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UNIT 2.

THE HUMAN SYNERGISTICS (CIRCUMPLEX) MODEL

The Human Synergistics Model is a graphical representation in an integrated conceptual


model known as the Circumplex. Based on several acknowledged psychological and
management theories, this model was created by the American Professor Robert A. Cook and the
psychology specialist, J. Clayton Lafferty (1971), known as the Circumplex model. The model
measures 12 styles and attitudes of leaders, as well as the organization as a whole.
The Circumplex Model is not a personality test. It is an instrument used to measure
attitudes and behaviors, styles adopted in the organization. It works on the premise that you can
choose a particular behavior in a given situation, actually renouncing what is inadequate,
inappropriate in your attitude. The styles presented are divided into three categories, within the
circumplex:
Constructive styles (blue) - oriented towards staff satisfaction
Passive-Defensive styles (green) - promote people/security
Aggressive-Defensive styles (red) - show task achievement/safety
In constructive cultures, the achievement of the set tasks can lead to achieving personal
satisfaction. A balance is created between independent thinking, initiative taken and consensus
and teamwork. Individuals appreciate inter-human relationships; they are constructive and open
in the relationships between them.
In the passive-defensive cultures, the individuals behavior is characterized by the need for
security and minimum predisposition towards risk. Individuals act in such a manner as not to
injure the others behavior, avoiding any type of interpersonal conflict. The rules, procedures and
orders are fulfilled without question. In such a controlled environment the positions are well
defined and the supervision is intense. Managers do not emphasize the very good results, but
they do not miss the opportunity to show at any time any negative aspect of the employees
activity within the organization.
Aggressive-defensive cultures emphasize the individuals defensive behavior that reflects
the need to maintain the hierarchical position in the organization and to reach the need of
security through an aggressive approach of the assigned tasks. According to Gerry Clarkes
opinion, the President of Human Synergistics International, a specialist in organizational culture,
in Eastern Europe the aggressive-defensive culture is stronger than in North America, the same
with the oppositional style, information drawn from comparative studies conducted in over 40
countries in Eastern Europe, Western Asia, Latin America and the USA. All types of cultures
measured by this instrument have a direct impact on the employees activity and on the
companys operation they and also linked to the staff satisfaction, motivation, teamwork,
quality of products/services as well as other organizational efficiency criteria.
Constructive Cluster
This cluster of styles characterize self-enhancing thinking and behavior that contribute
to ones level of satisfaction, ability to develop healthy relationships and work effectively
with people, and proficiency at accomplishing tasks.

Achievement The Achievement scale measures a way of thinking that is highly associated
with personal effectiveness. Scores for this style indicate our interest in, as
well as our proficiency at, attaining high-quality results on challenging
projects. In many ways, the Achievement style characterizes the most
constructive approaches to work. Achievers are motivated to succeed by their
own values and beliefs. They know they can improve things, and do not
hesitate to act on this knowledge.
Self The Self Actualization scale measures a way of thinking that results in the
Actualization highest form of personal fulfillment. Becoming self-actualized is the final
step in ones growth and maturation process. This style is characterized by an
unusually high acceptance of self, others and situations as they are. Self-
actualized people are creative and imaginative, and take a unique approach to
life.
Humanistic The Humanistic Encouraging scale measures a way of thinking that refers to
Encouraging our interest in people, our tendency to care about others, and our ability to
encourage them to improve. Humanistic-Encouraging people are accepting of
themselves, and accept others for who they are- without question or criticism.
In fact, those scoring higher on this scale have unconditional positive regards
for others. This absolute acceptance enables people to grow the most and take
greater responsibility for themselves.
Affiliative The Affiliative scale measures a way of thinking that refers to our
commitment to forming and sustaining satisfying relationships. This style
represents a need for social interaction and interpersonal contact. Affiliative
people seek out, establish, value, and maintain close associations with others.
These individuals appreciate people and enjoy being in the company of
others. In fact, they tend to be most comfortable when those with whom they
have established strong emotional and social ties.
Passive/Defensive Cluster
This cluster of styles represents self protecting thinking and behavior that promote the
fulfillment of security needs through interaction with people.

