Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

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Overcoming Intractable Elements in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict through Spiral Dynamics

by Neri Bar-on I am honoured to publish this ‘guest blog’ by Neri Bar-on, one of the founders of Integral Israel. He is a professional electronics engineer with degrees from Tel Aviv University in economics and philosophy. He lives in Tel Aviv. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems to become more intractable by the day: if anything, in recent years both sides are marked by increasing radicalization. Yet the advent of Donald Trump and his pattern of impatiently shattering paradigms could propel the stagnant Israeli-Palestinian process out of its paralysis. It is an opportunity to introduce the principles of Spiral Dynamics to the Israeli and Palestinian leadership, with the goal of forging a new, sustainable system based on both sides making a sober assessment of their real greater good and potential for collaboration. The Spiral Dynamics approach proved helpful before, in advancing collaboration between two seemingly irreconcilable groups in South Africa. The case of Israel and the Palestinians is different but also involves aggrieved people with radically different narratives who are locked in vicious circles of retaliation. Points of origin The strife between Israelis and Palestinians is fanned by their own internal struggles. To oversimplify for the sake of brevity: their internal battles both involve… Read More

Don Beck & South Africa #2

PART 2 Beck’s legacy A personal annecdote…in June 1999 I fell into conversation with a group of visiting South African students in Leeds. To my surprise, they not only knew of Don Beck but regarded him as something of a ‘political hero’. (2 of them had actually seen him speak at a university appearance.) One of them told me that, thanks to Beck’s work, race would be a dead issue in South Africa inside 5 years – and these students were from the Transvaal, hard Boer Afrikaner stock from an inherently-racist tradition! Race-as-a-dead-issue has proved hopelessly optimistic but the students’ comments give a flavour of just how much impact Beck and Clare W Graves’ ideas had in South Africa in the 1990s. In an August 1993 interview with Padraig O’Malley, archived on the Nelson Mandela Foundation web site, Hall, explains the  model Beck used in South Africa: “Donald Beck, he’s the American sort of sociologist who has been working in this country with my companies for a long time and he makes it very complicated, I simplify everything – as you know. So level one is a hunter/gatherer, level two is a tribal collectivist, level three is people that have urbanised, come into… Read More

The SME Spiral

This article was published in the January 2005 edition of Quality World, the magazine of the Insitute of Quality Assurance (Brtain’s – and arguably the world’s! – foremost institution for the development and propagation of quality). It was written in response to expressions of frustration by consultants working with SMEs in the magazine’s August 2004 issue. A draft of the article was published on this web site for several months under the title ‘SMEs and ISO 9000’. The revised version above is identical to that published in Quality World – save for references to the models used. (In the IQA version, readers were directed to sidebars containing basic introductions to Adizes LifeCycle and Spiral Dynamics. Here, the links are to other pages containing information on the models.) My thanks to Quality World editor Nicky Farmer for her input in refining the article for commercial publication. Since the heady days of the DTI Enterprise Initiative in the late 1980s, survey after survey has failed to show any real improvement in the competitiveness of the SME end of British industry. Why is this? ISO 9000, Investors in People, business planning schemes, marketing projects, NVQs, Modern Apprenticeships, SMART innovation awards – the list is endless – have all failed to have the desired wide-scale impact their developers dreamed of.This is particulary… Read More

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

How to build a MeshWORK

Updated: 22 September 2016 It is difficult to be prescriptive about developing a MeshWORK. Because the Gravesian approach enables us to recognise and work with a number of different value systems (vMEMES) in play at any one time, MeshWORKS interventions – and, indeed, the very structures to deliver those interventions – will be dependent on the needs of the client peoples and/or organisations. So a MeshWORK is highly organic and readily flexible, shifting its structure and its interventions to meet the changing circumstances and the changing natures of the client peoples and/or organisations. However, there are 2 core principles:- Breadth The MeshWORK must create CAPI – Coalesced Authority, Power and Influence (Integration). This is a concept Spiral Dynamics co-developer Don Beck has borrowed from management guru, Ichak Adizes (1987) for enhancement of the MeshWORK concept. (Adizes’ Organisation LifeCycle is often a powerful tool to link with the Gravesian approach for MeshWORK development – particularly when using the Lower Quadrants of 4Q/8L to look at needs and conflict in organisations. Adizes provides not only the most highly-advanced model of organisational development but also a means of mapping which vMEMES are driving (or hindering!) that development. # ‘Authority’ is the ability to make decisions. #’Power’ is the… Read More

