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Friday, 11 September 2015

Socionics and Careers

DISCLAIMER: This article deals with a hypothetical application of Socionics to careers. It is not scientific and does not prescribe facts to be relied on in real life, but rather considers how one might approach career choices from within the postulates of the Socionics theory. 

A suitable career for a Socionics type can best be approached in term of (1) their natural capabilities for different sorts of tasks, and (2) their affinity with certain values for managing a business. The capabilities of a type to perform different tasks is thought to be largely decided by the Strong/Weak and Bold/Cautious dichotomies:
  • The Strong + Bold functions, i.e. the Leading (1st) and Demonstrative (8th) functions, are seen as the most competent and confident parts of the psyche, being utilised powerfully by the type.
  • The Strong + Cautious functions, i.e. the Creative (2nd) and Ignoring (7th) functions, are competent but less confident, being used in a capable but flexible and understated or sometimes deliberately reduced manner.
  • The Weak + Bold functions, i.e. the Role (3rd) and Mobilising (6th) functions, are not especially capable, but due to their confidence of use, are able to be worked on and improved to an adequate level. A type can be cocky in these areas, biting off more than they can chew and failing as a result.
  • The Weak + Cautious functions, i.e. the Vulnerable (4th) and Suggestive (5th) functions, are seen as the least capable and confident parts of the psyche, being accompanied by either great self-doubt or a complete blindness to its proper use.

These functions should have a significant effect on a person’s ability to perform their job in the workplace. Here are pairs of types that share the same Strong/Weak & Bold/Cautious functions, looking at their particular strengths:
  • ILE & LIE [Ideas & Procedures]: They are best at tasks requiring innovation and problem-solving, coming up with potential ideas that could open up new opportunities and devising original  methods for how they might be applied in the future to the greatest benefit.
  • SEI & ESI [Senses & Relations]: They are best at tasks maintaining the comfort of their surroundings and their relations with people, sizing up the characteristic qualities of others and who they like, remembering the needs of individuals and caring for their daily well being.
  • ESE & SEE [Emotions & Force]: They are best at tasks engaging with people in the moment, taking leadership of social situations with energy or charisma and winning crowds over, motivating others into fulfilling present activities willingly and enthusiastically.
  • LII & ILI [Laws & Time]: They are best at tasks requiring deep thinking, the careful analysis of trends and formulating theoretical structures to explain these trends in a coherent and insightful worldview or to ascertain likely long-term outcomes of one’s actions.
  • EIE & IEE [Emotions & Ideas]: They are best at tasks involving the creation and perpetuation of new ideas or messages that inspire and bring about change in people, introducing them to new experiences or provoking them into thinking about important issues. 
  • LSI & SLI [Laws & Senses]: They are best at tasks involving the meticulous creation and maintenance of order and comfort in their surroundings, precisely placing things together in a clear, precise and detailed fashion that minimise discordance and disharmony.
  • SLE & LSE [Force & Procedures]: They are best at tasks involving decisive, effective action in the moment, being able to take charge of a situation and find a practical way of solving problems they come up against, utilising their present resources to the utmost efficiency.
  • IEI & EII [Time & Relations]: They are best at tasks reflecting on their subjective feelings or ideals and pondering on the meaning or purpose of humanity, what their journey should be in life and the fundamental qualities of idealised persons to share that journey with.
This is not to say that any type is restricted by their particular type to a particular career. Rather, there will be certain tasks that people of different types will be able to do best, and some which they will have far greater difficulty being able to do. This does not mean that all people of the same type will be in fields stereotypically associated with their greatest strengths, as often those successful in unusual careers for their type find ways of adapting and adjusting the job entailments to their particular abilities. Alternatively, different types can practice some of their functions to become more competent at them in a predictable scenario. This is especially common for the Weak+Bold functions.

The different types' preferences for different sorts of work environments is thought to be largely dictated by Quadra values:

  • Alpha types – ILE, SEI, ESE & LII: Requires a positive, enjoyable work environment, with people cooperating in a group on projects. Emphasis is placed on fun and leisure, rather than on hard work.  Instead, projects will be entered into because they are enjoyable and good to work on together in a team, with employees being encouraged to involve themselves and enthusiastically partake in any proceedings. Alpha work environments are mostly like an egalitarian family with people interacting with everyone else on casual, friendly terms. There is likely to be a set of guidelines and rules as a code of conduct, which allows a certain orderliness and routine to the Alpha workplace, but there will be little attempt to enforce these rules or do anything that might make the atmosphere less comfortable and more restrictive. The workplace will be an environment for the free exchange of ideas and discussion of possibilities, speculating and making alterations on a whim, rather than putting such ideas into any long-term strategy.
  • Beta types – EIE, LSI, SLE & IEI: Requires a unified and decisive work environment, with everyone working together for the company’s main goals. Emphasis is placed on everyone sharing the same purposes and being invested and committed to the group effort. Usually there is a strict hierarchy to create clear order among employees, with different ranks deciding a person’s role in the greater scheme of the workplace. Employees will be strongly encouraged to take part in group activities that encourage teamwork and much enthusiasm, with enforcement of rules against those who do not show up and let down the rest of their team. Social events are blended in with work, designed to improve group bonding by employees having their work and their lifestyle as one. Healthy competition is encouraged with people striving to demonstrate their deserving a higher status and being promoted over others. The Beta workplace is united by a company ideology that employees need to adhere to in order to fit with how things are run, along with a declaration of loyalty to the company. This creates a collection of people with similar goals and stances, working towards a clear, determined end for the company.
  • Gamma types – SEE, ILI, LIE & ESI: Requires a largely meritocratic but austere environment of independent hard work, with people contributing their individual efforts in different areas to the overall benefit and success of the company. Employees are expected to show initiative and ability in their work, being judged for their results rather than for their involvement in the company culture or their compliance to official standards. Holidays may be sacrificed to suit job demands. While hierarchy may exist habitually, there will be no formal impositions of power except for who pays the bills and can choose to fire people. While such power is used frequently and perhaps harshly in cases, there is no demand for emotional investment or loyalty to the company over others, with employees being treated more like contractors or consultants than members of any team. Reserved professionalism is expected at all times, with work and private life separated. Employees are chosen for their reliability and track record, and maintained depending on the employer’s opinion of them and their work, with few official guidelines to say who is right and who is not. Trust is a major part of this sort of organisation, with the employer needing people who are proven to be reliable and easily dismissing those who are not. Those maintaining closer relationships to the employer may experience far warmer treatment.
  • Delta types – LSE, EII, IEE & SLI: Requires an open-ended, individualist environment of loosely-connected personal projects and collaborations, with people being free to work on whatever they feel is interesting and important to them. Any sign of hierarchy or company culture is minimised, with most employees simply being personal friends or contacts of the employer or people they think might be useful on different tasks. Contracts and formalities are avoided, with employees feeling free to pop in and out on convenience, finding a healthy balance of work and their personal lives that works for them. Despite this, employers will select people based on the quality of their work, with the freedom of one’s choices needing to be beneficial to the company. However, many may be offered the opportunity to work based entirely on perceived potential, and the intuition that they are especially appropriate to the task being set. Smaller clusters of people who prefer each other’s company on tasks may often develop, but there is rarely any set or decided grouping or teaming of employees, with people relying on their personal connections and who they feel most comfortable with when working.

