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Tetrasociology and socionics: Foundations for harmonious teams of dialog. Valerie Isaev, Russia

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2.6. Tetrasociology and socionics: Foundations for harmonious teams of dialog

Valerie Isaev, Russia

Tetrasociology (Semashko, 2002) and socionics (Augustinaviciutes, 1998) share much in common. o­ne  idea in common is the harmonization of individuals and the formation of harmonious managerial teams, from government-level management to the management of particular projects or processes (Isaev, 2002: 32-56, 146-149, 200-212), involving dialog in non-conflict as well as conflict situations. A successful dialog requires successful negotiating teams (participators in the dialog) whose members are well-attuned to o­ne another, who are able, through harmonization of their internal resources, psychic and intellectual, to achieve optimal results in the dialog, and who are able to minimize the risks of disruption of the dialog with its negative consequences. Ideally, a dialog is successful if a solution is found for a dispute or conflict that is harmonious for all parties involved. Certainly, harmonious teams are not the o­nly condition necessary for success, but it is an indispensable o­ne. With this in mind, we analyze and evaluate, from the viewpoint of socionics, the opportunities afforded by tetrasociology, and compare these two theories. But first, we'll recap the basics of socionics.

Socionics, an applied science founded by Lithuanian sociologist and psychologist Ausros Augustinaviciutes in the 1970's, is based o­n Karl Jung's personalities typology (1995). Jung's typology, in turn, is based o­n two very important ideas, which "divorced" his theory from Freud's, a fact aptly noted by Sokolov (1998). First: for Jung, the main problem of personality was not the rationalization of psyche, as Freud believed following the classics of European Enlightenment, but rather, harmonization of the conscious and the unconscious. Second: for Jung, the rational isn't important by itself. The significance of rational knowledge, beliefs and theories is conditioned by differences in the value different people assign to them. Thus, conflicts between ideologies and theories are, first of all, psychological conflicts, requiring a psychological solution (although not exclusively) through harmonization of a person's psychological powers and spheres (1998: 130-131, 190-197). Based o­n this, Jung created a typology of eight psychological types/characters as various deviations from a person's psychological harmony, through domination of various psychological functions and spheres. First: he posits two major psychological personality types: extroverts and introverts. In the former, the stream of psychological energy is directed mainly at the outside world and its transformation, while in the latter, at the inner world and its transformation. Second: in Jung's vision, each of these types/characters has four subtypes, depending o­n the prevalence (priority, domination or degree of development) in them of o­ne of the four psychic functions: thinking (Logics), Intuition, sensitivity (sensations,Sensorics) and supreme feelings and values, Ethics. Most people have o­nly two functions developed: the main o­ne and an accessory; talented persons have three developed; and o­nly geniuses have four developed. However, every person has all four of the functions dormant in the unconscious. The division of labor and of social functions leads to the division of psychic functions, to a o­ne-sided, disharmonious development, which conflicts with the monolithic, harmonious human psyche (Sokolov, 1998: 196).

Socionics approaches psychological functions as types of informational resources and of informational supplies (or metabolism, exchange), which are developed differently in different persons. Socionics distinguishes several levels of informational balance or harmony. The elementary level of harmony/balance is "dyad" ("dual"), formed by a pair of people whose respective types of informational exchange complement each other. The next level of harmony/balance is "quadra," formed by two mutually complementary and reciprocally activated dyads. The third level of harmony/balance is "socion," formed by four unconflicted, mutually complementary, and reciprocally activated quadras. Socion comprises all 16 types of psychological functions, which complement o­ne another and represent the smallest unit of harmonious humankind, or a miniature model of harmonious society.

Socionics posits four levels, or channels, differing by the strength of the psychological functions' informational impact. The channels are designated by numbers, in the order of regression of psychological functions' informational interaction, their impact o­n individuals: from the strongest to the weakest. The channels represent a classification of psychological functions by their strength. Every person has o­ne psychological function that is stronger than all others. Below we recap the channels' psychological characteristics.

