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Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation (FIRO) is a theory of interpersonal relations, introduced by William Schutz in 1958.


According to the theory, three dimensions of interpersonal relations are necessary and sufficient to explain most human interaction. The dimensions are called Inclusion, Control and Affection. These categories measure how much interaction a person wants in the areas of socializing, leadership and responsibilities, and deep personal relations. Scores are graded from 0-9 in scales of expressed and wanted behavior, which define how much a person expresses to others, and how much he wants from others. FIRO-B, a measurement instrument with scales that assess the behavioral aspects of the three dimensions was created, based on this theory. Schutz believed that FIRO scores in themselves were not terminal, and can and do change, and did not encourage typology; however, the four temperaments were mapped to the FIRO-B scales, which led to the creation of a theory of Five Temperaments.

One person who worked with FIRO-B, Dr. Leo Ryan, assigned names for the scores were such as "The Loner" and "The Rebel" for low E/W scores in the area of Inclusion and Control, for instance. Schutz himself discussed the impact of extreme behavior in the areas of inclusion, control, and affection as indicated by scores on the FIRO-B. For each area of interpersonal need the following three types of behavior would be evident: (1) deficient, (2) excessive, and (3) ideal. Deficient was defined as indicating that an individual was not trying to directly satisfy the need. Excessive was defined as indicating that an individual was constantly trying to satisfy the need. Ideal referred to satisfaction of the need. From this, he identified the following types:

Inclusion types.
1. the undersocial (low EI, low WI)
2. the oversocial (high EI, high WI)
3. the social (moderate EI, moderate WI)
Control types
1. the abdicrat (low EC, high WC)
2. the autocrat (high EC, low WC)
3. the democrat (moderate EC, moderate WC)
Affection types
1. the underpersonal (low EA, low WA)
2. the overpersonal (high EA, high WA)
3. the personal (moderate EA moderate WA)

Still, to continue not to encourage typology, the names are generally not used, and tests total the E, W, I, C and A scores.

Further Develoment

During the 1970's, Schutz revised and expanded FIRO theory and developed additional instruments (Schutz 1994, 1992) for measuring the new aspects of the theory, including Element B: Behavior (an improved version of FIRO-B); Element F: Feelings; Element S: Self; Element W: Work Relations; Element C: Close Relations; Element P: Parental Relationships; and Element O: Organizational Climate. Since 1984, these instruments have been known collectively as Elements of Awareness. Element B differs in expanding the definitions of Inclusion, Control, and Affection (renamed "Openness"), into an additional six scores to measure how much a person wants to include, control, and be close to others, and how much other people include, control, and like to be close to the testee. The original FIRO-B was sold to Consulting Psychologists Press, Inc. (CPP; which also owns MBTI), and FIRO Element B is owned by Business Consultants Network, Inc.

Correlations with MBTI

In a 1976 survey of seventy-five of the most widely used training instruments, the FIRO-B concluded to be the most generally usable instrument in training. The popularity of the FIRO-B began to wane as the MBTI became one of the instruments of choice in business. Since FIRO-B uses completely different scales from MBTI, and was not designed to measure inborn "types", it is often used together with the MBTI by workplaces, and now, the two are offered together by CPP [1].

Statistical correlation has been done between FIRO-B and MBTI by John W. Olmstead, and also Allen L. Hammer with Eugene R. Schnell; and between Element B and MBTI by Dr. Henry Dick Thompson.

Element B Scales





I include people





I want to include people





People include me





I want people to include me





I control people





I want to control people





People control me





I want people to control me





I am open with people





I want to be open with people





People are open with me





I want people to be open with me





Element B and MBTI Correlations
*Indicates statistical significance

See also


  • Ryan, Leo R. Clinical Interpretation of the FIRO-B. (1977). Consulting Psychologists Press. Palo Alto, CA. Ryan
  • Schnell, E. & Hammer, A. (1997). Integrating the FIRO-B with the MBTI: Relationships, case examples, and interpretation strategies. In Developing Leaders (Fitzgerald, C. & Kirby, L., Eds.). Palo Alto , CA : Davies-Black Publishing.
  • Schutz, W.C. (1958). FIRO: A Three Dimensional Theory of Interpersonal Behavior. New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston.
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