Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

1st Tier’

Different Values: Different Democracy

Differing values systems require differing types of Democracy by Alan Tonkin 29 June 2005 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 the GVN site, to be published here. In looking at the world with its widely varying values systems, it is interesting to see how the word ‘democracy’ means different things to different people. An example of this is, when leaders from the Western developed world speak of Democracy, they generally mean constitutional democracy based on a universal franchise, multi-party system. These countries generally operate in the BLUE/ORANGE/GREEN/YELLOW spectrum of values systems. However, in developing economies constitutional arrangements can vary with the values spread being across the PURPLE/RED/BLUE/ORANGE/GREEN range. In cases such as this, ‘democracy’ means something different to the first example quoted as PURPLE/RED/BLUE requires a modification of the type of system that is likely to be effective. In this case a firmer more directive system is likely to work best. How democratic systems vary across values systems In… Read More

The 7th Code

by Don Beck October 2006 Spiral Dynamics co-developer Don Beck is occasionally prone to post what effectively amount to teach-ins or mini-lectures on the Spiral Dynamics e-lists. This is an extract from one such posting in 2000. You can e-mail Don or visit the Spiral Dynamics Integral website to find out more about his work. Clearly, the contours of YELLOW (G-T/Systemic/Authentic) have not been etched in tin much less set in concrete. But, with all due respect to other developmental models, this highlights the uniqueness of the Gravesian/SDi perspective in that it does address, with great specificity, how each new vMEMETIC code actually appears; what are the life conditions that spark and drive it; and how life problems ‘G’ will awaken the capacities (T) to deal with new realities, new challenges and new threats as well. What provides the totem pole for development is, in our view, the accumulation of the vMEMETIC codes or schemes (with the multiple expressions of content or themes) that form societal stacks that maintain all of the awakened codes and set the stage for new ones in the future. This is what we call The Double Helix; namely the interaction between life conditions experienced and the… Read More

The Thriving Organisation

Organisations Seen From The Second Tier Complexity Theory in the MeshWORK Approach to Businesses by Peter Fryer 4 February 2003 Author Peter Fryer was the Chief Executive of Humberside Training & Enterprise Council throughout its existence. He now works under the banner of ‘trojanmice’ and can be contacted via e-mail or you can call (+44) (0)1724 733303. How is your organisation faring in these rapidly changing times? Are you just surviving, are you surviving well, or are you thriving? Obviously surviving is crucial, but there is more to organisational life than that – a sort of Corporate BEIGE – much more. If we are thriving we are clearly doing well at all the things needed for survival but more importantly we are fulfilling our organisation’s true purpose. We are making the real difference that we intended when we set up the business and we are laying the foundations for our organisation’s existence for a long time. Thriving is not a state that is naturally reached by becoming better at surviving. No amount of continuous improvement (BLUE/ORANGE) will turn a surviving organisation into a thriving one. Thriving organisations have learnt to see themselves in a very different – 2nd Tier – way… Read More


PART 4 How complex is people’s thinking? The issue of just how far the bulk of any population ascend the Spiral/Hierarchy – experience the emergence of vMEMES in an ascending sequence – is a contentious one. In 1996 Beck & Cowan conjectured that the percentages of the world’s population dominated by a nodal vMEME in their thinking was:- BEIGE: 0.1% PURPLE: 10% RED: 20% BLUE: 40% ORANGE: 30% GREEN: 10% YELLOW: 1% TURQUOISE: 0.1% The percentages, of course, don’t add up to 100% and there is no breakdown of percentage to continents, cultures or societies. Cowan (Chris Cowan & Nastasha Todorovic, 2006b) has admitted that the figures were a (very!) rough interpretation/extrapolation of various data sets (including United Nations data) while Beck has never commented (for public consumption) on the estimates. Nonetheless, in general it supported the notion that the bulk of the population – the Western population, at least – were not significantly beyond a BLUE (Kohlberg) or BLUE/orange (Loevinger) way of thinking. Further support for this notion came from research using Kohlberg’s concepts. Using what effectively was a 9-stage model incorporating 3 sub-stages, Lawrence Walker, Brian De Vries & Shelley Trevethan (1987) found general agreement with Kohlberg. They interviewed 40 boys and 40 girls… Read More

Attribution Biases

Updated: 20 April 2016 An attribution bias is  a distortion in perception or judgement about the causes of our own or other people’s behaviour. The attributions people make are not always accurate due to these cognitive biases. Rather than operating as objective perceivers, people are prone to perceptual errors that lead to biased interpretations of their social world Some of the most important biases are:- Fundamental Attribution Error Also known as Correspondence Bias or Overattribution Effect, this is the tendency for people to over-emphasise dispositional (or personality-based), explanations for behaviours observed in others while under-emphasising situational explanations. In other words, people have an unjustified tendency to assume that a person’s actions depend on what ‘kind’ of person that person is rather than on the social and environmental forces influencing the person. The term was coined by Lee Ross (1977) after a now-classic experiment by Edward E Jones & Victor Harris (1967). Americn participants read short pro- and anti-Fidel Castro essays. They were asked to rate the pro-Castro attitudes of the writers. When the participants believed that the writers freely chose the positions they took (for or against Castro), they naturally rated the people who spoke in favour of Castro as having… Read More

