Home Personal Psychology Clinical Psychology The New Johari Window #5: Interpersonal Needs

The New Johari Window #5: Interpersonal Needs

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William Bergquist

Along with the Johari Window, probably the most widely used tool for increasing interpersonal awareness during the 1960s-1990s was Will Schutz’s FIRO Theory.  This theory of interpersonal behavior was developed by Will Schutz in 1960. He was attempting to explain interpersonal behavior consistent with psychodynamic theories. It was the culmination of his work at the Naval Research Laboratories in Washington, D.C., and subsequent work at Harvard University’s Social Relations Department. Schutz’s work resides very much in the American school.  Like other members of the American School, Schutz tends to focus on what you can see—behavior—rather than on what one might infer from what is being done or said. For Schutz,  “What you see is what you get” (very much in alignment with the American school).

Schutz believed that people behave differently in interpersonal situations than they behave when they are alone. He proposed a theory that describes behavior in these “interpersonal” situations and postulates that there are three fundamental interpersonal needs that strongly influences this interpersonal behavior:  Inclusion, Control, and Affection (later called Openness).  Schutz suggests that these three needs are sufficient to explain and predict interpersonal behavior. In addition, each type has two components: Expressed and Wanted. Expressed needs are those that the person expresses (behaves) towards others. Wanted needs are those that the person wants others to fulfill, or that direct the way in which the person wants others to behave towards him. “Expressed” and “wanted” are confusing terms. I will instead use the terms proactive and reactive. These terms are not only a little less confusing, they also correlate directly with the concepts of internal and external locus of control. Proactive relates to internal locus and reactive relates to external locus.

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