The Johari Window Model of Group Dynamics

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  • 0:01 The Johari Window
  • 0:50 How It Works
  • 2:46 Using the Johari Window
  • 4:26 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

It's important to be able to work as a group, and the Johari Window can help. In this lesson, explore the Johari Window model, and test your understanding with a brief quiz.

The Johari Window

Have you ever heard the phrase 'through the looking glass?' It comes from Lewis Carroll's sequel to Alice in Wonderland and is often used to describe the launching of a life-changing adventure or a new perspective. Well, today, we are not going through the looking glass. No, we're going through the window - the Johari Window. Sounds pretty epic, doesn't it? The Johari Window is a test to develop 'self-awareness' and 'group dynamics', designed in 1955, by American psychologists Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham. That's actually where the name comes from - Joseph and Harrington becomes Johari. Kinda cool, right? Well, this kinda cool test has become tremendously popular. Who needs a looking glass!

How It Works

Okay, here's the Johari Window test itself (see video). Looks pretty basic, right? Ready to see it in action? Here's the subject of this test, John Study. And here are John Study's peers. To begin, John Study is given a list of 55 adjectives, and he picks five or six that he feels best describe his personality. Then, each of the peers are given the same list of 55 adjectives, and they each pick the five or six that they feel best describe the subject, John Study. We then compare the lists and map them onto the Johari Window.

The top left square is entitled open or arena. In here, we place all of the adjectives that were selected by both the subject and the peers. This represents the things we know about ourselves that are also known by others. Below that, in the bottom left, is the hidden or façade square. In here, we write the adjectives selected by the subject but not the peers. These are things we know about ourselves but generally don't show to others. Next, we fill out the top right square, which we call the blind spot. The adjectives in here were selected by the peers but not the subject. This is how other people see you, even though you may not know these things about yourself. And finally, we have the unknown square, where the rest of the 55 adjectives not selected by anybody are placed. These adjectives either do not describe the subject at all, or as psychologists say, everyone may be unaware that the subject has these traits deep in his or her subconscious, even the subject. And with that, we've got a complete Johari Window.

The Johari Window Squares

Using the Johari Window

So, what did the Johari Window tell us? Well, all of John Study's peers agree with him that he is accepting, calm, logical, and wise. This is who John Study is, and his peers know that about him. However, John Study was the only one to write down the adjective 'quiet.' His peers wrote 'energetic,' 'extroverted,' and 'witty.' So, while John Study feels like he is naturally quiet, he hides that part of his personality, and by the looks of it, overcompensates for it by being very outspoken and loud.

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