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Appendix: 2


The Three Cardinal Dimensions of FIRO


The Element-B instrument, derived from the theory of Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation (FIRO), measures the three basic behavioral dimensions of inclusion, control and openness. The terms are explained in the following paragraphs.

Inclusion: It is the want/desire to establish and maintain a satisfactory relation with people with respect to interaction and association. It is concerned with achieving a degree of contact with others. A higher degree of it expresses itself in one's being outgoing, meeting people, going to parties, doing things in a group, starting conversations with strangers, etc. A very low degree of this interpersonal want expresses itself in one's preference for being alone, being reserved, seldom starting conversations and avoiding groups and parties. Individuals differ in the degree to which they possess this want.

Control: It is the want or desire to establish and maintain a satisfactory relation with people with respect to power and influence. It is concerned with achieving a degree of influence or impact on others. A higher degree of it expresses itself in one's taking charge, making decisions for others, taking up responsibilities in a group, giving orders to or instructing others on what and how they should do, demonstrating one's superiority, etc. A very low degree of this interpersonal want expresses itself in one's lack of interest in influencing others or giving instructions to them; it xpresses itself also in one's shunning of responsibility. Again, individuals differ in the degree to which they possess this want.

Openness: It is the want or desire to establish and maintain a satisfactory relation with people with respect to self-disclosure. It is concerned with achieving a degree of openness with others. A higher degree of it, in a social context, expresses itself in one's having close friends and readily talking about or sharing one's feelings and innermost thoughts with them. A very low degree of this interpersonal want expresses itself in one's being impersonal, preferring acquaintances to friendship. In a work context, the Openness would refer to disclosure and sharing of task-related information with persons connected with the task. Here again, people differ in the degree to which they possess this orientation.


M.J. Arul with Dr. Will Schutz

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