In THEE, nothing is invented and no theories are constructed: but validation is essential. There are many good reasons—consensual, logical, structural and pragmatic—to have confidence that the taxonomic architecture and the Frameworks are valid. Issues and principles are examined below.
So validation (from the inside) refers to:
and validation (from the outside) looks for
The Framework is simple because immediate users need be exposed only to a tiny part that is directly relevant to their immediate concerns. It is obvious because the Framework uses direct ordinary language and appeals to common sense. It is helpful because the Framework activates personal autonomy and responsibility, quietly demanding and enabling a creative engagement with the inherent challenge. Stymied users experience a release and feel gratified when they find a viable way forward in their situation.
The uninvolved outsider sees a mass of knowledge without immediate personal relevance or recognizable disciplinary anchors. The model undermines the bulwarks of existing knowledge and disciplinary theories. Explanations, metaphors and analogies seem to do little to prepare such a person from being engulfed by its comprehensiveness. The complexity seems massive, impenetrable and abstract, and the mind is overwhelmed. Unless dispassionate awareness is natural, there is often a clash with personal convictions that are deemed superior.
Validation is a complex process and not dependent on one single test. The various perspectives that have been brought to play are listed below.
There was never a grand plan. Different parts of the total structure were discovered at different times and, often, by different people. I did not know or believe that the various topics that I had studied (initially, then inner , then , then , and so on) were connected in any formal way. The research concern was always to focus down and clarify a rather small puzzling area as clearly, as precisely, and as usefully as possible.
In this process, from time to time, phenomena and patterns led me, even forced me, to make connections. For many years, I held that unification was most improbable if not impossible. I had no sense of the boundaries of the field in which I was wandering about; and only referred to it vaguely as the mind. To repeat: there was never a grand plan or even conscious effort or goal to create a Taxonomy. My most conscious goal was to earn a living by genuinely helping others.
The words «» and « » hardly appeared in framework accounts until the evidence and pressure for unification generated a need for the terms.
Given that doing things, being effective and getting good results have preoccupied people since time began, it is not surprising that discovery and re-discovery of fragments of THEE are common.
Numerous writers on management have identified the various ways of 1st Principal Typology), but usually just one or a few at a time.(
The approaches to hierarchy's oscillating duality: teleological choice (champion: Plato) versus deontological choice (champion: Kant). Kant is currently viewed as the winner on points.( ) have been explained and debated for centuries by philosophers and in religious and theological texts. However, the typical account strives to find just one correct or best approach. There has been an intense debate, driven by the
Also: See the story behind the interacting-for-benefit Framework.
The structural integrity of the architecture is unlikely to be a chance occurrence. The whole is a system of systems in which errors create tensions and blockages, while correctness generates strength and clarity. Well-formulated structures also point towards and predict further discoveries and applications.
The structures, especially in the earliest days, simply emerged during inquiry and were not pre-defined: read about errors. Some of the inter-relations between forms are surprising and unexpected. Most have probably been identified, but more will surely emerge.
Given the confidence that has been developed over time, new forms and formulations now need to accord with expected structural principles i.e. structural corroboration is important and often decisive in overturning plausibility and terminating futile conjectures.
Validation has been routinely sought in the illumination generated for individuals when an articulated Framework relates closely to their perceptions and needs.
Face validity and plausibility are far too weak descriptors for this phenomenon. These terms used by an impartial assessor miss the feelings of relief, the sense of fitness, and the release of creativity that an immediate user experiences. (See above.)
A regular criticism from uncommitted academics has been that a particular elegant Framework is «far too neat». The man-in-the-street tends to admire the findings, while asserting that it is all «no more than common sense».
Although the Taxonomy provides no recipes, much less a panacea, for achieving organizational objectives or removing social problems, usefulness was part of the raison d'être for its discovery.
Usefulness has been demonstrated by myself and many others in many places over more than 30 years of consulting. The Frameworks routinely help within the hurly-burly of everyday work and organizational life, and put seemingly irresolvable problems into context.
Long-term consulting strongly suggests that the longer and more systematic the adherence to a relevant Framework, the more its psychosocial origins are appreciated, the greater the commitment, and the better the outcomes.
Many entities, including mentalities, have been discovered through prediction of their properties—much in the same way that undiscovered chemical elements in Mendeleyev's early Periodic Table were found.
Once the Structural Hierarchy form was determined for (posted here), it was applied to (download Ch.10 & 12), then to the (download Ch.9), and then to other hierarchies. Working out the initial Structural Hierarchies was difficult and time-consuming, in part because there was no assurance that they existed.
