Third Generation Gravesians

The Wisdom of Prof. Clare W. Graves (1914-1986), Applied






 (Original formatting here.)

 L. Laubscher

Student number: 5169





Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree

 Philosophiae Doctor in the Management of Technology and Innovation






The Da Vinci Institute for Technology Management


Academic supervisor: R.C Viljoen, DBL.

Field supervisor: P.L Calitz, M.A

Field supervisor: W.J. Schurink, Phil.














I declare that the research project, HUMAN NICHES – SPIRAL DYNAMICS FOR AFRICA, is my own work and that each source of information used has been acknowledged by means of a complete reference. This thesis has not been submitted towards another research project, degree or examination at any university.



(Signature of Student)





Johannesburg, South Africa




I thank my daughters, Isabelle Laubscher and Ann Vorster for their patience with a mother who always had her nose in a book.


To my grandchildren Ben, Ty, Sarah-Jane, Luv and Mary-Ann this is part of my life's record for you. It is also for my great-grandchildren, Rebecca, Gabrielle, Reilly and Conner, may you each run a good race.


As I look back on my journey I wish to honour the amazing people who were the change agents in my life.


Firstly my parents, George and Bella Lewis for the Genes and Memes they unknowingly gave me.


To Mrs Mason my first Sunday school teacher and Ms Mary Tainton, my Girl Guide Captain.  Miss Audrey Buckle who in the 1940’s was Lady Warden at St.

Alban’s Hostel, where I spent 4 amazing years under her guidance and tutelage. I remember and thank Keith van Heerden for taking me beyond the glass ceiling on an equal footing, and taught me Value Engineering and who introduced me to Dr Don Beck –(who was responsible for opening a new door in my mind) thank you Don, you are a gift to me and to South Africa.


My thanks to Piet Calitz who took all the pieces that was Loraine and moulded me into a businesswoman.


And then came Rica, a student, a guru, a comrade, a supervisor, a masterful teacher, and a friend. Thank you Rica, without you it would not have been done. Thank you also for your patience and the sharing of your knowledge. Please pass on my thanks to the fabulous Ansune Coetzee and Patricia Ndebele for all they contributed, always with a smile. 


I also wish to thank all the experts I encountered through my journey at da Vinci, and the students in my classes who treated me as one of them and allowed me the freedom to be a student regardless of my chronological age. Thank you to the da Vinci staff, who always greeted me so enthusiastically and provided copies of everything I needed.


This list would not be complete without a special vote of thanks to Professor Bennie Anderson, who judged that I was worthy to be a PhD candidate.  I hope I am a credit to your judgment. 


Thanks also for the advice and concern Professor Willem Schurink showed to me. You gave me the confidence to proceed.


To my Editor who also honed my computer and electronic skills my most grateful thanks.


I dedicate this part of the thesis to the people who permanently influenced my being. Remembering those influences and stories enriched me yet again, and will continue doing so until the end of my days.


























DECLARATION              .................................................................................................            2          ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS         ...........................................................................            3        

 GLOSSARY         .................................................................................................           8          AN INSPIRING            PEACE FROM EDWARDS (2004)          .........................................       18       

Photo A: Yellow Daffodil Garden ................................................................................ 19    

Photo B: Yellow Daffodils ............................................................................................ 21    PREFACE      ....................................................................................................           22        PART 1: AN AUTOETHNOGRAPHIC TALE ABOUT MY CORE.............................      32       

Photo 1.1: Clare Graves and I .................................................................................... 45    

Photo 1.2:  Liliesleaf .................................................................................................... 47


Photo 3.1:  Don Beck ................................................................................................ 89      PART 4: THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK FOR CONTEXT...........................................        105     

4.1 Introduction ............................................................................................................. 105  4.2 The development of societies ................................................................................. 111      Photo 4.1:  Technological innovations ..................................................................... 115   

4.3 The nature of social systems .................................................................................. 116    Photo 4.2: Reframing ................................................................................................ 122             

