The Johari Window

The Johari Window, named after its inventors Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham, is a way of learning about ourselves by comparing what we are aware of with what others perceive.

It is one of the most useful models describing the process of human interaction. It is also referred to as a disclosure/feedback model of self-awareness and by some people as an information processing tool. The Johari Window represents information such as feelings, experience, views, attitudes, skills, intentions, motivation, etc described from four perspectives.

The model can be used to represent either an individual or a group.

A four paned window divides personal awareness into four different types, as represented by its four quadrants: ‘Open’, ‘Hidden’, ‘Blind’, and ‘Unknown’. The lines dividing the four panes are like window shades, which can move as an interaction progresses.

It is used primarily in self-help groups and corporate settings as a heuristic exercise to help people better understand their interpersonal communication and relationships.

The subject is asked to pick five or six adjectives from a list of 55 that they feel describe their own personality. Peers of the subjects are then given the same list, and each also picks five or six adjectives that describe the subject. These adjectives are then mapped onto a grid.

Adjectives selected by both the participants and his or her peers are placed into the ‘Open’ quadrant. This quadrant represents traits of the participant (or subject group) of which both they and their peers are aware.

Adjectives selected only by the participant, but not by any of their peers, are placed into the ‘Hidden’ quadrant, representing information about the participant of which their peers are unaware.

Adjectives that are not selected by the participant but only by their peers are placed into the ‘Blind’ quadrant. These represent information of which the participant is not aware, but others are, and they can decide whether and how to inform the individual about these “blindspots”.

Adjectives which were not selected by either the participant or their peers remain in the ‘Unknown’ quadrant, representing the participant’s behaviours or motives which were not recognized by anyone participating. This may be because they do not apply, or because there is collective ignorance of the existence of such a trait.

Coaching can take place around a discussion of the differences between the adjective selected by the individual (or the subject group) and the individual’s peers (or by other groups). The window can be redrawn to reflect the relative sizes of each pane. increasing the size of the open area by reducing the size of the blind area would normally be seen as a benefit. This can be done by the quality of feedback, and the process of disclosure.

The unknown area can also be reduced. For example: by others’ observations, which increases the blind area; by self-discovery, which increases the hidden area, or by mutual enlightenment – typically by group experiences and discussion, which increase the open area as the unknown area reduces.

Here is the list of the 55 adjectives used to describe the participant:

Able, accepting, adaptable, bold, brave, calm, caring, cheerful, clever, complex, confident, dependable, dignified, energetic, extroverted, friendly, giving, happy, helpful, idealistic, independent, ingenious, intelligent, introverted, kind, knowledgeable, logical, loving, mature, modest, nervous, observant, organised, patient, powerful, proud, quiet, reflective, relaxed, religious, responsive, searching, self assertive, self-conscious, sensible, sentimental, shy, silly, spontaneous, sympathetic, tense, trustworthy, warm, wise, witty.

 

 

Known to self

 

Not known to self

 

  Known to others

 

Open

Blind

 

  Not known to others

 

Hidden

Unknown