Sociopsychoanalytic research combines the social and moral values of traditional humanistic writings with the insight into hidden motivations provided by psychoanalysis. The sociopsychoanalytic view is in sharp contrast to the current and popular psychology of self-actualization that supports self-centered consumption and greed more than character development. The research tecnique is based on the method developed by Michael Maccoby in The Gamesman.
I gather my data through intensive interviews, Rorschach tests and dream analysis, all done, of course, with the consent of the individuals involved. In the interviews I find out about the worker's background, job history, attitudes about work, values, goals, personal philosophy and religious beliefs and political views. We discuss dreams relating to work, and I also gather information about the dynamics of the environment in which the individual works.
Out of the study of these various elements themes emerge about the person that fit together to provide a coherent total picture. This process is not simply observing a collection of traits, but a method of determining the underlying sense it all makes.
Great writers like Shakespeare created characters and plots that are believable because they are internally consistent; they hold up. The characters -- Macbeth, Hamlet, Lear -- can be understood in terms of underlying motives or passions. My research method involves, in a sense, figuring out the hidden plots or themes that operate within the lives of the individuals I study.
The process of understanding a person's character is different from simply studying his behavior. For example, two people may behave the same when trying to save the life of a friend, but may act for entirely different reasons. One person, being a glory-seeker, might avoid the risk involved if there is not an audience present to watch and admire the deed, while the other, operating out of selfless concern, gives scant consideration to the possible hazards.
In this type of research it is better to utilize the observations of more than one researcher to verify results and clarify the material. I consulted regularly with Dr. Maccoby and other colleagues. As a last step, whenever it was possible, I discussed my findings with the people I studied and sought further confirmation to the conclusions.