The Johari Window model was devised by American psychologists Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in 1955 while researching group dynamics at UCLA. The model’s somewhat exotic-sounding name is simply the merging of authors’ first names (Joe + Harry = Johari).
A four-paned “window,” divides personal awareness into four different types, as represented by its four quadrants: open, hidden, blind, and unknown. The lines dividing the four panes are like window shades, which can move as an interaction progresses.
As illustrated below, the quadrants define a person in four perspectives. The resulting self-awareness can help in many ways, in particular, for developing and training individuals and teams; for increasing effective communications among leaders, managers and team members; and for establishing and understanding group dynamics and inter-group relationships.
Open Self: The “open” quadrant represents things that both I know about myself, and that you know about me. The knowledge that the window represents, can include not only factual information, but my feelings, motives, behaviors, wants, needs and desires… indeed, any information describing who I am.
Blind Self: The “blind” quadrant represents things that you know about me, but that I am unaware of. What I am unaware of may be something as simple as a piece of food showing on one of my teeth. It can also be of a deeper psychological nature (e.g., thinking I am open to others’ ideas when I am not.
Hidden Self: The “hidden” quadrant represents things that I know about myself that you do not know. As trust increases with others it is easier for us to give ourselves permission to share more of who we are. And as we disclose more of who we are, trust builds.
Unknown Self: The “unknown” quadrant represents things that neither I know about myself, nor you know about me. The process of moving previously unknown information into the open quadrant, thus enlarging its area, has been likened to Maslow’s concept of self-actualization.