[This is an excerpt from the book Socionics: Typology. Small Groups by Grigory Reinin, published in 2005. You can download the full text here. Notes added to the original text are displayed in blue italic font.]
Small groups discussed in this article:
- Squares (Relaxation Groups)
- Blocking Groups (Suppression Groups)
- Health Groups
- Social Control Rings (Supervision Rings)
A person’s behavior in a certain situation may depend on several factors: individual traits of character, the type of informational metabolism, certain specific factors of the situation; but to a great extent it depends on the intertype characteristics of the micro group where the person is currently located.
Socionics helps to foresee the conflict-generating areas of a group as well as the conflicts. It is possible to construct the matrix of relationships in any given group and look at the potentially dangerous relationships. The value of any science consists in its predictive capacity. If a system is capable of predicting things, then it is living and working organism. In this sense socionics is a working prophetic system of knowledge. It allows minimizing the psychological price of our activity. Psychological cost should be taken into consideration when forming a group of co-workers.
Thus in theory we obtained 35 types of small groups (quadruples), which differ in spectra of intertype relationships (see tab. 18). 15 of them are symmetric groups with only symmetric relationships, and 20 groups are asymmetric (with asymmetric relationships). We have made a lot of observations, and thus we may confidently say that a group acquires certain properties depending on the spectrum of the intertype relationships in it. So far we have been able to investigate only a small number of these groups. The majority of them are not investigated yet, but research in this area is very important, it would provide ample opportunities to form smaller groups with predetermined characteristics.
This group is described in detail in A. Augustinavičiūtė's works [1, 2, 3]. Quadras are obtained by splitting of a socion according to two criteria (for example split it into “aristocrats – democrats” and “objective people – subjective people”, and obtain four quadras). Every type in a "Quadra" will have a certain spectrum of relationships between the types inside the smaller group. Each type has the same unchangeable spectrum. It is possible to say that the spectrum of relationships in a "Quadra" constitutes the formula of this group. The formula of a "Quadra" is activation, mirror, duality and identity. There are no other relationships in a "Quadra". Every member has a dual, an activator and a mirror. In this sense the group is absolutely symmetric.
The "Quadra" group has the following properties. In this group 3 of the 15 criteria coincide: all other are as though mutually annihilated. All types in a "Quadra" are characterized by the same means of communication: all of them are either democrats or aristocrats. They share the same worldview: all of them are either subjective or objective in their judgments. In one case people are focused on the subjective reality, on their description of the world, in the other - on the objective reality, facts, reliable data. This scale is also termed “cheerful – serious.” Subjective people are cheerful, objective people are serious. And the third criterion differentiates types by the attitude to the integrity of a situation, or, as it was discovered, by their 'sexual program.' Two different sexual programs can be discerned: there are eight types who try to get pleasure from the process of intercourse (completeness of the internal situation), and there are also eight types who are focused on giving pleasure to the partner (completeness of the external situation). In a "Quadra" this criterion is identical for all member types.
The fact that these three criteria coincide generates a certain synergism, a common language, some initial mutual understanding. These are the people who can both work together and have fun together. Although there might be a tendency for the group interests to prevail over everything else, which is not good. This group is charged with energy, people in this group possess different abilities, and they support and compliment each other. A "Quadra" provides a perfect atmosphere for both work and relaxation; in both cases it is a pleasant experience. There is a definite difference between a common company and a "Quadra". I do not think that there are conflict-free groups out there somewhere: conflicts may arise anywhere, duals are prone to it and so is a "Quadra". Unlike most of the existing groups a "Quadra" has a common language, which allows its members to come to an agreement: they understand where the other is coming from. If a group does not have a similar language, then it is hard to come to an agreement on any given subject; therefore conflicts become inevitable. They arise unexpectedly, and sometimes it is completely impossible to determine where it will lead.
If we choose another scale we will get another splitting of a socion, consequently other groups of types, other spectra of relationships inside of a group. Take, for example, the scales “logical - ethical” and “sensoring - intuitive”: as a result we will get the four very well known and described quadruples. These quadruples have been labeled "clubs".
