FIRO Theory as it relates to small group communication

Research about FIRO Theory theory as it relates to small group communication. Write one-page document in which you present some of the research you found. The more formal research will come from an academic journal article provided below in bold.

. Researchers have been embarking on the 

exploration of different domains of interpersonal

relationship for quite some time and trying to build up its 

importance not only in terms of social skill enhancer or 

social exchange process between supervisor and

subordinates but also with regard to managerial

effectiveness and skill building specifically across servicemanufacturing dichotomy (Di Marco; Ahmetogluet al.; 

Siegel & Schultz; Umashankar & Charithra). With the 

undeniable impact of globalization on our existing and 

upcoming workforce, exploration of employee relationship 

with each other and also with the management has become 

necessary to get a better understanding of the workplace 

dynamics about various policy formulations.

Globalization is a term that is most researched in the present 

context considering its impact on world technology, 

economic growth, employability, attrition rate as well as 

overall lifestyle dimension of youth population specifically 

(World Youth Report, UNESCO). The ever-changing work 

culture has been demanding our present and future work 

generation to be able to take risks while keeping up with the 

ongoing competitiveness encompassing various fields and 

striking a balance between their professional and personal 

commitments (Gratton). With global changes happening at 

different levels in terms of the economic, technological, 

psychological, emotional and professional domain of an 

individual, is making it a challenging task for them to strike 

an equilibrium in varied aspects of their life. Keeping up 

with these challenges has surely become a strenuous process 

at the cost of employees well- being (Idris et al.) considering 

professional identity to be one of the most essential part of 

one’s self- concept (Hogg & Terry). Hence, in this 

exhausting process of growth, organizations are banking on 

their most important resource that is their employees to gain 

a sustainable competitive advantage over the other players in 

the professional domain (Jassim & Jaber). Emphasis has 

been given on the needs, values, expectations and well-being 

of the employees over the years. To have a more sustainable 

workforce (Őnday) thus leading to its greater focus on 

building a more interconnected, endurable social exchange 

and communication process across hierarchy which has 

been a real test for both the leader and the subordinates 

presently. As Gratton had put it across that collaborative 

working is going to be the primary concern in the coming 

years rather than work in isolation and, gradually we must 

have to grow to prioritize the quality of experience over the 

standard of living. 

According to Stoetzer, interpersonal relationship at

workplace builds on the pattern of communication among 

co-workers, managers and employees which Patricia (2015) 

felt is potential enough to influence workplace performance 

if only teamed with goal-directed, cooperative behaviours 

from the organizational management. 

Pincus and Ansell had defined ‘interpersonal’ as a term “to 

convey a sense of primacy, a set of fundamental phenomena 

important for personality development, structuralization, 

function, and pathology. It is not a geographic indicator of 

locale: it is not meant to generate a dichotomy between what 

is inside the person and what is outside the person” (212). 

Interpersonal relationship first received its due attention 

when Sullivan emphasised its importance in personality 

development, considering the development to be entangled 

in the complex interpersonal relationships (Fiest & Fiest). 

From a Social Exchange theory perspective, the

interpersonal relationship can be described as a series of 

interactions that are considered as interdependent and 

contingent on other people’s actions

Wiggins & 

Trapnell). Wiggins and Pincus had explained an

interpersonal relationship to be “complimentary if the 

behaviours of the two participants endorse and confirm each 

other’s self- presentations with respect to both dominance 

and nurturance” (484). They also went ahead explaining 

how needs get complemented “on the basis of ‘reciprocity’ 

with regard to dominance (dominance pulls submission, 

submission pulls dominance) and ‘correspondence’ with 

regard to nurturance (hostility pulls hostility, friendliness 

pulls friendliness)” (484) in interpersonal circle. While 

(Blau). Social

Exchange Theory is built on a few of the assumptions which 

hold interpersonal relationship as an integral part of 

maintaining a trusted, mutual, committed exchange between 

two parties. According to Cropanzano and Mitchell, rule of 

reciprocity and rule of negotiation govern the social 

exchange process along with a series of probable tangible 

and non- tangible exchanges that might occur between two 

potential parties (Foa & Foa). People work for multiple 

varied reasons and social exchange relationships are often 

being considered as important motivators for people to work 

as it fulfil few important human needs like the need for 

dominance and the need for nurturance (


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SCMS Journal of Indian Management, October-December – 2019

explaining the desirability of the social contact, Hill 

emphasised on four specific social rewards, “(a) Positive 

affect or stimulation associated with interpersonal closeness 

and communion, (b) attention or praise, (c) reduction of 

negative affect through social contact, and (d) social 

comparison” (1008). 