1. Thefirst channel is the strongest and steadiest. It determines, to a much greater degree than other channels, a person's psychological type and character, because it demonstrates which of the psychic functions prevails in the psyche. Within this function, the individual is at the top of his/her self-confidence, gets his/her bearings easily, takes in stride criticisms and jokes addressed to him/her. Through this channel the person receives the fullest and most objective information about the world. His/her thoughts and actions, and often his/her profession as well, are conditioned by the psychological function active in his/her first channel, i. e., the strongest function. This channel directs and controls the person.

II. The second channel is weaker and less active than the first, but stronger than the rest. It conditions the accessory function. The second channel can be roughly described as "productive" or "creative." A person's creative abilities are primarily controlled by the function active in this channel. But this function is less balanced and autonomous, and more superficial, than the function active in the first channel. The second channel is primarily evaluative.

III. The third channel has a weak creative energy, and, in addition, is a destabilizing force. The psychic function located in this channel appears very vulnerable. This is why the third informational channel is designated as "the point of weakest resistance." If there is an intimately related person at hand, with a complementary psyche, control over this function automatically shifts to him/her. o­ne begins to feel secure, then. o­ne can act relying o­n the other, and partially slacken their attention. But even so, this channel is still the locus of the greatest doubts and anxieties, it is most conservative and viscid in its manifestations, wherein lies the source of conflictedness in all relationships of the person. Will is needed to activate the third channel (the appropriate function). Neither the first nor the second channel can operate properly without the third and the fourth o­nes operating properly.

IV. The fourth, and weakest, channel is usually called "suggestive," because it is through this channel that the person is most suggestible/impressionable. The psychic function in this channel is not o­nly the weakest, but it is also unstable for the person, so that she/he needs external guidance and orientation in it. At the conscious level, the person is almost indifferent to information in this channel and is slow to perceive it. She/he gladly shoves o­n to others the things that she/he cannot or doesn't want to know. He/she accepts guidance and control in this function by others as a given; without it, he/she feels insecure, unwanted, unloved, restless.

Intercommunication between channels is effected through like functions: logics can interact with logics, intuition with intuition, etc. Interaction between persons and their psychological functions, located in different channels, forms a system of inter-typal relations, or the interaction mechanism. For lack of space, here, we cannot explore the complicated inter-typal relations system in its totality, so we'll proceed to the result and define, o­n the basis of this system, the psychological types and harmonious dyads and quadras they form.

Augustinaviciutes' socionics, following Jung, theorizes for every personality type a pair of psychic functions (the main = first channel, and accessory = second channel) in the same modalities: extroverts (extratimity) and introverts (intratimity). o­n this basis, socionics builds a taxonomy of 16 personality types. We briefly characterize each below: eight extratim types first, then eight introtim types, illustrated with references to famous personalities.


1st type: Logical-Sensory Extratim: Shtirlitz. Administrator.

2nd type: Logical-Intuitive Extratim: Jack London. Entrepreneur.

3rd type: Ethical-Sensory Extratim: Hugo. Enthusiast.

4th type: Ethical-Intuitive Extratim: Hamlet. Mentor.

5th type: Sensory-Logical Extratim: Zhukov. Marshal.

6th type: Sensory-Ethical Extratim: Napoleon. Politician.

7th type: Intuitive-Logical Extratim: Don Quixote. Searcher.

8th type: Intuitive-Ethical Extratim: Huxley. Adviser.


9th type: Logical-Sensory Introtim: Maxim Gorky. Inspector.

10th type: Logical-Intuitive Introtim: Robespierre. Analytic.

11th type: Ethical-Sensory Introtim: Dreiser. Guardian.

12th type: Ethical-Intuitive Introtim: Dostoevsky. Humanist.

13th type: Sensory-Logical Introtim: Gabin. Craftsman.

14th type: Sensory-Ethical Introtim: Dumas. Intermediary.

15th type: Intuitive-Logical Introtim: Balzac. Critic.

16th type: Intuitive-Ethical Introtim: Yesenin. Lyric.

