The Four Window Organisation, JoHari Window


Four Windows of the Organisation

A JoHari window is a cognitive psychological tool created by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham to help people better understand their interpersonal communication and relationships. It is used primarily in self-help groups and corporate settings as a heuristic exercise (this method is particularly used to rapidly come to a solution that is hoped to be close to the best possible answer, or ‘optimal solution’).

Charles Handy calls this concept the JoHari House with four rooms. Room 1 is the part of ourselves that we and others see. Room 2 is the aspect that others see but we are not aware of. Room 3 is the most mysterious room in that the unconscious or subconscious bit of us is seen by neither ourselves nor others. Room 4 is our private space, which we know but keep from others.

Often businesses are viewed from a single linear dimension rather than looking at it as a multi-domain. If you are familiar with the work of the Cognitive Psychologists Luft and Ingham (the JOHARI Window) then you will recognise the model below. All that we have done is to take a simple concept of feedback and information sharing which impacts on the size of any window or in the case of Handy the room and apply it in the context of a business.

  • Bringing into our consciousness the subconscious is a different way of looking at the organization which helps us set about strategically adjusting the size of any particular windows.
  • A simple concept but very effective and ideal for companies experiencing economic pressures or needing to engage with their workforce or stakeholders.

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Internally Known(Inside the Business)
Not Known( or Ignored Inside the Business)

Externally Known (known by our Clients and


Externally Known (Known by Staff, Clients and

Not Known Externally (Our Hidden Value) But Known to Us Area of Significant Impact
Externally Not Known
Internally and Externally Not Known

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What is Already Known to the Business
This is the open window or as Luft, Ingham and Handy would describe it the Open Arena, or what you know about the business and the rest of the World knows about you. Its the public view of the organisation, that which we all internally know about the organization, and everyone externally thinks about it. For the Marketing Brand and Media Department this represents the public face of the business, that which we want to portray. Unfortunately there are also things here that we might not want people to know or see (see what blinds the business).

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What Blinds the Business

The need to change is not apparent unless you look for it. If the market, environment and supply of materials become difficult, and the organization has not recognised this, then it may suffer a form of blindness. Many organisations some well respected suffer “Business Blindness” this can be at a basic level of “what we have always done works so why change it” or at a more deep-rooted and profound level of “Board Room Blindness” (living in the corporate bubble).

Politically, governments and parties start to suffer from this one towards the end of their second term in power, “the arrogance syndrome of we know best”, losing sight of their core values or a disconnectedness with the people. All of these are concerns in any organisation or body of people and are worthy of some closer examination.

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What is Hidden to the Business
The Unconscious Business hidden to the rest of the World but known by you. This might be the part of the business or organisation you really need to understand or tell the World about (that which makes you unique).

A trusted party is presumed to seek to fulfil policies, ethical codes, law and their previous promises.

Trust does not need to involve belief in the good character, vices or morals of the other party. Persons engaged in a criminal activity usually trust each other to some extent. Also, trust does not need to include an action that you and the other party are mutually engaged in. Trust is a statement about what is otherwise unknown – for example, because it is far away, cannot be verified, or is in the future.

In the social sciences, the subtleties of trust are a subject of ongoing research. In sociology and psychology the degree to which one party trusts another is a measure of belief in the honesty, benevolence and competence of the other party.

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What Potential the Business Has

This is a massive area for potential, provided that the organisation can take a realistic view of “the collective self” and is not hampered by tradition, outdated practices, politics, arrogance, competitive paranoia and a need to tightly control everything.

Measuring Business Excellence at all levels will enable you to apply best practice, implement innovative thinking and learn how to use different practices. Learn how to use innovative frameworks, approaches and practices for understanding, assessing and managing the strategic value drivers of business excellence.

However a process is one thing, the catalysts another (catalysts = a bonder or agitator) the people that make things happen. We sometimes need to bond, whereas on other occasions we need to agitate in order to enable bonding.

  • Measuring Inside and Outside Potential
  • Measuring Asset Potential
  • Measuring Market and Growth Potential
  • Measuring Investment Potential

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Impact Beyond the Bottom Line
The JoHari Window
(Luft Ingham)
  • Measuring Management Potential
  • Measuring Leadership Potential
  • Measuring Trust Potential
  • Measuring Creativity Potential
  • Measuring Innovation Potential
Four Windows on Business

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Page by: Marshall Potts, Specialist Development Consultant. Marshall has written a number of articles on Transformational Change, Corporate Values, Leadership Climate and Development.

Jasper Global Corporation

Jasper Global Corporation