Glossary Nos

Nos   A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    K    L    M    N    O    P-Q    R    S     T     U    V    W    X-Y-Z 1st/2nd Order Change: in the Graves Model – and its Spiral Dynamics ‘build’ (Don Beck & Chris Cowan, 1996) – 1st Order Change involves modifications to the existing way of thinking without any fundamental change in motivation – ie: still within the existing vMEME Stack. 2nd Order Change involves shifts in motivation and significant changes in the vMEME Stack. 2nd Order Change is described as ‘Evolution’ when there is a relatively orderly shift in thinking, with insight into how the new way of thinking should be. When there is initial blockage to change and then sudden eruption into the new way of thinking, this is termed ‘Revolution’. In the case of 2 or more new vMEMES being accessed more or less instantly, the term ‘Quantum Leap’ is applied. See also Bateson Learning Levels and The Process of Change. 1st/2nd Tier: Clare W Graves (1970, 1971b/2002, 1978/2005) perceived that the first 6 levels of his model had a quality of ‘subsistence’ to them whereas the 7th and 8th were substantially different, having a quality of… 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

Spiral Dynamics Leadership in the Integral Age

A DEFINITION OF 2nd TIER by Don Beck April 2002 Every year (since 2001) Spiral Dynamics co-developer Don Beck holds a Spiral Dynamics integral (SDi) ‘Confab’ – usually in May and always in his beloved Texas.  SDi practitioners from around the world – including many well-known figures – gather for 3 days and more of networking, discussion and cutting-edge workshops – all leavened by good humour and the annual pilgrimage to the Fort Worth stockyards. This intriguing exploration of 2nd Tier concepts was prepared by Don in April 2002 for that year’s Confab and is reproduced here with his permission. You can e-mail Don or visit the Spiral Dynamics integral web site to find out more about his work. 2nd Tier/Integral Principles/Processes vMEMETIC Core Intelligences – The Brain Syndicate  7th Level (G-T/YELLOW) Systemic Natural functional flows Left brain with feelings More secular than spiritual Surfs the Spiral to keep each vMEME holon healthy and functioning Expresses self but not at the expense of others Strong vertical sense to detect problems in the Spiral’s spine and will present options Strong morphing capacity to ‘act as if’ in each vMEME zone Will walk away from ‘poor card’ stacks or rigid ‘City Hall’ structures Knows… Read More

MeshWORKS – a 2nd Tier Perspective and Process

by Don Beck 2000 Spiral Dynamics co-developer Don Beck is occasionally prone to post what effectively amount to teach-ins or mini-lectures on the Spiral Dynamics e-lists. This is an extract from one such posting in 2000. You can e-mail Don or visit the Spiral Dynamics Integral website to find out more about his work. Introduction The term ‘mesh’ in MeshWORKS suggests a different way to connect entities, be they individuals, or structures, or interests, or functions, or people groupings of virtually any size. Some meshes will be of a static and contained nature, designed to hold together elements in some type of relationship. Other meshes are crafted to allow the movement or flow of substances, energy, ideas, stages, and sequences through conduits, cycles and spirals. A Static Mesh will be known for its strength and permanence. A Flow Mesh will be characterized by resilience, flexibility, and a morphing capacity. Our language is resplendent with such mesh-like components as blend, weave, align, integrate, stitch-together, merge, amalgamate, and embroider. A ‘melting pot’ suggests that the individual entities will lose their identities in the mixture and heat. A ‘meshing pot’ suggests that the entities contribute the best of what they are without becoming an… Read More

The First Being Level

The A’-N’ or SYSTEMIC EXISTENTIAL STATE [G-T/YELLOW] by Clare W Graves 1982 annotated by Chris Cowan July 2003 This is an extract from a handout issued by Clare W Graves at a workshop in 1982. The handout was ‘rescued’ and this extract re-published and annotated by Spiral Dynamics co-developer Chris Cowan in July 2003. Note: Towards the end of his life, Graves used A’-N’ and B’-O’ as alternatives to G-T and H-U to emphasise the concept of the 2nd Tier and his belief that the thinking systems of the 2nd Tier were more complex reflections of the thinking systems of the 1st Tier. More original Graves material can be found on the Clare W Graves web site . Chris Cowan can be contacted via e-mail – or the NVC Consulting web site. Theme: Express self for what self desires and others need, but never at the expense of others, and in a manner that all life, not my life, will profit. This is the first system in the second spiral of existence. In this system, sheer organismic life is threatened by the rape of the world by the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th subsistence levels. Thus, the A’ problems are problems… Read More