However, in spite of being such an essential and integral part 

of management, and being the focus of discussion for the 

longest of time, interpersonal relationship orientation of the 

employees had been one of the least explored domains of 

organizational behavior and human resource management 

specifically in India (Natarajan et al.)

1.4.2. Theories of Fundamental Interpersonal Relationship 

Orientation (FIRO).

The Theory of Fundamental Interpersonal Relationship 

Orientation proposed that interpersonal relationship is 

measured by the person’s intention to interact with others 

(Schutz, 1958). As Schutz, the proponent of this theory 

emphasised the fact that a person’s intention to interact with 

others depends on three basic needs of the concerned 

individual: the need for inclusion, control and affection 

which get expressed in two behavior directions- expressed 

and wanted behavior. The interaction between these needs 

and behaviors provide us with a matrix involving six 

dimensions- Expressed Inclusion, Wanted Inclusion,

Expressed Control, Wanted Control, Expressed Affection 

and Wanted Affection. As defined by Schutz , ‘Need for 

Inclusion’ is the inner drive “to establish and maintain a 

satisfactory relationship with people with respect to 

interaction and association” (18). An individual can hold a 

desire within to be included in a group leading to “Wanted 

Inclusion” or might have a need to connect to people to avoid 

being isolated and lonely leading to “Expressed Inclusion”. 

Schutz had proposed ‘Need for Control’ as “the need to 

establish and maintain a satisfactory relationship with 

people with respect to control and power” (18). “Expressed 

Control” means the need of a person to demonstrate control, 

influence, organize and direct people whereas “Wanted 

Control” defines the extent to which an individual is 

permitting others to direct or influence him or her (Schutz). 

The ‘Need for Affection’ as proposed by Schutz is “the need 

to establish and maintain a satisfactory relationship with 

others with respect to love and affection” (20). How much an 

individual would make an effort to have intimate supportive 

relationship with others, define “Expressed Affection” 

whereas how much they want others to initiate warm, 

supportive acts towards them, define “Wanted Affection”. 

The characteristics associated with three interpersonal 

needs, according to Schnell and Hammer is as follows:

w Inclusion- It involves distinction, recognition, attention, 

participation, involved, association, acknowledgement, 

contact, belonging, and acceptance.

w Control- It involves power, authority, influence,

responsibility seeking behavior, managerial skills, 

directive, leadership behavior, decisive, consistency, 


w Affection: It involves supportive, sensitive, empathetic, 

open, affirming nature, consensus-oriented, closeness, 

faithfulness, and warmth.

Series of research studies were organized to explore the 

application of FIRO theory in various practical situations. In 

this context, a study by Li and Lai, demonstrated how 

interpersonal need orientation could be explored from three 

different levels: individual level (one person), family level 

(more than two persons) and group level (much more than 

two). Another study by Liddell and Slocum had proposed 

how interpersonally congenial groups make faster decisions 

registering fewer errors than random and discordant groups. 

FIRO theory found its ground in terms of its association with 

the leadership and managerial studies. Daft had defined 

management as the ‘attainment of organizational goals in an 

effective and efficient manner through planning, organizing, 

leading, and controlling organizational resources’ (4). 

However, the lens of Human Behavior School helps to 

perceive management to be majorly concerned with getting 

work done with and through the people (Koontz) which 

invariably emphasize on the importance of studying group 

dynamics and interpersonal relationships as a part of the 

socio- psychological relationship (Koontz). The draft had 

mentioned how managerial skills and abilities get reflected 

through the way a manager connect, coordinate, support, 

facilitate and motivate the employees while resolving the 

conflicts among team members. Leading the team or 

supervising them is often considered to be the two most 

important roles played by the managers (Cieślińska). 

Hence, Leader – Member exchange theories also analyse the 

relationship between an employee and his or her leader or 

supervisor as a kind of social exchange relationship 

(Wayne). It is being studied how the discriminatory 


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SCMS Journal of Indian Management, October-December – 2019

treatments by a supervisor to employees often lead them to 

discuss the unfairness of the treatment among team 

members, influencing the communication among them as 

well (Gaur & Ebrahimi). 

