Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences


How the Brain develops the Mind

with minor editing by Chris Cowan This feature was originally published on the old Humberside Partnership Connexions web site in June 2001. Developed by Don Beck & Chris Cowan (1996) from the ground-breaking work of Clare W Graves (1970) and integrating Richard Dawkins’ (1976) concept of ‘memes’, Spiral Dynamics expands exponentially Abraham Maslow’s (1943) human motivation model, Hierarchy of Needs. It is the most advanced of the ‘Levels of Existence’ theories – yet, at the same time, its ‘map’ of human motivation is very easy to use. The biggest field trial of Spiral Dynamics to date was in South Africa in the early-mid 1990s when Don Beck used it to help Nelson Mandela and F W DeKlerk design the transition from Apartheid to multi-cultural democracy. However, it has also influenced the Community Policing Policy of Victoria, New South Wales, been championed as a means of investigating new strands of racism on the Atlantic Seaboard and more recently has been taken up by Dutch Traffic Planners(!). The work of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) psychologist Robert Dilts (1990) on Neurological Levels provides a useful frame for understanding Spiral Dynamics. Dilts identifies that the mind orders its perceptions of the world at 5 levels…. Identity… Read More

What They’ve said…

…about This Book Comments from world-renowned authorities. Newest comments at the top; oldest at the bottom. “…a word of big congratulations for integrating so well the worddynamics of various leadership methodologies. I have loved your book…. Well done!” – Henk Kleizen, ‘business sculptor’ and CEO of The Leadership Consortium, February 2018 “Keith Rice ‘meta-states’ on human nature with a constantly reaffirmed attractor, ‘to help’, a braided, integrative methodology giving prominence to the work of Clare W Graves, and the implicit organizing principle, that an objectification of the ‘self-plex’ is possible, desirable, and refinable, to the benefit of ourselves and all other life forms. With these conditioning influences he artfully spins a narrative that is seductive, charming, convincing, instructive, empowering, and to the extent one adapts self to the narrative, is psychoactive in the most furthering way. Only a pair of long sentences can do his exquisitely designed lens the honor it deserves. Concretely Dr Rice has laid out one nicely designed map of a self, what it is, how it works, grows, changes, engages other self-plexes, and how ‘it’ can be engaged and influenced to serve who it is that wishes to influence it. For all those readers who are on this… Read More


The Year of the 21st Century Group… 1988-1996    1997   1998     1999     2000     2001    2002      2003     2004     2005     2006     2007     2008     2009     2010     2011     2012     2013     2014      2015     2016     2017     2018 21st Century Group     HemsMESH     Humber MeshWORKS     Humberside MESH Network January: Inauguration of monthly SESKU & Hemsworth Business News newsletter. Edited and mostly written by myself, it was hailed as a significant success by both local businesses and the Project Management Board. Commentary: The SRB-funded ‘SESKU’ project (for South Elmsall, South Kirkby and Upton) was meant to assist social and economic regeneration in the pit villages in the south-east of the Wakefield District which had been devastated by the closures of the mines. With high unemployment, escalating drugs and alcohol abuse, increasing crime figures, major behaviour problems in the schools and the health services under growing strain, SESKU was in desperate need of strategies to revitalise the area. The Business News was designed to promote services offered by the local business support agencies and to feature profiles of the more successful companies in the area as potential models for others. January: Issued own Ultimate Newsletter to over 400 nursing/residential homes. Commentary: While it… Read More

The Often Misunderstood Dynamics of Global Change

by Alan Tonkin 11 July 2007 Alan Tonkin is Chairman of the Global Values Network Group whose web site is one of the most advanced in the world at using Spiral Dynamics to monitor shifts in societies and assess impacts at both national, international and even global levels. Alan generously allowed this piece, written for his site’s NewsBRIEF, to be published here. In considering the dynamics of change in our globalised world, these issues are most often looked at from the perspective of the worldview of the individual or organisation. This is inevitable but the missing component in this is often the aspect of critical mass. This issue of critical values mass is one that too often observers and commentators alike do not take sufficient account of. It is important to remember that close to 80% of the global population occupy the values through BEIGE ‘Survival’ to BLUE ‘Stability and Order’. In addition, the bulk of this percentage or 55% of the total occupy the RED ‘Power Now’ (24%) and BLUE ‘Order and Stability’ (31%) areas. (See QuickSCAN at the Global Values Network site for more details.) In looking at areas of conflict around the globe, the above ‘values dynamics’ are… Read More


PART 3 The 2nd Tier green/YELLOW (f-s/G-T (A’-N’)) (Kohlberg’s Principled Conscience) The later phase of this transition is characterised by an emerging concern for the environment and elements of the planetary eco-systems, with an awareness that all resources (human and non-human) need looking after wherever possible. Laws are valid only insofar as they are grounded in justice; and a commitment to justice carries with it an obligation to disobey unjust laws. There is also the strengthening desire to make and live by independent decisions rather than accepting group consensus responsibility. The individual acts because it is right for him/her, and not because it is instrumental, expected, legal or previously agreed upon. However, there is also an increased willingness to walk away from lost causes and seek to engage in activities which are intrinsically self-satisfying. Markedly there is a more innovative approach to problem-solving. YELLOW (G-T (A’-N’)) (Maslow’s Self-Actualisation; Loevinger’s Autonomous L-5) See Self-Actualisation/YELLOW. YELLOW/TURQUOISE (G-T (A’-N’)/H-U (B’-O’)) (some elements of Maslow’s Self-Actualisation; Loevinger’s Integrated; Cook-Gretuer’s Construct Aware) Due to very small sample sizes, there is insufficient credible data to delineate significantly between exiting and entering phases. Broadly this transition is marked by increasing loneliness and stress from coping alone. Lawrence Kohlberg &… Read More

