one of these institutions
leaves, they return to an environment that reinforces the kinds of behaviors that got them
into the institution in the first place. The psychotic’s family may be thoroughly
dysfunctional. The juvenile offender may go right back to “the ‘hood.” No one is giving
them tokens for eating politely. The only reinforcements may be attention for “acting
out,” or some gang glory for robbing a Seven-Eleven. In other words, the environment
doesn’t travel well!
Skinner started his career as an English major, writing poems and short stories. He has,
of course, written a large number of papers and books on behaviorism. But he will
probably be most remembered by the general run of readers for his book Walden II,
wherein he describes a utopia-like commune run on his operant principles.
People, especially the religious right, came down hard on his book. They said that his
ideas take away our freedom and dignity as human beings. He responded to the sea of
criticism with another book (one of his best) called Beyond Freedom and Dignity. He
asked: What do we mean when we say we want to be free? Usually we mean we don’t
want to be in a society that punishes us for doing what we want to do. Okay -- aversive
stimuli don’t work well anyway, so out with them! Instead, we’ll only use reinforcers to
“control” society. And if we pick the right reinforcers, we will feel free, because we will
be doing what we feel we want!
Likewise for dignity. When we say “she died with dignity,” what do we mean? We
mean she kept up her “good” behaviors without any apparent ulterior motives. In fact,
she kept her dignity because her reinforcement history has led her to see behaving in that
"dignified" manner as more reinforcing than making a scene.
The bad do bad because the bad is rewarded. The good do good because the good is
rewarded. There is no true freedom or dignity. Right now, our reinforcers for good and
bad behavior are chaotic and out of our control -- it’s a matter of having good or bad luck
with your “choice” of parents, teachers, peers, and other influences. Let’s instead take
control, as a society, and design our culture in such a way that good gets rewarded and
bad gets extinguished! With the right behavioral technology, we can design culture.
Both freedom and dignity are examples of what Skinner calls mentalistic constructs -unobservable and so useless for a scientific psychology. Other examples include defense
mechanisms, the unconscious, archetypes, fictional finalisms, coping strategies, selfactualization, consciousness, even things like hunger and thirst. The most important
example is what he refers to as the homunculus -- Latin for “the little man” -- that
supposedly resides inside us and is used to explain our behavior, ideas like soul, mind,
ego, will, self, and, of course, personality.
Instead, Skinner recommends that psychologists concentrate on observables, that is, the
environment and our behavior in it.
kolb learning styles
experiential learning theory (ELT)
Having developed the model over many years prior, David Kolb published his
learning styles model in 1984. The model gave rise to related terms such as
Kolb's experiential learning theory (ELT), and Kolb's learning styles inventory
(LSI). In his publications - notably his 1984 book 'Experiential Learning:
Experience As The Source Of Learning And Development' Kolb acknowledges
the early work on experiential learning by others in the 1900's, including Rogers,
Jung, and Piaget. In turn, Kolb's learning styles model and experiential learning
theory are today acknowledged by academics, teachers, managers and trainers
as truly seminal works; fundamental concepts towards our understanding and
explaining human learning behaviour, and towards helping others to learn. See
also Gardner's Multiple Intelligences and VAK learnings styles models, which
assist in understanding and using Kolb's learning styles concepts.
In addition to personal business interests (Kolb is founder and chairman of
Experience Based Learning Systems), David Kolb is still (at the time I write this,
2005) Professor of Organizational Development at Case Western Reserve
University, Cleveland, Ohio, where he teaches and researches in the fields of
learning and development, adult development, experiential learning, learning
style, and notably 'learning focused institutional development in higher
kolb's experiential learning theory (learning
Kolb's learning theory sets out four distinct learning styles (or preferences),
which are based on a four-stage learning cycle . (which might also be
interpreted as a 'training cycle'). In this respect Kolb's model is particularly
elegant, since it offers both a way to understand individual people's different
learning styles, and also an explanation of a cycle of experiential
learning that applies to us all .
Kolb includes this 'cycle of learning' as a central principle his experiential learning
theory, typically expressed as four-stage cycle of learning , in which
'immediate or concrete experiences' provide a basis for 'observations
and reflections'. These 'observations and reflections' are assimilated and
distilled into 'abstract concepts' producing new implications for action which
can be 'actively tested' in turn creating new experiences.
Kolb says that ideally (and by inference not always) this process represents a
learning cycle or spiral where the learner 'touches all the bases', ie., a cycle of
experiencing, reflecting, thinking, and acting. Immediate or concrete experiences
lead to observations and reflections. These reflections are then assimilated
(absorbed and translated) into abstract concepts with implications for action,
which the person can actively test and experiment with, which in turn enable the
creation of new experiences.
Kolb's model therefore works on two levels - a four-stage cycle :
1. Concrete Experience - (CE)
2. Reflective Observation - (RO)
3. Abstract Conceptualization - (AC)
4. Active Experimentation - (AE)
and a four-type definition of learning styles , (each representing the
combination of two preferred styles, rather like a two-by-two matrix of the fourstage cycle styles, as illustrated below), for which Kolb used the terms:
1. Diverging (CE/RO)
2. Assimilating (AC/RO)
3. Converging (AC/AE)
4. Accommodating (CE/AE)
diagrams of kolb's learning styles
Here is a new improved (May 2006) free diagram illustrating Kolb's learning cycle
and learning types (MSWord). (Also as a pdf.)
Kolb diagrams also in colour (like the image below): Kolb learning styles colour
diagram MSWord, and Kolb colour diagram PDF.
(Kolb diagrams updated May 2006)
See also the personality styles and models section for help with understanding
how Kolb's theory correlates with other personality models and psychometrics
(This interpretation was amended and revised March 2006)
Kolb explains that different people naturally prefer a certain single different
learning style. Various factors influence a person's preferred style: notably in his
experiential learning theory model (ELT) Kolb defined three stages of a person's
development, and suggests that our propensity to reconcile and successfully
integrate the four different learning styles improves as we mature through our
development stages. The development stages that Kolb identified are:
1. Acquisition - birth to adolescence - development of basic abilities and
2. Specialization - schooling, early work and personal experiences of
adulthood - the development of a particular 'specialized learning style'
shaped by 'social, educational, and organizational socialization'
3. Integration - mid-career through to later life - expression of non-dominant
learning style in work and personal life.
Whatever influences the choice of style, the learning style preference itself is
actually the product of two pairs of variables, or two separate 'choices' that we
make, which Kolb presented as lines of axis, each with 'conflicting' modes at
Conceptualization - AC (thinking)
Active Experimentation - AE (doing)-----V----- Reflective Observation
- RO (watching)
A typical presentation of Kolb's two continuums is that the east-west axis is called
the Processing Continuum (how we approach a task), and the north-south axis is
called the Perception Continuum (our emotional response, or how we think or
feel about it).
These learning styles are the combination of two lines of axis (continuums) each
formed between what Kolb calls 'dialectically related modes' of 'grasping
experience' (doing or watching), and 'transforming experience' (feeling or
The word 'dialectically' is not widely understood, and yet carries an essential
meaning, namely 'conflicting' (its ancient Greek root means 'debate' - and I thank
P Stern for helping clarify this precise meaning). Kolb meant by this that we
cannot do both at the same time, and to an extent our urge to want to do both
creates conflict, which we resolve through choice when confronted with a new
learning situation. We internally decide whether we wish to do or watch, and at
the same time we decide whether to think or feel.
The result of these two decisions produces (and helps to form throughout our
lives) the preferred learning style, hence the two-by-two matrix below. We
choose a way of 'grasping the experience', which defines our approach to it, and
we choose a way to 'transform the experience' into something meaningful and
usable, which defines our emotional response to the experience. Our learning
style is a product of these two choice decisions:
1. how to approach a task - ie., 'grasping experience' - preferring to (a)
watch or (b) do , and
2. our emotional response to the experience - ie.,
experience' - preferring to (a) think or (b) feel.
In other words we choose our approach to the task or experience
('grasping the experience' ) by opting for 1(a) or 1(b):
1(a) - though watching others involved in the experience and reflecting on
what happens ('reflective observation' - 'watching' ) or
1(b) - through 'jumping straight in' and just doing it ('active
experimentation' - 'doing' )
And at the same time we choose how to emotionally transform the
experience into something meaningful and useful by opting for 2(a) or 2(b):
2(a) - through gaining new information by thinking, analyzing, or planning
('abstract conceptualization' - 'thinking' ) or
2(b) - through experiencing the 'concrete, tangible, felt qualities of the
world' ('concrete experience' - 'feeling' )
The combination of these two choices produces a preferred learning style. See
the matrix below.
kolb's learning styles - matrix view
It's often easier to see the construction of Kolb's learning styles in terms of a twoby-two matrix. The diagram also highlights Kolb's terminology for the four
learning styles; diverging, assimilating, and converging, accommodating:
doing (Active Experimentation
Observation - RO)
Experience - CE)
Thus, for example, a person with a dominant learning style of 'doing' rather than
'watching' the task, and 'feeling' rather than 'thinking' about the experience,
will have a learning style which combines and represents those processes,
namely an 'Accommodating' learning style, in Kolb's terminology.
Knowing a person's (and your own) learning style enables learning to be
orientated according to the preferred method. That said, everyone responds to
and needs the stimulus of all types of learning styles to one extent or another it's a matter of using emphasis that fits best with the given situation and a
person's learning style preferences.
Here are brief descriptions of the four Kolb learning styles:
Diverging (feeling and watching - CE/RO) - These people are able
to look at things from different perspectives. They are sensitive. They
prefer to watch rather than do, tending to gather information and use
imagination to solve problems. They are best at viewing concrete
situations several different viewpoints. Kolb called this style 'Diverging'
because these people perform better in situations that require ideasgeneration, for example, brainstorming. People with a Diverging learning
style have broad cultural interests and like to gather information. They are
interested in people, tend to be imaginative and emotional, and tend to be
strong in the arts. People with the Diverging style prefer to work in groups,
to listen with an open mind and to receive personal feedback.
Assimilating (watching and thinking - AC/RO) - The Assimilating
learning preference is for a concise, logical approach. Ideas and concepts
are more important than people. These people require good clear
explanation rather than practical opportunity. They excel at understanding
wide-ranging information and organising it a clear logical format. People
with an Assimilating learning style are less focused on people and more
interested in ideas and abstract concepts. People with this style are more
attracted to logically sound theories than approaches based on practical
value. These learning style people is important for effectiveness in
information and science careers. In formal learning situations, people with
this style prefer readings, lectures, exploring analytical models, and having
time to think things through.
Converging (doing and thinking - AC/AE) - People with a
Converging learning style can solve problems and will use their learning to
find solutions to practical issues. They prefer technical tasks, and are less
concerned with people and interpersonal aspects. People with a
Converging learning style are best at finding practical uses for ideas and
theories. They can solve problems and make decisions by finding
solutions to questions and problems. People with a Converging learning
style are more attracted to technical tasks and problems than social or
interpersonal issues. A Converging learning style enables specialist and
technology abilities. People with a Converging style like to experiment with
new ideas, to simulate, and to work with practical applications.
Accommodating learning style is 'hands-on', and relies on intuition rather
than logic. These people use other people's analysis, and prefer to take a
practical, experiential approach. They are attracted to new challenges and
experiences, and to carrying out plans. They commonly act on 'gut' instinct
rather than logical analysis. People with an Accommodating learning style
will tend to rely on others for information than carry out their own analysis.
This learning style is prevalent and useful in roles requiring action and
initiative. People with an Accommodating learning style prefer to work in
teams to complete tasks. They set targets and actively work in the field
trying different ways to achieve an objective.
As with any behavioural model, this is a guide not a strict set of rules.
Nevertheless most people clearly exhibit clear strong preferences for a given
learning style. The ability to use or 'switch between' different styles is not one that
we should assume comes easily or naturally to many people.
Simply, people who have a clear learning style preference, for whatever reason,
will tend to learn more effectively if learning is orientated according to their
For instance - people who prefer the 'Assimilating' learning style will not be
comfortable being thrown in at the deep end without notes and instructions.
People who like prefer to use an 'Accommodating' learning style are likely to
become frustrated if they are forced to read lots of instructions and rules, and are
unable to get hands on experience as soon as possible.
As with many behavioural and personality models, interesting correlations exist
between Kolb's theory and other concepts.
For example, Kolb says that his experiential learning theory, and therefore the
learning styles model within it, builds on Carl Jung's assertion that learning styles
result from people's preferred ways of adapting in the world.
Among many other correlations between definitions, Kolb points out that Jung's
'Extraversion/Introversion' dialectical dimension - (which features and is
measured in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator [MBTI]) correlates with the
'Active/Reflective' (doing/watching) dialectic (east-west continuum) of Kolb's
Also, the MBTI 'Feeling/Thinking' dimension correlates with the Kolb model
honey and mumford's variation on the kolb
Various resources (including this one in the past) refer to the terms 'activist',
'reflector', 'theorist', and 'pragmatist' (respectively representing the four key
stages or learning steps) in seeking to explain Kolb's model. In fact, 'activist',
'reflector', 'theorist', and 'pragmatist' are from a learning styles model developed
by Honey and Mumford, which although based on Kolb's work, is different.
Arguably therefore the terms 'activist', 'reflector', 'theorist', and 'pragmatist'
effectively 'belong' to the Honey and Mumford theory.
Peter Honey and Alan Mumford developed their learning styles system as a
variation on the Kolb model while working on a project for the Chloride
corporation in the 1970's. Honey and Mumford say of their system:
"Our description of the stages in the learning cycle originated from the work of
David Kolb. Kolb uses different words to describe the stages of the learning cycle
and four learning styles..."
