The New Johari Window #27: Quadrant Three: The Locus of Control

The New Johari Window #27: Quadrant Three: The Locus of Control

As in the case of many reasons for internal locus of control, these irrational reasons for abandoning control over Quad Three disclosure can contribute to the destructive dynamics of externally-constrained human interactions. We will look at four externally-based senses of self: assumed self, ascribed self, coerced self, and conforming self.

Assumed Self

We often make assumptions regarding what other people know about us. This sense of self is help implicitly. It is not subject to much review and we often ignore its content. I assume you can tell something about me from my role (correction officer, boss, athlete) or the setting in which I find myself. This sense of self is particularly powerful in a highly conscribed setting – often called a highly enmeshed or high context setting—such as a jail, corporate board room or football field. In this setting, one’s role occupies virtually all of one’s public self (Quad One) and this self is so large and prominent that there is little need to share much of Quad Three.

While this conscription may not create much of a problem in societies where virtually all roles are ascribed and handed down from generation to generation (see discussion of ascribed self below), it can create major problems in a contemporary society where one is expected to be something more than his role. In modern and postmodern times, Quad Three may be very poorly developed in a person who lives primarily through a highly conscribed role. People who occupy these roles frequently find it very difficult to interact with other people outside their role or to abandon or retire from this role.

Ascribed Self

This sense of self is clearly and publicly assigned to each member of a specific society. In many societies, each citizen is born into a social-economic class and will remain in this class throughout their life. In many old European cities, for instance, each trade has its own section of town and its own church. I remember walking through the streets of Tallinn, an old Hanseatic-League city in the country of Estonia.


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About the Author

William Bergquist

William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant, professor in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 45 books, and president of a graduate school of psychology. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations. His graduate school (The Professional School of Psychology: offers Master and Doctoral degrees in both clinical and organizational psychology to mature, accomplished adults.

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