Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences


Innovation & Values in the 21st Century

by Alan Tonkin 20 October 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 the GVN site, to be published here. We continuously hear the call for more and more innovation in our 21st Century world; but the question is what is innovation, as seen by the larger mix of global citizens? In a developed world view this means better ways of resolving issues by the use of technology, either by the use of existing technology or by considering new approaches to the issue being tackled. However, in other less well developed and resource-deprived societies the question of innovation may appear to be very different to the 21st Century approach above. Values and innovation The level of values present in a society reflects very clearly on the type of problems that it is able to tackle in an innovative way. Some examples taken from the various values levels show that the ‘life conditions’ clearly influence the type of response to a particular issue.… 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


PART 2 The Ist Tier BEIGE (A-N) (Maslow’s Survival; Loevinger’s Pre-Social) This vMEME is concerned with basic survival needs and is bottom of the Spiral. It is instinctive and does not lend itself to cognitive thought as such. Air, food and water, sleep, shelter from the elements and sex for procreation (rather than pleasure or affection) are the very basic drives which characterise this vMEME. If these requirements are not met (with the partial exception of sex for procreation), the human body simply cannot continue to function. If the BEIGE driver ceases to work, then we will die because we simply will not do what we need to do to survive. BEIGE ceasing to function is almost certainly what is meant when we say that someone has lost the will to live. Much of what Evolutionary Psychology has to say about the essentials of human nature is centred at this pre-cognitive, animalistic level. BEIGE/PURPLE (A-N/B-O) There is not enough reliable data to break this transition down into exiting and entering phases. The organism is beginning to show signs of cognition. Graves (1978/2005, p214) referred to it as the beginning of “viable psychological life”. Basic cause-and-effect assumptions start to be made. Primitive… Read More

Glossary S

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 Sample: Sample Bias: Sanguine: Schema: the term  means any cognitive structure or encoded packet of information in the mind-brain. That cognitive structure, according to Susan Fiske & Shelley Taylor (1991), “contains knowledge about a thing, including its attributes and the relations among its attributes”. Michael W Eysenck & Cara Flanagan (2001)  say schemas – the plural is sometimes referenced as ‘schemata’ –  are socially determined, learned and refined through social exchanges. When schemas are shared culturally in this way, they effectively function as memes. Schizophrenia: a severe mental illness where contact with reality is impaired (psychosis) and the sufferer finds that thoughts and feelings often don’t fit together. Symptoms commonly associated with this illness include bizarre delusions and auditory hallucinations (hearing voices); although neurocognitive defecits in memory, organisation and planning and language impairments (speech peculiarities) are also frequent.There are considered to be 5 classifications of Schizophrenia:- ○ Disorganised – characterised by delusions, hallucinations, incoherent speech and large mood swings ○ Catatonic – where the ‘patient’ has periods of peculiar or very limited activity and mobility –… Read More

Glossary H

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 Hegemony: Heritability: the proportion of the variance of a particular trait in a population that can be traced to inherited factors. The heritability ratio is calculated by dividing the genetic variability by the total variability plus the genetic variability. The genetic variance can be calculated by using concordance rates. Hierarchy of Needs: Abraham Maslow’s model of levels of human needs, starting with the purely physiological at the bottom and concluding with the transcendental at the top. The 8 levels are:- Transcendence Self-Actualisation* Aesthetic  – to appreciate symmetry, order and beauty Cognitive – the need to know and understand Esteem* – to achieve, be competent, gain recognition and approval Belonging/Love Needs* – to affiliate with others and be accepted Safety* – from danger Survival* – at a purely physiological level Those levels marked * were in the original 1943 Hierarchy. The Cognitive and Aesthetic levels were first discussed by Maslow in 1954 and formally added to the Hierarchy in 1970. Maslow first discussed Transcendence needs in 1969 but did not explicitly add it to the… Read More

Glossary C

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 CAPI: As part of his Organisation LifeCycle concept, Ichak Adizes (1987) developed the concept of Coalescing the Authority to make decisions and the Power to implement decisions by those who know how to Influence/Integrate. Don Beck (2000a) has promoted CAPI of the stakeholders as a vital step in structuring any form of MeshWORK. Capitalism: a form of economic organisation in which the means of production are privately owned and controlled. Making profit from the use of capital is the prime objective. In theory those employed by the Capitalists benefit from the wages they are paid for their labour – though, as labour is often a principal – if not the principal cost – to maximise profit, the Capitalists have to keep wages as low as possible. They also have to sell what is made by the workers for the highest price the market will bear. Supporters of Capitalism tend to claim that the profit motive has lead to many countries – Western countries especially  – enjoying affluent lifestyles. Critics attack its reduction of all relationships… Read More

Glossary A

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 Abnormal Behaviour: is behaviour that differs from the norm. Conventionally in Psychology and Psychiatry, abnormal behaviour is defined by one or more of 4 ways:- Statistical Deviation – measured in standard deviations from the mean (average) in a set of scores of behavioural and/or linguistic responses in a population sample, this is a means of describing difference statistically Deviation from Social Norms – though cultural relativism means social norms will vary from culture to culture and in sub-cultures Failure to Function Adequately– in broad terms, not coping with life eg: not being able to hold down a job, sustain a relationship, etc This quite simple definition has been greatly expanded by David Rosenhan & Martin E P Seligman (1989) – though their enhancement of the definition has been quite heavily criticised Deviation from Ideal Mental Health – ‘ideal mental health’ being represented by the tendency to Self-Actualisation (the actualising tendency) found in the writings of Abraham Maslow (1943; 1956) and Carl Rogers (1961) and paralleled in Don Beck’s (2002a) concept of the prime directive… Read More

The EU: an Organisation divided by Values

Why the European Union is not an Integrated Entity by Alan Tonkin 23 August 2010 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. This piece was written for the August 2010 special edition of the highly thought-provoking e-zine Integral Leadership Review focusing on German-speaking cultures. Alan thought it would also sit well as an article on and graciously offered it for publication here as well. The European Union (EU) is a body which is divided by widely differing values in terms of the ‘Old Europe’ and the ‘New Europe’. This is how Donald Rumsfelt described the EU while serving as US Defence Secretary in the Administration of President George W Bush. In examining this statement it is interesting to consider the very different history and backgrounds of the original founding countries – and including core states such as Germany, France and Britain – compared to some of the recent entrants and the pending request to join the EU from Turkey and other countries. Although nominally part of… Read More

Can vMEMES cause Clinical Depression..? #2

PART 2 The frustration of needs Abraham Maslow’s famous Hierarchy of Needs (1943, 1971)  effectively describes the sequential levels of needs/goals of the emerging vMEMES. Eg: PURPLE wants to find safety in belonging; RED craves esteem; etc. As Maslow theorised mainly from case studies, rather than the kind of methodological research Clare W Graves undertook, it’s hardly surprising that his Hierarchy does not match exactly to Graves’ Spiral. However, the match is close enough  – see the Comparison Map – for us to consider Maslowian concerns and principles from the perspective of vMEMES. By doing this, we see not the ‘theoretical needs’ so often associated in a rather abstracted way with Maslow’s Hierarchy but living neurological systems within us desperate to be fulfilled. Maslow’s Hierarchy is looked upon by a number of psychologists as a guide to ‘ideal mental health’. In other words, if an individual is able to progress up the Hierarchy, with their needs met at each level, then they will move beyond the lower subsistence/deficiency levels and start to meet their ‘growth needs’ and eventually their ‘being needs’. According to Marie Jahoda (1958), Self-Actualisation – YELLOW in the Graves construct – is  a key element of ideal mental… Read More