And, "...The similarities between his model and ours are greater than the
differences.." (Honey & Mumford)
In summary here are brief descriptions of the four H&M key stages/styles, which
incidentally are directly mutually corresponding and overlaid, as distinct from the
Kolb model in which the learning styles are a product of combinations of the
learning cycle stages. The typical presentation of these H&M styles and stages
would be respectively at north, east, south and west on a circle or four-stage
cyclical flow diagram.
1. 'Having an Experience' (stage 1), and Activists (style 1): 'here and
now', gregarious, seek challenge and immediate experience, openminded, bored with implementation.
2. 'Reviewing the Experience' (stage 2) and Reflectors (style 2): 'stand
back', gather data, ponder and analyse, delay reaching conclusions, listen
before speaking, thoughtful.
3. 'Concluding from the Experience' (stage 3) and Theorists (style 3):
think things through in logical steps, assimilate disparate facts into
coherent theories, rationally objective, reject subjectivity and flippancy.
4. 'Planning the next steps' (stage 4) and Pragmatists (style 4): seek
and try out new ideas, practical, down-to-earth, enjoy problem solving and
decision-making quickly, bored with long discussions.
There is arguably a strong similarity between the Honey and Mumford
styles/stages and the corresponding Kolb learning styles:
Activist = Accommodating
Reflector = Diverging
Theorist = Assimilating
Pragmatist = Converging
A Johari window is a cognitive psychological tool created by Joseph Luft and Harry
Ingham in 1955 in the United States, used to help people better understand their
interpersonal communication and relationships. It is used primarily in self-help groups
and corporate settings as a heuristic exercise.
When performing the exercise, the subject is given a list of 55 adjectives and picks five
or six that they feel describe their own personality. Peers of the subject are then given the
same list, and each pick five or six adjectives that describe the subject. These adjectives
are then mapped onto a grid.
Charles Handy calls this concept the Johari House with four rooms. Room 1 is the part of
ourselves that we see and others see. Room 2 is the aspect that others see but we are not
aware of. Room 3 is the most mysterious room in that the unconscious or subconscious
bit of us is seen by neither ourselves nor others. Room 4 is our private space, which we
know but keep from others.
Adjectives are selected by both the participant and his or her peers and are placed into the
Arena quadrant. This quadrant represents traits of the participant of which both they and
their peers are aware.
Adjectives selected only by the participant, but not by any of their peers, are placed into
the Façade quadrant, representing information about the participant of which their peers
are unaware. It is then up to the participant whether or not to disclose this information.
Adjectives that are not selected by the participant but only by their peers are placed into
the Blind Spot quadrant. These represent information of which the participant is not
aware, but others are, and they can decide whether and how to inform the individual
about these "blind spots".
Adjectives which were not selected by either the participant or their peers remain in the
Unknown quadrant, representing the participant's behaviors or motives which were not
recognized by anyone participating. This may be because they do not apply, or because
there is collective ignorance of the existence of said trait.
Johari adjectives: A Johari Window consists of the following 55 adjectives used as
possible descriptions of the participant. In alphabetical order they are:
A Nohari window is the inversion of the Johari window, and is a collection of negative
personality traits instead of positive.
Known to Self Not Known to Self
Known to Others
Not Known to Others
The Johari Window, named after the first names of its inventors, Joseph Luft and Harry
Ingham, is one of the most useful models describing the process of human interaction. A
four paned "window," as illustrated above, divides personal awareness into four different
types, as represented by its four quadrants: open, hidden, blind, and unknown. The lines
dividing the four panes are like window shades, which can move as an interaction
In this model, each person is represented by their own window. Let's describe mine:
1. The "open" quadrant represents things that both I know about myself, and that you
know about me. For example, I know my name, and so do you, and if you have explored
some of my website, you know some of my interests. The knowledge that the window
represents, can include not only factual information, but my feelings, motives, behaviors,
wants, needs and desires... indeed, any information describing who I am. When I first
meet a new person, the size of the opening of this first quadrant is not very large, since
there has been little time to exchange information. As the process of getting to know one
another continues, the window shades move down or to the right, placing more
2. The "blind" quadrant represents things that you know about me, but that I am unaware
of. So, for example, we could be eating at a restaurant, and I may have unknowingly
gotten some food on my face. This information is in my blind quadrant because you can
see it, but I cannot. If you now tell me that I have something on my face, then the window
shade moves to the right, enlarging the open quadrant's area. Now, I may also have
blindspots with respect to many other much more complex things. For example, perhaps
in our ongoing conversation, you may notice that eye contact seems to be lacking. You
may not say anything, since you may not want to embarrass me, or you may draw your
own inferences that perhaps I am being insincere. Then the problem is, how can I get this
information out in the open, since it may be affecting the level of trust that is developing
between us? How can I learn more about myself? Unfortunately, there is no readily
available answer. I may notice a slight hesitation on your part, and perhaps this may lead
to a question. But who knows if I will pick this up, or if your answer will be on the mark.
3. The "hidden" quadrant represents things that I know about myself, that you do not
know. So for example, I have not told you, nor mentioned anywhere on my website, what
one of my favorite ice cream flavors is. This information is in my "hidden" quadrant. As
soon as I tell you that I love "Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia" flavored ice cream, I am
effectively pulling the window shade down, moving the information in my hidden
quadrant and enlarging the open quadrant's area. Again, there are vast amounts of
information, virtually my whole life's story, that has yet to be revealed to you. As we get
to know and trust each other, I will then feel more comfortable disclosing more intimate
4. The "unknown" quadrant represents things that neither I know about myself, nor you
know about me. For example, I may disclose a dream that I had, and as we both attempt
to understand its significance, a new awareness may emerge, known to neither of us
before the conversation took place. Being placed in new situations often reveal new
information not previously known to self or others. For example, I learned of the Johari
window at a workshop conducted by a Japanese American psychiatrist in the early
1980's. During this workshop, he created a safe atmosphere of care and trust between the
various participants. Usually, I am terrified of speaking in public, but I was surprised to
learn that in such an atmosphere, the task need not be so daunting. Prior to this event, I
had viewed myself and others had also viewed me as being extremely shy. (The above
now reminds me of a funny joke, which I cannot refrain from telling you. It is said that
the number one fear that people have is speaking in public. Their number two fear is
dying. And the number three fear that people have, is dying while speaking in public.)
Thus, a novel situation can trigger new awareness and personal growth. The process of
moving previously unknown information into the open quadrant, thus enlarging its area,
has been likened to Maslow's concept of self-actualization. The process can also be
viewed as a game, where the open quadrant is synonymous with the win-win situation.
Much, much more has been written on the Johari window model of human interaction.
The process of enlarging the open quadrant is called self-disclosure, a give and take
process between me and the people I interact with. Typically, as I share something about
myself (moving information from my hidden quadrant into the open) and if the other
party is interested in getting to know me, they will reciprocate, by similarly disclosing
information in their hidden quadrant. Thus, an interaction between two parties can be
modeled dynamically as two active Johari windows. For example, you may respond to
my disclosure that I like "Cherry Garcia" by letting me know what your favorite ice
cream is, or where a new ice cream shop is being built, kinds of information in your
hidden quadrant. Incidentally, it is fattening, so be careful on how much you eat!
We believe disclosure to be healthy, at least that's the impression one gets after reading
Freud. However, Anita Kelly recently wrote that self-disclosure of personal secrets has its
dangers. We are often better off not telling secrets regarding our sexual behavior, mental
health problems or large-scale failures. "If you give people information about yourself,
you give them power over you," she says. Monica Lewinsky's disclosure to Linda Tripp
and the ensuing scandal that enveloped President Clinton is a case in point. Be
forewarned that most secrets get passed along to at least two more parties. People also
misjudge how others respond to secrets. Sometimes you get negative feedback. For
example, a women who reveals that she was raped may be seen in the future as a victim,
or by men as damaged goods. Now, if you must tell your secret to someone, chose that
person very carefully. Chose someone whose response will give you some insight into
your problem. Unfortunately, such a person is often hard to find. So if you cannot find
anyone appropriate, consider this: that keeping secrets is healthy and tasteful, because it
is a way of managing your identity, and indicates you are secure and have self-control.
But it takes energy, because you have to be on constant guard not to accidentally reveal
As ones level of confidence and self esteem develops, one may actively invite others to
comment on one's blind spots. A teacher may seek feedback from students on the quality
of a particular lecture, with the desire of improving the presentation. Active listening
skills are helpful in this endeavor. On the other hand, we all have defenses, protecting the
parts of ourselves that we feel vulnerable. Remember, the blind quadrant contains
behavior, feelings and motivations not accessible to the person, but which others can see.
Feelings of inadequacy, incompetence, impotence, unworthiness, rejection, guilt,
dependency, ambivalence for loved ones, needs to control and manipulate, are all
difficult to face, and yet can be seen by others. To forcibly reveal what another wishes
not to see, is "psychological rape," and can be traumatic. Fortunately, nature has provided
us with a variety of defense mechanisms to cope with such events, such as denial,
The Johari window, essentially being a model for communication, can also reveal
difficulties in this area. In Johari terms, two people attempt to communicate via the open
quadrants. On the simplest level, difficulties may arise due to a lack of clarity in the
interaction, such as poor grammar or choice of words, unorganized thoughts, faulty logic
etc. This induces the receiver to criticize you, the sender, by revealing something that was
in your blind quadrant. Then, if the feedback works, you correct it immediately, or
perhaps on a more long term approach take a course in reading and writing. On a deeper
level, you may be in a group meeting, and while you secretly sympathize with the
minority viewpoint, you voted with the majority. However, blind to you, you actually
may be communicating this information via body language, in conflict with your verbal
message. On an even deeper level, you in an interaction with others, may always put on a
smiling, happy face, hiding all negative feelings. By withholding negative feelings, you
may be signaling to your friends to withhold also, and keep their distance. Thus, your
And let's not forget the parable of the blind men and the elephant. Our society is
constructed so that many of us get very specialized, knowing only a small academic field
very well, while being virtually ignorant of all others. This specialization is blinding
many of us to what is happening in the world today. According to R. Buckminister Fuller,
this system of education was done on purpose, to channel the most intelligent people into
specialties, enabling them to be more easily controlled. Noam Chomsky has made similar
comments with regards to the manufacturing enterprise, and how Adam Smith's writings
have been purposely misrepresented. See my webpage On Education.
In the construction of this website, I am putting more of my knowledge into the open
quadrant. I am consciously using the Johari model to improve my awareness of the world.
If you see one of my blind spots, please feel free to contact me, and let me know!
Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation (FIRO) is a theory of interpersonal
relations, introduced by William Schutz in 1958.
2 Further Development
3 Correlations with MBTI
According to the theory, three dimensions of interpersonal relations are necessary and
sufficient to explain most human interaction. The dimensions are called Inclusion,
Control and Affection. These categories measure how much interaction a person wants
in the areas of socializing, leadership and responsibilities, and more intimate personal
relations. FIRO-B was created, based on this theory, a measurement instrument with
scales that assess the behavioral aspects of the three dimensions. Scores are graded from
0-9 in scales of expressed and wanted behavior, which define how much a person
expresses to others, and how much he wants from others. Schutz believed that FIRO
scores in themselves were not terminal, and can and do change, and did not encourage
typology; however, the four temperaments were eventually mapped to the FIRO-B scales,
which led to the creation of a theory of Five Temperaments.
Schutz himself discussed the impact of extreme behavior in the areas of inclusion,
control, and affection as indicated by scores on the FIRO-B. For each area of
interpersonal need the following three types of behavior would be evident: (1) deficient,
(2) excessive, and (3) ideal. Deficient was defined as indicating that an individual was not
trying to directly satisfy the need. Excessive was defined as indicating that an individual
was constantly trying to satisfy the need. Ideal referred to satisfaction of the need. From
this, he identified the following types:
1. the undersocial (low EI, low WI)
2. the oversocial (high EI, high WI)
3. the social (moderate EI, moderate WI)
1. the abdicrat (low EC, high WC)
2. the autocrat (high EC, low WC)
3. the democrat (moderate EC, moderate WC)
1. the underpersonal (low EA, low WA)
2. the overpersonal (high EA, high WA)
3. the personal (moderate EA moderate WA)
In 1977, a clinical psychologist who worked with FIRO-B, Dr. Leo Ryan, produced maps
of the scores for each area, called "locator charts", and assigned names for all of the score
ranges in his Clinical Interpretation of FIRO-B:
Low e and
APS (all 3 areas)
e, Now You See Him, Mission
Now You Don't
e, The Conversationalist "Mission
"Now You See Him,
Now You Don't" Self-Confident
e, low w
Gatherer Dependenthigh e and
(formerly, "Where are Independent
a Cautious Lover Supine
e, high w
(w=6: Cautious Lover
moderate Cautious Expectation The Checker
e and w
However, to continue not to encourage typology, the names (which were for clinical
interpretation primarily) are generally not used, and FIRO-B test results usually total the
E, W, I, C and A scores individually. In the derivative "five temperament" system, the
different scores are grouped into their corresponding temperaments, and considered
inborn types. One key difference is in the "high wanted" scores in the area of Control. A
distinction is made between men and women, with men being "dependent", and women,
rather than really being dependent, only being "tolerant" of control by others. This is
attributed to "the stereotypical role of women in Western Culture", where they were often
dependent, and have simply learned to tolerate control from others. This again, reflects
FIRO's belief that these scores reflect learned behavior. In five temperament theory, no
such distinction between the sexes is recognized, and high wanted scores in Control are
seen as an inborn dependency need in both sexes.
