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Psychometrics Spotlight: Testing Times – The FIRO-BTM Personality Questionnaire


In the latest of this series putting the range of psychometric tests under the spotlight we look at the FIRO-BTM personality questionnaire developed by Will Schutz.

The Fundamental Interpersonal Relations OrientationTM – Behaviour (FIRO-BTM) personality questionnaire was developed by Will Schutz, whose wish it was to provide an understanding of the fundamental differences between people and how these differences impact on relationships. It was first developed in the 1950s and is now one of the most widely used tools for helping people to understand themselves better and their relationships with others.

Whereas most personality questionnaires examine individual characteristics, the FIRO-B questionnaire is unique in going beyond this and assessing relationship styles. It examines how people typically behave towards other people how they would like others to behave towards them. Its interpretation can dramatically increase an individual’s understanding of areas such as:

  • How they come across to others and why this may not be the real them or the impression they want to make.

  • How and why conflict can develop between people.

  • How they can understand and manage their own needs as they interact with others.

The questionnaire is based on the theory that in interpersonal relationships, people differ from one another in two ways: behaviour they demonstrate to others (called ‘expressed behaviour’) and behaviour they want back from others (called ‘wanted behaviour’). An individual’s expressed behaviour within these three needs may not be the same as their wanted behaviour. The theory further states that within these two behaviours, there are three main needs that everyone has in varying degrees. The questionnaire assesses the importance of each of these to the individual on three levels:

How much you like to include others in your activities and enjoy being part of social groups and how you feel about other people including you in what they do.

How comfortable you feel within structured environments. For example, whether you like to exert control and influence and enjoy organising things. Additionally, how comfortable you feel within structured situations and taking instructions from others.

How much closeness you want in your relationships with other people. For example, whether you like to disclose personal information or prefer to keep this to yourself and whether you like other people to take you into their confidence.

With only 54 questions, and taking only about 10 minutes to complete, the FIRO-B questionnaire can be seen as simpler than other personality questionnaires. However, it is no less powerful and is valuable in many contexts including:

Team building
Identifying likely sources of compatibility or tension, aiding effective decision making, improving communication and resolving conflicts.

Individual development
Increasing self-awareness and interpersonal effectiveness.

Providing a structure for interviews, the FIRO-B questionnaire should only be used in combination with other assessment techniques.

* For further information, please contact OPP on 08708 728727 or visit the website at

More articles in this series:

  • The Benchmarks Questionnaire

  • The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument

  • The ABLE series

  • The FIRO-BTM personality questionnaire.

  • Myers-Briggs

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