4.4 Evolution of a global brain ....................................................................................... 124    Photo 4.3:  Importance of everybody in the organisation .......................................... 129             

4.5 Gravesian Spiral Dynamics ..................................................................................... 130 4.6 African dynamics .................................................................................................... 147  4.7 Human Niches ........................................................................................................ 155         4.8 Conclusion .............................................................................................................. 160  

PART 5: SYSTEMS INTERVENTIONS – CASES OF CO-­‐CREATION..........................    161     

5.1 Introduction ............................................................................................................. 161  5.2 Value Circles ........................................................................................................... 163      5.3 Quindiem Consulting (Pty) Ltd ................................................................................ 165         5.4 Taxi violence in the Greater Pretoria Metropolitan Council (GPMC) ...................... 168      5.5 Hostel beds at Western Deep Levels Gold Mine .................................................... 171 5.6 Oil on the roof ......................................................................................................... 173        5.7 Buffelsfontein .......................................................................................................... 175       5.8 Anglo Platinum ........................................................................................................ 176         5.9 The Place That Listens:  Western Deep Levels ...................................................... 177           5.10 Feedback and Conclusion .................................................................................... 179    


  Photo 6.1:  Loraine .................................................................................................... 181      

  Photo 6.2:  Loraine on her PhD ................................................................................ 182      

  Photo 6.3:  The long and winding road of PhD-research .......................................... 183     

  Photo 6.4:  Loraine during her visit to Glenburn lodge with Rica .............................. 186                                          Photo 6.5:  Loraine, Marthie and Rica during a meeting ........................................... 193       

  Photo 6.6:  Mapping theoretical themes that support this thesis .............................. 198     

  Photo 6.7:  Loraine on bed ........................................................................................ 198      

  Photo 6.8:  Mandala Consulting Christmas function ................................................. 202     

  Photo 6.9:  Loraine facilitating Spiral Dynamics for Africa ........................................ 208     

  Photo 6.10:  Loraine and Ansune at the airport ........................................................ 215      

  Photo 6.11: A photo of Rica and I that holds a special place in my heart ................. 220     

  Conclusion ................................................................................................................. 220      PART 7:

CONTRIBUTION:  META-­‐INSIGHTS     ..............................................................          221     

7.1 Introduction ............................................................................................................. 221  7.2 Meta-insights .......................................................................................................... 222          7.3 On Purple ................................................................................................................ 223   7.4 On Spiral Dynamics ................................................................................................ 233   7.5 On Human Niches ................................................................................................... 235   7.6 Meta-insights on different thinking systems ............................................................ 237   7.8 On transformation and change ............................................................................... 239          7.9 On human development .......................................................................................... 240           7.10 On world dynamics ............................................................................................... 241      7.11 On Value Circles ................................................................................................... 241  7.12 I am the cook of my pot ......................................................................................... 242            7.13 On management of people ................................................................................... 244      7.14 On autoethnographic research ............................................................................. 245            7.15 Revisiting my initial research intent ....................................................................... 247      7.16 On doing a PhD at eighty ...................................................................................... 249   7.17 Back to the future .................................................................................................. 251   7.17 Conclusion ............................................................................................................ 253       

REFERENCES   ...................................................................................................           255      APPENDIX       A            .........................................................................................          287     

APPENDIX          B       .........................................................................................          290     

APPENDIX          C       .........................................................................................          293      APPENDIX       D            .........................................................................................          294     