 Further Development
During the 1970s, Schutz revised and expanded FIRO theory and developed additional
instruments (Schutz 1994, 1992) for measuring the new aspects of the theory, including
Element B: Behavior (an improved version of FIRO-B); Element F: Feelings; Element S:
Self; Element W: Work Relations; Element C: Close Relations; Element P: Parental
Relationships; and Element O: Organizational Climate. Since 1984, these instruments
have been known collectively as Elements of Awareness. Element B differs in expanding
the definitions of Inclusion, Control, and Affection (renamed "Openness"), into an
additional six scores to measure how much a person wants to include, control, and be
close to others, and how much other people include, control, and like to be close to the
testee. The original FIRO-B was sold to Consulting Psychologists Press, Inc. (CPP,
which also publishes the MBTI assessment), and FIRO Element B is owned by Business
Consultants Network, Inc.
 Correlations with MBTI
In a 1976 survey of seventy-five of the most widely used training instruments, the FIROB was found to be the most generally usable instrument in training. The popularity of the
FIRO-B began to wane as the MBTI became one of the instruments of choice in business.
Since FIRO-B uses completely different scales from MBTI, and was not designed to
measure inborn "types", it is often used together with the MBTI by workplaces, and now,
the two are offered together by CPP.
Statistical correlation has been done between FIRO-B and MBTI by John W. Olmstead,
and also Allen L. Hammer with Eugene R. Schnell; and between Element B and MBTI
by Dr. Henry Dick Thompson.
Expressed Inclusion -59*** 04
-28*** 11* 12*
Expressed Control -23*** 03
-09 16*** -05
Expressed Affection -52*** 06
Element B Scales
I include people
-.48* .18* .16* .08
I want to include people
-.33* .09 .21* .08
People include me
-.43* .14* -.02 .11
I want people to include me
-.28* .09 -.07 .01
I control people
-.30* .14 -.13* .02
I want to control people
-.13* .04 -.08 .05
People control me
-.11 .00 .17* .01
I want people to control me
-.06 -.06 .12
I am open with people
-.13* .19* .29* .07
I want to be open with people
-.20* .22* .28* .02
People are open with me
-.23* .44* .16* .12
I want people to be open with me -.21* .28* .22* .07
Positive correlations associated with I, N, F and P.
*Indicates statistical significance
Fundamental Interpersonal Relations OrientationBehavior (FIRO-B)
About the Instrument
The Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation-Behavior (FIRO-B) is a highly valid and
reliable tool that assesses how an individual’s personal needs affect that person’s behavior
towards other individuals. This highly valid and reliable self-report instrument offers insight into
an individual’s compatibility with other people, as well as providing insight into that person’s own
The FIRO-B measures a person’s needs for:
Expressed Behavior (E) – what a person prefers to do, and how much that person wants
to initiate action
Wanted Behavior (W) – how much a person wants others to initiate action, and how
much that person wants to be the recipient
The instrument also measures a person’s needs for:
Inclusion (I) – recognition, belonging, and participation
Control (C) – influence, leading, and responsibility
Affection (A) – closeness, warmth, and sensitivity
Benefits of the FIRO-B
The FIRO-B is an ideal tool to use for interpersonal behavior measurement and assessment,
management and supervisor development
leadership development (used with MBTI as part of the Leadership Report)
identifying leadership preferred operating styles
team building and explaining team roles
improving team effectiveness
advancing career development
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Diagram of concepts in transactional analysis, based on cover of Eric Berne's 1964 book
Games People Play.
Transactional analysis, commonly known as TA to its adherents, is an integrative
approach to the theory of psychology and psychotherapy. Integrative because it has
elements of psychoanalytic, Humanist and Cognitive approaches. It was developed by
Canadian-born US psychiatrist Eric Berne during the late 1950s.
TA is not only post-Freudian but according to its founder's wishes consciously extraFreudian. That is to say that while it has its roots in psychoanalysis - since Berne was a
psychoanalytic-trained psychiatrist - it was designed as a dissenting branch of
psychoanalysis in that it put its emphasis on transactional, rather than "psycho-", analysis.
With its focus on transactions, TA shifted its attention from internal psychological
dynamics to the dynamics contained in people's interactions. Rather than believing that
increasing awareness of the contents of unconsciously held ideas was the therapeutic
path, TA concentrated on the content of people's interactions with each other. Changing
these interactions was TA's path to solving emotional problems.
In addition Berne believed in making a commitment to "curing" his patients rather than
just understanding them. To that end he introduced one of the most important aspects of
TA: the contract - an agreement entered into by both client and therapist to pursue
specific changes that the client desires.
Revising Freud's concept of the human psyche as composed of the id, ego, and super-ego,
Berne postulated in addition three "ego states" — the Parent, Adult, and Child states —
which were largely shaped through childhood experiences. These three are all part of
Freud's ego; none represented the id or the superego.
Unhealthy childhood experiences could damage the Adult or Parent ego states, which
would bring discomfort to an individual and/or others in a variety of forms, including
many types of mental illness...
Berne considered how individuals interact with one another, and how the ego states
affected each set of transactions. Unproductive or counterproductive transactions were
considered to be signs of ego state problems. Analysing these transactions, according to
the person's individual developmental history, would enable the person to "get better".
Berne thought that virtually everyone has something problematic about their ego states
and that negative behaviour would not be addressed by "treating" only the problematic
Berne identified a typology of common counterproductive social interactions, identifying
these as "games".
Berne presented his theories in two popular books on transactional analysis: Games
People Play (1964) and What Do You Say After You Say Hello? (1975). As a result of this
popularity, TA came to be disdained in many  mainstream mental health circles
as an example of "pop psychology". I'm OK, You're OK (1969), written by Berne's
longtime friend Thomas Anthony Harris, is probably the most popular TA book. Many
TA therapists regard I'm OK, You're OK as an oversimplification or worse.
TA was also dismissed by the conventional psychoanalytic community because
of its radical departures from Freudian theory. However, by the 1970s, because of its
non-technical and non-threatening jargon and model of the human psyche, many of its
terms and concepts were adopted by eclectic therapists as part of their individual
approaches to psychotherapy. It also served well as a therapy model for groups of
patients, or marital/family counselees, where interpersonal (rather than intrapersonal)
disturbances were the focus of treatment. Critics  have charged that TA — especially as
loosely interpreted by those outside the more formal TA community — is a
pseudoscience; when it is in fact better understood as a belief system.
TA's popularity in the U.S. waned in the 1970s, but it retains some popularity elsewhere
in the world. The more dedicated TA purists banded together in 1964 with Berne to
form a research and professional accrediting body, the International Transactional
Analysis Association, or ITAA. The organization is still active as of 2008.
TA is a theory of personality and a systematic psychotherapy for personal growth and
1. As a theory of personality, TA describes how people are structured
psychologically. It uses what is perhaps its best known model, the ego-state
(Parent-Adult-Child) model to do this. This same model helps understand how
people function and express themselves in their behaviors.
2. As a theory of communication it extends to a method of analysing systems and
3. It offers a theory for child development, where it ties in very neatly with the
Freudian developmental stages -oral, anal, phallic.
4. It introduces the idea of a "Life (or Childhood) Script", that is, a story one
perceives about ones own life, to answer questions such as "What matters", "How
do I get along in life" and "What kind of person am I". This story, TA says, is
often stuck to no matter the consequences, to "prove" one is right, even at the cost
of pain, compulsion, self-defeating behaviour and other dysfunction. Thus TA
offers a theory of a broad range of psychopathology.
5. In practical application, it can be used in the diagnosis and treatment of many
types of psychological disorders, and provides a method of therapy for
individuals, couples, families and groups.
6. Outside the therapeutic field, it has been used in education, to help teachers
remain in clear communication at an appropriate level, in counseling and
consultancy, in management and communications training, and by other bodies.
Key ideas of TA
TA emphasizes a pragmatic approach, that is, it seeks to find "what works" in treating
patients, and, where applicable, develop models to assist understanding of why certain
treatments work. Thus, TA continually evolves. However some core models and concepts
are part of TA as follows:
The Ego-State (or Parent-Adult-Child, PAC) model
At any given time, a person experiences and manifests their personality through a mixture
of behaviours, thoughts and feelings. Typically, according to TA, there are three egostates that people consistently use:
Parent ("exteropsyche"): a state in which people behave, feel, and think in
response to an unconscious mimicking of how their parents (or other parental
figures) acted, or how they interpreted their parent's actions. For example, a
person may shout at someone out of frustration because they learned from an
influential figure in childhood the lesson that this seemed to be a way of relating
Adult ("neopsyche"): a state of the ego which is most like a computer
processing information and making predictions absent of major emotions that
cloud its operation. Learning to strengthen the Adult is a goal of TA. While a
person is in the Adult ego state, he/she is directed towards an objective appraisal
Child ("archaeopsyche"): a state in which people behave, feel and think
similarly to how they did in childhood. For example, a person who receives a poor
evaluation at work may respond by looking at the floor, and crying or pouting, as
they used to when scolded as a child. Conversely, a person who receives a good
evaluation may respond with a broad smile and a joyful gesture of thanks. The
Child is the source of emotions, creation, recreation, spontaneity and intimcacy.
Berne differentiated his Parent, Adult, and Child ego states from actual adults, parents,
and children, by using capital letters when describing them. These ego-states may or may
not represent the relationships that they act out. For example, in the workplace, an adult
supervisor may take on the Parent role, and scold an adult employee as though they were
a Child. Or a child, using their Parent ego-state, could scold their actual parent as though
the parent were a Child.
Within each of these ego states are subdivisions. Thus Parental figures are often either
nurturing (permission-giving, security-giving) or criticizing (comparing to family
traditions and ideals in generally negative ways); Childhood behaviours are either natural
(free) or adapted to others. These subdivision categorize individuals' patterns of
behaviour, feelings, and ways of thinking, that can be functional (beneficial or positive)
or dysfunctional/counterproductive (negative).
Ego-states do not correspond directly to Sigmund Freud's Ego, Superego and Id, although
there are obvious parallels. Ego states are consistent for each person and are argued by
TA practitioners as more readily observable than the pats in Freud's hypothetical model.
In other words, the particular ego state that a given person is communicating from is
determinable by external observation and experience.
There is no "universal" ego-state; each state is individually and visibly manifested for
each person. For example, each Child ego state is unique to the childhood experiences,
mentality, intellect, and family of each individual; it is not a generalised childlike state.
Ego states can become contaminated, for example, when a person mistakes Parental rules
and slogans, for here-and-now Adult reality, and when beliefs are taken as facts. Or when
a person "knows" that everyone is laughing at them because "they always laughed". This
would be an example of a childhood contamination, insofar as here-and-now reality is
being overlaid with memories of previous historic incidents in childhood.
Ego states also do not correspond directly to thinking, feeling, and judging, as these
behaviors are present in every ego state.
Berne suspected that Parent, Adult, and Child ego states might be tied to specific areas of
the human brain; an idea that has not been proved.
In more recent years the three ego state model has been questioned by a marginal TA
group in Australia, who have devised a "two ego-state model" as a means of solving
perceived theoretical problems:
"The two ego-state model sought to correct inaccuracies in the three ego-state model
Berne devised. The two ego-state model says that there is a Child ego-state and a Parent
ego-state, placing the Adult ego-state with the Parent ego-state. The information we learn
at school is all Parent ego-state introjects. How we learn to speak, add up and learn how
to think is all just copied from our teachers. Just as our morals and values are copied from
our parents. There is no absolute truth where facts exist out side a person’s own belief
system. Berne mistakenly concluded that there was and thus mistakenly put the Adult
ego-state as separate from the Parent ego-state." For anyone interested in sourcing this
deviation from mainstream TA, see 
Transactions and Strokes
Transactions are the flow of communication, and more specifically the unspoken
psychological flow of communication that runs in parallel.
Transactions occur simultaneously at both explicit and psychological levels.
Example: sweet caring voice with sarcastic intent. To read the real
communication requires both surface and non-verbal reading.
Strokes are the recognition, attention or responsiveness that one person gives
another. Strokes can be positive (nicknamed "warm fuzzies") or negative ("cold
pricklies"). A key idea is that people hunger for recognition, and that lacking
positive strokes, will seek whatever kind they can, even if it is recognition of a
negative kind. We test out as children what strategies and behaviours seem to get
us strokes, of whatever kind we can get.
People often create pressure in (or experience pressure from) others to communicate in a
way that matches their style, so that a boss who talks to his staff as a controlling parent
will often engender self-abasement or other childlike responses. Those employees who
resist may get removed or labeled as "trouble".
Transactions can be experienced as positive or negative depending on the nature of the
strokes within them. However, a negative transaction is preferred to no transaction at all,
because of a fundamental hunger for strokes.
The nature of transactions is important to understanding communication.
Kinds of transaction
Reciprocal or Complementary Transactions
A simple, reciprocal transaction occurs when both partners are addressing the ego state
the other is in. These are also called complementary transactions.
A: "Have you been able to write the report?"
B: "Yes - I'm about to email it to you." ----(This exchange was Adult to Adult)
A: "Would you like to skip this meeting and go watch a film with me instead?"
B: "I'd love to - I don't want to work anymore, what should we go and see?"
(Child to Child)
A: "You should have your room tidy by now!" (Parent to Child)
B: "Will you stop hassling me? I'll do it eventually!" (Child to Parent)
Communication like this can continue indefinitely. (Clearly it will stop at some stage but this psychologically balanced exchange of strokes can continue for some time).
