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About the WEPSS

The Wagner Enneagram Personality Style Scales (WEPSS) measures both the positive and negative dimensions of these nine styles. Test takers can see which styles they most identify with and which ones they least identify with. This gives a picture of what resources are available to the person and which strategies might be less accessible. Low scores can be as informative as high scores. The WEPSS acts like a scale with nine plates, weighing how much the individual identifies with each style. The results show which players on our inner team might be used the most and which ones might be left off the roster.

The arrangement of the styles around the circle is not arbitrary. We are likely to share some of the characteristics of the styles on either side of our preferred style - our wings or neighboring styles. The WEPSS shows which auxiliary style we identify with the most and whether we employ the resourceful/adaptive or less-resourceful/maladaptive features of that style.

The Enneagram and the WEPSS provide individuals with insights into what shifts might occur in them when they are feeling relaxed and comfortable and are in a flow state; and what shifts occur when they are under internal or external pressure and stress. In both conditions we can rise to our higher selves and states or descend into our less-resourceful selves and states. The WEPSS maps what these shifts look like.

This information is found on the first page of the computer summary result sheet.



Core Style

This is your home base. The number of your type appears larger on the figure. If it is green, you identify with the resourceful, positive features of this style. If it is red, you identify more with the less-resourceful, negative features of the style.

For example if someone identifies with the high side of the Three Style (green), the Effective Person, they enjoy accomplishing tasks. They are good at closing on and delivering projects. They are also proficient at marketing themselves and their product. And they realize that their worth resides in themselves not their performance.

When Threes exaggerate their gifts, they may end up in the down side of their style (red). This is the old Greek notion of hamartia, missing the mark. They put too much emphasis on image and role and come to believe their worth depends on what they do. They can become workaholics.



Neighboring or Auxiliary Style

Each style shares some characteristics with the types on either side of it on the Enneagram circle. The summary indicates which of your two neighboring styles you identify with more highly. The link between your core style and favored neighboring style will be green if you identify more with the high side or resourceful features of this style or red if you identify more with the low side or less-resourceful features of this wing style.

For example if a Four, the Original Person, identifies with the resourceful side (green) of their Five wing, the Wise Person, they have a well-developed inner observer and can step back from their intense feelings and notice them without having to believe or act on them.

When the Four identifies with the less-resourceful side (red) of the Five, they become over-analytical, overly-introspective, and can become trapped in their inner preoccupations instead of taking reasonable action in the world.



The Style that Appears under Stressful Conditions

The Enneagram style you may shift to under stressful conditions is pre-established by the conventions of this system and is represented by the connecting lines in the circular figure. This line is highlighted green if you identify with the resourceful characteristics of this style and red if you identify with the less-resourceful characteristics of this style. Sometimes stress brings out the best in people (green) and sometimes the worst (red).

For example under stress Style Nine, the Peaceful Person, may shift to the high side (green) of Style Six, the Loyal Person. Accessing the resources of this style, Nines can move from an inactive procrastinating stance into effective action when they are called upon to do their duty and honor their commitments to others.

On the other hand stress might lead Nines into the less-resourceful characteristics (red) of Style Six and they might become more fearful and doubting which compounds their own inertia and avoidant behavior.



The Style that Appears under Relaxed Conditions

The Enneagram style you may shift to under relaxed conditions is also indicated in the summary. The connecting line to this style is highlighted green if you identify with the resourceful characteristics of this style and red if you identify with the less-resourceful characteristics of this style. A shift to the high side of this style yields balance and additional capacities. A shift to the down side yields an awkward rigid response. When we are in a flow state, we find positive abilities in us we didn't think we had. On the other hand, when we feel safe or comfortable, we might express unsavory attitudes and behaviors in private that we would never allow ourselves to exhibit in public.

For example Style Five, the Wise Person, might move from their automatic up and away position to the down and out stance (green) of Style Eight, the Powerful Person. They now connect with their somatic and emotional energy as well as their mental energy and channel all this energy into action. This is what is meant by knowledge is power or contemplative-in-action.

On the other hand, Fives might shift to the downside (red) of the Eight style and become bossy or aggressive instead of assertive. Their anger, which they are unaccustomed to expressing directly, comes out awkwardly and hurtfully. For an extreme example, think of the Unabomber.



This summary information is spelled out in paragraph form in the rest of the computerized printout. For expanded descriptions and exercises for integrating this information, test takers can consult Dr. Jerome Wagner's Enneagram Spectrum of Personality Styles: an Introductory Guide (1996) and his Nine Lenses on the World: the Enneagram Perspective (2010), both available through amazon.com. Or they can go to his website: www.enneagramspectrum.com for descriptions of the nine styles and to order the books. They can also consult the WEPSS Manual (1999) published by Western Psychological Services (1-800-648-8857; www.wpspublish.com) for detailed suggestions on interpreting the results.

Having this information available is useful for personal growth, interpersonal relations, and team building. For example if some styles are not very highly identified with, we might want to skill out those parts of ourselves. If our partner's style is one we identify with very little, we might need to work harder at empathizing with and trying to understand that style. If some style is missing from the team or some styles are over-represented, someone needs to fill in for those missing points of view and skills.

While there are many Enneagram inventories, the WEPSS is the only assessment published by a major test company. And it is the only Enneagram inventory with sufficient reliability, validity, and standardization to be reviewed in Buros's Mental Measurements Yearbook.

The reviewer in the 15th Mental Measurements Yearbook states that: "The WEPSS represents a praiseworthy effort to cross the divide between quantitative-based mainstream psychometric approaches and less mainstream interpretive approaches to personality. The appeal that the WEPSS offers is a rich, thick description of test results very similar in texture to that provided by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The instrument offers a wide range of hypotheses waiting to be tested; further empirical confirmation of the WEPSS's validity and reliability will very probably draw more careful attention to it as a viable alternative to mainstream personality tests, especially among psychologists and therapists exploring such issues within a spiritual or humanistic framework."

Reviewed in: Plake, B.S., Impara, J.C., and Spies, R.A. (Eds). (2003). The fifteenth mental measurements yearbook. Lincoln, NE: Buros Institute of Mental Measurement

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