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The Johari Window Essay

The Johari Window model is a simple and useful tool for illustrating and improving self-awareness, and mutual understanding between individuals within a group. The Johari Window model can also be used to assess and improve a group’s relationship with other groups. The Johari Window model was devised by American psychologists Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in 1955, while researching group dynamics at the University of California Los Angeles.

The model was first published in the Proceedings of the Western Training Laboratory in Group Development by UCLA Extension Office in 1955, and was later expanded by Joseph Luft. Today the Johari Window model is especially relevant due to modern emphasis on, and influence of, ‘soft’ skills, behaviour, empathy, cooperation, inter-group development and interpersonal development.

Luft and Ingham called their Johari Window model ‘Johari’ after combining their first names, Joe and Harry The four Johari Window perspectives are called ‘regions’ or ‘areas’ or ‘quadrants’. Each of these regions contains and represents the information – feelings, motivation, etc – known about the person, in terms of whether the information is known or unknown by the person, and whether the information is known or unknown by others in the group. The Johari Window’s four regions, (areas, quadrants, or perspectives) are as follows, showing the quadrant numbers and commonly used names.

1.what is known by the person about him/herself and is also known by others – open area, open self, free area, free self, or ‘the arena’ 2.what is unknown by the person about him/herself but which others know – blind area, blind self, or ‘blindspot’ 3.what the person knows about him/herself that others do not know – hidden area, hidden self, avoided area, avoided self or ‘facade’ 4.What is unknown by the person about him/herself and is also unknown by others – unknown area or unknown self.

The major difference between the blind and hidden area is that, the blind area could be referred to as ignorance about oneself, or issues in which one is deluded. A blind area could also include issues that others are deliberately withholding from a person whereas the hidden area is anything that a person knows about him/self, but which is not revealed or is kept hidden from others.

The Johari Window concept is particularly helpful to understanding employee/employer relationships within the Psychological Contracts. Group members and managers can take some responsibility for helping an individual to reduce their blind area – in turn increasing the open area – by giving sensitive feedback and encouraging disclosure. Managers should promote a climate of non-judgemental feedback, and group response to individual disclosure, which reduces fear and therefore encourages both processes to happen.

Organizational culture and working atmosphere have a major influence on group members’ preparedness to disclose their hidden selves. Most people fear judgement or vulnerability and therefore hold back hidden information and feelings, etc, that if moved into the open area, ie known by the group as well, would enhance mutual understanding, and thereby improve group awareness, enabling better individual performance and group effectiveness.


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