Communication failures are typically caused by a 'crossed transaction' where partners
address ego states other than that their partner is in. Consider the above examples
jumbled up a bit.
A: "Have you been able to write that report?" (Adult to Adult)
B: "Will you stop hassling me? I'll do it eventually!" (Child to Parent)
is a crossed transaction likely to produce problems in the workplace. "A" may respond
with a Parent to Child transaction. For instance:
A: "If you don't change your attitude, you'll get fired."
A: "Is your room tidy yet?" (Parent to Child)
B: "I'm just going to do it, actually." (Adult to Adult)
is a more positive crossed transaction. However there is the risk that "A" will feel
aggrieved that "B" is acting responsibly and not playing their role, and the conversation
will develop into:
A: "I can never trust you to do things!" (Parent to Child)
B: "Why don't you believe anything I say?" (Adult to Adult)
which can continue indefinitely.
Duplex or Covert transactions
Another class of transaction is the 'duplex' or 'covert' transactions, where the explicit
social conversation occurs in parallel with an implicit psychological transaction. For
A: "I need you to stay late at the office with me." (Adult words)
body language indicates sexual intent (flirtatious Child)
B: "Of course." (Adult response to Adult statement).
winking or grinning (Child accepts the hidden motive).
 Phenomena behind the transactions
 Life (or Childhood) Script
Script is a life plan, directed to a reward.
Script is decisional and responsive; i.e., decided upon in childhood in response to
perceptions of the world and as a means of living with and making sense of the
world. It is not just thrust upon a person by external forces.
Script is reinforced by parents (or other influential figures and experiences).
Script is for the most part outside awareness.
Script is how we navigate and what we look for, the rest of reality is redefined
(distorted) to match our filters.
Each culture, country and people in the world has a Mythos, that is, a legend explaining
its origins, core beliefs and purpose. According to TA, so do individual people. A person
begins writing his/her own life story (script) at a young age, as he/she tries to make sense
of the world and his place within it. Although it is revised throughout life, the core story
is selected and decided upon typically by age 7. As adults it passes out of awareness. A
life script might be "to be hurt many times, and suffer and make others feel bad when I
die", and could result in a person indeed setting himself up for this, by adopting
behaviours in childhood that produce exactly this effect. Though Berne identified several
dozen common scripts, there are a practically infinite number of them. Though often
largely destructive, scripts could as easily be mostly positive or beneficial.
 Redefining and Discounting
Redefining means the distortion of reality when we deliberately (but
unconsciously) distort things to match our preferred way of seeing the world.
Thus a person whose script involves "struggling alone against a cold hard world"
may redefine others' kindness, concluding that others are trying to get something
Discounting means to take something as worth less than it is. Thus to give a
substitute reaction which does not originate as a here-and-now Adult attempt to
solve the actual problem, or to choose not to see evidence that would contradict
one's script. Types of discount can also include: passivity (doing nothing), overadaptation, agitation, incapacitation, anger and violence.
 Injunctions and Drivers
TA identifies twelve key injunctions which people commonly build into their scripts.
These are injunctions in the sense of being powerful "I can't/mustn't ..." messages that
embed into a child's belief and life-script:
Don't be (don't exist), Don't be who you are, Don't be a child, Don't grow up,
Don't make it in your life, Don't do anything!, Don't be important, Don't belong,
Don't be close, Don't be well (don't be sane!), Don't think, Don't feel.
In addition there is the so-called episcript, "You should (or deserve to) have this
happen in your life, so it doesn't have to happen to me." (Magical thinking on the
part of the parent(s).)
Against these, a child is often told other things he or she must do. There is debate as to
whether there are five or six of these 'drivers':
Please (me/others)! Be perfect! Be Strong! Try Hard! Hurry Up! (Be Careful! is
Thus in creating his script, a child will often attempt to juggle these, example: "It's okay
for me to go on living (ignore don't exist) so long as I try hard".
This explains why some change is inordinately difficult. To continue the above example:
When a person stops trying hard and relaxes to be with his family, the injunction You
don't have the right to exist which was being suppressed by their script now becomes
exposed and a vivid threat. Such an individual may feel a massive psychological pressure
which he himself doesn't understand, to return to trying hard, in order to feel safe and
justified (in a childlike way) in existing.
Driver behaviour is also detectable at a very small scale, for instance in instinctive
responses to certain situations where driver behaviour is played out over five to twenty
Broadly, scripts can fall into Tragic, Heroic or Banal (or Non-Winner) varieties,
depending on their rules.
 Ways of Time Structuring
There are six ways of structuring time by giving and receiving strokes:
This is sorted in accordance to stroke strength, Intimacy and Games allow for the most
intensive strokes, in general.
This means no strokes are being exchanged
A ritual is a series of transactions that are complementary (reciprocal), stereotyped and
based on social programming. Rituals usually comprise a series of strokes exchanged
between two parties.
For instance, two people may have a daily two stroke ritual, where, the first time they
meet each day, each one greets the other with a "Hi". Others may have a four stroke
ritual, such as:
B: Hi! How do you do?
A: Getting along. What about you?
B: Fine. See you around.
The next time they meet in the day, they may not exchange any strokes at all, or may just
acknowledge each other's presence with a curt nod.
Some phenomena associated with daily rituals:
If a person exchanges fewer strokes than expected, the other person may feel that
he is either preoccupied or acting high and mighty.
If a person exchanges more strokes than expected, the other person might wonder
whether he is trying to butter him up or get on good terms for some vested
If two people do not meet for a long time, a backlog of strokes gets built up, so
that the next time they meet, they may exchange a large number of strokes to
A pastime is a series of transactions that is complementary (reciprocal), semi-ritualistic,
and is mainly intended as a time-structuring activity. Pastimes have no covert purpose
and can usually be carried out only between people on the same wavelength. They are
usually shallow and harmless. Pastimes are a type of smalltalk.
Individuals often partake in similar pastimes throughout their entire life, as pastimes are
generally very much linked to one's life script and the games that one often plays. Some
pastimes can even be understood as a reward for playing a certain game. For example,
Eric Berne in Games People Play discusses how those who play the "Alcoholic" game
(which Berne differentiated from alcoholism and alcoholics) often enjoy the "Morning
After" pastime in which participants share their most amusing or harrowing hangover
 Activities (Work)
Activities in this context mean the individuals work together for a common goal. This
may be work, sports or something similar. In contrast to Pastimes, there is a meaningful
purpose guiding the interactions, while Pastimes are just about exchanging strokes.
Strokes can then be given in the context of the cooperation. Thus the strokes are generally
not personal, but related to the activity.
Games are discussed below.
Intimacy as a way of structuring time allows one to exchange the strongest strokes
without playing a Game. Intimacy differs from Games as there is no covert purpose, and
differs from Activities as there is no other process going on which defines a context of
cooperation. Strokes are personal, relating to the other person, and often unconditional.
 Games and their analysis
 Definition of game
A game is a series of transactions that is complementary (reciprocal), ulterior, and
proceeds towards a predictable outcome. Games are often characterized by a switch in
roles of players towards the end. Games are usually played by Parent, Adult and Child
ego states, and games usually have a fixed number of players; however, an individual's
role can shift, and people can play multiple roles.
Berne identified dozens of games, noting that, regardless of when, where or by whom
they were played, each game tended towards very similar structures in how many players
or roles were involved, the rules of the game, and the game's goals.
Each game has a payoff for those playing it, such as the aim of earning sympathy,
satisfaction, vindication, or some other emotion that usually reinforces the life script. The
antithesis of a game, that is, the way to break it, lies in discovering how to deprive the
actors of their payoff.
Students of transactional analysis have discovered that people who are accustomed to a
game are willing to play it even as a different "actor" from what they originally were.
 Analysis of a game
One important aspect of a game is its number of players. Games may be two handed (that
is, played by two players), three handed (that is, played by three players), or many
handed. Three other quantitative variables are often useful to consider for games:
Flexibility: The ability of the players to change the currency of the game (that is,
the tools they use to play it). In a flexible game, players may shift from words, to
money, to parts of the body.
Tenacity: The persistence with which people play and stick to their games and
their resistance to breaking it.
Intensity: Easy games are games played in a relaxed way. Hard games are games
played in a tense and aggressive way.
Based on the degree of acceptability and potential harm, games are classified as:
First Degree Games are socially acceptable in the players' social circle.
Second Degree Games are games that the players would like to conceal, though
they may not cause irreversible damage.
Third Degree Games are games that could lead to drastic harm to one or more of
the parties concerned.
Games are also studied based on their:
Social and Psychological Paradigms
Advantages to players (Payoffs)
 Contrast with rational (mathematical) games
Transactional game analysis is fundamentally different from rational or mathematical
game analysis in the following senses:
The players do not always behave rationally in transactional analysis, but behave
more like real people.
Their motives are often ulterior
 Some commonly found games
Here are some of the most commonly found themes of games described in Games People
Play by Eric Berne:
YDYB: Why Don't You, Yes But. Historically, the first game discovered.
IFWY: If It Weren't For You
WAHM: Why does this Always Happen to Me? (setting up a self-fulfilling
SWYMD: See What You Made Me Do
UGMIT: You Got Me Into This
LHIT: Look How Hard I've Tried
ITHY: I'm Only Trying to Help You
LYAHF: Let's You and Him Fight (staging a love triangle)
NIGYYSOB: Now I've got you, you son of a bitch
RAPO: A woman falsely cries 'rape' or threatens to
Berne argued that games are not played logically; rather, one person's Parent state might
interact with another's Child, rather than as Adult to Adult.
Games can also be analysed according to the Karpman drama triangle, that is, by the
roles of Persecutor, Victim and Rescuer. The 'switch' is then when one of these having
allowed stable roles to become established, suddenly switches role. The Victim becomes
a Persecutor, and throws the previous Persecutor into the Victim role, or the Rescuer
suddenly switches to become a Persecutor ("You never appreciate me helping you!").
 Why Don't You/Yes But
The first such game theorized was Why don't you/Yes, but in which one player (White)
would pose a problem as if seeking help, and the other player(s) (Black) would offer
solutions (the "Why don't you?" suggestion). This game was noticed as many patients
played it in therapy and psychiatry sessions, and inspired Berne to identify other
White would point out a flaw in every Black player's solution (the "Yes, but" response),
until they all gave up in frustration. For example, if someone's life script was "to be hurt
many times, and suffer and make others feel bad when I die" a game of "Why Don't You,
Yes But" might proceed as follows:
White: I wish I could lose some weight.
Black: Why don't you join a gym?
W: Yes but, I can't afford the payments for a gym.
B: Why don't you speed walk around your block after you get home from work?
W: Yes but, I don't dare walk alone in my neighborhood after dark.
B: Why don't you take the stairs at work instead of the elevator?
W: Yes but, after my knee surgery, it hurts too much to walk that many flights of
B: Why don't you change your diet?
W: Yes but, my stomach is sensitive and I can tolerate only certain foods.
"Why Don't You, Yes But" can proceed indefinitely, with any number of players in the
Black role, until Black's imagination is exhausted, and she can think of no other
solutions. At this point, White "wins" by having stumped Black. After a silent pause
following Black's final suggestion, the game is often brought to a formal end by a third
role, Green, who makes a comment such as, "It just goes to show how difficult it is to
The secondary gain for White was that he could claim to have justified his problem as
insoluble and thus avoid the hard work of internal change; and for Black, to either feel
the frustrated martyr ("I was only trying to help") or a superior being, disrespected ("the
patient was uncooperative").
Superficially, this game can resemble Adult to Adult interaction (people seeking
information or advice), but more often, according to Berne, the game is played by Black's
helpless Child, and White's lecturing Parent ego states.
A racket is the dual strategy of getting "permitted feelings," while covering up
feelings which we truly feel, but which we regard as being "not allowed".
More technically, a racket feeling is "a familiar set of emotions, learned and enhanced
during childhood, experienced in many different stress situations, and maladaptive as an
adult means of problem solving".
A racket is then a set of behaviours which originate from the childhood script rather than
in here-and-now full Adult thinking, which (1) are employed as a way to manipulate the
environment to match the script rather than to actually solve the problem, and (2) whose
covert goal is not so much to solve the problem, as to experience these racket feelings
and feel internally justified in experiencing them.
Examples of racket and racket feelings: "Why do I meet good guys who turn out to be so
hurtful", or "He always takes advantage of my goodwill". The racket is then a set of
behaviours and chosen strategies learned and practised in childhood which in fact help to
cause these feelings to be experienced. Typically this happens despite their own surface
protestations and hurt feelings, out of awareness and in a way that is perceived as
someone else's fault. One covert pay-off for this racket and its feelings, might be to gain
in a guilt free way, continued evidence and reinforcement for a childhood script belief
that "People will always let you down".
In other words, rackets and games are devices used by a person to create a circumstance
where they can legitimately feel the racket feelings, thus abiding by and reinforcing their
Childhood script. They are always a substitute for a more genuine and full adult emotion
and response which would be a more appropriate response to the here-and-now situation.
 Philosophy of TA
People are OK; thus each person has validity, importance, equality of respect.
Everyone (with only few exceptions) has full adult capability to think.
People decide their story and destiny, and this is a decision that can be changed.
Freedom from historical maladaptations embedded in the childhood script is
required in order to become free of inappropriate, inauthentic and displaced
emotion which are not a fair and honest reflection of here-and-now life (such as
echoes of childhood suffering, pity-me and other mind games, compulsive
behaviour, and repetitive dysfunctional life patterns).