Approval The Approval scale measures our need tobe accepted by others to increase or
sustain our feelings of self-worth. While the desire to be approved of is
natural, problems occur when approval-seeking becomes a need, and
ultimately our standard way of interacting with others.
Conventional The Conventional scale measures our tendency to act in a conforming way.
While some conformity is necessary in life, too much can be restrictive. The
Conventional style represents a preoccupation with adhering to rules and
established procedures, maintaining a low profile, and blending in with our
particular environment to avoid calling attention to ourselves.
Dependent The Dependent scale measures the degree to which we feel our efforts do not
count. Dependent behavior originates in a need for security and self-
protection: Dependent people typically feel that they have very little control
over their lives. This type of behavior may be long-standing, or due to
temporary life changes such as a new job, a promotion, an illness or the
break-up of a close relationship.
Avoidance The Avoidance scale measures our tendency to use defensive strategy of
withdrawal. We do this by hiding our feelings, or by shying away from
situations we find threatening. We may use this behavior when we face
something different, such as a new environment or a problem we have no
experience in solving.
Aggressive/Defensive Cluster
This cluster of styles reflect self promoting thinking and behavior used to maintain
status/position and fulfill security needs through task related activities.

Oppositional The Oppositional scale measures our tendency to use defensive and
aggressive strategy of disagreeing with others, and to seek attention by being
critical and cynical. While clarifying and refining ideas by asking probing
questions can be a valuable skill, oppositional people often use it
destructively.
Power The Power scale measures our tendency to associate our self-worth with the
degree to which we can control and dominate others. Individuals who seek
power are motivated by a need to gain prestige, status and influence: they
achieve false, temporary feelings of self worth by striving to be in charge at
all times.
Competitive The Competitive scale measures our need to establish a sense of self-worth
through competing against and comparing ourselves to others. While it is
largely encouraged and accepted as a measure of success, competitive
behavior is not an effective predictor of achievement in business, sports, or
life in general: in fact, studies have shown that people who come out ahead in
competitive situations focus on performance excellence, or the process of
doing well, rather than on the end result of winning.
Perfectionisti The Perfectionistic scale measures the degree to which we feel a driven need
c to be seen by others as perfect. A dramatic difference exists between the act of
perfecting something and the concept of perfectionism. Rather that working
to make things the best they can be, perfectionists need to seek flawless
results.

Ideal Versus Current Cultures


Beyond assessing the current operating cultures of organizations, the Circumplex is used
also to identify the ideal cultures for organizations and subunits. A parallel form of the inventory,
the Circumplex-Ideal, asks respondents to consider the extent to which members ideally should
be expected to exhibit the 12 behavioral styles to maximize individual motivation and
organizational performance. The ideal profiles generated by members of organizations usually
emphasize a preference for Constructive behaviors. For example, the ideal profiles for
organizations in the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom
typically show strong expectations for Constructive behaviors, moderate to weak expectations
for Aggressive/Defensive behaviors, and weak expectations for Passive/Defensive behaviors.
Ideal profiles for organizations in countries outside the Anglo cluster (e.g., Latin Europe, Latin
America, and the Far East) also tend to be characterized by strong expectations for Constructive
behaviors; however, expectations for some of the Defensive styles tend to be pronounced as well.
Similarly, differences across industries and across organizations with different
environments and technologiescan be observed, but such differences are much smaller than
those who embrace "contingency" theories of culture might predict. For example, researchers
studying "reliability-oriented" systems, such as nuclear aircraft carriers, have questioned whether
those organizations "would function as well under cultural features found in other [performance-
oriented] organizations". However, Circumplex-Ideal surveys administered in nuclear power
plants, chemical and oil refineries, and reliability-oriented military units consistently produce
ideal culture profiles that are predominantly Constructive. Similarly, research findings indicate
that reliability-oriented systems (e.g., nuclear power plants) with Constructive norms perform
better under emergency conditions than do those with more Defensive norms.
More generally, responses to the Circumplex-Ideal are based in part on societal values
and beliefs regarding how things work and the types of behaviors likely to lead to individual and
organizational effectiveness. Given the relatively strong individualistic, weak uncertainty
avoidance, and moderate power distance societal values, respondents in the United States
strongly endorse Constructive norms as those most likely to promote performanceregardless of
the types of organizations they are describing. Similarly, the emphasis on certain Defensive
norms found in the ideal profiles generated for organizations in Latin European, Latin American,
and Far East Asian countries likely reflect their stronger collectivistic, power distance, and/or
uncertainty avoidance values.