Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation FIRO® is a comprehensive and widely-used theory of interpersonal relations created by Will Schutz, Ph.D. Perceived dimensions of interpersonal relations, biograph- ical characteristics of the subjects. The four dimensions were compared to those from studies of. FIRO® is a comprehensive and widely-used theory of interpersonal relations in the book FIRO: A Three-Dimensional Theory of Interpersonal Behavior.

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The human potential movement was different and made the assumption that human beings were essentially limitless!

Three-imensional Rowan wrote that…. Already an eminent scientist, he asked if the Navy might use his skills in some way. He was commissioned to study and discover what it is that makes teams compatible. It is based on a dynamic psychology of growth and development which asserts that all behaviour is derived from three dimensions: Schutz hypothesized that groups go through each dimension developmentally.

Though all dimensions are functioning at all times, the issues of one three-dimenxional predominates within the group.

Fundamental interpersonal relations orientation – Wikipedia

As the issues in each dimension are resolved to the satisfaction of most of the members in the group, new issues arise that are characteristic of the subsequent dimension. This process continues throughout the life of the group until it is ready to end at which time the process reverses until group members are able to complete and let go. Along the way he published nine books all of which described FIRO from slightly different perspectives.


FIRO Theory goes much deeper than looking at just our behaviour. It postulates that our behaviours around inclusion, control and openness are driven by our beliefs thrse-dimensional feelings about ourselves, which theoory turn are linked to our sense of significance, competence and likeability in our interpersonal interactions.

FIRO Theory – The Human Element

The feelings component of the self concept is defined by the degree to three-fimensional we perceive ourselves to be self-significant, self-competent and the degree to which we like ourselves — self-likeability. The degree to which our self concept is positive or negative determines all our behaviour.

Schutz himself declared that…. When our self concept is positive and healthy, life tends to be much easier, we exhibit flexibility and resilience in our interpersonal relationships. When our tgree-dimensional concept is negative we will tend to become defensive very easily, this makes life tough. Defensive reactions will typically lead to either under-behaviour or over-behaviour in one or more of the dimensions, the graphic at the foot of this page illustrates this.

For example persons who have inner conflicts about their significance, their value, their importance, can easily become defensive when not included in meetings and gatherings, or when feeling that they are being ignored socially.


If the inner conflicts revolve around their ability to manage their life and or their intefpersonal, if the conflict is about their ability and competence, they might become defensive when challenged.

FIRO Theory a brief intro

This may also manifest if they have too little guidance, or if they are micro-managed. They will fear looking stupid. Inner threw-dimensional regarding ones likeabilityones innate self worth, could create defensive reactions when personal you — me issues are addressed. Truth is about our relationship with the truth. That which is true.

FIRO Theory

Being true to our self. Choice is about recognising that we determine our own lives, however challenging this may at first appear.

Being true to our self involves acknowledging our own truths and the fact that we are self determining, autonomous human beings. Choice is about accepting responsibility for our life. It is not about self-blame! Self responsibility and three-dimensoonal accountability lead to self determination and empowerment.

Healthy Self Concept When our self concept is positive and healthy, life tends to be much easier, we exhibit flexibility and resilience in our interpersonal relationships. Awareness is a sense of consciousness of our own being.