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Continued from Chapter-2a:

In the original version of the FIRO theory, the three fundamental dimensions of interpersonal behaviour were said to be Inclusion, Control, and Affection. But, "after many years of experience in using the FIRO instruments", says Schutz, "it became clear that Affection was not parallel to the other two concepts of Inclusion and Control. Affection, as a concept, is more related to feeling than to behaviour. Accordingly, "affection" is now identified by its essential behavioral ingredient, Openness" (Schutz 1982, page 4).

As regards the manifestations of interpersonal behaviour, the earlier version had referred to Expressed and Wanted facets. But, to quote Schutz again, "careful analysis has revealed that these expressed and wanted aspects are not the ends of the same continuum. Expressed behavior is the opposite of that which is received, whereas behavior that is wanted is the opposite of behavior that is actual or, more accurately, perceived" (Schutz 1982, page 4). The measuring instruments were then suitably modified to reflect the changes in the theory.

After the revision, the final version of the FIRO theory states that there are three central and unidimensional needs that affect the behaviour of people in any interpersonal relationship. They are inclusion (the need to socialise, to be in the company of or in contact with, people), control (the need to influence, make decisions, direct, have power over, have impact on), and openness (the need to share one's inner thoughts and feelings). Corresponding to these three interpersonal behavioural needs are three needs that affect the feelings of people in interaction: significance (the need to feel worthwhile, important, meaningful), competence, (the need to feel strong, intelligent, capable) and likability (the need to feel one is good, attractive, likable). Inclusion at the behavioural level corresponds to Significance at the feeling level; Control corresponds to Competence; and Openness, to Likability. People vary in the degree to which these needs are expressed and fulfilled.

According to this theory, the three need dimensions of Inclusion, Control and Openness are universal, necessary and sufficient to account for any interpersonal relationship. Each of these dimensions is bi-directional: the expressed direction indicates behaviour proceeding from the initiating or the focal person to another (the target person or persons) and the received direction indicates behaviour proceeding reversely from the other(s) to the focal person. The three dimensions also have a bi-temporal orientation: the perceived temporality refers to what is seen as happening at present and the wanted refers to what the person wants to have happen.

2.3 Evolutionism and Interpersonal Behaviour

Another way of looking at interpersonal behaviour (i.e., yet another map of the territory) has been proposed by Gilbert (1989), who holds that interpersonal behaviour has evolved in parallel with the evolution of the nervous system. In this evolutionist outlook, human interpersonal behaviour would be understood as an elaboration of the simpler interactive behaviour of lower animals. Lower animals may not love and hate, but they do demonstrate behaviours or reactions in relation to proximity with one another of the kind. Pursuing this idea, Birtchnell (1990) proposed that the traditional terms of love-hate and dominate-submit be replaced with closeness-distance and upperness-lowerness, respectively, for the reason that the latter terms are generic enough to account for the phenomenon both in human beings and in lower animals and that they are less emotive and value-laden than the earlier terms. One could, however, argue that the terms upper and lower are not after all as value-free as suggested, because "upper" is clearly preferable to "lower" in many cultures, including India. By comparison, the FIRO dimensions of Inclusion and Control, proposed by Schutz (1958; 1960), are just as generic and, perhaps, also more free from the deficiencies of being emotive or value-laden. In addition, the third FIRO dimension of Openness captures something that belongs specifically to the human species--perfectly compatible with the overall evolutionist perspective and, particularly, with the differentiation principle that operates in the origin of species: man is animal plus!

2.4 A Brief Comparison of the Theories

Despite the apparent variety, evident in the different conceptions of interpersonal behaviour that we have scanned above, one would not fail to notice (in the theories that were specifically concerned with the interpersonal phenomenon) the remarkable consistency of the underlying concepts as well as of the basic structure of the conceptual framework sired by Leary and Freedman in the initial days of interpersonal theory. The differences, apart from semantics, have been more in terms of the coverage, complexity, neatness and operationalisation than in the substance of the various theories.