The aims of change under TA are autonomy (freedom from childhood script),
spontaneity, intimacy, problem solving as opposed to avoidance or passivity, cure
as an ideal rather than merely 'making progress', learning new choices.
 Transactional Analysis Today
Leaving psychoanalysis half a century ago, Eric Berne presented transactional analysis to
the world as a phenomenological approach replacing Freud's philosophical construct with
observable data. His theory built on the science of Penfield and Spitz along with the neopsychoanalytic thought of people such as Federn, Weiss and Erikson. By moving to an
interpersonal motivational theory, he placed it both in opposition to the psychoanalytic
traditions of his day and within what would become the psychoanalytic traditions of the
future. From Berne, transactional analysts have inherited a determination to create an
accessible and user-friendly system, an understanding of script or life-plan, ego states,
transactions, and a theory of groups. They also inherited troubled aspects of his thinking
and personality, especially his rebelliousness and antagonism toward the psychoanalysis
of his day. They have inherited misunderstandings arising from the ill-informed equation
of the ego states of transactional analysis with the psychoanalytic constructs of id, ego,
and superego and the consequences of the popularity of his book Games People Play
which resulted in the vulgarization of some of its concepts. These problems have been
compounded by the isolationist and elitist attitude that permeated the beginnings of
transactional analysis as it established its own standards for competency based
credentialing without taking into account other training or certification in occupational
fields– while at the same time paradoxically cultivating the “pop psychology”
image[who?]that appealed to mental health clients and other consumers in organizations and
 Fifty years later
Within the overarching framework of transactional analysis, more recent transactional
analysts have elaborated several different, if overlapping, “flavors:” cognitive,
behavioral, relational, redecision, integrative, constructivist, narrative, body-work,
positive psychological, personality adaptational, self-reparenting, psychodynamic, and
neuroconstructivist. Some transactional analysts[who?] highlight the many things
they have in common with cognitive-behavioral therapists: the use of contracts with clear
goals, the attention to cognitive distortions (called “Adult decontamination” or “Child
deconfusion”), the focus on the client’s conscious attitudes and behaviors and the use of
“strokes”. Cognitive-based transactional analysts use ego state identification to
identify communication distortions and teach different functional options in the dynamics
of communication. Some make additional contracts for more profound work involving
life-plans or scripts or with unconscious processes, including those which manifest in the
client-therapist relationship as transference and countertransference, and define
themselves as psychodynamic or relational transactional analysts. Some highlight the
study and promotion of subjective well-being and optimal human functioning rather than
pathology and so identify with positive psychology. Some are increasingly
influenced by current research in attachment, mother-infant interaction, and by the
implications of interpersonal neurobiology, and non-linear dynamic systems.
TA is not only post-Freudian but according to its founder's wishes consciously extraFreudian. That is to say that while it has its roots in psychoanalysis - since Berne was a
psychoanalytic-trained psychiatrist - it was designed as a dissenting branch of
psychoanalysis in that it put its emphasis on transactional, rather than "psycho-", analysis.
With its focus on transactions, TA shifted its attention from internal psychological
dynamics to the dynamics contained in people's interactions. Rather than believing that
increasing awareness of the contents of unconsciously held , whatever the perspective
preferred by the individual TA practitioner, all share a common group of Bernian
concepts: ego states, transactions, strokes, games, Transactional analysis, commonly
known as TA to its adherents, is an integrative approach to the theory of psychology and
psychotherapy. Integrative because it has elements of psychoanalytic, Humanist and
Cognitive approaches. It was developed by Canadian-born US psychiatrist Eric Berne
during the late 1950s.
 TA and popular culture
Berne's ability to express the ideas of TA in common language and his popularisation of
the concepts in mass-market books inspired a boom of popular TA texts, some of which
simplify TA concepts to a deleterious degree.
One example is a caricature of the structural model, where it is made out that the Parent
judges, the Adult thinks and the Child feels. Most serious TA texts, including those
aimed at the mass market rather than professionals, avoid this degree of
Thomas Harris's highly successful popular work from the late 1960s, I'm OK, You're OK
is largely based on Transactional Analysis. A fundamental divergence, however, between
Harris and Berne is that Berne postulates that everyone starts life in the "I'm OK"
position, whereas Harris believes that life starts out "I'm not OK, you're OK". Many
transactional analysts have regarded Harris as too far removed from core TA
beliefs to be considered a transactional analyst.
New Age author James Redfield has acknowledged Harris and Berne as important
influences in his best-seller The Celestine Prophecy. The protagonists in the novel
survive by striving (and succeeding) in escaping from "control dramas" that resemble the
games of TA
Eric Berne's Transactional Analysis - early
TA history and theory
Transactional Analysis is one of the most accessible theories of modern
psychology. Transactional Analysis was founded by Eric Berne, and the famous
'parent adult child' theory is still being developed today. Transactional Analysis
has wide applications in clinical, therapeutic, organizational and personal
relationships and behaviour. Whether you're in business, a parent, a social
worker or interested in personal development, Eric Berne's Transactional
Analysis theories, and those of his followers, will enrich your dealings with
people, and your understanding of yourself. This section covers the background
to Transactional Analysis, and Transactional Analysis underpinning theory. See
also the modern Transactional Analysis theory article.
roots of transactional analysis
Throughout history, and from all standpoints: philosophy, medical science,
religion; people have believed that each man and woman has a multiple nature.
In the early 20 century, Sigmund Freud first established that the human psyche
is multi-faceted, and that each of us has warring factions in our subconscious.
Since then, new theories continue to be put forward, all concentrating on the
essential conviction that each one of us has parts of our personality which
surface and affect our behaviour according to different circumstances.
In 1951 Dr Wilder Penfield began a series of scientific experiments. Penfield
proved, using conscious human subjects, by touching a part of the brain (the
temporal cortex) with a weak electrical probe, that the brain could be caused to
'play back' certain past experiences, and the feelings associated with them. The
patients 'replayed' these events and their feelings despite not normally being able
to recall them using their conventional memories.
Penfield's experiments went on over several years, and resulted in wide
acceptance of the following conclusions:
The human brain acts like a tape recorder, and whilst we may 'forget'
experiences, the brain still has them recorded.
Along with events the brain also records the associated feelings, and both
feelings and events stay locked together.
It is possible for a person to exist in two states simultaneously (because
patients replaying hidden events and feelings could talk about them
objectively at the same time).
Hidden experiences when replayed are vivid, and affect how we feel at the
time of replaying.
There is a certain connection between mind and body, i.e. the link
between the biological and the psychological, eg a psychological fear of
spiders and a biological feeling of nausea.
early transactional analysis theory and model
In the 1950's Eric Berne began to develop his theories of Transactional Analysis.
He said that verbal communication, particularly face to face, is at the centre of
human social relationships and psychoanalysis.
His starting-point was that when two people encounter each other, one of them
will speak to the other. This he called the Transaction Stimulus. The reaction
from the other person he called the Transaction Response.
The person sending the Stimulus is called the Agent. The person who responds
is called the Respondent.
Transactional Analysis became the method of examining the transaction wherein:
'I do something to you, and you do something back'.
Berne also said that each person is made up of three alter ego states:
These terms have different definitions than in normal language.
This is our ingrained voice of authority, absorbed conditioning, learning and
attitudes from when we were young. We were conditioned by our real parents,
teachers, older people, next door neighbours, aunts and uncles, Father
Christmas and Jack Frost. Our Parent is made up of a huge number of hidden
and overt recorded playbacks. Typically embodied by phrases and attitudes
starting with 'how to', 'under no circumstances', 'always' and 'never forget', 'don't
lie, cheat, steal', etc, etc. Our parent is formed by external events and influences
upon us as we grow through early childhood. We can change it, but this is easier
said than done.
Our internal reaction and feelings to external events form the 'Child'. This is the
seeing, hearing, feeling, and emotional body of data within each of us. When
anger or despair dominates reason, the Child is in control. Like our Parent we
can change it, but it is no easier.
Our 'Adult' is our ability to think and determine action for ourselves, based on
received data. The adult in us begins to form at around ten months old, and is the
means by which we keep our Parent and Child under control. If we are to change
our Parent or Child we must do so through our adult.
In other words:
Parent is our 'Taught' concept of life
Adult is our 'Thought' concept of life
Child is our 'Felt' concept of life
When we communicate we are doing so from one of our own alter ego states,
our Parent, Adult or Child. Our feelings at the time determine which one we use,
and at any time something can trigger a shift from one state to another. When we
respond, we are also doing this from one of the three states, and it is in the
analysis of these stimuli and responses that the essence of Transactional
Analysis lies. A wonderful analogy - 'the person who had feelings' story - explains
how experiences and conditioning in early life affect behaviour in later life. See
also the poem by Philip Larkin about how parental conditioning affects children
and their behaviour into adulthood. And for an uplifting antidote see the lovely
Thich Nhat Hanh quote. These are all excellent illustrations of the effect and
implications of parental conditioning in the context of Transactional Analysis.
At the core of Berne's theory is the rule that effective transactions (ie successful
communications) must be complementary. They must go back from the receiving
ego state to the sending ego state. For example, if the stimulus is Parent to
Child, the response must be Child to Parent, or the transaction is 'crossed', and
there will be a problem between sender and receiver.
If a crossed transaction occurs, there is an ineffective communication. Worse still
either or both parties will be upset. In order for the relationship to continue
smoothly the agent or the respondent must rescue the situation with a
In serious break-downs, there is no chance of immediately resuming a discussion
about the original subject matter. Attention is focused on the relationship. The
discussion can only continue constructively when and if the relationship is
Here are some simple clues as to the ego state sending the signal. You will be
able to see these clearly in others, and in yourself:
Physical - angry or impatient body-language and expressions, finger-pointing,
Verbal - always, never, for once and for all, judgmental words, critical words,
patronising language, posturing language.
N.B. beware of cultural differences in body-language or emphases that appear
Physical - emotionally sad expressions, despair, temper tantrums, whining voice,
rolling eyes, shrugging shoulders, teasing, delight, laughter, speaking behind
hand, raising hand to speak, squirming and giggling.
Verbal - baby talk, I wish, I dunno, I want, I'm gonna, I don't care, oh no, not
again, things never go right for me, worst day of my life, bigger, biggest, best,
many superlatives, words to impress.
Physical - attentive, interested, straight-forward, tilted head, non-threatening and
Verbal - why, what, how, who, where and when, how much, in what way,
comparative expressions, reasoned statements, true, false, probably, possibly, I
think, I realise, I see, I believe, in my opinion.
And remember, when you are trying to identify ego states: words are only part of
To analyse a transaction you need to see and feel what is being said as well.
Only 7% of meaning is in the words spoken.
38% of meaning is paralinguistic (the way that the words are said).
55% is in facial expression. (source: Albert Mehrabian - more info)
There is no general rule as to the effectiveness of any ego state in any given
situation (some people get results by being dictatorial (Parent to Child), or by
having temper tantrums, (Child to Parent), but for a balanced approach to life,
Adult to Adult is generally recommended.
Transactional Analysis is effectively a language within a language; a language of
true meaning, feeling and motive. It can help you in every situation, firstly through
being able to understand more clearly what is going on, and secondly, by virtue
of this knowledge, we give ourselves choices of what ego states to adopt, which
signals to send, and where to send them. This enables us to make the most of all
our communications and therefore create, develop and maintain better
modern transactional analysis theory
Transactional Analysis is a theory which operates as each of the following:
a theory of personality
a model of communication
a study of repetitive patterns of behaviour
Transactional Analysis developed significantly beyond these Berne's early
theories, by Berne himself until his death in 1970, and since then by his followers
and many current writers and experts. Transactional Analysis has been explored
and enhanced in many different ways by these people, including: Ian Stewart and
Vann Joines (their book 'TA Today' is widely regarded as a definitive modern
interpretation); John Dusay, Aaron and Jacqui Schiff, Robert and Mary Goulding,
Pat Crossman, Taibi Kahler, Abe Wagner, Ken Mellor and Eric Sigmund, Richard
Erskine and Marityn Zalcman, Muriel James, Pam Levin, Anita Mountain and
Julie Hay (specialists in organizational applications), Susannah Temple, Claude
Steiner, Franklin Ernst, S Woollams and M Brown, Fanita English, P Clarkson, M
M Holloway, Stephen Karpman and others.
Significantly, the original three Parent Adult Child components were sub-divided
to form a new seven element model, principally during the 1980's by Wagner,
Joines and Mountain. This established Controlling and Nurturing aspects of the
Parent mode, each with positive and negative aspects, and the Adapted and
Free aspects of the Child mode, again each with positive an negative aspects,
which essentially gives us the model to which most TA practitioners refer today:
Parent is now commonly represented as a circle with four quadrants:
Nurturing - Nurturing (positive) and Spoiling (negative).
Controlling - Structuring (positive) and Critical (negative).
Adult remains as a single entity, representing an 'accounting' function or mode,
which can draw on the resources of both Parent and Child.
Child is now commonly represented as circle with four quadrants:
Adapted - Co-operative (positive) and Compliant/Resistant (negative).
