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04-014 Ch01 pp5


Table 7

4:53 PM

Page 79

Incompatibility Scores for a Hypothetical Manager and a Subordinate




Reciprocal incompatibility




Originator incompatibility





Interchange incompatibility
Total incompatibility
(Sum of absolute values)

The incompatibility scores indicate that this manager and subordinate have a high probability of interpersonal difficulty in their relationship. Potential problems of not meeting one anothers needs in any of the
three interpersonal need categories (reciprocal incompatibility), of both wanting to control but not wanting
to be controlled (originator incompatibility in the control area), and of having different need emphases
(interchange incompatibility in the inclusion and affection areas) would probably lead these two people to
have a conflict-ridden relationship.
Research confirms this prediction. Low incompatibility scores result in more favorable attitudes of subordinates toward managers. Teacher attitudes are
more favorable toward students when compatibility
scores are high. Students achieve higher levels in
classes when compatibility with the teacher is high,
and friends are usually chosen from among those with
compatible scores. Even the success of therapist
patient treatment is affected by interpersonal incompatibility (Brown, 1997; Fisher, Macrosson, & Walker,
1995; Kubes, 1992; Schutz, 1992).
There is strong evidence that groups composed of
compatible individuals are more satisfying to members and more effective than groups composed of
incompatible individuals. The following are some
characteristics that studies have found typical of interpersonally compatible groups (Fisher, Macrosson, &
Walker, 1995; Hewett, OBrien, & Hornik, 1974;
Liddell & Slocum, 1976):

More interpersonal attraction among


More positive group climate

More cooperative behavior on tasks

More productivity in accomplishing tasks

Faster problem solving

Fewer errors in solving problems

Less hostility among members


Knowing your interpersonal orientation can be an

important factor in your managerial success. Not only
does it enhance good interpersonal relations by helping
you diagnose potential areas of incompatibility; it also
helps you generate alternatives for behavior when you
attempt to solve interpersonal difficulties. Some problems can be solved simply by increasing inclusion activities, by allowing someone else to express a little more
control, or by redefining an issue as an affection problem
instead of a control problem.

Corporate America has begun to discover the power of
developing self-awareness among its managers. Each
year, millions of executives complete instruments
designed to increase self-awareness in companies such
as Apple, AT&T, Citicorp, Exxon, General Electric,
Honeywell, 3M, and the U.S. Army. An awareness of
how individuals differ in their values priorities and values maturity, learning style, orientation toward
change, and interpersonal orientation has helped many
companies cope better with interpersonal conflicts,
botched communications, breakdowns in trust, and
misunderstandings. After requiring his top 100 managers to undergo self-awareness training, the president
of the computer reservations company of Hilton Hotels
and Budget Rent-a-Car stated:
We had some real morale problems. I realized
I had a mixed bag of people reporting to me
and that this training could help us better
understand each other and also understand
how we make decisions. We wouldnt have
made it through [a recent company crisis]
without self-awareness training (Moore,
Not only does self-awareness training assist individuals in their ability to understand, and thereby