Tag Archives: Intertype Relations

How to Design the Workplace to Increase Effectiveness and Retain Top Talent

Experience Designing the Workplace

A hot topic in modern business, Customer Experience has an equally important cousin: Employee Experience.

What is Employee Experience?

Employee experience is using a blend of psychology, personality types, observable behavior, interests, mental and physical ability, styles of learning, game theory, and gamification to create a custom tailored workplace.

Everything that can be customized to increase a person or group’s effectiveness will be customized.

Quantified Self:

Collecting a person’s blend of individual personality type, observable behavior, interests, preferred style of learning, mental abilities, physical abilities, and experiences is essentially used to create their Quantified Self. This is a new concept called Humanistic Intelligence.

All of these factors are collected by certain tests, mixed with monitoring a person’s activities through the technology they use, along with wearable monitoring devices (to capture things that cannot easily be observed, such as mental or physical stress.

The Layout of the Workplace:


Inspired by Pixar, the entire floor plan of the office is specifically designed to promote accidental, spontaneous collaboration and maximize creativity. However, this takes it one step further, because instead of using rules-of-thumb about human psychology to create the environment, the quantified selves of the actual employees customize what can be customized.

The Software and Equipment Used to Perform the Job:

All the software programs are customized, so that employees intuitively know and clearly understand what is expected of them. By completely “knowing” a person, everything that this person interacts with can be customized to enhance their effectiveness and quality of life.

What About Privacy?

This will be a controversial topic, as this can be seen as an invasion of privacy. In my opinion, it should remain a controversial topic, so that it is constantly being evaluated. This way, we can make sure that the ethics of how such data can be collected and for what purpose is under continual review.

Yes, there is the potential abuse of such data collection. However, that doesn’t mean that it should not be used. There is a chance that I’ll be killed in a car crash on the way to work. That doesn’t mean I should not use a car. However, it does mean that the safety of using automobiles should always be discussed, debated, and improved.

Ultimate Goal:


Essentially, the end goal is making people better at doing their job, while at the same time making it easier and more enjoyable. If done correctly, Employee Experience should be a win-win scenario for the business and the individual.

Making what the employees are supposed to do, what they want to do. Creating an environment custom-tailored to enhance both the effectiveness and enjoyment of the employee.


Introduction to Socionics

What is socionics?

Socionics is a theory of human interaction based on fixed patterns of information processing known as “socionic types.” A socionic type (there are 16 of them) is a description of some very fundamental ways in which a person’s psyche works. These psychic qualities define to a large degree a person’s relationships with others, his or her perception of life as a whole, and the niche he or she strives to occupy among people.

Each person’s psyche is a lopsided construction that attempts to pursue certain kinds of information (stimuli) while minimizing others. This is what socionic type describes. This lopsidedness creates a need for social cooperation. The nature of close cooperation (relationships) between people depends on how well-suited people’s lopsided psychic tendencies are to each other. This is what intertype relations are about.

The origins of socionics

As the story goes, founder of socionics Aushra Augusta (she shortened her last name from “Augustinavichiute” to “Augusta” to make it easier for foreigners) was mulling over fundamental issues of human existence (“why are some relationships good and others bad despite everyone’s intention to have good ones?”) in Vilnius, Lithuania in the 1970s, when she came across a number of typological systems that influenced her thoughts — Kretschmer’s psychosomatic types (i.e. endomorphs, mesomorphs, and ectomorphs), Kempinsky’s (now a forgotten Polish psychiatrist) concept of “information metabolism,” and — most of all — Carl Jung’s typology of psychological types.

Augusta created symbols to represent the functions described by Carl Jung and — together with a circle of fellow researchers/hobbyists — eventually created what is known as the “socionic model of the psyche” — a neat description of the psyche where each of the 8 information elements has its place in each person’s psyche. This was quite a development on Jung’s typology and introduced many new concepts, including the mechanisms that explain how types interact.

Socionic types

The 16 socionic types differ on four axes (called ‘dichotomies’): rationality/irrationality, extraversion/introversion, intuition/sensing, and logic/ethics. Each type has one characteristic from each of the dichotomies, making 16 possible combinations. This does not mean there is a complete absence of the opposite mechanism, however. It means that one is more flexible and multi-faceted, while the other is more rigid and simplistic.

Although types often display similar values, life strategies, general behavior, and facial expressions, such traits such as IQ, musical talent, sports abilities, charisma, “personal power,” etc. are little related to type. A review of how socionists have typed famous people will demonstrate this. No type is inherently “predisposed” for success or failure in life. A common error of socionics enthusiasts is to try to relate non-socionic traits to socionic types.

In addition, socionics does not view type structure as being so rigid that a person can change little in life. One’s positive or negative thinking patterns, overall outlook on life, and emotional health are not tied to type and are quite flexible. However, socionic type is one of the things — along with inborn physiological traits — that does not change, even if outward behavior, emotional states, and attitudes do. Socionic type describes psychic mechanisms so “deep” that they are difficult to gain a full awareness of, much less modify in some way (but then, why would you want to modify them??).


