The 4 unproductive personality types according to Erich Fromm

Since psychology, there have been a multitude of propositions for classifying personality types.

Some with more scientific approval, others with more creative work than in contrast to reality, the criteria used to meet different types of people vary so much that personality systems can be created designed to cover virtually any need. .

An example of this is the theory of the 4 types of unproductive personality imagined by Erich Fromm.

We recommend: “Erich Fromm: biography of a humanist psychoanalyst”

Productivity according to Erich Fromm

As a pioneer of humanist philosophy applied to psychology, Erich Fromm believed that personal development consists of struggling to gain one’s own autonomy while creating bonds of union with others and their life projects. like that, true productivity only appears when we relate the tasks we perform to the conquest of our own freedom.

In other words, it arises from the moment when we are sincerely committed to the goals to be achieved, a fact that only occurs when this goal has meaning that we relate to our own growth.

This implies, for example, that productivity is for Fromm much more than simply performing the greatest amount of work in the shortest possible time, but that it has more to do with the way we have taken on certain tasks to integrate them into our own philosophy of life.

The unproductive personality types

Based on this conception of productivity, Erich Fromm described some personality types he called unproductive. He gave them this name because, as a personality type, they classify human beings in a comfortable situation in which it is very easy to shirk responsibilities and indefinitely postpone the achievement of goals related to personal development and achievement. conquest of its own autonomy.

These personality types have characteristics that are considered to be positive, but nonetheless they are not characterized simply by their undesirability. Erich Fromm did not hesitate to express the contradictions embodied in different lifestyles, which is why he also identified positive characteristics in each of these aspects of the personality.

Therefore, if these personality forms deserve to be called “unproductive”, it is because some of their negative characteristics make us prone to fall into unsuitable work dynamics.

Related article: “10 Excuses Unproductive People Always Use”

The unproductive personality types are as follows.

1. The mercantile

Mercantile type people transform their philosophy of life into selling their own image. They aim to climb socially thanks to their aesthetics and the social level which reflects the way they speak, dress, walk, etc. They themselves become a brand that is to be sold through a lifelong self-promotion campaign.

This personality type is unproductive because so much of your work is simply focused on speculate on the value associated with its image.

However, these people also have desirable characteristics, such as their motivation and ability to direct their efforts towards long-term projects.

2. The operator

People defined by this personality type have, according to Fromm, a propensity to use much of what they find for their own benefitRegardless of who produced them or who they belong to. In other words, they don’t see too much importance in earning what serves them to achieve their short-term goals.

While this characteristic is negative, they also exhibit desirable properties, such as self-confidence, self-judgment, and initiative.

3. The receptive

People who present a receptive personality type would be characterized, according to Erich Fromm, by have a good capacity for acceptance and tend to devote themselves selflessly to their tasks. However, they also tend to be passive and conformist, in addition to preferring to shy away from conflicts and the confrontation of ideas.

They show an ease in legitimizing the current state of affairs, however harmful and unfair that may be, and they can also turn work teams into a sounding board in which the leader’s ideas are always received with approval, even if they are extremely bad.

4. The accumulator

People who pile up are prone to a materialistic mindset in which even the people around us (friends, family, etc.) are seen as resources in themselves. This is why individuals defined by this personality type highly value the “possession” of socially and economically well-placed friends, and accumulate these types of assets to appropriate their value.

The positive side of these types of people is that they are very focused on achieving goals and getting clear results, as well as the need to avoid unnecessary spending of resources.

Application to business and organizations

This part of Erich Fromm’s theory can also be applied to a large number of organizations and work teams. refers to aspects of personality that may be present in professionals in any field.

However, to fully understand how Fromm understood the nature of these traits, it is good to delve into the work of this author, as the philosophical and psychoanalytic context of this author makes it difficult. all the theoretical heritage.

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