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What is the Three Worlds Model of Personality?

Smartpedia: The Three Worlds Model of Personality defines three personality roles: Private world, professional world and organizational world. This categorisation helps to avoid conflicts.

Three World Model – a different understanding of roles and role conflicts

The Three Worlds Model of Personality was developed by the psychologist Bernd Schmid.¹ It expands the common understanding of the role conflicts of a person who often has to choose between work and private life, for example in questions of overtime versus time for the family. In addition, the Three World Model defines another category by dividing the professional role into the professional world and the organisational world.

According to the model, every working person thus assumes three roles as a personality:

  • A role in the private world,
  • a role in the professional world – this is where technical tasks such as Scrum Master, Product Owner or Requirements Analyst are located,
  • and a role in the organisational world – here hierarchical functions such as project manager, team leader, sales manager, etc. are imposed.


Three Worlds Model of Personality

Advantages of the Three Worlds Model

Often conflicts arise in the profession when the professional and organisational worlds overlap, e.g. when a developer successfully masters his task (professional world), but does not observe conventions agreed upon when representing his team in the Scrum of Scrums (organisational world). The danger of such conflicts increases on the one hand, the more roles a person takes on, and on the other hand, the more expectations are associated with the different roles that a person takes on simultaneously.

The Three World Model offers the following advantages:

  • By dividing the professional world into two more detailed categories, it helps to better understand possible conflicts “on the job”.
  • It addresses the conscious examination of roles, role expectations and the corresponding communication about them.
  • It is easy to understand and is regarded as a pragmatic personality model that specifically promotes cooperation in organisations.


Impulse to discuss:

Should a managing director of a company also be a Product Owner (and thus a superior on the one hand and an equal team member on the other)?

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[1] Here you can find some additional information about the three worlds model of personality (in German).

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