The Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation-Behavior™, or FIRO-B® Test for short, Instrument originated from the need to understand and predict how high-performance military teams would work together during World War II. The first public iteration was derived in the late 1950s by William Shutz. The basic premise for his theory was simple: “people need people”, and people’s interpersonal needs motivate their behaviors. Schutz’s studying of other prominent psychological figures of the time, including Freud, Adorno, Adler, and Jung, led him to conclude that an individual’s interpersonal needs could be summarized into the three foundational areas of the FIRO-B test: Inclusion, Control, and Affection.
What is The FIRO-B® Test?
The FIRO-B Assessment is a unique instrument that doesn’t actually “measure” anything. Instead, it provides a score that is used to estimate how comfortable an individual is with a specific behavior.
The FIRO-B test includes three main areas:
When referencing these specific words used in this assessment, it is important to understand the author’s definition of each.
Inclusion is defined by the relationships one prefers to form with others. It explains the extent of which an individual enjoys or feels an aversion to being involved and invited by others. It can be the amount of recognition they prefer to receive or acknowledgement for a job well done or their preference to be invited to an after-hours work event. This word can also be associated with how much attention a person prefers to have from others.
Control is a word that can often carry a negative connotation, but in reference to the definition for this assessment, this word has to do with a preference for having an influence over others. It deals with a person’s preference for making decisions and amount of responsibility one may want to have. Most people who score high in this area have a keen power of persuasion and are professional leaders.
Affection is a word which is often misunderstood when used in the context of the FIRO-B. Many believe the definition of this word to mean a felling of love or strong attachment. However, Schultz used this word to describe individuals interpersonal need for simple one-on-one relationships. It has to do with the want to know others on a personal level or how much an individual prefers to share their personal life with others. It has to do with the warmth of their demeanor and how supportive or empathetic an individual prefers to be and receive. Most individuals who score high in this area are known to be open with others, as well as, supportive of other’s needs.
Each area is also modified by two further factors:
- Expressed Behavior
- Wanted Behavior
In short, Expressed Behavior is related to how comfortable we feel about exhibiting a behavior toward other people. Wanted behavior, on the other hand, is related to the level we want other people to exhibit a behavior toward us.
When you apply Expressed Behavior and Wanted Behavior to the three main areas of the FIRO-B test—Inclusion, Control, and Affection—you end up with six main sections of the FIRO-B test as followed:
- Expressed Inclusion: This score dictates the level to which you make an effort to include others in your activities, as well as the extent that you work to get others to include you in their events. The higher the score, the more likely you are to want to engage socially and join a larger amount of social groups.
- Wanted Inclusion: This score will show you the extent that you want others to include you in their activities (without you instigating it), and your need to belong. The higher the score, the more likely you are to want to be invited to social gatherings and social groups. Unlike Expressed Inclusion, this doesn’t mean you will necessarily initiate the request, but you do want to be invited and included.
- Expressed Control: This section tells you about the extent that you feel comfortable influencing others and the degree that you make an effort to control a situation. Scoring higher is also is related to one’s comfort with organizing and taking responsibility for others.
- Wanted Control: This score is connected with your comfort level of being in a situation with clear instructions and expectations, where your situation is pre-defined by others. In other words, your comfort level with someone else in charge and influencing the direction of your actions.
- Expressed Affection: This score is associated with the extent to which you try and engage with people on a personal level. The higher the score is, the more comfortable you are with supporting others and being open with them.
- Wanted Affection: This score tells you how comfortable you are with others taking a personal interest in you and acting warmly toward you in general. If you have a higher score in this section, then you tend to be more comfortable with others encouraging you and sharing personal matters with you.
Each category receives a score ranging from 0 to 9. Based on your score, each section will fall into one of three categories:
- 0-2 Low
- 3-6 Medium
- 7-9 High
In addition to scores and descriptors for each section of the FIRO-B Test, the FIRO-B Profile will also provide you with overall scores along with descriptive text based off of your results for:
How to use the FIRO-B® Test Results?