Of all the theoretical developments (conceptual maps), browsed through in the previous paragraphs, Benjamin's SASB (Structural Analysis of Social Behaviour) and Schutz's FIRO (Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation) seem to present well differentiated systems as well as operationalised concepts, compared to the others. A closer look at these two conceptualisations bring to notice certain striking similarities and differences in them. The dimension of affiliation (Freedman's love-hate) in SASB is very nearly the same as Inclusion in the FIRO framework; interdependence in the former represents what Control does in the latter. The FIRO dimension of Openness does not have a parallel in SASB, although some shades of it may be embedded in or encompassed by the latter's "affiliation" dimension; it was for this reason that, in the previous sentence, I said "very nearly the same as", when comparing the two concepts. Similarly, FIRO's facets of Expressed and Received parallel SASB's definitions of Parentlike and Childlike surfaces, respectively. But, while the FIRO theory, additionally, distinguishes between the actual and the ideal by the Perceived and the Wanted aspects of one's interpersonal behaviour, SASB does not address this aspect at all.

2.5 Measures of Interpersonal Needs

Various measures of interpersonal behaviour have been used in the past, each representing the particular theoretical model from which the measures were derived. Although behavioural observations (Raush et al., 1959), rating scales (Lorr & McNair, 1965), and verbal content analysis (Terrill & Terrill, 1965) have been employed occasionally, the self-report device has been the main instrument in the assessment of interpersonal behaviour (Golding & Knudson, 1975).

Several variables, such as abasement, affiliation, aggression, dominance, nurturance, social recognition, and succourance, have often been measured by various modes of measurement as important markers of interpersonal behaviour. In an attempt to test the convergent validity of these measures, by using a multivariable-multimethod design to analyse the data, three major dimensions were isolated, "which were found to bear close relationships to Schutz's" FIRO factors (Golding & Knudson, 1975, page 442).

Consequent on the revision of his theory, Schutz revised the instrument, too: the FIRO-B was cleansed of the feeling variable (Affection) and was modified to measure the three interpersonal behavioural dimensions alone. The directionality of behaviour was also addressed more clearly by introducing the concept of Received and contrasting it with the Expressed. The revised concept of Wanted, contrasted with that of Perceived, added to the potential utility of the instrument for training and development purposes.

2.6 Empirical studies

Empirical studies of the three interpersonal needs, which, according to the FIRO theory, are the bases of interpersonal behaviour and which can be assessed by Element-B (the revised instrument), would certainly help fill the void currently faced in designing appropriate interpersonal-skill training programmes, the need for which has been pointed out by Rao (1992) and others. If the fundamental interpersonal needs of managers were clearly identified, the trainers would be in a position to do the job of their calling more effectively than in the absence of such knowledge.

Although Element-B is richer and more useful, in terms of data content, than the earlier FIRO-B instrument, many group workers and trainers in India (including the Academy of Human Resource Development) still prefer to use the older instrument because of its relative parsimony, perceived ease of administration and, not so admittedly, the force of inertia .

There have been several studies abroad, again using the (old) FIRO-B instrument, investigating the postulate of compatibility, which refers to the goodness of fit between the need configuration of the individuals in a given relationship. The better the fit, the more likely the achievement of the goal of the relationship. A number of studies have confirmed such a relationship against criteria such as task performance (Eisenthal, 1961; Schutz, 1958), student achievement (Hutcherson, 1963) and learning climate (Powers, 1965). Compatibility among members of a therapy group was found to be positively related to cohesion in the group (Yalom & Rand, 1966) and therapeutic success (Sapolsky, 1965; Gross, 1959). It was also found that experimenters could verbally condition the subjects much better when the experimenter-subject compatibility was high (Sapolsky, 1960). FIRO compatibility of couples and their courtship progress have been found to be positively correlated (Kerckhoff & Davis, 1962). When tested in a context which emphasized rational and non-personal processes, however, the postulate of compatibility failed to hold (Underwood & Krafft, 1973).