Intertype relations

The basic difference between socionics and other typologies is socionics’ theory of intertype relations. Socionics is not a typology of personality, but a typology of perceptual traits that define one’s relationships with others. Hence, we should not be surprised to see significant personality differences between individuals of the same socionic type — as long as we see that there is a similar pattern of intertype relations.

Intertype relations describe the nature of interaction and information interchange between two people at a close psychological distance by describing how partners’ psychic functions interrelate. These socionic relationships range from very difficult and potentially harmful to one’s self-realization to very beneficial and pleasant to the psyche. Intertype relations most influence one’s informal relationships with others, where one chooses friends based on pleasure and mutual benefit (cooperation).

Duality and dual relations

Socionics_duality_ILE-SEI   ILE & SEI

A unique aspect of socionics is the discovery of complementary psychic structures. Jung and his followers recognized a particular attraction between individuals with certain leading functions, but these observations were not developed into a full-fledged theory, and the Meyers-Briggs system does not seem to address them at all.

Each of the 16 socionic types has its ‘dual’ type. The essence of dual relations is that the natural information output of one type is the preferred information input of the other. Having a dual or dual around stimulates one to use one’s strengths as much as possible. Even their mere physical presence tends to exert a calming and balancing influence. Dual relations develop around the strongest functions of each partner and keep mental and physical functioning balanced, while directing partners’ energy towards constructive and rewarding activities.

Socionics and the MBTI

At some point Augusta and her associates learned of Isabel Briggs Myers’ and her mother Katharine Cook Briggs’ development of Jung’s typology across the ocean in the United States. Newcomers to socionics in the West often have to face the difficulty of trying to distinguish between the two typologies. They are fundamentally different and cannot be treated as “the same types, but with different type names.”

Those who look deeply into socionics and the MBTI recognize that socionics’ theoretical apparatus is more systematic and logical in nature — and simply larger. Indeed, socionics was created by a “thinking” type, while the MBTI was created by “feeling” types (a quick review of sites on the two fields will make this clear). That is just the beginning of the differences.

I personally, of course, find socionics to be a big improvement on the MBTI, but I’m sure there are ardent followers of the MBTI that hold the opposite opinion.

The four socionic dichotomies appear to be very similar to the dichotomies used by the MBTI system. However, close inquiry reveals that there are many subtle differences. If you assume the dichotomies are the same and equate each socionic type to an MBTI type, some socionic types will overlap to a large degree with their MBTI counterparts, others will partially overlap, and yet others will seem to be completely different. If the types were truly equivalent, a similar theory of intertype relations would have arisen in the MBTI system — but there is none. On the whole, MBTI and socionics types seem to correlate in roughly 30% of cases. That is not nearly enough to consider the two typologies close approximations of each other.

The socionics community

There is a large socionics community across the Russian-speaking world. In many if not most large cities of the former Soviet Union there are people who hold evening classes on socionics and social gatherings for people interested in socionics. Centers of socionics are Kiev (Ukraine), Moscow and St. Petersburg (Russia), and Vilnius (Lithuania). Here socionics conferences take place where socionists present and discuss papers and studies and most books on socionics are published (there are now maybe 40 or 50 books on socionics, primarily in Russian, but also with a few in Ukrainian and Lithuanian).

At the same time, socionics is a decentralized field of study. There is no central body that is universally recognized as the single authority in the field or that dictates methodology, type identification, etc. Socionics arose outside of the academic world (although Augusta was a sociologist) and has not yet obtained official academic recognization, though it is now often mentioned in psychology courses in universities around the former USSR. Competent and respected socionists generally are known in the community and publish in community journals and participate in seminars and professional dialogue.

Socionics is held together by numerous enthusiasts and scattered professionals — who publish books and journals, teach courses, diagnose types, and consult individuals, families, and even entire organizations.


Socionics – Intertype Relationships: A Brief Description



Two like-minded partners who strive to occupy similar social niches. Understand each others motives and goals and easily become jealous of each other’s successes, especially if partners have the same social status. Good for occasionally touching base and sharing experiences, and for teaching purposes — if one partner is older and more experienced. Difficult for doing multi-faceted tasks together; partners quickly tire of each other, and cooperation tends to break down if they have the same status. Partners tend to talk only on subjects related to their mutual strengths and avoid other topics. They are not able to help solve each others’ real problems and can only offer general advice and relate personal experience. In group settings identity partners who are already personally acquainted tend to avoid one other.


Like-minded partners with similar views and thinking styles but with different emphases within their common spheres of interest. Generally enjoy discussing their views, but rarely are able to arrive at a complete consensus or make decisions jointly. Less competition and avoidance of each other in groups than identity partners, but also less teaching potential. Partners tire of each other after a couple hours of contact. Cooperation is possible if formalized and if partners are able to maintain their autonomy.


Partners are interested in many of the same areas, but approach them in completely different ways. Partners are generally impressed with and value one another’s strengths at a distance, but find it difficult to get any practical benefit for themselves from these strengths. Partners cannot form anything more than a superficial relationship with each other.