Free - Spontaneous (positive) and Immature (negative).
communications were complementary (response echoing the path of the
stimulus), and better still complementary adult to adult, the modern interpretation
suggests that effective communications and relationships are based on
complementary transactions to and from positive quadrants, and also, still, adult
to adult. Stimulii and responses can come from any (or some) of these seven ego
states, to any or some of the respondent's seven ego states.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment is a psychometric questionnaire
designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and
make decisions.:1 These preferences were extrapolated from the typological theories
originated by Carl Gustav Jung, as published in his 1921 book Psychological Types
(English edition, 1923). The original developers of the personality inventory were
Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers. They began creating the
indicator during World War II, believing that a knowledge of personality preferences
would help women who were entering the industrial workforce for the first time identify
the sort of war-time jobs where they would be "most comfortable and effective". :xiii The
initial questionnaire grew into the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which was first
published in 1962. The MBTI focuses on normal populations and emphasizes the value of
naturally occurring differences.
Some academic psychologists have criticized the MBTI instrument in research literature,
claiming that it "lacks convincing validity data." Proponents and sellers of the test
cite unblinded anecdotal predictions of individual behavior, and claim that the indicator
has been found to meet or exceed the reliability of other psychological instruments.  For
most adults (75-90%), though not for children, the MBTI is reported to give the same
result for 3–4 preferences when the test is administered to the same person more than
once (although the period between measurements is not stated).  Some studies have
found strong support for construct validity, internal consistency, and test-retest reliability,
although variation was observed. 
The definitive published source of reference on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is The
Manual produced by CPP, from which much of the information in this article is drawn,
along with training materials from CPP and their European training partners, Oxford
Psychologists Press. However, a popularized source of the model, with an original test, is
published in David Keirsey's book Please Understand Me.
The registered trademark rights to the terms Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and MBTI have
been assigned from the publisher of the test, CPP, Inc., to the Myers-Briggs Type
As the MBTI Manual states, the MBTI "is designed to implement a theory; therefore the
theory must be understood to understand the MBTI.":1
Fundamental to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is the theory of psychological type as
originally developed by C. G. Jung.:xiii Jung proposed the existence of two dichotomous
pairs of cognitive functions:
The "rational" (judging) functions: thinking and feeling
The "irrational" (perceiving) functions: sensing and intuition
Jung went on to suggest that these functions are expressed in either an introverted or
extraverted form.:17 From Jung's original concepts, Briggs and Myers developed their
own theory of psychological type, described below, on which the MBTI is based.
The Myers-Briggs typology model regards personality type as similar to left or right
handedness: individuals are either born with, or develop, certain preferred ways of
thinking and acting. The MBTI sorts some of these psychological differences into four
opposite pairs, or "dichotomies," with a resulting 16 possible psychological types. None
of these types is "better" or "worse"; however, Briggs and Myers theorized that
individuals naturally prefer one overall combination of type differences.:9 In the same
way that writing with the left hand is hard work for a right-hander, so people tend to find
using their opposite psychological preferences more difficult, even if they can become
more proficient (and therefore behaviorally flexible) with practice and development.
The 16 different types are often referred to by an abbreviation of four letters, the initial
letters of each of their four type preferences (except in the case of iNtuition, which uses N
to distinguish it from Introversion). For instance:
ESTJ - Extraversion, Sensing, Thinking, Judging
INFP - Introversion, iNtuition, Feeling, Perceiving
And so on for all 16 possible type combinations.
The four dichotomies
The four pairs of preferences or dichotomies are shown in the table to the right.
Note that the terms used for each dichotomy have specific technical meanings relating to
the MBTI which differ from their everyday usage. For example, people who prefer
judging over perceiving are not necessarily more "judgmental" or less "perceptive".
Nor does the MBTI instrument measure aptitude; it simply indicates for one preference
over another.:3 Someone reporting a high score for extraversion over introversion
cannot be correctly described as 'more' extraverted: they simply have a clear preference.
Point scores on each of the dichotomies can vary considerably from person to person,
even among those with the same type. However, Isabel Myers considered the direction of
the preference (for example, E vs. I) to be more important than the degree of the
preference (for example, very clear vs. slight).
Attitudes: Extraversion (E) / Introversion (I)
The preferences for extraversion (thus spelled in Myers-Briggs jargon) and introversion
are sometimes referred to as attitudes. Briggs and Myers recognized that each of the
cognitive functions can operate in the external world of behavior, action, people and
things (extraverted attitude) or the internal world of ideas and reflection (introverted
attitude). The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator sorts for an overall preference for one or the
other of these.
The terms extravert and introvert are used in a special sense when discussing the MyersBriggs Type Indicator. People who prefer extraversion draw energy from action: they
tend to act, then reflect, then act further. If they are inactive, their level of energy and
motivation tends to decline. Conversely, those whose prefer introversion become less
energized as they act: they prefer to reflect, then act, then reflect again. People who prefer
introversion need time out to reflect in order to rebuild energy.
The extravert's flow is directed outward toward people and objects, and the introvert's is
directed inward toward concepts and ideas. There are several contrasting characteristics
between extraverts and introverts: extraverts are action-oriented and desire breadth, while
introverts are thought-oriented and seek depth. Extraverts often prefer more frequent
interaction, while introverts prefer more substantial interaction.
 Functions: Sensing (S) / iNtuition (N) and Thinking (T) / Feeling (F)
Jung identified two pairs of psychological functions:
The two perceiving functions, sensing and intuition
The two judging functions, thinking and feeling
According to the Myers-Briggs typology model, each person uses one of these four
functions more dominantly and proficiently than the other three; however, all four
functions are used at different times depending on the circumstances.
Sensing and intuition are the information-gathering (perceiving) functions. They
describe how new information is understood and interpreted. Individuals who prefer
sensing are more likely to trust information that is in the present, tangible and concrete:
that is, information that can be understood by the five senses. They tend to distrust
hunches that seem to come out of nowhere. They prefer to look for details and facts. For
them, the meaning is in the data. On the other hand, those who prefer intuition tend to
trust information that is more abstract or theoretical, that can be associated with other
information (either remembered or discovered by seeking a wider context or pattern).
They may be more interested in future possibilities. They tend to trust those flashes of
insight that seem to bubble up from the unconscious mind. The meaning is in how the
data relates to the pattern or theory.
Thinking and feeling are the decision-making (judging) functions. The thinking and
feeling functions are both used to make rational decisions, based on the data received
from their information-gathering functions (sensing or intuition). Those who prefer
thinking tend to decide things from a more detached standpoint, measuring the decision
by what seems reasonable, logical, causal, consistent and matching a given set of rules.
Those who prefer feeling tend to come to decisions by associating or empathizing with
the situation, looking at it 'from the inside' and weighing the situation to achieve, on
balance, the greatest harmony, consensus and fit, considering the needs of the people
As noted already, people who prefer thinking do not necessarily, in the everyday sense,
'think better' than their feeling counterparts; the opposite preference is considered an
equally rational way of coming to decisions (and, in any case, the MBTI assessment is a
measure of preference, not ability). Similarly, those who prefer feeling do not necessarily
have 'better' emotional reactions than their thinking counterparts.
Although people use all four cognitive functions, one function is generally used in a more
conscious and confident way. This dominant function is supported by the secondary
(auxiliary) function, and to a lesser degree the tertiary function. The fourth and least
conscious function is always the opposite of the dominant function. Myers called this
inferior function the shadow.:84
The four functions operate in conjunction with the attitudes (extraversion and
introversion). Each function is used in either an extraverted or introverted way. A person
whose dominant function is extraverted intuition, for example, uses intuition very
differently from someone whose dominant function is introverted intuition.
Lifestyle: Judgment (J) / Perception (P)
Myers and Briggs added another dimension to Jung's typological model by identifying
that people also have a preference for using either the judging function (thinking or
feeling) or their perceiving function (sensing or intuition) when relating to the outside
Myers and Briggs held that types with a preference for judging show the world their
preferred judging function (thinking or feeling). So TJ types tend to appear to the world
as logical, and FJ types as empathetic. According to Myers, :75 judging types prefer to
"have matters settled." Those types ending in P show the world their preferred perceiving
function (sensing or intuition). So SP types tend to appear to the world as concrete and
NP types as abstract. According to Myers, :75 perceiving types prefer to "keep decisions
For extraverts, the J or P indicates their dominant function; for introverts, the J or P
indicates their auxiliary function. Introverts tend to show their dominant function
outwardly only in matters "important to their inner worlds".:13 For example:
Because ENTJ types are extraverts, the J indicates that their dominant function is their
preferred judging function (extraverted thinking). ENTJ types introvert their auxiliary
perceiving function (introverted intuition). The tertiary function is sensing and the
inferior function is introverted feeling.
Because INTJ types are introverts, the J indicates that their auxiliary function is their
preferred judging function (extraverted thinking). INTJ types introvert their dominant
perceiving function (introverted intuition). The tertiary function is feeling, and the
inferior function is extraverted sensing.
 Whole type
The expression of a person's psychological type is more than the sum of the four
individual preferences, because of the way in which the preferences interact through type
dynamics and type development. Descriptions of each type can be found on the Myers &
Briggs Foundation website. In-depth descriptions of each type, including statistics, can be
found in the MBTI Manual.
 Historical development
Katharine Cook Briggs began her research into personality in 1917, developing a fourtype framework: Social, Thoughtful, Executive, and Spontaneous. After the English
translation of Jung's Psychological Types was published in 1923 (having first been
published in German in 1921), she recognized that Jung's theory was similar to, yet went
far beyond, her own.:22 Katharine Briggs' first publications were two articles describing
Jung's theory, in the journal New Republic in 1926 (Meet Yourself Using the Personality
Paint Box) and 1928 (Up From Barbarism).
Katharine Briggs' daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, added to her mother's typological
research, which she would progressively take over entirely. Myers graduated first in her
class from Swarthmore College in 1919 :xx and wrote the prize-winning mystery novel
Murder Yet to Come in 1929 using typological ideas. Having no formal training in
psychometrics, Myers apprenticed herself to Edward N. Hay, who was then personnel
manager for a large Philadelphia bank and went on to start one of the first successful
personnel consulting firms in the U.S. From Hay, Myers learned test construction,
scoring, validation, and statistics.:xiii, xx In 1942, the "Briggs-Myers Type Indicator" was
created, and the Briggs Myers Type Indicator Handbook was published in 1944. The
indicator changed its name to the modern form (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) in 1956.
Myers' work attracted the attention of Henry Chauncey, head of the Educational Testing
Service, and under these auspices, the first MBTI Manual was published in 1962. The
MBTI received further support from Donald T. McKinnon, head of the Institute of
Personality Research at the University of California; Harold Grant, professor at Michigan
State and Auburn Universities; and Mary H. McCaulley of the University of Florida. The
publication of the MBTI was transferred to Consulting Psychologists Press in 1975, and
the Center for Applications of Psychological Type (CAPT) was founded as a research
laboratory.:xxi After Myers' death in May 1980, Mary McCaulley updated the MBTI
Manual, and the second edition was published in 1985.  The third edition appeared in
 Differences from Jung
The most notable addition of Myers and Briggs to Jung's original thought is their concept
that a given type's fourth letter (J or P) is determined by how that type interacts with the
external world, rather than by the type's dominant function. The difference becomes
evident when assessing the cognitive functions of introverts. :21-22
To Jung, a type with dominant introverted thinking, for example, would be considered
rational (judging) because the decision-making function is dominant. To Myers,
however, that same type would be irrational (perceiving) because the individual uses an
information-gathering function (either extraverted intuition or extraverted sensing) when
interacting with the outer world.
Jung theorized that the dominant function acts alone in its preferred world: exterior for
the extraverts, and interior for the introverts. The remaining three functions, he suggested,
operate together in the opposite world. If the dominant cognitive function is introverted,
the other functions are extraverted, and vice versa. The MBTI Manual summarizes
references in Jung's work to the balance in psychological type as follows:
There are several references in Jung's writing to the three remaining functions having an opposite
attitudinal character. For example, in writing about introverts with thinking dominant…Jung
commented that the counterbalancing functions have an extraverted character. :29
However, many MBTI practitioners hold that the tertiary function is oriented in the same
direction as the dominant function. Using the INTP type as an example, the orientation
would be as follows:
Dominant introverted thinking
Auxiliary extraverted intuition
Tertiary introverted sensing
Inferior extraverted feeling
From a theoretical perspective, noted psychologist H.J. Eysenck calls the MBTI a
moderately successful quantification of Jung's original principles as outlined in
Psychological Types. However, both models remain theory, with no controlled
scientific studies supporting either Jung's original concept of type or the Myers-Briggs
Applications of the MBTI
The indicator is frequently used in the areas of career counseling, pedagogy, group
dynamics, employee training, marketing, leadership training, life coaching, executive
coaching, marriage counseling, Workers' compensation claims and personal
Format and administration of the MBTI
The current North American English version of the MBTI Step I includes 93 forcedchoice questions (there are 88 in the European English version). Forced-choice means
that the individual has to choose only one of two possible answers to each question. The
choices are a mixture of word pairs and short statements. Choices are not literal opposites
but chosen to reflect opposite preferences on the same dichotomy. Participants may skip
questions if they feel they are unable to choose.
Using psychometric techniques, such as item response theory, the MBTI will then be
scored and will attempt to identify the preference, and clarity of preference, in each
dichotomy. After taking the MBTI, participants are usually asked to complete a Best Fit
exercise (see above) and then given a readout of their Reported Type, which will usually
include a bar graph and number to show how clear they were about each preference when
they completed the questionnaire.
During the early development of the MBTI thousands of items were used. Most were
eventually discarded because they did not have high midpoint discrimination, meaning
the results of that one item did not, on average, move an individual score away from the
midpoint. Using only items with high midpoint discrimination allows the MBTI to have
fewer items on it but still provide as much statistical information as other instruments
with many more items with lower midpoint discrimination. The MBTI requires five
points one way or another to indicate a clear preference.
