Sociodynamic position based on Synergy and Antagonism

I got a question in Project Management as below. I have to spend lot of time to find a proper solution. So I think it is better to put my solution here.

Question : What are the categories of individuals based on Synergy and Antagonism? As a project manager how will you response to those different types of individuals to make your IT project successful?

In “Managing sensitive projects: a lateral approach” By Olivier d'. Herbemont, Bruno C├ęsar, Tom Curtin, Pascal Etcheber , a book related to the Project Management, describes different levels of synergy and antagonism. By representing the synergy in x axis and antagonism in y axis can create a grid and on top of that categories of individuals or sociodynamic position of individuals exists as shown in below figure. The sociodynamic position of an individual in a project is not fixed and can vary depending on time or their understanding of the project.

Then I’m going to describe what are they and as a project manager how I manage those guys.

Sociodynamic positions

The individuals who have strong synergy, no antagonism fall in to this category. They offer unquestioning support to the manager. Zealots expect orders, objectives deadlines and generally dislike participative methods such as meetings. Unfortunately, they rarely see the negative aspects of what they are doing.

As a project manager I think it is good opportunity to working with zealots. Because they don’t need my instruction or reminders for complete their job. Due to lack of negative mind have some probability to fall in trouble. So I should care of them even I permit to work individually. I can give lot of responsibilities to them but should have some method to get continuous updates.


Passives are people who have weak synergy and weak antagonism. Because of weak synergy they not tend to work in project and because of weak antagonism they not disturb the project. They play the silent role. Because of majority of individuals, 40% to 80% , are passives the success or the failure of the project depend on them. If they increase their synergy project will tend to success and if they enhance their antagonism project tends to fail. And they like participative methods to communicate and not like to accept orders.

First should motivate them to talk. Because they may have lot of valuable ideas for positive side and negative side as well. If I show their significance to the project they may enhance their synergy and it definitely cause to success of the project.


Very similar to passives and differ from passives due to the moaning instead of silence.

I can easily shift them to at least to the bunch of passives by solving their minor problems.


The individual with the medium synergy, medium antagonism and offers qualified support to projects. Regularly, Waverers are tending to fall in to positive side because they are interested in the project.

The opportunity of the waverers is they think equally about both negative and positive side of the project. It gains unbiased evaluation and it is valuable for the success of the project. My responsibility is holding them in their position and avoid fall in to negative side. In order to do that I should appreciate their ideas and should correct the path of project if have possible pitfalls.

Golden triangles

Golden triangles have high synergy, medium antagonism. Their medium antagonism cause to view the negative aspects of the project and then they are trying to clarify it or improve the goals of the project. Golden triangles got their name due to the shape on the sociodynamic matrix. They are very sensitive to information given to them and like participative methods.

They are most valuable resource of mine. It is better to give as much as responsible they want. And I should encourage them to work by providing extra facilities to them.


Opposite of zealots are define as Opponents. They not see the positive side of the project.

If I can remove the reasons for opposition without compromising objectives of my project I can manage them. I can discuss the reasons of their opposition and can get actions to reduce it.


Mutineers tend to loss themselves to stop others succeeding with strong antagonism, weak synergy.

Mutineers are the most terrible ones in the organization. If I can fish the mutineers one by one I can win. If I treat some of them well then it cause divides them. Then they tend to be opponents.


Schismatic have synergy as well as high antagonism they accept the project but think it is being done wrong.

Use the ideas of Schismatic to the project cause to reduce the antagonism of them. If can’t accept their ideas I can justify their solutions and make them happy by demonstrate the importance of their ideas.

Note that the sociodynamic position of an individual is not a fixed. Depending on the project the same person will be a golden triangle, a passive or an opponent. Moreover, the same person will take a different position depending on time. More importantly it can vary depending on an individual’s understanding of the project.