If we change the group formula then we obtain a new object with different qualities and properties. Here we have not quite touched Physics, but have already approached Chemistry: with the help of a formula we are able to design a social object with predetermined properties. And we can already identify the purpose and use of the group.
The formula of a "Club" is as follows: N, M, qID (neutralizing [Extinguishment], mirror, quasi-identity). . A "Club" is a good place to discuss things: the types are so different, they live in absolutely different dimensions, and so that when they come together they can capture the whole picture. This group is good at brainstorming. Everyone sees a problem in his/her own way; therefore discussion may be fruitful and lead to success. However, this group is not fit for communal physical labor, attempts to make them work together in this area a prone to failure: one has one approach, the other another approach and so on. One is impulsive, another functions only according to a strict schedule; still another one works “from dusk till dawn”, the fourth – “from dawn till dusk", and etc. They will never agree, this group has no energy to work together, but there is a lot of energy for conversation.
Four "Club" groups may be identified:
- Intuitive-logical "Club". It is the theorists' club. ILE, LII, LIE, and ILI form it. [Researchers, or NTs]
- Art "Club". IEE, EIE, EII, and IEI. Intuitive - ethical club. [Humanitarians, or NFs]
- Business "Club". SEE, SEI, ESE, and ESI. Sensing - ethical club. [Socials, or SFs]
- Technocratic "Club". SLE, LSE, LSI, and SLI. Logical - sensing club. [Pragmatists, or STs]
All "Clubs" have the same formula of relationships: neutralization, quasi-identity and mirror. But the character of each group is different. It essentially differs from the character of quadras; for example, it differs in its level of energy as well as many other parameters.
These "Clubs" are well researched. Each "Club" has its specific properties; each "Club" (unlike quadras) has all the IM elements.
Let's go back to the beginning for a moment: divide the socion into "Clubs" and look at the criteria X and Y; what kind of Z criterion will we get? To semantics of which criterion does it correspond? On one of the poles there are sensory ethics and intuitive logicians, and on the other pole - intuitive ethics and sensory logicians. To which criterion corresponds this division? The third criterion obtained by this observation is the “aristocrats - democrats” scale. We can also say: “Let's take two scales – “aristocrats - democrats” and “sensoring - intuitive” and receive the same kind of "Clubs", i.e. the same division of a socion.” Those who are interested in those kinds of mind games may play away!
It is interesting that chronologically the “aristocrats - democrats” scale appeared long before the work on the criteria of a socion’s dichotomy was published (1986). It was described in detail in A.Augustinavičiūtė's work “The Dual Nature of Man” (1983), i.e. first of all the criterion itself was discovered, and only later the theoretical base was given to it.
It is enough for the members of this group to simply get together sit down and they are immediately relaxed and happy. There is no need for introductions, suggestions, or relaxing music. Relaxation happens spontaneously and naturally. This type of a group works well for sessions of stress relief, autogenic training, meditation, etc. The "Square" helps its members to glide into trance much faster and smoother.
- ILE, SEI, SLI, and IEE.
- LSE, EII, ESE, and LII.
- LIE, ESI, LSI, and EIE.
- SLE, IEI, ILI, and SEE.
The formula for this group is B, sID, K [Duality, Semi-Duality, Kindred] (see tab. 20). Nobody knows why this formula produces such result. It is a fact: when these people get together, the result is relaxation, period. It is possible that these groups have some other remarkable properties – we have not had an opportunity to investigate them yet.
Here we have another set of relationships: S, N, D [Super-ego, Extinguishment, Duality]. Judging by the superficial manifestations the effect of this gathering on its members looks similar to the one of the "Square"; however, they do not go into a trance. When given a task they do not do anything. "It’s been some time. Any results?" – "Oh, everything's fine without any tasks…" They do not have a motive to fellowship with one another. When they are together they become irresponsible. The group is suitable for spending time on a vacation only. Significant decrease of physical, mental and emotional activity can be observed here.