Service- Manufacturing Dichotomy

The basic division between Goods and Services according to 

Stevenson, is that “Goods are physical items that include raw 

materials, parts, subassemblies such as motherboards that go 

into computers, and final products such as cell phones and 

automobiles” whereas “Services are activities that provide 

some combination of time, location, form, or psychological 

value”. Manufacturing sector deals with production of 

tangible goods. Whereas service sector involves serving the 

customers, a greater degree of customer connect and also 

revolves mostly around the interaction between service and 

customers. In spite of being grossly different from each 

other, service and manufacturing units are getting merged in 

various organizations currently which follow unique 

operations management emphasising mostly on the process 

of the production of goods as well as services (Jiang). Over 

the years, investigations have been leading to a scenario 

when increased business service openness with regard to 

greater trades and Foreign Direct Investment impacting 

manufacturing industries like heavy machinery, motor 

vehicles, chemicals and electronic equipment to quite some 

extent (Francois & Woerz). The Indian service sector is 

expanded, starting from the unorganized sectors to the 

Information technology and financial sectors whereas 

Indian [product industry includes mining, manufacturing 

and electricity (Union Budget & Economic Survey). Indian 

economy witnesses the dominance of service sector after it 

reflects a sharp growth in its contribution to GDP starting 

from 33.5 percent in 1950-51 to a whopping 56.3 percent in 

2011-12 whereas manufacturing sector starts showing a 

decline in growth from 2.7 percent in 2011-12 to 1.9 percent 

in 2012-13 (Union Budget & Economic Survey). Globally, 

the service sector has started transforming into a skill 

intensive sector encountering a high demand for

technological superiority which eventually leading to a 

wage-based inequality (Buera & Kabosky; Ramaswamy & 

Agarwal) than what is there in manufacturing sector. 

Besides, Indian manufacturing and service sector do differ 

in terms of workplace allocation, informal employment and 

size of the enterprise, age-specific workforce distribution, 

wage distribution and assurance of social security

(Ramaswamy & Agarwal). However, multiple research 

studies have been highlighting the contrast between these 

two industries in terms of operational management, market 

presence, customer involvement, productivity etc. (Morris 

& Johnston; Evangelista; Miozzo & Soete; Amin; Guerrieri 

& Meliciani). On the contrary, multiple research initiatives 

are taking place investigating the probable transmission of 

different supply chain strategies from manufacturing sectors 

to service sector (Anderson & Morris; Sengupta et al.). And 

innovation has been registering a lot of interest considering 

the consistently blurred boundaries between services and 

manufacturing sector with regard to automation and 

implying various innovation strategies (Collier; SegarraBlasco). According to Hughes and Woods, manufacturing 

and service sector do differ mostly within their own sectoral 

distribution rather than between themselves especially in the 

field like innovation. 

Research Gap:

Review of existing literature gives an overview of the 

application of FIRO theory across service and

manufacturing dichotomy with regards to different variables 

like supervisor- subordinate lifestyle (Marco); predicting 

the leadership capabilities and managerial level of

attainment (Ahmetoglu et al.); preferred social skills among 

U.S. auditors (Siegel & Schultz); and also in terms skill 

requirements of young professionals (Umashankar & 

Charitra). However, none of these research studies provides 

any detailed profile based understanding of the interpersonal 

orientation of the employees across the servicemanufacturing dichotomous sector. Besides, interpersonal 

relationship orientation of the employees seems to be the 

least explored area of interest for the research scholars with 

regard to FIRO based interpretation in the Indian context 

Objectives of the Study

(1) To determine the extent to which employees from 

service sector and employees from manufacturing 

sector differ each other with respect to their

interpersonal relationship orientation.

(2) Determine detailed Interpersonal Relationship

Orientation profile of the employees the of the service 

sector and the employees of manufacturing sector 


(Manoharan & Suresh; Sayeed; Natarajan et al.). Hence, the 

research study was an attempt to connect the loose ends in 

the research studies in exploring the present variable from 

the FIRO perspective in the Indian context. 


