Spiral Dynamicsvaluesystems

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Spiral Dynamics and Value Systems
“Our thinking creates problems that the same type of thinking will not solve” Albert Einstein “Without some sort of worldview, we remain lost in the blooming buzzing confusion of experience, as William James put it. In other words, all of our individual perceptions are, to some extent, embedded in particular worldviews. Within these worldviews, we still possess abundant freedom of choice, but worldviews generally constrain what we are even considering choosing.” (Ken Wilber, p262 One Taste) The spiral evolution of worldviews, cultures and value systems Multiplistic Egocentric Instinctive

Survival self AN Powerful self CP Tribal order BO Enterprising self ER Integrated self GT Individual focus Will emphasis Expressive systems

Systemic

Animistic
Adapted from Spiral Dynamics, Beck & Cowan (1996)

Absolute order DQ

Egalitarian order FS

Global order HU

Absolutist

Relativistic

Holistic
Collective focus Love emphasis Sacrificial systems

Spiral Dynamics (developed by Dr Don Beck and Chris Cowan and based on the work of the late Professor Clare W Graves) is an approach to understanding the development of individual people, organisations and societies. This system goes the closest of any I have come across to revealing the ‘hidden codes’ or underlying patterns behind how and why people, organisations and societies, change and evolve. The basic Spiral Dynamics evolutionary value systems are described below. In reading the table, start at the bottom (AN) and work upward: The 8 Value Systems 8 Turquoise: Holistic (HU) 7 Yellow: Systemic (GT) 6 Green: Relativistic (FS) 5 Orange: Multiplistic (ER) 4 Blue: Absolutist (DQ) 3 Red: Egocentric (CP) 2 Purple: Animistic (BO) Basic motives Attention to whole-Earth dynamics and macro level actions Flexible adaptation to change through connected, big picture views Well-being of people and building consensus gets highest priority Possibility thinking focused on making things better for one-self Absolute belief in one right way and obedience to authority Enforce power over self, others, and nature through exploitive independence Blood relationships and mysticism in a magical and scary world Staying alive through innate sensory equipment

Thinking Holistic Systemic Relativistic Muliplistic Absolutist Egocentric Animistic

Structures Global networks Interactive Egalitarian Delegative Pyramid Empires Tribal Loose bands

Process Ecological Integrative Consensual Strategic Authoritarian Exploitative Circular Survivalist

1 Beige: Automatic Automatic (AN) Adapted from: Spiral Dynamics, Beck and Cowan (1996)

Spiral Dynamics Value Systems Introduction
aubyn@powernet.co.uk +44(0)7801861416

© Aubyn Howard 2006

1

The key concepts
• There are eight Value Systems that describe fundamentally different ‘world-views’, belief structures and operating systems. These Value Systems emerge in a consistent pattern and sequence according to the prevailing life conditions and challenges experienced by an individual, organisation or society. In Graves’ terminology (AN, BO, etc) the first letter is a code for the type of life conditions (A, B, C, D, etc.) that give rise to a type of thinking or value system, as represented by the second letter (O, P, Q, R, etc). The Value systems describe types (of thinking) in people rather than types of people. None of the Value Systems is inherently better or worse than any other. The Value Systems describe how a person thinks, not what is valued. The Value Systems are like living organisms that can ebb and flow as our existence conditions change. People are capable of change and our brains and minds can adapt to the conditions of existence which emerge. Individual Value System profiles will reflect an infinite number of combinations and patterns, due to the uniqueness of everyone’s development. Everyone is motivated, but we are not all motivated by the same things. This model can be applied equally to...
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