- ILE, ILI, SEE, and SEI.
- LSE, LSI, EIE, and EII.
- LIE, LII, ESI, and ESE.
- SLE, IEI, SLI, and IEE.
This is a very interesting group especially from the point of view of its effect on the health of its members. People of certain types are prone to certain illnesses. Here we have four groups of types, each has a peculiar “bouquet of ailments.”
- ILE, IEE, SLE, and SEE. [Ep temperaments]
- ESI, EII, LII, and LSI. [Ij temperaments]
- LSE, LIE, ESE, and EIE. [Ej temperaments]
- ILI, SLI, SEI, and IEI. [Ip temperaments]
When we discovered these groups we came to the conclusion that contemporary hospitals are poorly managed. In fact, a hospital carries out two functions – that of a medical establishment and a hotel, i.e. people are treated and they live there for certain periods of time. It makes more sense to put people of the same quadra in a room together. Quadra would generate additional energy and support its members. In reality, patients are placed in wards according to the diagnosis, i.e. basically they are placed in "Bouquets.” This encourages further aggravation of their condition: their weaknesses come into a resonance with each other. We carried out a field research in a Rehabilitation Center in Sestroretsk, Russia. Patients are usually prescribed a one-month treatment. When during the experiment the patients were placed in wards according to their quadras, they recovered quicker and were ready to leave the hospital in less than a month in objectively better health condition. Unfortunately, we were not able to extend this experiment to any other hospitals in Russia, even though the beneficial effect of the experiment was obvious. Similar interesting discoveries are common in socionics.
Members of this group provide each other with additional energy. In 1,5-2 hours of being together all members of the group experience improvement in health condition, normalization of objective parameters such as blood pressure, pulse. [This group is made up of Extinguishment, Illusionary, and Kindred relations.]
- ILE, IEE, IEI, and ILI.
- SEE, SLE, SEI, and SLI.
- EII, ESI, EIE, and ESE.
- LSE, LIE, LII, and LSI.
In this group three types of relationships are present: Controller [Supervisor], Servant [Supervisee], and Superego. All three kinds of relationships are difficult. Every member has his\her Controller and Servant. Atmosphere in this group is rather tense; people cannot do anything together. Even a simple thing like having a cup of tea becomes unbearable: people get headaches, tension grows, and everyone wishes they’d be somewhere else. It is interesting to note that all these things happen only when the ring is completed. When it is not, the environment for the [three] members of the group is more or less tolerable. But as soon as the fourth member steps into the room and the ring is completed things begin to fall apart. After spending about 15 minutes together the members of this group grow increasingly anxious and nervous.
Take for example a group of an ILE, an LSI, an SEE and an EII – each one of them has a Controller and a Servant and a Superego partner. There are no other relationships in this group. Not only they cannot work on a project together, but also they cannot even be in the same room for more than 10 minutes. They can talk one on one with each other, but it is a scary thing when they all get together…
It is hard to tell what exactly happens, but there is a deep and very unpleasant premonition of disintegration.
Once we were offered a problem for analysis: during negotiations in a company office one of the participants got up suddenly, stormed out of the room and ran outside, took his shoes off and trotted the snow for quite a while before he was brought back to senses. It turned out that accidentally a social control ring had been formed in the negotiations room. Coupled together with serious emotional tension because of a work situation it lead to a nervous breakdown in one of the workers.
When working with a "Social Control Ring” group it is important to remember that people are not the problem it is the negative relationship between the types that causes trouble; and most important here is that there is a way to avoid trouble: the group may be moved to a different setting, or some of the types may be removed or replaced to change the relationship between the types.
The small groups issue needs further research. We have some knowledge of several types of groups. In the prospect of the research there are group properties that could be extremely useful. For example, the most simple and most effective use of the group of health consists in bringing its members together to spend some time and reap the benefits. The health parameters of the participants begin to normalize when they are together. And this nontrivial property of the group obviously does not follow from our informational models.