Each partner is the embodiment of many qualities the other wishes he had and tries unsuccessfully to develop in himself. Talking about these respective strengths can be enthralling if partners find interest in each other. If partners have a common mission, they cover each others’ weak areas, making for a powerful team. However, close cooperation and ironing out details is difficult, as partners can’t agree on principles. Conflicts and disagreements between super-ego partners are out in the open and are usually discussed very vocally, at times causing heated arguments without a clear winner.


English: Scheme of duality intertype relation ...
English: Scheme of duality intertype relation in Socionics. ILE-SEI example.

Generally very enjoyable and rewarding relationship, especially if partners share common values and interests. Partners strive to shorten the psychological distance and enjoy simply being around each other and doing a wide range of activities together. Effective cooperation takes place automatically, with each partner taking on what he is best at. If partners share common interests, they also have productive discussions where they help each other see things from different complementary viewpoints. Partners relax each other and help release pent-up thoughts and emotions, but seldom feel like straining themselves and doing hard work together. Duality is by far the best relationship for restoring emotional equilibrium, developing spontaneity and natural personality traits, and overcoming fears and complexes.
More on duality and dual relations

Partial duality

Similar to duality in providing meaningful psychological support and important insight along with an element of mutual fascination. However, complete unity and balance are unattainable. Partners are drawn to different groups of people and internally are not as committed or devoted to each other as might be implied during their moments of resonance and self-disclosure. Partners tend to talk much and do little, as if avoiding a common area of weakness.


Partners are able to provide meaningful assistance in each other’s areas of weakness, often making for fruitful cooperation in getting things done. Partners find each other useful, but almost never fascinating (i.e. someone who you would want to get to know deeply). Thus, partners tend to do more and talk less.


Partners feel a strange draw to each other that seems to promise much but never delivers. Partners seem to be interested in the same fields and have similar yearnings, but they describe things in a strange and fascinating, but ultimately unfathomable way. Expectations that go beyond having an interesting conversation are almost never met.


Partners are good at helping solve each other’s real-life problems and are able to be open with one another without causing misunderstandings. Thus, discussing life and solving problems is very rewarding and productive. When doing complex projects together that require lots of planning and commitment, however, partners discover that they have different rhythms and that minor misunderstandings constantly arise. Partners tend to take each other too literally and act on each other’s recommendations too quickly, leading to disappointment when the other doesn’t follow through or makes changes to his plans. Also, communication tends to be either too intense or too slow. Partners rev each other up mentally and physically and then need to increase the psychological distance to relax and return to a state of equilibrium.

Request (+/-)

Asymmetric relationship. One partner (the recipient) finds he is constantly trying to solve the other person’s (the transmitter’s) problems and is overly emotionally involved in the other partner’s life — always waiting for a reward from the transmitter. The transmitter, on the other hand, is largely unaware of this and wonders why the recipient is so dependent and so sensitive to the things he (the transmitter) says.


Partners seem to share broad areas of interest in a way that is similar to identity or kindred partners. However, the language they formulate their thoughts in is hopelessly different and hard to digest at a close psychological distance. Moreover, partners are drawn to opposing social groups where the other partner does not feel comfortable. Partners are unable to provide meaningful support and have to strain to reach a mutual understanding.


Partners can be themselves around each other without causing misunderstandings. Partners have a correct intuitive understanding of each other and are rarely surprised by anything the other does or says. Arguments are very rare. They always have things to say on the same topics and easily come to a consensus, but at the same time put opposite emphasis on things, creating a revisionary effect. These relations are highly verbally oriented, with partners discussing their hobby topics (and avoiding most others) and revising and adding to each other’s views. Partners tire from the discussionary nature of the relationship and try to separate for work and rest. Partners immediately liven up when someone else shows up who is the dual of one and the activator of the other partner.

Supervision (+/-)

Asymmetric relationship. One partner (the recipient) feels like he is being watched closely by the other (the transmitter) and becomes overly self-conscious and defensive or apologetic. The transmitter doesn’t appreciate most of what the recipient does and underestimates his abilities and personal qualities, which hurts the recipient’s self-esteem and can lead to long-lasting scars. The transmitter is surprised by the recipient’s sensitivity and doesn’t know what to do about it. The recipient feels like he can’t take any initiative when he is around the transmitter, who wonders why the recipient doesn’t do anything on his own. Difficult relations for a close or medium psychological distance.


Both partners seem to monitor each other’s weak areas. This prevents conflicts from coming out into the open, since both partners feel too unsure of themselves to discuss their relationship effectively. As a result, conflicts stew beneath the surface — causing pain and long-lasting offense (if partners expect anything of each other) — without any hope of resolution. Initially partners may attract each other from a distance because they are such opposites, but their language and thought patterns are hopelessly difficult to digest at a close psychological distance. At best partners may have occasional rare moments of resonance when both are in a strange mood and begin to talk about life without focusing attention on one another.