An individual’s results can be used as a tool in helping you predict how comfortable they will be interacting with others in specific situations. Also, you can use your results to:
- Identify patterns in your interpersonal behavior
- Discover interpersonal behaviors for use as a guide for expected behavior
- Foster questions about your satisfaction with other’s and your behavior
- Find alternate behavioral patterns which can increase your efficiency
- Build stronger, well-rounded, communication-forward teams
- Develop personal relationships
- Augment your career development strategies
There are specific combinations of results that are considered especially strong or problematic. Some examples for these combinations are listed below.
Strong And Weak Pairing Combinations For Expressed Inclusion And Wanted Inclusion
- Strong Pairing Combination: When an individual has similar results for Expressed and Wanted Inclusion, they tend to be “easy to read.” Generally speaking, if you actively work to both include others in your events and also want others to include you in theirs, while communicating those facts clearly, then there is little chance of people misreading your intentions and needs. The same goes if you match low Expressed with low Wanted Inclusion. If you make no effort to express a need for Inclusion, then people are more likely to assume that you do not want to take part in their gatherings or social groups.
- Weak Pairing Combination: Issues may arise if you score high on Expressed Inclusion and low Wanted Inclusion, or vice versa. If you have a high Expressed Inclusion score, but low Wanted Inclusion score, then you like to be the initiator. You like to make known when you want to be part of an event or social group, but you do not want individuals to take initiative and invite you without you previously initiating the situation. This can be confusing to some people, as it may seem strange that you come off as extremely social and active, but then reject their requests for Inclusion when they initiate it. An issue may also arise if you have a high Wanted Inclusion, but a low Expressed Inclusion. This is a situation where you come off as someone that sticks to their self and doesn’t want to be part of a group, but in reality greatly wants to be included. The problem here is that people can’t read minds, and are more likely to assume that you want to keep to yourself unless you communicate otherwise. This can lead to an unsatisfied Want for Inclusion.
Strong And Weak Pairing Combinations for Expressed Control And Wanted Control
- Strong Pairing Combinations: Expressed and Wanted Control combinations can lead to both great synergy in a group and, at the same time, a complete lack of it, depending on the situation. or example, let’s take person “A”, who has a high Expressed Control preference and low Wanted Control preference. Then take person “B”, who has a low Expressed Control preference matched with a high Wanted Control preference. These two individuals are a natural fit. Person “A” will gladly take the leadership role while person “B” will be happy not having to fill a leadership role, while still appreciating having someone else create structure that they can follow.
- Weak Pairing Combinations: Things might not go as smoothly with two individuals that have matching high Expressed Control with low Wanted Control. In this case, both individuals would want to take the lead in the situation, and neither would want to take orders from the other. Tension is more likely to arise with this combination. A similar issue can arise with two individuals that have matching low Expressed Control and high Wanted Control. In this contrasting example, neither individual would want to take the lead in the group. Both individuals would be left without someone to create structure and direction for the group. Conflict may be avoided, but efficiency and progress could be greatly hampered without clear leadership.
Strong and Weak Pairing Combinations for Expressed Affection and Wanted Affection
- Strong Pairing Combinations: Expressed and Wanted Affection scores revolve around how much you want to be involved in others’ personal lives, and how much you want others to take interest in yours. If you score high on both, then you are the type of individual that likes to be there for others as a support structure, and you also want others to take interest in your personal life. Issues can arise if you spend all your energy being the support network for others, but then do not see that support reciprocated by others, leading you to potentially feeling burnt-out or taken advantage of. If you have a combination of both low Expressed and Wanted Affection, you are more likely to be the type of individual that doesn’t want to get involved in others’ personal lives. Nor do you want others to try and pry into your own life. This combination can leave you coming off as cold or uncaring if taken to the extreme.
