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Process Communication Model (PCM): Personality Types

Editor's Note: Take a look at our featured best practice, Structured Thinking 101: Clarity Through Storylines (39-slide PowerPoint presentation). Clarity is critical in business communication of all kinds, yet difficult to achieve. To add insult, clarity is necessary, but not sufficient. Powerful professional communication must also deliver an insightful message, while often prepared in collaboration with others and under great [read more]

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Understanding others has a lot to do with collaboration, performance management, and building effective teams.

Developed by Taibi Kahler in the 1970s, Process Communication Model (PCM) is a prominent psychometric tool for individual and team development.  The main utility of the PCM model is in understanding others’ personality types, discovering one’s own personality, and personifying others’ personality types to have better relationships.

PCM allows the executives to understand others’ needs, influence others, find practical solutions to problems, and manage conflict.  The model has found its utilization in a number of Fortune 500 organizations.  NASA has used PCM for the training and selection of its astronauts for over 20 years.

As per the PCM model, each individual embodies an assortment of behaviors, each with its own set of psychological requirements, strengths, weaknesses, communication style, and motivations.  The Process Communication Model describes that each of us exemplify a combination of 6 personality types—each of personality type has its strengths and weaknesses—but one personality dominates the others in an individual.  The 6 personality types are:

  1. Harmonizer
  2. Rebel
  3. Thinker
  4. Persister
  5. Imaginer
  6. Promoter

Let’s discuss these personality types in a bit detail.


Individuals with a dominating Harmonizer personality type are humble, quiet, and naturally gifted at forming relationships with others.  The Harmonizers care for their family and friends, are compassionate, and use their feelings to judge the world around them.  They treat others cordially, make them feel comfortable, listen to them attentively, and do not shy away from making physical contact.

Recognition of their personality and others’ amiable communication style motivate the Harmonizers.  Under difficult circumstances, these individuals tend to become apprehensive, lack firmness, act irrationally, and make grave mistakes / incoherent decisions.


The individuals possessing a Rebel personality are generally creative, fun loving, and radiate positive energy for others.  These individuals respond promptly, reciprocate righteousness with virtue, and enjoy the present.  The Rebels are valued for their extemporaneous humor, interest in others, energy, and problem-solving ability.  They are a bit impulsive and judge the world around them through their likes and dislikes.

Others upbeat communication style and stimulation through playful contact motivate the Rebels.  Under stress, the Rebels tend to get confused, whine, irritate others, leave complex situations, and bounce responsibility to others.


Individuals with a dominating Thinker personality believe in data, logic, and perfectionism.  They take on a methodical approach to doing things, ask too many queries, and only attend meetings when there is a formal agenda set in advance.  The Thinker personality likes to evaluate detailed information before drawing any conclusions.  These people are valued for their planning and organization ability, dependability, structuring ideas logically, and clear expression.

Recognition of their thoughts and accomplishments motivates the Thinkers.  Under stress, they reverse delegate tasks and start doing those themselves, try to gather as much detail as possible to understand the situation, and may start arguments or even attack others.  These people need time and assurance of their abilities to return to their organized selves.

Interested in learning more about PCM and its other personality profiles?  You can download an editable PowerPoint presentation on Process Communication Model: Personality Types here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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