 Additional formats
Isabel Myers had noted that people of any given type shared differences as well as
similarities. At the time of her death, she was developing a more in-depth method of
measuring how people express and experience their individual type pattern. This tool is
called the MBTI Step II.
A Step III is also being developed in a joint project involving the following
organizations: CPP, the publisher of the whole family of MBTI works; CAPT (Center for
Applications of Psychological Type), which holds all of Myers' and McCaulley's original
work; and the MBTI Trust, headed by Katharine and Peter Myers. Step III will further
address the use of perception and judgment by respondents.
In addition, the Type Differentiation Indicator (TDI) (Saunders, 1989) is a scoring
system for the longer MBTI, Form J, which includes the 20 subscales above, plus a
Comfort-Discomfort factor (which purportedly corresponds to the missing factor of
Neuroticism). This factor includes seven additional scales to indicate a sense of overall
comfort and confidence versus discomfort and anxiety: guarded-optimistic, defiantcompliant, carefree-worried, decisive-ambivalent, intrepid-inhibited, leader-follower, and
proactive-distractible. Also included is a composite of these called "strain." Each of these
comfort-discomfort subscales also loads onto one of the four type dimensions, for
example, proactive-distractible is also a judging-perceiving subscale. There are also
scales for type-scale consistency and comfort-scale consistency. Reliability of 23 of the
27 TDI subscales is greater than .50, "an acceptable result given the brevity of the
subscales" (Saunders, 1989).
Precepts and ethics
The following precepts are generally used in the ethical administration of the MyersBriggs Type Indicator:
Type not trait: The MBTI sorts for type; it does not indicate the strength of ability. The
questionnaire allows the clarity of a preference to be ascertained (Bill clearly prefers
introversion), but not the strength of preference (Jane strongly prefers extraversion) or
degree of aptitude (Harry is good at thinking). In this sense, it differs from trait-based
tools such as 16PF. Type preferences are polar opposites: a precept of MBTI is that
people fundamentally prefer one thing over the other, not a bit of both.
Own best judge: Individuals are considered the best judge of their own type. While the
MBTI questionnaire provides a Reported Type, this is considered only an indication of
their probable overall Type. A Best Fit Process is usually used to allow the individual to
develop their understanding of the four dichotomies, form their own hypothesis as to their
overall Type and compare this against the Reported Type. In more than 20% of cases, the
hypothesis and the reported type differ in one or more dichotomies: the clarity of each
preference, any potential for bias in the report and, often, a comparison of two or more
whole Types may then be used to help the subject determine his or her own Best Fit.
No right or wrong: No preference or total type is considered 'better' or 'worse' than
another - they are all, as in the title of the book on this subject by Isabel Briggs Myers,
Voluntary: It is considered unethical to compel anyone to take the Myers-Briggs Type
Indicator. It should always be taken voluntarily. 
Confidentiality: The result of the MBTI Reported and Best Fit type are confidential
between the individual and administrator and, ethically, not for disclosure without
Not for selection: Because the MBTI measures preferences instead of aptitude - and
because there are no right or wrong types - it is not considered a proper instrument for
purposes of employment selection. Many professions contain highly competent
individuals of different types with complementary preferences.
Importance of proper feedback: Individuals should always be given detailed feedback
from a trained administrator and an opportunity to undertake a Best Fit exercise to check
against their Reported Type. Feedback can be given in person or, where this is not
practical, by telephone or electronically.
 Type dynamics and development
The Sixteen Types
The table organizing the
sixteen types was created by
Isabel Myers (an INFP).
ISFJ INFJ INTJ
ISTP ISFP INFP INTP
ESTP ESFP ENFP ENTP
ESTJ ESFJ ENFJ ENTJ
Estimated percentages of the
16 types in the American
population using inferential
statistics. The figures above
are from a random sampling
of 3009 people culled from
a total pool of 16,000 using
the 1998 MBTI Form M.
The individuals whose form
results were used in this
random sampling were not
provided with the data to
verify or question their
accuracy. But these numbers
do provide a working base
on which to build further
development of the model as
The interaction of two, three, or four preferences is known as type dynamics. Myers and
Briggs asserted that for each of the 16 four-preference types, one function is the most
dominant and is likely to be evident earliest in life. A secondary or auxiliary function
typically becomes more evident (differentiated) during teenage years and provides
balance to the dominant. In normal development individuals tend to become more fluent
with a third, tertiary function during mid life, while the fourth, inferior function remains
least consciously developed. The inferior function is often considered to be more
associated with the unconscious, being most evident in situations such as high stress
(sometimes referred to as being in the grip of the inferior function).
The sequence of differentiation of dominant, auxiliary, and tertiary functions through life
is termed type development. Note that this is an idealized sequence that may be
disrupted by major life events.
The dynamic sequence of functions and their attitudes can be determined in the following
The overall lifestyle preference (J-P) determines whether the judging (T-F) or
perceiving (S-N) preference is most evident in the outside world, i.e., which
function has an extraverted attitude
The attitude preference (E-I) determines whether the extraverted function is
dominant or auxiliary
For those with an overall preference for extraversion, the function with the
extraverted attitude will be the dominant function. For example, for an ESTJ type
the dominant function is the judging function, thinking, and this is experienced
with an extraverted attitude. This is notated as a dominant Te. For an ESTP, the
dominant function is the perceiving function, sensing, notated as a dominant Se.
The Auxiliary function for extraverts is the secondary preference of the judging or
perceiving functions, and it is experienced with an introverted attitude: for
example, the auxiliary function for ESTJ is introverted sensing (Si) and the
auxiliary for ESTP is introverted thinking (Ti).
For those with an overall preference for introversion, the function with the
extraverted attitude is the auxiliary; the dominant is the other function in the main
four letter preference. So the dominant function for ISTJ is introverted sensing
(Si) with the auxiliary (supporting) function being extraverted thinking (Te).
The Tertiary function is the opposite preference from the Auxiliary. For example,
if the Auxiliary is thinking then the Tertiary would be feeling. The attitude of the
Tertiary is the subject of some debate and therefore is not normally indicated, i.e.
if the Auxiliary was Te then the Tertiary would be F (not Fe or Fi)
The Inferior function is the opposite preference and attitude from the Dominant,
so for an ESTJ with dominant Te the Inferior would be Fi.
Note that for extraverts, the dominant function is the one most evident in the external
world. For introverts, however, it is the auxiliary function that is most evident externally,
as their dominant function relates to the interior world.
A couple examples of whole types may help to clarify this further. Taking the ESTJ
Extraverted function is a judging function (T-F) because of the overall J
Extraverted function is dominant because of overall E preference
Dominant function is therefore extraverted thinking (Te)
Auxiliary function is the preferred perceiving function: introverted sensing (Si)
Tertiary function is the opposite of the Auxiliary: intuition
Inferior function is the opposite of the Dominant: introverted feeling (Fi)
The dynamics of the ESTJ are found in the primary combination of extraverted thinking
as their dominant function and introverted sensing as their auxiliary function: the
dominant tendency of ESTJs to order their environment, to set clear boundaries, to clarify
roles and timetables, and to direct the activities around them is supported by their facility
for using past experience in an ordered and systematic way to help organize themselves
and others. For instance, ESTJs may enjoy planning trips for groups of people to achieve
some goal or to perform some culturally uplifting function. Because of their ease in
directing others and their facility in managing their own time, they engage all the
resources at their disposal to achieve their goals. However, under prolonged stress or
sudden trauma, ESTJs may overuse their extraverted thinking function and fall into the
grip of their inferior function, introverted feeling. Although the ESTJ can seem
insensitive to the feelings of others in their normal activities, under tremendous stress,
they can suddenly express feelings of being unappreciated or wounded by insensitivity.
Looking at the diametrically opposite four-letter type, INFP:
Extraverted function is a perceiving function (S-N) because of the P preference
Introverted function is dominant because of the I preference
Dominant function is therefore introverted feeling (Fi)
Auxiliary function is extraverted intuition (Ne)
Tertiary function is the opposite of the Auxiliary: sensing
Inferior function is the opposite of the Dominant: extraverted thinking (Te)
The dynamics of the INFP rest on the fundamental correspondence of introverted feeling
and extraverted intuition. The dominant tendency of the INFP is toward building a rich
internal framework of values and toward championing human rights. They often devote
themselves behind the scenes to causes such as civil rights or saving the environment.
Since they tend to avoid the limelight, postpone decisions, and maintain a reserved
posture, they are rarely found in executive-director type positions of the organizations
that serve those causes. Normally, the INFP dislikes being "in charge" of things. When
not under stress, the INFP radiates a pleasant and sympathetic demeanor; but under
extreme stress, they can suddenly become rigid and directive, exerting their extraverted
Every type—and its opposite—is the expression of these interactions, which give each
type its unique, recognizable signature.
 Expansion of the Myers-Briggs theory
Some have theorized that the MBTI functions may correlate to the Lateralization of brain
function. Others claim, however, that this proposed correlation has no scientific basis.
 Correlations to other instruments
David W. Keirsey mapped four 'Temperaments' to the existing Myers-Briggs system
groupings SP, SJ, NF and NT; this often results in confusion of the two theories.
However, the Keirsey Temperament Sorter is not directly associated with the official
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
IS T J
IS F J
IN F J
IN T J
Inspector Protector Counselor Mastermind
IS T P
IS F P
IN F P
IN T P
ES T P
ES T J
ES F P
EN F P EN T P
Performer Champion Inventor
ES F J
EN F J
EN T J
Provider Teacher Field Marshal
McCrae and Costa present correlations between the MBTI scales and the Big Five
personality construct, which is a conglomeration of characteristics found in nearly all
personality and psychological tests. The five personality characteristics are extraversion,
openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and emotional stability (or neuroticism). The
following study is based on the results from 267 men followed as part of a longitudinal
study of aging. (Similar results were obtained with 201 women.)
Extraversion Openness Agreeableness Conscientiousness Neuroticism
The closer the number is to 1.0 or -1.0, the higher the degree of correlation.
These data suggest that four of the MBTI scales are related to the Big Five personality
traits. These correlations show that E-I and S-N are strongly related to extraversion and
openness respectively, while T-F and J-P are moderately related to agreeableness and
conscientiousness respectively. The emotional stability dimension of the Big Five is
largely absent from the original MBTI (though the TDI, discussed above, has addressed
These findings led McCrae and Costa, the formulators of the Five Factor Theory,  to
conclude, "correlational analyses showed that the four MBTI indices did measure aspects
of four of the five major dimensions of normal personality. The five-factor model
provides an alternative basis for interpreting MBTI findings within a broader, more
commonly shared conceptual framework." However, "there was no support for the view
that the MBTI measures truly dichotomous preferences or qualitatively distinct types,
instead, the instrument measures four relatively independent dimensions."
 Study of scoring consistency
Split-half reliability of the MBTI scales is good, although test-retest reliability is sensitive
to the time between tests. However, because the MBTI dichotomies scores in the middle
of the distribution form a bell curve, type allocations are less reliable. Within each scale,
as measured on Form G, about 83% of categorizations remain the same when retested
within nine months, and around 75% when retested after nine months. About 50% of
people tested within nine months remain the same overall type and 36% remain the same
after nine months. For Form M (the most current form of the MBTI instrument) these
scores are higher (see MBTI Manual, p. 163, Table 8.6).
 Unscientific basis of the theory
Jung's theory of psychological type, as published in his 1921 book, was not tested
through controlled, scientific studies. Jung's methods primarily included introspection
and anecdote, methods largely rejected by the modern field of psychology.
Jung's type theory introduced a sequence of 4 cognitive functions (thinking, feeling,
sensing, and intuition), each having 1 of 2 orientations (extraverted or introverted), for a
total of 8 functions. The Myers-Briggs theory is based on these 8 functions, although with
some differences in expression (see Differences from Jung above). However, neither the
Myers-Briggs nor the Jungian models offer any scientific, experimental proof to support
the existence, the sequence, the orientation, or the manifestation of these functions.
The statistical validity of the MBTI as a psychometric instrument has been the subject of
criticism. Neither Katharine Cook Briggs nor Isabel Briggs Myers were formally
educated in psychology, and thus lacked scientific qualifications in the field of
psychometric testing.:xiii It has been estimated that between a third and a half of the
published material on the MBTI has been produced for conferences of the Center for the
Application of Psychological Type (which provides training in the MBTI) or as papers in
the Journal of Psychological Type (which is edited by Myers-Briggs advocates).  It has
been argued that this reflects a lack of critical scrutiny.
The accuracy of the MBTI depends on honest self-reporting by the person tested. :52-53
Unlike some personality measures, such as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality
Inventory or the Personality Assessment Inventory, the MBTI does not use validity scales
to assess exaggerated or socially desirable responses.  This makes it vulnerable to faked
responses, and in fact one study found that the MBTI judging dimension actually
correlates with the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire lie scale. If respondents "fear
they have something to lose, they may answer as they assume they should.":53
Also, the MBTI has not been validated by double-blind tests (in which participants are
given reports written for other participants, then asked whether the report suits them), and
thus may not qualify as a scientific assessment.
With regard to factor analysis, one study of 1291 college-aged students found six
different factors instead of the four used in the MBTI. In other studies, researchers
found that the JP and the SN scales correlate with one another.
Some researchers have interpreted the reliability of the test as being low, with test takers
who retake the test often being assigned a different type. According to some studies, 39–
76% of those tested fall into different types upon retesting some weeks or years later. 
