History and Purpose of FIRO-B

This employment and interaction tool has been around for over 50 years. It was first developed by William Schutz, PhD, as a predictor of effective teamwork within a World War II U.S. military unit.

The basis for the Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation – Behavior (FIRO-B) questionnaire is the simple emotional concept that people need people. Social needs studied through FIRO-B are seen via their influence over communication styles, preferences, attitudes, and behaviors.

As an employment aide, FIRO-B is used mainly for purposes of employee and management development, team building, and training programs. You may also encounter this assessment in conjunction with a more general personality test during the hiring process. It can be used as a predictor of on-the-job behavior, as needs drive actions.


Model for Focus of FIRO-B

The FIRO-B questionnaire is focused on three basic human needs: Inclusion, Control and Affection, as seen through the lens of Expressed Needs and Wanted Needs.

The following is a diagram of the FIRO-B model:

Behaviors Needs
Inclusion Control Affection
Expressed eI eC eA
Wanted wI wC wA

This model establishes six distinct elements that identify the dynamics of communication and interpersonal relations:

  • Expressed Inclusion – efforts to include others in your plans and to be included in the activities of other people
  • Wanted Inclusion – without any effort, the extent of your desire to be included – the need to belong
  • Expressed Control – efforts to control a situation and influence those around you
  • Wanted Control – extent to which you are comfortable with direction and expectations established by others
  • Expressed Affection – efforts to connect with others on a personal basis
  • Wanted Affection – comfort level when other people are taking an interest in you and behaving warmly toward you

On a practical level, Inclusion involves openness to new relationships and to coming into contact with people. This social need also determines the level of prominence a person seeks. The need for Control determines an individual’s comfort level with decision-making, persuasion, and influence. The need for Affection determines a person’s emotional connections and the level of personal sharing and closeness with others.

In the world of business, the three fundamental elements can alternatively be viewed as Involvement, Influence, and Connection. FIRO-B has been adapted to company structures through the instrument FIRO Business.


Format and Content of FIRO-B

When taking this questionnaire, you will find nine items per each of the six social needs highlighted. The 54 items are to be answered within 15 minutes.

The initial 16 items are each followed by a rating scale of 1-6. The options are: usually, often, sometimes, occasionally, rarely, and never. Select the rating that most closely reflects your behavior. Sample items:

  • I try to include others in my activities.
  • I try to avoid crowds.

Numbers 17 – 40 contain a different rating scale of 1-6: most people, many people, some people, a few people, one or two people, nobody. Sample items:

  • I try to be friendly to people.
  • I let others control my actions.

Numbers 41 – 54 repeat the same rating scale as Numbers 1 – 16. Sample items:

  • I like people to invite me to events.
  • I take charge of situations when others are present.

Preparing for Personality Assessments

You can prepare for behavior-based questionnaires by working on practice tests. The more sample tests you complete, the more familiar you become with the types of questions and the exam format.

Our question and answer explanations, along with helpful exam strategies, offer an insight into the agenda behind questions and the rationale for expected answers. JobTestPrep has developed an accessible and affordable personality test preparation platform geared for a successful exam experience.