A person's psyche is inherently asymmetric, and so needs to be supplemented by and connected with other personality types. Based o­n the complementarity principle, the 16 types form eight dual relations (duals, dyads), and from them four socionic quadras get formed, each uniting four personalities, each of whom carries in the first channel o­ne of the four functions different from the others. Quadra is a foursome of the most compatible (inter-complementary) types, with dual and activatory relations, usually making a perfect team. There is a law of quadras succession: the evolution of every idea/project, or sociocultural undertaking, from its inception to degeneration, decline and collapse, consists of four successive stages. The stages correspond to the mechanism of succession of socionic quadras - "Alpha," "Beta," "Gamma," "Delta". This mechanism becomes visible if we look at how the roles of quadra groups replace o­ne another as ideas and movements - for instance, social revolutions and concomitant transformations of society - unfold in time. Every project begins as an idea, which evolves as a concept until efforts are made to put it into practice. This first stage is usually realized by "Alpha" quadra.

Because a comprehensive realization of the idea isn't effected by "Alpha" quadra, the second stage begins - transformation of the theory, its adjustment to reality with inevitable, big simplifications and distortion. The concept formulated by the first quadra gets materialized, but by such methods that the result bears little resemblance to the initial plan. The result is achieved by "Beta" quadra, and o­nly very little from "Alpha"'s proposals gets selected and materialized. This leads to deviations from the initial design.

The results get re-examined. In the third stage, "Gamma" quadra joins in. "Gamma" criticizes and rejects the results achieved by "Beta" and gets back to "Alfa"'s initial ideas. At this stage, the ideas get realized more fully AND meet the demands of reality.

In the fourth stage, the previous quadra's achievements get realized to the maximum extent possible. "Delta" quadra is in charge of this stage. The ideas don't get changed, but are wrought to as much perfection as is permitted by the circumstances, and sometimes become a paradigm. Finally, having existed long enough unchanged, the ideas degenerate and start to check the growth. And it is under the rule of this paradigm that a new fermentation, initiated by "Alpha," begins. Figuratively speaking, "Alpha" conceives the idea, "Beta" creates a design, "Gamma" builds the factory, and "Delta" manufactures mass-market products. Such is the general outline of the mechanism operating inside the loops of social progress. To understand the role of quadras, it is important to have an idea of their values system and mentality.

"Alpha" quadra consists of the following types:

1.Intuitive-Logical Extratim: Don Quixote

2.Logical-Intuitive Introtim: Robespierre

3.Sensory-Ethical Introtim: Dumas

4.Ethical-Sensory Extratim: Hugo

Characteristic of "Alpha" is a feeling of harmoniousness and orderliness in the world, and the richness of emotion and aesthetic sensations. It is not by chance that "Alpha" personalities often emphasize their unity with the world around, and some of them sense cosmic harmony. o­ne can even say that "Alfa," while regarding the world as more perfect than it really is, has an outlook and mentality that is somewhat out of touch with reality. For this reason, "Alfa" is revolutionary-minded: seeing imperfections of the real world, "Alfa" persons want to change it. These ideas get partially realized mainly by "Beta" quadra.

"Beta" quadra consists of the following types:

1.Logical-Sensory Introtim: Maxim Gorky

2.Ethical-Intuitive Extratim: Hamlet

3.Sensory-Logical Extratim: Zhukov

4.Intuitive-Ethical Introtim: Yesenin

The world of "Beta" is secluded, limited, rational and, being single-mindedly practical, "Beta" efficiently suppresses any deviation from the objective set. The "Beta" mentality is oriented toward practical work. Because of a change in the aesthetic perception of the world harmony, and because it operates in a harsh, linearly developing world, requiring a strong will, sense of time, dramatic emotions, and practical logic, "Beta"'s mentality greatly differs from "Alfa"'s. Historically, the rule of "Beta" is characterized by the emergence of centralized, sometimes dictatorial, despotic regimes, subject to a single goal, where persons are not free individuals and their selfhood is not valued. "Beta"'s attitudes are pessimistic and interlaced with pragmatic aspirations.

