Character Orientations

In this article, I comment on Erich Fromm’s theory of personality, by describing two of his personality types.

The Receptive Type

The receptive type needs to be supported by external factors. Eventually, this type believes it will be rewarded by the world or other people for doing a well-planned work and following controlling rules.

For example, an individual may lack confidence in their own abilities and try to follow the accepting and optimistic path.

It’s important to notice that a receptive co-worker will usually work in harmony with the productive type, can be a fundamental building member of a team and can grow into the productive type.

The Productive Type

The productive personality type transforms negative feelings into energy. In detail, a negative feeling will be fully or partially acknowledged and then it will be channeled into productive work hours, by focusing on building and delivering meaningful products and relationships.

For example, a productive type will focus on delivering a project in time valuing reason more than rules.

This is often considered as a healthy approach to the workplace inevitable challenges and usually results in a simple description such as a “good” co-worker.


People tend to deal with life in general and workplace problems more specifically, by developing certain personalities.

The receptive type focuses on external rewards and may lack confidence while it is on the path to becoming a productive type.

On the other hand, the productive type will overgrow external factors, is influenced by internal motivations and can turn negativity into productive behavior.