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Fundamental Interpersonal Relationship Orientation (FIRO-B)® is a comprehensive and widely used theory of interpersonal relations created by William Schutz* in 1958. He originally devised the theory to measure and predict the interaction between people for the purpose of assembling highly productive teams with better communication and understanding among people.

Schutz held the view that ‘people need people’ in order to feel satisfied with their life. The theory of the FIRO-B is based on his belief that when people get together in a group (for example a family or group of people) they aim to satisfy three interpersonal needs; Inclusion, Control and Affection.

FIRO-B provides an insight into the extent individuals are willing and comfortable with expressing these behaviours towards each other, and how comfortable they are when these behaviours are expressed to them in return.

It is a powerful tool, which has been held up to extensive research and has proven to be:

  • Simple: Easy to use in helping individuals, families, teams, and organisations; easy to incorporate into training, consulting and coaching
  • Powerful: For understanding human behaviour and motivation in a wide variety of situations
  • Comprehensive: Three basic dimensions—inclusion, control and openness— describe the dynamics of individuals, pairs, families, teams and organizations, eliminating the need for multiple models.

The FIRO-B specifically measures:

  Inclusion Control Affection 

Expressed Behaviour

I make effort to …

Make effort to include others in activities

Try to belong

Be with people as much as possible

Try to exert control and influence over things

Enjoy organising things and directing others

Make an effort to get close to people

Comfortable expressing personal feelings

Supportive of others

Wanted Behaviour

I want other people to  …

Want other people to include you

Invite me to belong

Enjoy when others notice you

Feel most comfortable working in well-defined situations

Try to get clear expectations

Want others to act warmly towards you

Enjoy it when people share their feelings

Encourage your efforts

Personal and professional benefits

Because the FIRO-B can increase the ability of an individual to understand three key interpersonal need areas, it is well suited in both one-to-one and team settings in the following areas:

  • Personal development
  • Individual executive business coaching at all levels
  • Leadership and management development
  • Awareness of fit to future role
  • Senior level assessment
  • Relationship with stakeholders and clients
  • Conflict management
  • Raising self-awareness
  • Team development
  • Interpersonal development
  • Workplace relationships

*William Schutz (1925 – 2002)
Psychologist and pioneer of the human potential movement, introduced in 1958 in the book “FIRO: A Three-Dimensional Theory of Interpersonal Behavior”.