"Gamma" is a quadra of  "storm and stress," consisting of the following types:

1.Logical-Intuitive Extratim: Jack London

2.Ethical-Sensory Introtim: Dreiser

3.Sensory-Ethical Extratim: Napoleon

4.Intuitive-Logical Introtim: Balzac

Strong-willed, sensory driven, combined with extrovert emotions, mobile logic, and a sense of timing, forms a cluster of a fairly dynamic, irrepressible temperament combined with action. In any society, the "Gamma" personalities' ascent to power sets in motion powerful dynamics and quick evolution, which rejuvenates the society and shakes it free from stagnation and many negative things. Typical of this quadra is a vigorous striving for goals set, and a critical attitude to results achieved. "Gamma"'s deeds pave the way for the "Delta" quadra, with its optimistic practical workers. In the field of harmony and arts, of perception of people's qualities, "Gamma"'s attitudes are very similar to "Alfa"'s.

"Delta" quadra consists of the following types:

1.Logical-Sensory Extratim: Shtirlitz

2.Ethical-Intuitive Introtim: Dostoevsky

3.Intuitive-Ethical Extratim: Huxley

4.Sensory-Logical Introtim: Gabin

Friendliness, altruism, zeal to invent, along with practicality, prevail in "Delta". "Delta" assimilates "Alfa"'s ideas, but handles them as "Gamma"'s successor, putting them into practice and perfecting them until their latent potential is realized to the fullest.

The socionic personalities typology allows the optimal, most harmonious team to form for every societal function, including dialog as a process for solving various conflicts. (The formation of harmonious dialog teams requires a special methodology, for which there is no space to talk about it, here.) Such are the socionics' basics and practical aspects. Below we compare it with tetrasociology, and analyze and evaluate tetrasociology's potential from socionics standpoint. The positive aspects that tetrasociology shares with socionics are as follows:

First: the initial, multi-dimensionality of tetrasociology and socionics, namely, their four-dimensionality, tetrariness. Tetrasociology's foundation is the four dimensions (or axes of co-ordinates) of social space-time. Each dimension is posited to have four constants (Semashko, 2002: 32-48), so the overall number is 16. Socionics, too, theorizes 16 basic and constant personality types, which constitute "socion" - the model embracing the whole range of personality types. Tetrasociology posits four basic spheres/components in individuals and society, which are analogs to the four psychic functions of Jung and Augustinaviciutes. Tetrasociology posits four states of evolutionary development, or life-cycle stages of social phenomena, which are nearly analogs to those in socionics. Tetrasociology creates a model of harmonious societies and harmonious persons o­n the basis of harmonious, inter-complementary and balanced development of its four spheres. Socionics, likewise, forms harmonious teams and crews based, o­n the o­ne hand, o­n four psychic functions and four channels, and o­n the other, o­n four quadras. There are many other tetrary similarities in tetrasociology and socionics, which, for lack of space, I'll not mention.

Second: o­ne of tetrasociology's key conclusions is the idea that the whole of population consists of four equally necessary, inter-complementary, but differently prioritized sphere classes (Semashko: 59-77), which differ not by property, but by main employment in o­ne of the four social production spheres. Obviously, each of these classes, like a particular socio-psychological personality type, can be described in socionics terms, and this opens up for socionics wide prospects of sociocultural application, and extends the limits for its practical usage.

Third: tetrasociology proposes the idea of a state based o­n "sphere" or "tetrary" democracy (Semashko: 80-88, 123-125), where power in all the branches is shared equally by sphere class representatives, to ensure the government's harmonization, which, in turn, would greatly boost the society's and individual's harmonization. As a macrosociology, tetrasociology leaves out micro-psychosocial relations, explored by socionics, which is an applied social science and a microsociology branch. Tetrasociology discovers a social base for a harmoniously-run government, while socionics discovers a microsociological basis for forming harmonious teams of governmental organs in all power branches and at all levels. The amalgamation of tetrasociology and socionics is open for integration with other social sciences: political psychology, economics, political science, synergetics, sociocybernetics, etc. This synthesis of social sciences overcomes interdisciplinary barriers between them, and turn them into powerful instruments for a sociocultural technology of harmonization of all social institutions, government first of all.

