Johari Window
(Luft Ingham)

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Understanding giving and receiving of information. Explanation of the Johari Window of Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham. ('50)

Contributed by: Guy Bloom


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Luft Ingham Johari Window

What is the Johari Window? Description

The Johari Window method (JW) from Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham (hence: Joseph & Harry = Johari) helps us understand how we are giving and receiving information. The JW can help to illustrate and improve the self-awareness between individuals and teams. It can also be used to change group dynamics within a business context.

The Johari Window model is sometimes called: a 'disclosure/feedback model of self awareness', and: an 'information processing tool'. It actually represents information: feelings, experience, views, attitudes, skills, intentions, motivation, etc within or about a person in relation to their group, from four perspectives:

  1. Arena. What is known by the person about him/herself and is also known by others. Examples: your name, the color of your hair, the fact you own a dog. One can and should increase the size of this region by increasing Exposure and Feedback Solicitation. (Diagram 2)
  2. Blind Spot. What is unknown by the person about him/herself but what others know. Examples: your own manners, the feelings of other persons about you.
  3. Façade. What the person knows about him/herself that others do not know. Such as: your secrets, your hopes, desires, what you like and what you dislike.
  4. The Unknown. What is unknown by the person about him/herself and is also unknown by others. This information has an unknown potential to influence the rest of the JW.

In the beginning of a communication process, when you meet someone, the size of the Arena quadrant is not very large, since there has been little time and opportunity to exchange information. The general rule of thumb is that you should try to expand the Arena to become the dominant window, thus demonstrating transparency, openness and honesty in interactions (Diagram 2). Probably when you do this, the other party will also open himself up.

Johari Window 2The writing about this topic often refers to the singular ("self"). But by changing the word "self" into "team", the model also allows a team dynamic approach.

Origin of the Johari Window. History

The JW model was developed by American psychologists Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in the 1950s, while they were researching group dynamics. Today the JW model is especially relevant because of the modern emphasis on soft skills, behavior, empathy, cooperation, inter-group development and interpersonal development. Interestingly, Luft and Ingham called their Johari Window model 'Johari' after combining their first names, Joseph and Harrington. In early publications the word actually appears as 'JoHari'. The JW became a widely used model to understand and train self-awareness, for personal development, to improve communications, interpersonal relationships, group dynamics, team development and inter-group relationships.

Usage of the Johari Window. Applications

The JW is generally used for teaching and considering and administering an understanding of:

  • How individuals communicate with themselves and with others.
  • How individuals present themselves to themselves and to others.
  • How individuals perceive their place in the world.

With a little consideration Johari is also suitable for multiple usage:

  • Coaching to facilitate conversations around 'actions vs. perceived motivations'.
  • As an Organizational Development tool to visualize the political and cultural issues that may be in or out of sync within a business.
  • As a management tool to demonstrate the dynamics in a team.
  • As a self-development tool that helps to consider one's own 'behavior vs. reaction'.

Steps in the Johari Window. Process

There exist questionnaires that will define the place of the individual and or team in relation to one another.


Strengths of the Johari Window. Benefits

  • Easy to grasp, flexible outcomes.
  • The method catalyses open information sharing.
  • The method will create a shared reference point.

Limitations of the Johari Window. Disadvantages

  • Some things are perhaps better not communicated (your sexual behavior, mental health problems or large-scale failures).
  • Some people may pass on the information they received further than you desire.
  • Some people may react negatively.
  • Using the JW is a useless exercise if it is not linked to activities that reinforce positive behavior, or that correct negative behaviors.

Assumptions of the Johari Window. Conditions

In reality Johari's assumption is the same as any feedback-tool: the individuals which are experiencing the process must proceed further to create Development Plans, etc.

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