The New Johari Window #4: Three Perspectives on Human Relationships

The New Johari Window #4: Three Perspectives on Human Relationships

I offer yet another set of perspective that tends to be associated with theorists and researchers who live on the other side of the English Channel—in France, Germany and other countries on the European Continent. These analysts of interpersonal relationships engage the perspectives of Karl Marx, Neo-Marxists and contemporary social theorists known as structuralists, post-structuralists and postmodernists. These loosely coupled Continental critics of contemporary societies focus on the power dynamics in interpersonal relationships and on the socially constructed realities that comprise our prevailing views about the origins and nature of human interactions. I will be turning to each of these three schools throughout this set of essays. At this point, I will set the stage for these multiple perspectives on the New Johari Window by offering a preliminary description of each of these three insightful and influential ways of viewing and thinking about human interactions.

The American School

To understand the fundamental principles of this first school, I turn to a quite different discipline (architecture) and focus specifically on a very American architectural innovation: the Western Ranch house. In this type of home, everything has been built on one level. There is no basement and no attic. There are many windows in the home and divisions between rooms are often nonexistent or only suggestive. When you walk in the front door, you enter directly into the living room and at the same time can glance over your shoulder looking down the hallway to all the adjoining bedrooms.

This open architectural style is dramatically exemplified in the Eichler homes that were so popular in California during the 1950s. In these homes there is one central room from which every other room radiates. In these suburban homes, located in middle-class communities, everything of importance takes place in the den, in the TV room, or on the patio. If there is a formal living room, it is rarely used and is kept very tidy—for show and not for either living or informal entertaining. In essence this is a home of visibility (and superficiality): what you see is what you get and what you are intended to see!


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William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 50 books, and president of a psychology institute. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations.

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