Fourth: tetrasociology introduces radically novel, macrosociological statistics (Semashko: 48-53) as a system of special, aggregated indices of consolidated sphere resources. These statistics, rather than substituting for current, economic and branch-based statistics, supplement them and overarch them. "Sphere" statistics allow for a smooth transition to a cardinally novel informational (empirical) base and technology with wide ranging applicability, from individuals to the world economy. Sphere statistics can be used to quantitatively describe socionic types, dyads and quadras, and this, too, would make the two disciplines mutually enriching, and open prospects for transforming sociohumanitarian knowledge into a hard science, comparable to the natural sciences.

Having mentioned the points of agreement and mutually enriching supplementality between tetrasociology and socionics, let's talk about their differences.

Socionics theorizes that logics, ethics, sensorics, and intuition are the channels of informational exchange between individuals and the environment; they get superimposed over such general categories as space, time, information, and energy. In our view, a single social space-time that tetrasociology explores is a necessary, but not sufficient condition for socium's existence. For socium to exist, information and energy are needed besides space and time. Both arguments, pro and con, can be made concerning each of these two foundational theses. Tetrasociology will become more convincing if it is enhanced with the notions of information and energy. In this case, the four dimensions, or four axes of co-ordinates in tetrasociology - resources, processes, structures, and states - can describe any reality of the observed world. So o­ne doesn't need to dichotomize social time into "short" (processes, dynamics) and "long" (developmental stages, genetics), as tetrasociology does.

To conclude, let's compare socionics' four psychic functions (logics, intuition, sensorics, ethics) with the four individual's spheres of tetrasociology. These spheres are character, conscience, will, and body, and they correlate with the appropriate social reproduction spheres, forming integrated sociopsychological spheres, aspiring for balance and harmony. Socium spheres are an objectification (materialization and estrangement) of the appropriate individual spheres. Individual spheres are these: Character, reproducing people (including the individual); Conscience, reproducing information (including self-awareness); Will, reproducing organizations (including individual's self-organization); Body, reproducing material resources (including its organic body). These individual spheres unite corresponding needs ("inlets," introvert disposition) and abilities ("outlets," extravert disposition) (Semashko, 2002: 53-59). All terminological differences notwithstanding, we can see the following similarities between socionics' psychic functions and tetrasociology's individual spheres: logics corresponds to conscience, intuition corresponds to will, body corresponds to sensorics, and ethics corresponds to character. Certainly, we have not o­nly terminological, but substantive differences, as well. However, o­ne cannot fail to see behind them certain fundamental similarities, which stimulate socionics' and tetrasociology's mutual development, their enhancement, and their synthesis for practical purposes. But this subject is very comprehensive, and we don't have enough space to talk about it in an overview, which is intended to compare socionics and tetrasociology as inter-complementary theories for forming harmonious teams for dialog.

In a brief overview, simply formulating a task is enough. Whether we've done it well is up to our readers to judge. Anyway, it's obvious that parallels between these novel trends in science are useful, not o­nly for their further development, but also for solving some important practical problems, o­ne of which is the pressing need for harmonious teams to dialog at all levels in our conflict-ridden world.


Augustinaviciutes, A. (1998). Socionics. Introduction. St. Petersburg

Isaev, V. (2001). Organization of work of a  project team. St. Petersburg 

Jung, K. (1995). Psychological types. Moscow

Sokolov, E. (1998). Introduction in Psychoanalysis. St. Petersburg

Semashko, L. (2002). Tetrasociology: Responses to Challenges. St. Petersburg: Technical University

Valerie Isaev, Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor of International Business, Management,and Tourism Department, St. Petersburg State University of Water Communications.

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