FIGURE 2.1:  SPIRAL DYNAMICS AS DESCRIBED BY BECK (2008) ............................... 51

FIGURE 2.2:  DIGITAL AND ANALOGUE THINKING ....................................................... 74

FIGURE 4.1:  EXAMPLE OF A CAUSAL DIAGRAM ....................................................... 123

FIGURE 4.2: THE EXISTENTIAL STAIRCASE (GRAVES, 1974: P. 72) ......................... 131

FIGURE 4.3:  THE SPIRAL OF LEVELS OF EXISTENCE (GRAVES, 1971) .................... 138

FIGURE 5.1:  VALUE CIRCLE PROCESS .................................................................. 163

FIGURE 7.1:  THE INTERRELATEDNESS OF AFRICAN PURPLE ................................... 223

FIGURE 7.2:  THE HUMAN DOMAIN OF AFRICAN PURPLE ...................................... 224

FIGURE 7.3:  MMERE DANE .................................................................................. 226

FIGURE 7.4:  THE PHYSICAL PLANE OF AFRICAN PURPLE ..................................... 226 FIGURE 7.5: THE SACRED/SPIRITUAL DOMAIN OF AFRICAN PURPLE ..................... 227


 ................................................................................................................... 229





TABLE 4.1:  GRAVESIAN LEVELS OF EXISTENCE ..................................................... 134

TABLE 4.2:  GLOBAL SPIRAL DYNAMICS ................................................................ 140

TABLE 4.3:  GLOBAL SPIRAL DYNAMICS 2013 ........................................................ 141

TABLE 4.4:  THE ELEPHANT-WORLD VALUE SYSTEM (BECK, 2005) ........................... 146





PICTURE A: LORAINES THREE-LEGGED POT ........................................................... 23


PICTURE 2.1:  GRANNY AT THE COMPUTER .............................................................. 61

PICTURE 3.1 THE HONEY BADGER .......................................................................... 97

PICTURE 4.1:  CARTOON ON BUSINESS SCHOOLS .................................................. 108

PICTURE 5.1:  THE PLACE THAT LISTENS ............................................................... 178

PICTURE 6.1: CARTOON ON WORDS WITH “-OLOGY” ............................................... 190

PICTURE 6.2:  GULLIVER ...................................................................................... 210 PICTURE 6.3:  LORAINES ONTOLOGY AND EPISTEMOLOGY ...................................... 214




PHOTO A: YELLOW DAFFODIL GARDEN ................................................................... 19

PHOTO B: YELLOW DAFFODILS ............................................................................... 21

PHOTO 1.1: CLARE GRAVES AND I .......................................................................... 45

PHOTO 1.2:  LILIESLEAF ......................................................................................... 47

PHOTO 3.1:  DON BECK ......................................................................................... 89

PHOTO 4.1:  TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATIONS .......................................................... 115

PHOTO 4.2: REFRAMING ...................................................................................... 122

PHOTO 4.3:  IMPORTANCE OF EVERYBODY IN THE ORGANISATION ........................... 129

PHOTO 6.1:  LORAINE .......................................................................................... 181

PHOTO 6.2:  LORAINE ON HER PHD ...................................................................... 182


PHOTO 6.5:  LORAINE, MARTHIE AND RICA DURING A MEETING ............................... 193


PHOTO 6.7:  LORAINE ON BED .............................................................................. 198

PHOTO 6.8:  MANDALA CONSULTING CHRISTMAS FUNCTION ................................... 202


PHOTO 6.10:  LORAINE AND ANSUNE AT THE AIRPORT ............................................ 215





Auto-ethnography: A form of self-reflection and writing that explores the researcher's personal experience and connects this autobiographical story to wider cultural, political, and social meanings and understandings. It is a form of self-reflective writing, which focuses on the writer’s subjective experiences.




A term that refers to an integrated method, procedure and

Content Analysis:

technique for locating, identifying, retrieving and analysing     


documents for their relevance, significance, and meaning.



Human Niches:


A term developed and tested by the researcher after years of applying the Spiral Dynamics theory in Africa. The term describes the areas in which people excel because of the questions of existence they ask.

Life history:


A life history is the overall picture of a person’s life. The purpose of this overall picture is to be able to describe what it is like to be this particular person, that is, the one being interviewed. It is common practice to begin life history with the subject's early childhood and to proceed chronologically to the present.

Oral history:


Oral History Association (2012) defines oral history as a method of gathering and preserving historical information through recorded interviews with participants in past events and ways of life.