All these studies investigated the compatibility of interpersonal needs and its impact on, or relationship to, performance and other goal criteria. Checking such relationships are important, but to be able to do so, one must identify the interpersonal needs themselves first.

Bakken and Romig (1992) used the FIRO-B instrument to identify the interpersonal needs of middle adolescents and found that males ranked Expressed Control highest and Wanted Affection lowest, while females ranked the same variables the reverse way. Muthayya (1989) assessed the interpersonal orientations of the IAS (Indian Administrative Service) and IFS (Indian Forest Service) officers. He found that the IAS officers socialised (Expressed Inclusion score = 5.03; SD:1.99) more than the IFS officers (EI score = 4.50; SD:2.10), but neither group would much like people to socialise with them (Wanted Inclusion score for the IAS was a low 1.86 with an sd. of 2.56 and for the IFS it was 1.77 with an SD of 2.94). The reverse was found to be the case in respect of Affection: the Forest officers expressed more Affection (EA=4.68; SD:2.75) than did the IAS officers (EA=2.77; SD:2.45). The groups did not differ on the Control dimension.

Roy (1992), as part of his attempt to assess the success of a multiple skill scheme that had been introduced in a pharmaceutical company, studied the interpersonal needs of the employees in the company's Production, Engineering and Administration departments. He, too, used the FIRO-B (the old) instrument. He found that all the three departments scored highest on Expressed Inclusion (EI) and much lower in their Wanted Inclusion (WI). Wanted Affection (WA) was found to be low in all the three departments, Administration scoring the lowest. Expressed Affection (EA) showed a similar low trend, but the production people were relatively high compared to the others. The study did not discuss the Control dimension. Commenting on its discovery that the WI was lower than the EI in all the groups, the study called the finding "paradoxical".

The "wanted" scores obtained in the above studies are indeed difficult to interpret, for what they represent are not well differentiated from the received behaviour. It is not possible to say whether the score referred to what the respondents actually received from others or what they wanted others to demonstrate towards them. It was the recognition of such lack of clarity or differentiation, besides the Affection-vs-Openness controversy, that had led to the revision in the theory, which has starkly been left unheeded by these studies.

The findings of the FIRO studies that are available and reported above are all limited, at least on three counts. One with regard to the populations studied, the other to the samples and the third to the theory itself. The Indian studies on FIRO have hardly touched the managerial population; none at all in the cooperative sector. Even of the three populations (IAS, IFS and employees of a pharmaceutical company) that were covered in the above-cited Indian studies, the size of one of the samples was just 22.

The most important of the shortcomings is that these studies have been subject to the limitations of the earlier version of the theory as well as of the instrument, discussed in section 2.2.4 above.

2.7 The Present Study

Being broadly informed of the literature on the various concepts and concerns related to interpersonal behaviour, the present study aims at contributing to the existing literature in two ways: one, by adopting the conceptual framework of the revised FIRO theory, it addresses all the three behavioural dimensions of interpersonal behaviour; the existing studies have had no access to the Openness dimension of interpersonal behaviour. Besides providing us with this new knowledge, the present study will also offer some insights into the now-differentiated aspects of Expressed, Received, Perceived and Wanted interpersonal behaviour. Studies available at present have followed the earlier version of the theory, which did not adequately differentiate these aspects. Two, since no study has so far been done on the FIRO needs of the Indian cooperative dairy managers, there is total void or ignorance as regards the interpersonal-need scenario in the sector. The present study will fill the void, though only to a modest extent.

The next chapter discusses the way the present study went about in pursuit of its objectives. It presents the overall design of the study, the constitution of the sample, a description of the instrument used for collection of data, the procedure adopted in administering the instrument, the scoring scheme, and the statistical methods employed for analyses of the data.


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