Leadership – a SocioPsychological Perspective

Updated: 26 May 2016 What makes a successful leader successful? is a question that appears to have vexed politicians and philosophers from the beginnings of civilisation. Certainly, the number of books and articles on leadership by ‘management gurus’ and social psychologists since the end of World War II indicates an ongoing fascination with the topic and, arguably, a vital need to understand the nature of leadership. Peter F Drucker, Stephen Covey, Warren Bennis, Howard Gardner, James MacGregor Burns, John William Gardner, John Kotter and Peter Senge are just a handful of the heavyweight names who have contributed high-profile books on the subject. One unequivocal key factor which has emerged from the multitude of investigations into ‘leadership’ is that leadership and management are not the same thing. Drucker (1967) was perhaps the first to say this, articulating: “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Covey (p101, 1989) provides an illuminating example to illustrate this point: “…envision a group of producers cutting their way through the jungle with machetes. They’re the producers, the problem-solvers. They’re cutting their way through the undergrowth, clearing it out. The managers are behind them, sharpening their machetes, writing policy and procedure manuals, holding muscle… Read More

Killing the Terrorists

20 January 2009 This feature is being written even as Israeli shells fall on the citizens of Gaza and people are being killed and maimed. (That’s quite a sobering thought!) The aim of the Israeli assault on Gaza avowedly is to neutralise terrorist organisation Hamas’ capacity to fire rockets into southern Israel. However, there is also talk of toppling Hamas – the duly-elected party controlling the government of the Gaza Strip. Does a government have the right to take action to protect its citizens? In a BLUE-ORANGE Western-style democracy, the government has an obligation to take action. If it doesn’t, the electorate will punish it at the polls – and it’s no coincidence that Israel has an election next month. (By contrast, with the kind of RED-BLUE zealotry, with which Hamas runs Gaza, its government can actually sacrifice large numbers of its own citizens with a fair degree of impunity!) Does a government have a right to invade the land of those who are trying to kill its citizens (and sometimes succeeding!)? The Americans certainly saw it as legitimate to invade Afghanistan as a response to 9/11 – and most of the rest of the world supported the invasion (or at… Read More

Social Change

Updated: 17 May 2017 Social change means some aspect of society, culture or sub-culture changes. The changes may be overt and dramatic and obvious to everyone or they may be more discreet and less obvious…until people come to a realisation society around them has already changed. An example of this is the attitude of the general public in the UK towards welfare and benefits. As Elizabeth Clery shows in the results of the 2012 British Social Attitudes survey – see graphic above – there is an increased perception that people on welfare are over-reliant on their benefits and that cutting benefits won’t harm too many people too badly. The following 2 years’ surveys  showed only the most marginal reversal (3%) of this trend (Sarah Alcock, 2015) and the election in 2015  of a Tory government determined to cut even more could be seen as voter approval of these strategies. This is actually a major attitudinal shift in a country that, for many years, had largely prided itself on a generous attitude to welfare. Yet these more subtle changes in public perception often only become news when surveys like the British Social Attitudes annual survey pick them up. Of course, sometimes a slow growth in… Read More

Don Beck & South Africa

Written with input from Don Beck Updated: 2 February 2018 Each participant in designing the South African transition from Apartheid to multi-cultural democracy during the early-mid-1990s will have his/her own version of what happened – and it doesn’t always suit the politicians to give too much credit to the ‘backroom boys’! What is beyond doubt is that Don Beck was involved and used the Spiral Dynamics model (Don Beck & Chris Cowan, 1996) developed from Clare W Graves’ research (1970) to replace the skin pigmentation and ethnic origin categories with an understanding of the value systems (vMEMES) and ways of thinking universally accessible to the human race. This provided a new language to understand natural differences and anticipate major personal and societal changes. ‘Whites’ could now see the differences between Black RED and Black ORANGE; ‘Blacks’ could acknowledge that Afrikaners of l988 were not the same as the Afrikaners of l948. All groupings could recognise what Beck calls the ‘evolutionary dynamic’ that was at work in all South Africans. Just how influential Beck was during the South African transition is reflected in the following transcript from the official record of the Debates of Parliament (Hansard, pages 342-343) on Thursday 7 February… Read More


Updated: 21 September 2016 A MeshWORK can be described as a structured approach to addressing all needs in all appropriate ways at all levels for the overall good. While many models can illustrate fragments of a situation in greater depth and many different applications, techniques, therapies and other interventions will be pertinent in varying contexts, the core of a MeshWORK needs to be built on the Gravesian approach or a similar model (such as, perhaps, Jane Loevinger’s (1976)) for mapping the ever-emerging diversity of thinking in human nature. The MeshWORK concept originated from Spiral Dynamics co-developer Don Beck’s work in South Africa, helping design the early-mid-1990s South African transition from Apartheid to multi-cultural democracy. For approximately 17 years off-and-on (1981-98) Beck – in consultation with Clare W Graves until his death in 1986 – worked behind the scenes in South Africa. He used Graves’ model to facilitate the leaders of the main factions in moving beyond race and politics, to map out what Nelson Mandela later called ‘the Rainbow Nation’. By getting the leaders of the retrospective parties to think about people in terms of their thinking, rather than the colour of their skin, Beck enabled them to move on from the unhealthy and divisive memes… Read More