- Weak Pairing Combinations: A combination of high Expressed Affection and low Wanted Affection creates a situation where you are comfortable connecting with people on a personal level, but don’t like the focus to be on you. You prefer others not to get involved in your personal affairs and prefer the focus to be on the other individuals involved. This combination can confuse people, as you seemingly feel very comfortable communicating and supporting others but do not let others get close to you in the same way. Combining low Expressed Affection and high Wanted Affection leads to a situation where you want others to support you and be involved in your personal life, but you are not one to engage in communication pertaining to personal matters, nor do you feel comfortable being open with others. This can lead to sending mixed signals, where you come off as not wanting Affection and shying away from sharing personal matters, yet you actually have a deep need for encouragement and wish for people to share personal matters with you.The FIRO-B® Usage in Group ScenariosIn group situations, there are specific roles which individuals tend to hold based on their FIRO-B results. When your score is in the high range of 7-9 or the low range of 0-2 it is likely you take on one of the roles explained below. A mid-range score of 3-6 generally denotes your preference to take part in one of the below roles under certain conditions or many of the roles based on your environmental factors. See below for an explanation of each role and its corresponding FIRO-B score:
The Clarifier: High Expressed Inclusion
A person in this role generally will want to make sure that everyone in their group understands every component necessary to the group’s efficiency. The individual will often be the one to introduce new team-members to the group, making sure that everyone knows about the change to their organization. They often will be the one to take minutes at a meeting and send out a memo to recap a conversation. Clarifiers often gather facts and data for others to review in order to provide an overall “clarification” for everyone to have. People with High Expressed Inclusion generally have no trouble articulating their preference for involvement.
The Tension-Reducer: High Wanted Inclusion
These individuals may be generalized as the “class clowns” or jokesters of a group. They tend to look for common interests among their peers in order to find ways to include themselves in conversations and events. However, their behavioral preference for involvement may come off as subtle and/or confusing to others at times, especially when combined with a Low Expressed Inclusion score. Having a team who understands these individual’s behavioral patterns will often lead the “Tension-Reducer” to a place where his or her interpersonal needs are being met and they can in turn provide a low stress environment for others.
The Individualist: Low Wanted Inclusion
This type of person may come off as standoffish or with a disregard for the group’s needs. They may see meetings as an unnecessary distraction from their work and may rarely participate in any type of group discussion. They may be known as the “silent work horse” who prefers to not be interrupted, but it is important to know that this type of person can be a vital part of an organization. Knowing these behavioral tendencies, others in your group can realize that the “Individualist’s” behavior is not a personal dismissal, but instead an interpersonal behavioral preference.
The Director: High Expressed Control
Individuals who tend to do most of the decision-making within your organization are most likely playing the role of the “Director”. This type of person is known to “shoot for the stars” and may tend to have unrealistic expectations for the group. During meetings, these individuals may prefer to have the center of attention and, in doing so, may have a tendency to interrupt others. They often like to delegate and having subordinates for doing so is generally their preference for providing efficiency and success for their organization. Those who assess with High Expressed Control are often part of the management team or are striving to do so.
The Questioner: High Wanted Control
These people may be those who criticize decisions of their superiors while also providing constructive means for improvement in doing so. They may ask for clarification and fact checks are very important to them. They may tend to ask a multitude of questions, often delaying an important decision while they gather data. They tend to work best with a superior who assesses with High Expressed Inclusion, as opposed to one with High Expressed Control as the two tend to compliment each other.
The Rebel: Low Wanted Control
This type of role is held generally by individuals who may have a difficult time finding common ground with the rest of their group. They tend to criticize other members of their organization often offering alternate means of completing a task but then dropping the ball when implementation of their ideas comes into play. These individuals often are those who constantly challenge established processes and procedures and refuse to conform to group consensus. However, these individuals can also be members of a group who simply have no behavioral preference for influencing others and may want to keep their head low and work without disruption. Just as the “Individualist” they can turn to be a vital member of an organization if given the appropriate leadership.