About 50% of people tested within nine months remain the same overall type and 36%
remain the same after nine months. When people are asked to compare their preferred
type to that assigned by the MBTI, only half of people pick the same profile.  Critics
also argue that the MBTI lacks falsifiability, which can cause confirmation bias in the
interpretation of results.
 Statistical structure
The instrument's dichotomous scoring of dimensions has also been subject to criticism.
For example, some researchers expected that scores would show a bimodal distribution
with peaks near the ends of the scales, but found that scores on the individual subscales
were actually distributed in a centrally peaked manner similar to a normal distribution. A
cut-off exists at the center of the subscale such that a score on one side is classified as one
type, and a score on the other side as the opposite type. This fails to support the concept
of type: the norm is for people to lie near the middle of the subscale. 
Nevertheless, "the absence of bimodal score distributions does not necessarily prove that
the 'type'-based approach is incorrect."
The relevance of the MBTI for career planning has been questioned, with reservations
about the relevance of type to job performance or satisfaction, and concerns about the
potential misuse of the instrument in labeling individuals.  In her original research,
Isabel Myers found that the proportion of different personality types varied by choice of
career or course of study. :40-51  However, some other researchers examining the
proportions of each type within varying professions report that the proportion of MBTI
types within each occupation is close to that within a random sample of the population.
Furthermore, the efficiency of MBTI in an organizational setting has been subject to
scrutiny. In 1991 three scholars at the University of Western Ontario analyzed the results
of 97 independent studies that evaluated the effectiveness of personality tests in
predicting job success and job satisfaction ("Personnel Psychology," winter 1991). The
results of the nationwide study challenged the effectiveness of the MBTI when related to
individual performance and satisfaction in a corporate setting.
“The validity coefficient for personality tests in predicting job success was found to average 0.29
(on a scale of 0 to 1). The corresponding average validity for the MBTI, however, was a weak
0.12. In fact, each study that examined the MBTI found its validity to be below acceptable levels
of statistical significance.”
Skeptics criticize the terminology of the MBTI as being so "vague and general"  as to
allow any kind of behavior to fit any personality type. They claim that this results in the
Forer effect, where individuals give a high rating to a positive description that supposedly
applies specifically to them. Others argue that while the MBTI type descriptions are
brief, they are also distinctive and precise.:14-15 Some theorists, such as David Keirsey,
have expanded on the MBTI descriptions, providing even greater detail. For instance,
Keirsey's descriptions of his four temperaments, which he derived from the sixteen MBTI
personality types, show how the temperaments differ in terms of language use,
intellectual orientation, educational and vocational interests, social orientation, self
image, personal values, social roles, and characteristic hand gestures.:32-207
Source: West M (1994) Effective Teamwork; The
British Psychology Society
Based on research with over 200 teams conducting management
business games at the Administrative Staff College, Henley, in the
UK, Belbin identified nine team types. Almost always people have
a mix of roles and will have dominant and sub-dominant roles.
The co-ordinator is a person-oriented
leader. This person is trusting, accepting,
dominant and is committed to team goals
and objectives. The co-ordinator is a
positive thinker who approves of goal
attainment, struggle and effort in others.
The co-ordinator is someone tolerant
enough always to listen to others, but
strong enough to reject their advice.
may not stand out
in a team and
usually does not
The shaper is a task-focused leader who
abounds in nervous energy, who has a
high motivation to achieve and for whom
winning is the name of the game. The
shaper is committed to achieving ends and
will ‘shape’ others into achieving the aims
of the team.
He or she will
challenge, argue or
disagree and will
in the pursuit of
shapers in a group,
Belbin Team Roles
Dr. Meredith Belbin is well known for his team roles concept. The team roles identified
by Belbin are based on certain patterns of behaviour that people exhibit within teams.
These patterns of behaviour can potentially have an impact on the performance of the
team. The basic premise of the Belbin team roles theory is quite simple. When
individuals become aware of their own strengths and abilities, and understand the role
that he or she is capable of playing within a team, it helps them to deal better with the
demands of the team environment.
Belbin’s team roles are based on a study that examined personality traits, intellectual
styles and behaviours within teams. The team roles evolved from the clusters or patterns
of these that emerged during the study. Initially defined as 8 roles, the Belbin model now
sports 9 roles, the new one being the ‘Specialist’. The 9 team roles are usually further
classified into Action oriented, People oriented and Cerebral roles. Given below are the 9
roles outlined in the Belbin team roles model and the descriptions that explain the scope
of each role:
Action Oriented Role:
Implementer – The implementer’s strength lies in translating the team’s
decisions and ideas into manageable and practical tasks or actions.
Shaper – The shaper’s strength lies in being goal directed. The shaper is a
dynamic individual who boldly challenges others during discussions, can handle
work pressures and has the courage to overcome obstacles.
Completer/Finisher - The completer/finisher’s strength lies in meticulousness,
attention to detail and the ability to meet deadlines.
People Skills Oriented Role:
Co-ordinator - The co-ordinator’s strength lies in enabling and facilitating
interaction and decision making.
Teamworker - The teamworker’s strength lies in being a good listener, being
collaborative, co-operative, easy going and tactful.
Resource Investigator - The resource investigator’s strength lies in being an
extrovert who can develop contacts, communicate well, explore new ideas and
opportunities, and bring enthusiasm and drive to the team effort.
Planter - The planter’s strength lies in problem solving and out-of-the-box
Monitor/Evaluator - The monitor/evaluator’s strength lies in good judgment and
good strategic thinking ability.
Specialist – The specialist’s strength lies in being a dedicated and focused
individual who likes to learn and constantly build his or her knowledge. The
specialist likes to dig deep and is therefore a good resource who can contribute
information and knowledge in a team situation.
Analysis of Belbin Team Roles
Belbin’s roles are identified based on a series of statements that constitute the ‘SelfPerception Inventory’ (SPI). The statements have to be answered by an individual based
on personal perceptions of what he or she would do in different team situations. Based on
the statements that you pick, and the weight that you assign to those statements, the final
scores are computed. What you get is a score for each of the roles. The roles where you
score high are the ones that define your natural inclination within a team. A person can
have strengths in more than one role and deficiencies or weaknesses in many of the other
For instance, a person can be a good Implementer and a good Co-ordinator but a very
poor Completer/Finisher. This means the individual’s natural inclination during
teamwork is to facilitate interaction and decision making, that he or she is also capable of
stepping in to translate the team’s decisions into reality. But on the flip side, the person
may be lacking as far as attention to detail goes.
The Practical Use of Belbin’s Theory
A closer look at the 9 roles shows the distinctive strengths that individuals display in
team situations. This affords a good framework for aligning team roles to individuals
with the right strengths. As we all know, the right team mix can go a long way in
facilitating high performance in teams. Consider this example:
The VP Marketing in a foods and beverages company constituted a team of senior
product management executives. Their task is to create a communications campaign that
integrates the entire foods business under a common brand name. The team has to work
with external agencies such as PR Firms, Ad Agencies, Event Managers and Direct
Marketing Agencies to devise a campaign. While the entire team will be involved in
conceptualising and providing the strategic direction for the campaign, the VP
Marketing selects one individual from the team who he considers a good ‘thinker’ and
this person is assigned to play the role of co-ordinating and managing the external
As days go by, the VP Marketing realises that the output from the team and the external
agencies is not up to scratch, though the initial strategic direction was good. He sensed
that the problem was within the team rather than with the outside agencies and decided
to administer the Belbin team roles (SPI) to each team member. It threw up some
startling revelations. The person that he chose to manage the external agencies was a
strong Monitor/Evaluator (good judgement and strategic thinking) but was weak in
people oriented roles such as Co-ordinator and Resource Investigator. There was
another person on the team who scored high as a Resource Investigator who would have
been a more appropriate choice to manage the external agencies on that task.
A frame-work such as the Belbin team roles model makes it possible for organisations to
understand the natural behaviour and teamwork inclinations of individuals. Individuals
are likely to excel when given a role that exploits their strengths. When an organisation
gains insights into the strengths and weaknesses of individuals, it helps them create more
balanced teams by assigning roles in a manner that draws out the best performance from
Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this article
by adding citations to reliable sources. Unverifiable material may be challenged and
removed. (January 2008)
The Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument is a conflict style inventory, which is
a tool developed to measure an individual's response to conflict situations.
A number of conflict style inventories have been in active use since the 1960s. Most of
them are based on the managerial grid developed by Robert R. Blake and Jane Mouton in
their Managerial Grid Model. The Blake and Mouton model uses two axes. "Concern for
people" is plotted using the vertical axis and "Concern for task" along the horizontal axis.
Each axis has a numerical scale of 1 to 9. These axes interact so as to diagram five
different styles of management. This grid posits the interaction of task with relationship
and shows that according to how people value these, there are five basic ways of
interacting with others.
In 1974, Kenneth W.Thomas and Ralph H. Kilmann introduced their Thomas-Kilmann
Conflict Mode Instrument (Tuxedo NY: Xicom, 1974). The TKI, as it is also known,
popularized conflict style inventories and, according to the publisher's website, there are
over five million copies published, making it the best known of the commercial conflict
style inventories.
The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode instrument uses two axes (influenced by the
Mouton and Blake axes), called "assertiveness" and "cooperativeness", and identifies five
different styles of conflict: Forcing, (assertive, uncooperative) Avoiding (unassertive,
uncooperative), Accommodating (unassertive, cooperative), Collaborating (assertive,
cooperative), and Compromising (intermediate assertiveness and cooperativeness). This
is very similar to other psychometric tools, such as DISC assessment, Social styles, and
even moreso, a theory of Five Temperaments, all of which use similar scales.
A similar inventory is the Kraybill Conflict Style Inventory which is also based on the
Mouton-Blake Managerial Grid and identifies five styles of responding to conflict.
The TKI is quick to administer and interpret. It takes about 15 minutes to answer the
questions, and an hour or so for interpretation by a trainer. There are some interpretation
materials helping users identify appropriate use of the styles and to help them become
more comfortable with styles they are less familiar with. The TKI is widely known and is
available in English, French, and Spanish versions.
The TKI is a forced choice questionnaire, which some users find frustrating. It assumes
that all users have similar cultural background. Some trainers report frustration among
users from minority backgrounds or in use outside the United States. Its interpretation
materials are not extensive.
Thomas-Kilmann Conflict MODE Instrument (Mountain View,
CA: Xicom and CPP, Inc., 1974)
by Kenneth W. Thomas and Ralph H. Kilmann
Conflict and Conflict Management
Because no two individuals have exactly the same expectations and desires,
conflict is a natural part of our interactions with others. The Thomas-Kilmann
Conflict MODE Instrument is a self-scoring exercise that takes about fifteen
minutes to complete. Interpretation and feedback materials help you learn about
the most appropriate uses for each conflict-handling mode. It also gives
suggestions for increasing your "comfort level" with your less used styles.
The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict MODE Instrument (TKI) has been the leader in
conflict resolution assessment for more than 30 years. This instrument requires
no special qualifications for administration, and it is used by Human Resources
(HR) and Organizational Development (OD) consultants as a catalyst to open
discussions and facilitate learning about how conflict handling styles affect
personal and group dynamics.
This instrument is designed to measure
a person's behavior in conflict situations. "Conflict situations" are those in which
the concerns of two people appear to be incompatible. In such situations, we can
describe an individual's behavior along two basic dimensions: (1) assertiveness,
the extent to which the person attempts to satisfy his own concerns, and (2)
cooperativeness, the extent to which the person attempts to satisfy the other
These two basic dimensions of behavior define five different modes for
responding to conflict situations:
1. Competing is assertive and uncooperative -- an individual pursues his
own concerns at the other person's expense. This is a power-oriented
mode in which you use whatever power seems appropriate to win your
own position -- your ability to argue, your rank, or economic sanctions.
Competing means "standing up for your rights," defending a position
which you believe is correct, or simply trying to win.
2. Accommodating is unassertive and cooperative -- the complete opposite
of competing. When accommodating, the individual neglects his own
concerns to satisfy the concerns of the other person; there is an element
of self-sacrifice in this mode. Accommodating might take the form of
selfless generosity or charity, obeying another person's order when you
would prefer not to, or yielding to another's point of view.
3. Avoiding is unassertive and uncooperative -- the person neither pursues
his own concerns nor those of the other individual. Thus he does not deal
with the conflict. Avoiding might take the form of diplomatically
sidestepping an issue, postponing an issue until a better time, or simply
withdrawing from a threatening situation.
4. Collaborating is both assertive and cooperative -- the complete opposite
of avoiding. Collaborating involves an attempt to work with others to find
some solution that fully satisfies their concerns. It means digging into an
issue to pinpoint the underlying needs and wants of the two individuals.
Collaborating between two persons might take the form of exploring a
disagreement to learn from each other's insights or trying to find a
creative solution to an interpersonal problem.
5. Compromising is moderate in both assertiveness and cooperativeness.
The objective is to find some expedient, mutually acceptable solution that
partially satisfies both parties. It falls intermediate between competing
and accommodating. Compromising gives up more than competing but
less than accommodating. Likewise, it addresses an issue more directly
than avoiding, but does not explore it in as much depth as collaborating.
In some situations, compromising might mean splitting the difference
between the two positions, exchanging concessions, or seeking a quick
Each of us is capable of using all five conflict-handling modes. None of us can be
characterized as having a single style of dealing with conflict. But certain people
use some modes better than others and, therefore, tend to rely on those modes
more heavily than others -- whether because of temperament or practice.
Your conflict behavior in the workplace is therefore a result of both your personal
predispositions and the requirements of the situation in which you find yourself.
The Conflict Mode Instrument is designed to measure this mix of conflicthandling modes