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SCMS Journal of Indian Management, October-December – 2019


The research aimed at testing the following hypothesis:

H1: There is a significant difference between the employees 

belonging to the service sector organizations and the 

employees belonging to the manufacturing sector

organizations in terms of Interpersonal Relationship

Orientation [i.e., i. Individual cell scores (A. Expressed 

Inclusion, B. Expressed Control, C. Expressed Affection, D. 

Wanted Inclusion, E. Wanted Control, F. Wanted Affection), 

ii. Total Behavior score of the employees (A. Total Wanted, 

B. Total Expression), ii. Total Need score of the employees 

(A. Total Inclusion, B. Total Control, C. Total Affection), iii. 

Overall Need Score of the employees]. 


(I) Data Collection: The present research study was done to 

explore the significant differences of Interpersonal

Relationship Orientation of the employees from service 

organizations and employees from manufacturing

organizations in Kolkata, West Bengal. Kolkata was 

considered to the present research context due to the 

availability of the sample and role this city has been playing 

in terms of its performance in world economy and also in 

Indian GDP (Berube et al. in Global Metro Monitor Report; 

Bouchet et al. in Global Metro Monitor Report) However, It 

was an Ex-post facto research where the data was collected 

following the cross sectional survey research design 

considering its comparative approach to different sectors. 

The service and manufacturing organizations situated in 

Kolkata were selected following multistage stratified 

random sampling method after considering five zones of the 

city, Kolkata- North, South, East, West, and Central (As 

mentioned in Brief Industrial Profile of Kolkata District, 

West Bengal by MSME, Govt. of India). Informed consent 

was procured from all the employees before following it 

with FIRO- B questionnaire. It took 6 months (August 2015 

to January 2016) to the completion of data collection 

procedure with one month of analysis following that. 

(ii) Final Sample: The final sample was comprised of 235 

employees form service organizations and 202 employees of 

manufacturing organizations leading to 437 employees from 

these two operational sectors. Only middle managers who 

had served their organizations for a minimum of 2 years 

were considered for the study. The age range of the 

participants was decided to be between 25 years and 55 

years. Only male employees were considered due to the lack 

of female participants in those organizations. Also, the 

criterion for the educational background was kept to the 

minimum level of graduation and above. 

(iii) Measures Used: Interpersonal Relationship Orientation 

of the employees was measured with the FIRO- B scale 

developed by William Schutz in 1958. Schutz (1958) created 

this instrument to measure the interactions between two 

individuals for the research purpose and later modified it for 

general usage in larger settings. However, FIRO- B 

instrument has 54 items that provide feedback on six aspects 

of interpersonal behavior while element B provides the same 

information with twelve additional measures providing a 

single response scale with simplified wording and greater 

scale integrity. FIRO element B focuses on the behavior (i.e. 

of two types- Expressed and Wanted) in three interpersonal 

need areas: Inclusion, Control and Affection (Schutz, 1958). 

12 types of scores can be generated in FIRO-B instrument: 1 

: Overall Need Score, 2 : Total Behavior scores (Total 

Expressed , and Total Wanted), 3 : Total Need Scores (Total 

Inclusion, Total Control, and Total Affection), six individual 

cell scores expressed by eI (Expressed Inclusion), wI 

(Wanted Inclusion), eC (Expressed Control), wC (Wanted 

Control), eA (Expressed Affection), wA (Wanted

Affection). This is a self- administered scale developed 

using Guttman Scaling Procedure and can be administered 

to individuals ranging from 14 years to 90 years. All of the 

scales hold good internal consistency reliability [eI = .87, wI 

= .96, eC = .93, wC = .86, eA = .86, wA = .85]. Informed 

consent was taken before proceeding with the scale 

administration with each participant. The data were 

analysed using descriptive statistics and One Way Analysis 

of Variance (One way ANOVA) as inferential statistics. 

However, Levene’s Test of Homogeneity was considered to 

check the homogeneity of variance across different sample 

groups. In few cases, Levene’s Test result did come 

significant proving those samples to not be homogeneous by 

nature. In those cases, Brown Forsythe Test was applied (as 

an alternative to One way ANOVA) as it is considered to be 

the most robust and reliable test to be followed when 

heteroscedasticity increases or when small deviations from 

homogeneity of variances occur in an otherwise balanced 

data (Mendes & Pala

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