The Rosedale MeshWORK

by Gernia Van Niekerk 15 October 2002 Gernia Van Niekerk, Chief Executive of the Enrute Foundation, has been instrumental in developing several wholescale MeshWORK projects in rural South Africa. Her work is respected globally and places her among the leading Gravesian thinkers in the world. This is a slightly-edited version of her August 2002 Executive Summary of the Rosedale project. For further information on the project, Gernia can be contacted via e-mail. REFLECTING LIFE CONDITIONS Background Rosedale is a very small rural town in the Eastern Free State on the R70-road between Senekal and Ficksburg. This road is the main road between Gauteng and Lesotho, as well as the road between the goldfields of the Free State and Lesotho. The border post outside Ficksburg is the busiest border post in South Africa. The R70-road geographically separates the town Rosedale and the township Mautse. The Mariandal (emphasizing the fact that the communities of Rosedale and Mautse are inseparably linked to one another) Cultural Village has been built next to this road. Rosedale is a dominant white living area although a few coloured and black families have moved into the area, consisting of approximately 200 residents. Mautse is a black living area where approximately… Read More

Assimilation-Contrast Effect

Updated: 4 October 2015 The Assimilation-Contrast Effect is grounded in Social Judgement Theory, developed by Muzafer Sherif & Carl Hovland (1961) and Muzafer Sherif & Carolyn Wood Sherif (1968). According to Muzafer, when a potential issue of conflict arises, people – individual or group – approach it with one of 3 ‘latitudes’:- Latitude of Acceptance: – consists of the information you find pleasing and acceptable Latitude of Rejection: – consists of the information you find objectionable Latitude of Noncommitment: – consists of information you find neither pleasing nor objectionable The key to which latitude information fell into would depend on the level of ego investment – ie: how important the issue was to you personally and how committed to it you were. In other words, how much your sense of self-esteem was involved – clearly the domain of the RED vMEME. Muzafer found that working in the Latitude of Acceptance led to what he called an ‘assimilation effect’ – ie: you will find to some degree acceptable information that is not really that close to what you believe. On the other hand, when working in the Latitude of Rejection, there is a ‘contrast effect’ – ie: you find unacceptable even information that is… Read More

Jerry Coursen on Clare W Graves

June 2004 Jerry Coursen PhD has been on my perceptual radar since shortly after I was first exposed to Spiral Dynamics in Spring 1998. An irregular but highly-thought-provoking contributor to the SD e-lists, his postings struck me as being of a far deeper structure than many others. Over the years we’ve occasionally exchanged thoughts both off- and on-list; and, in Spring 2001, I was privileged to see Jerry make a presentation at Don Beck’s First Annual Confab in Dallas, Texas. His postulation that C-P/RED assumes leadership in the B-O/PURPLE tribe to begin the transition to a C-P/RED power-based system was something I’d not heard before yet fitted with my own experiences in PURPLE/RED organisations. From there on in, I was more than convinced of the calibre of the man’s thinking! The following interview was conducted with Jerry by e-mail during May and June 2004 after he agreed to let me publish A Spiral Perspective on Human Development…? , a piece he wrote about the way he understands the biopsychosocial model of Clare W Graves. The views he expresses in the interview about the need to ‘debug’ and revise Graves in the light of today’s science may be contentious to some; to… Read More

Don Beck & South Africa

Written with input from Don Beck Updated: 13 June 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. Beck (Don Beck et al, 2018) recalls: “…when I was working peacefully to dismantle Apartheid in South Africa…I used the neutrality of colours to escape racial profiling. I wanted the leaders working for peaceful solutions to Apartheid to be aware of the different codes existing in people, even of the same race. Only then could we get a realistic picture of what was happening. “Zulus tended to be stereotyped as a tribal ethnic group. Yet millions of Zulus lived in urban South African settings with Westernised urban values. The Afrikaner of European ancestry was… Read More


These pages use the models and theories of the Integrated SocioPsychology approach for analysing and understanding the factors underlying international conflict and global issues and developing appropriate intervention strategies. More immediate ‘hotspot’-type observations can be found in the Blog. Those who support the Integrated approach and are interested in such matters are invited to submit pieces for publication here as ‘guest features’ or ‘guest reports’. Please get in touch with your ideas via the Contact page. Different Values: Different Democracy Guest feature by Alan Tonkin exploring the concept of Stratified Democracy The Often Misunderstood Dynamics of Global Change Guest feature by Alan Tonkin on the importance of addressing values in international negotiations Innovation & Values in the 21st Century Guest feature by Alan Tonkin on  the concept of innovation being influenced by value systems Values & Development Guest feature by Alan Tonkin exploring how Democracy develops in different ways over time and in different contexts Developing Countries, Democracy & Values Guest feature by Alan Tonkin on the need for countries to develop Order-oriented values to avoid becoming ‘failed states’ Killing the Terrorists The argument for being tough on terrorists and the causes of terrorism The EU: an Organisation divided by Values Guest… Read More