The spiral of growth based on reveals in detail how a can be deliberately developed. It predicts the emergence of specific organizational problems that warn of the need to transition to a more sophisticated state. Read a successful prediction for society using this example.
The existence of one Spiral has led to the discovery of further Spirals, most recently in maturation of political institutions and managing increased work complexity. These Frameworks also seem to have practical and predictive significance.
The pattern as developed to date seems to be both simple enough and complex enough to deal with the full range of phenomena in psychosocial reality. Links seem to exist to many different parts of the social sciences.
The THEE throw light on theoretical conflicts within the psychodynamic therapy movement, especially the battle between supporters of Klein, Freud and Winnicott. At the same time, this THEE Framework also identifies and validates classes of useful therapies that are bodily, social and spiritual i.e. not based on psychodynamics. See Ch.7 Working with Values.
The proliferation of surprising links, unexpected explanations, new applications and valuable new ideas is suggestive of validity.
The formal nature of the hierarchy found in defining is distinct from that of the hierarchy of or . This led to the discovery that Modal Hierarchies could be applied to Principal Typologies to create 7 Q-Hierarchies. is a Primary Hierarchy, while is a Q-Hierarchy. As a result of this awareness, a whole set of distinct work domains and responsibilities in society could be identified and specified in detail for the first time. In addition, the suddenly jumped from an unrealistic 7 to a far more realistic 28.
The spiral dynamics of Graves, Beck & Cowan can be located in a similar Q-Hierarchy. Defining such a location is not just mechanically slotting something in, but rather a fertile realization. In this case, accurate location within THEE has led to numerous new discoveries about career development, commercial culture, marketing, getting cooperation and handling employees better. None of these Frameworks have (or could have) emerged from «spiral dynamics» per se.
Sometimes, wider society develops in ways independently described by a Framework: see an example. However, depending on history can dissipate a taxonomic focus and foster fallacies caused by exemplification.
Models and useful ideas about personal, organizational and social life are being developed by reflective observers all the time. These models help validate THEE, while THEE in turn can help validate and develop them further: see an example.
Factional battles and painful public splits within disciplines and institutions, apparently on theoretical grounds, often exemplify and validate incompatible Types belonging to Principal Typologies. Examples exist in relation to ethics, decision-making, psychoanalysis.
Empirical studies conducted in university settings using managers and students have provided confirmation via conventional statistical analyses in regard to the 7 distinct decision approachesGoitein, B. & Bond, E. "Assessment of a Typology of Effective Management Decision Making Modes.” In H. Montgomery, R. Lipshitz and Berndt Brehmer (eds), "How Professionals Make Decisions", 2005. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. “Effective Decision Making and Decision Maker Personality,” Referred Paper Roundtable, Critical Management Studies Workshop, Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, Washington DC, August 4, 2001. Goitein, B. "Evaluation of a Taxonomy of Implicit Theories for Effective Management Decision Making", (abstract), Proceedings of the Sixtieth Annual meeting of the Academy of Management, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, August 4-9, 2000, and the 7 distinct approaches to RM Snow & AJ Bloom (1992) Ethical Decision Making Styles in the Workplace: Underlying Dimensions and their Implications. Systems Research, 9 (4), 35-45; AJ Bloom & RM Snow (1994) Ethical Decision Making Styles in the Workplace: Relations to the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, 11(2), 59-63.
Elliott Jaques' work on capability and work in tangible product organizations (which is a hierarchy within THEE) has had extensive testing and a detailed bibliography is available.
More well-designed conventional research studies would be welcome.
Many social science and management consulting ideas are either based on fashion or rediscovery and recycling of abandoned paradigms. They emerge, gain popularity and die. By contrast, THEE has been progressively extended, refined and confirmed over decades. The Taxonomy has been characterized by a growth of understanding and a deepening of knowledge.
Any and all parts of THEE and its discovery are open to intelligent criticism and improvement.
Even in the most investigated areas, where confidence about the accuracy of formulations and propositions is high, further properties and more applications are surely waiting to be discovered and developed.
Many have noted the elegance and beauty of THEE forms.
THEE Frameworks penetrate complexity to reveal an underlying simplicity. Cells emanate, merge and change in ways that are amazing and illuminating.
THEE crisply represents the light and the dark of human nature.
Originally posted: August 2009; Last updated 2-Feb-2014.