The Encourager: High Expressed Affection
Individuals who assess with High Expressed Affection are generally those who are constantly lifting others up. They are the compliment givers, who prefer a harmonious environment. They may even stretch the truth in order to keep the peace within their organization. These people are often the friendly, do-gooders of the group who provide empathy, diplomacy, and warm conversation. These individuals are those who know everything about everyone and are known as an “open book” themselves.
The Listener: High Wanted Affection
These people tend to be quiet in group interactions but will offer personal information when asked. They generally keep a positive attitude towards others as their interpersonal behavioral preference is to be a part of these interactions. They often show their want for stronger one-on-one relationships non-verbally with their body language and facial expressions. They may come off as shy or reserved, but when peeled out of their shell they tend to be lifelong companions for others.
The Cautioner: Low Wanted Affection
These individuals are known to be the “devil’s advocates” of the group. They may display their doubts and concerns for decisions being considered. Even though they may come off as argumentative, they are a vital part to any organization. Generally, it is important to consider all angles of an important decision, and “Cautioners” take a careful analysis of all sides, often not afraid to express their concerns. These individuals are often hesitant to be captivated by ideas which persuasive individuals introduce which are not backed up with facts. They generally do not prefer to have close one-on-one relationships with others or share personal details of their life in the same fashion.
The FIRO-B® Sum Scores
Your Sum Scores indicate the correlating weight for your needs in the three categories. The scoring range is 0-18 and is a sum of the tabled scores above. The largest score is generally your interpersonal need for which you place the highest priority. It generally has the greatest impact on your externalized interpersonal behavior to the outer world. In the same way, your lowest score generally is the interpersonal need in which you try to avoid. If your score is 5 or below, this may be an area you avoid. You can use your scores to modify your behavior and concentrate on behaviors you tend to ignore. A score of 6-12 may be part of your behavior that you concentrate on occasionally or intermittently, and a score of 13-18 is the area of highest importance to you.
For our complete line of FIRO-B and FIRO Business Reports, you can check out the product page HERE.[FIRO-B-based information was referenced from the following publication: (Waterman, Judith A., 2004, CPP Inc.)]
The Validity of The FIRO-B® Test
The FIRO-B test has over 60 years of development and testing to support its validity. With its addition to the “CPP Inc” catalog of assessments, the FIRO-B test has received regular support in maintaining its validity, as well as its correlation with other instruments such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® Test.
Why The FIRO-B Test
The FIRO-B Assessment is a simple-to-read-and-understand assessment that has a variety of uses. Taken on its own, the FIRO-B test can give you easy-to-grasp information about your personal preferences, which can be extremely useful when dealing with friends, family, and co-workers. In addition, Firo-B test has the flexibility to be used alongside assessments like the MBTI® Test to give you an even more in-depth understanding of your personality type and preferences. Whether taken alone or in a package, the FIRO-B assessment is a great value.
How is The FIRO-B Test Used?
The information obtained from the FIRO-B Instrument can be used as a primary tool for team building and culture. In addition, it can be used for leadership development and coaching, as well as career development and counseling, especially when combined with complementary instruments like the Myers-Briggs® test online.
Free Versus Paid Assessments
There are many free personality and interest inventory tests and assessments located around the Internet, though one must know that though these tests attempt to mimic The MBTI test or other CPP Instruments like the FIRO-B test, at no or sometimes a low cost to you, they are neither valid nor proven to assess you, nor are they what you are searching for. The FIRO-B test has been rewritten for validity and cross-culturally tested for over 60 years and cannot be replaced by replicas that attempt mimic it legitimacy. Being that The FIRO-B assessments are quite affordable, there really is no reason to look elsewhere.
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Introduction To the FIRO-B Instrument (Waterman, Judith A., 2004, CPP Inc.)
Introduction To the FIRO-B Instrument In Organizations (Schnell & Hammer, 2004, CPP Inc.)