Spiral Dynamics: 

A theory of human development. It is based on the theory of

     bio-psycho-social system of human development by Clare

Graves. Don Beck and Chris Cowan introduced the term Spiral Dynamics in 1996. It argues that human nature is not fixed and that, when confronted by changing life conditions, humans are able to adapt to their environment by constructing new value systems that allow them to cope with the new reality.


Thinking Systems:  A term applied by the researcher to replace the concept of Value Systems. Thinking Systems refer to a specific way of thinking, of answering a question of existence that results in a specific Human Niche.



Value Circle:


An inclusive group process that focuses on group problem solving while integrating value management and human niche theory.

Value Systems:

Clare Graves and Don Beck call the various categories on

the spiral, Value Systems. Value Systems act as an organising principle which expresses itself through ideas, habits and cultural practices. 








Beige – AN - the Survival level 

This level corresponds to animalistic, instinctive, pre-societal behaviour. It may be commonly seen in infants, small children and survivors after a war or natural disaster who are relying on basic human instinct to survive. Additionally the very sick and people with severe mental illness can also operate at this level, as well as drug addicts, and the dying. 


This level is based on our primal desire to survive, its key traits are therefore self preservation and doing what needs to be done to survive, for example to fight, to get food, and to reproduce. It is survival at every level of being.


As an individual develops they become less aware of ‘self’ and join together into groups, habitual behaviour develops and this takes us to spiral dynamics PURPLE.



Herd like behaviour

Organising principle

Movements determined by weather

And availability of food and water


Key values

Survival and companionship

Instinct-driven biological needs



Strong members surround and protect the weaker ones



Group bands together for mating, food gathering and protection 


Organisational type (Visually displayed by Organising principle structure)

Migrant small groups, Cave dwellers or Bands, 

As well as Herd type groups


Human Niches Explained2


Purple - BO - the Tribal level

The group and its individuals develops with a definite leader and power structure, traditional tribal cultures operate at this level. The chief of the tribe dictates to those at this level, this is also the level of the ‘victim’ and the subservient. In the army in basic training the Sergeant major breaks recruits down to this level, the key traits of this level are conformity, sameness, superstition and icons.  Routines and rituals develop, the individual is willing to die for their leader, in tribal cultures there is also a spiritual element to a culture at this level of development. As the individual develops they start to resist authority, in tribal cultures this individual may well challenge to be the leader otherwise they become more self orientated and look to leave or lead another group.



Ancestors spirits, signs; Safe clans; Powerful elders; Our people versus them


Key values

Safety through ways of ancestors, tribal custom, lineage allegiance to chief,  Supervisor or boss.



Paternalistic teachers; Rituals and routines; Passive learners; 

Familial learning often by grandparents



Extended kinships; Rites of passage; 

Strict role relationships; Protects bloodline



Respects folkways; Honours ethnicity; affiliates with a community; 

Guards venerated places, also sacred places


Organisational type (Visually displayed by Organising principle structure) Tribal Village, Extended family, Tribe, family, clan, dynasty or political party.



Red - CP - the Egocentric level 

This is the level of self first and to hell with the rest, men and women at this level are tough, strong, and guiltless to those around them. There is a strong positive self image at this level, high energy and a can-do attitude, a typical spiral dynamics RED individual could be a flash salesperson or an entertainer or a politician who thinks they can force you to choose their offer, without stating the risks, because, individuals at this level take risks, they feel they can conquer nature, dodge bullets and exert influence through strength and force of will on their surroundings and other people. RED people seek out intense stimulation both physically and emotionally; they are thrill seekers and risk-takers. To move to the next level the individual starts to seek harmony with others and become part of a group again.