7 comments:

  1. I can't say i really like the way gamma is talked about here. I don't mean to say that I'm offended but i mean to say that the spirit of gamma is missing. There is a particular merriment to achieving, contributing good work, learning etc. It's not sterile the way it's described but there will be positive feelings of achievement and confidence in one's position. Yes the outcome will be the factor that gamma types will use to judge the value of coworkers and work. I'm also not so sure about the lack of team work. Gamma types enjoy productivity and progress. Vigor is present. This description sounds rather like delta save the ne valuing. There isn't much about se. Although fi types show it less outwardly, the connections between people will be another point of joy or pride. The independence spoken of lacks the sense of personal power that gamma types feel entitled to. The independence should be related to a sense of personal power and entitlement to own space and contribute in a personal way.

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  2. I can't say i really like the way gamma is talked about here. I don't mean to say that I'm offended but i mean to say that the spirit of gamma is missing. There is a particular merriment to achieving, contributing good work, learning etc. It's not sterile the way it's described but there will be positive feelings of achievement and confidence in one's position. Yes the outcome will be the factor that gamma types will use to judge the value of coworkers and work. I'm also not so sure about the lack of team work. Gamma types enjoy productivity and progress. Vigor is present. This description sounds rather like delta save the ne valuing. There isn't much about se. Although fi types show it less outwardly, the connections between people will be another point of joy or pride. The independence spoken of lacks the sense of personal power that gamma types feel entitled to. The independence should be related to a sense of personal power and entitlement to own space and contribute in a personal way.

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  3. I agree with Carrina. "Reserved professionalism is expected at all times" is quite the opposite of how, say, LIEs work. In fact this actually implies focus on the emotional atmosphere (i.e. Fe values). Gammas (and to a lesser extent Deltas) sort of have an anything-goes attitude when it comes to decorum (and are big on irreverent humor I might add), as long as you manage to get the job done.

    >They are best at tasks maintaining the comfort of their surroundings and their relations with people, sizing up the characteristic qualities of others and who they like

    I wouldn't describe ESIs/SEIs like this, not in the context of the workplace. 1) they are also good at maintaining *others'* relationships (say, in an HR position) and generally managing the practical details that make everything run smoothly. "Characteristic qualities" sounds more like Ne.

    The Beta quadra description (actually all of them, to some extent) is greatly exaggerated. For example, "Usually there is a strict hierarchy to create clear order among employees" This is false in my experience, and I've worked for a number of Betas. I would say rather that Betas prefer to have very clear-cut expectations and division of labor and responsibility. SLEs often eschew strict hierarchies and even have a chaotic management style (which may however have some hidden method to it), but they will definitely let you know if you're not doing your job up to standards. "declaration of loyalty" - this is once again offensively exaggerated and needs to be removed or changed to something more realistic.

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  4. I don't really read this blog, but a friend pointed out this article and that it was stupid (and it his eyes it diminishes the credibility of socionics), he is right, you should probably take it down.

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  5. I think the Alpha description is good, but, as with the rest of Socionics, Gamma values are under-represented and distorted. It's not even that the facts are wrong, but the presentation seems very Alpha, with the positives of Gamma ignored.

    I might not give a good perspective of Process, Ethical or Introverted Gammas, as an LIE.

    Gamma is Serious and Decisive, leading to a competitive spirit of independence. Gammas do not accept hierarchy, leading to an independent work style where equal workers compete to provide the best results, ion the knowledge that the final result will benefit from this active approach. There is a strong sense of correctness (Gammas are Objectivists, you idiot!), but micromanagement is minimised. Instead, anything incorrect is thrown out in the final production. Managers are relatively unnecessary, because of the decentralised style. Despite the stereotypes, modern corporations are only Gamma at the highest level. Lower down, Beta and Delta are primary.

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    Replies
    1. By the way, I'm Jerdle, just on an old blogspot account.

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    2. I'm Alpha, but my point still stands.

      Delete