Raw power displays; Instant gratification; Unrestrained by guilt; But can be shamed; Colourful and creative


Key values

High energy, needs to be noticed; Power and assertion of self above others and nature; Needs visible risk



Rewards for learning; Tough-love tactics; Work on respect; Controlled freedom



Tough mother or father; Builds us-them walls

Tests of worthiness; Struggles with system



Predators in control; Danger to outsiders; Forms fiefdoms,

Turf wars and vendettas


Organisational type (Visually displayed by Organising principle structure)

The Queen of Hearts, Boss and Workers, Dictatorship, Gang Lords


Human Niches Explained4


Blue  - DQ - the Authoritarian level

This is the level of the patriotic people that obey authority, work hard, and sacrifice themselves for their cause, their company or their job. Spiral dynamics BLUE individuals and organisations like stability, conformity, obedience and hard work. They are the people who like to tick the boxes, there’s only right or wrong, in their world. Spiral dynamics BLUE individuals pay their taxes, save for their pensions and vote in elections, in their organisations the rules and compliance to protocols are most important.  BLUE individuals work all their life for their company, with a strong work ethic, and look forward to the day when they retire and get their ‘gold watch’. To transcend to Spiral dynamics ORANGE an individual needs to break away from the group and start thinking of themselves instead of sacrificing themselves for the group, as they transcend to the next level they allow themselves to initially bend then break the rules.



Only one right way; Purpose in causes; Guilt in Organising principle consequences; Sacrifice for honour


Key values

Stability and order through obedience to higher authority



Truth from authority; Traditional stair steps; 

Moralistic lessons; Punishment for errors



Seat of truths and values; Proper places for all;  Codes of conduct; Teaches moral ways



Peace-and-quiet; Cautious and careful; Everything tidy & neat; Born into society


Organisational type (Visually displayed by Organising principle structure) The Only Truth, Righteous believers, Passive hierarchy



Orange - ER - the Entrepreneur level

ORANGE individuals think self first, they have already aspired to free themselves from the rules of BLUE, they like to be in control of their own life and act now for material and self gain In spiral dynamics terms individuals at ORANGE like competition, they are the corporate sharks, they are the go getters, the motivated, they want to win at all costs, they will walk over you and push your face into the dirt. Spiral dynamics ORANGE individuals are materialistic, they like technology, toys, fast cars and the newest phones and gadgets. They are goal driven, they like competition and want to be the best, they act in calculated ways to gain rewards and forward themselves, their main concerns are themselves, their own status, and their self-image. ORANGE individuals eventually become disillusioned, they begin to wonder if the cost of attaining material goals is worth it, and this is when they start to progress to the next level.



Competes for success; Goal-oriented drives; Change to progress; Material gain/perks


Key values

Material success and satisfaction in the abundant life style, by taking calculated risks



Experiments to win; High-tech, high status

How to win niches; Mentors and guides



Upwardly mobile; Demands attention; High expectations; Image conscious



Expects to be to prosperous; Displays affluence; Buys into society; Security for the elite


Organisational type (Visually displayed by Organising principle structure) The Enterprise Company, Aspiring investors, Active bureaucracy




Green - FS - the Humanistic level.

GREEN individuals like being part of a group or a bigger movement and want to do things for a cause. They will self sacrifice now for the benefit of their community or for their humanitarian views. They live for harmony, liberty, equality, peace and a cause. Spiral dynamics GREEN contains the environmentalists and the activists all fighting for their cause, they see the perfect outcome as a utopic harmonious relationship with others. Unfortunately whatever their cause, their ‘perfect world’ makes them out of touch with the real world and its practicalities, to the extent that their concern for the group and their feelings for others means that nothing ever gets done. At GREEN the individual cannot take action and do anything until everything is perfect for them and everyone else. They only emerge and develop to YELLOW when they realise their failure to transform the world.



Seeks inner peace; Everybody is equal

Everything is relative; Harmony in the group


Key values

Fulfillment of self in context of others and relationships



To explore feelings; Shared experiences; Social development; Learn cooperation



Grouping of equals; Participative activity; Highly accepting; All feelings processed



Social safety nets; 'Politically correct'; Open for insiders; Invests in itself


Organisational type (Visually displayed by Organising principle structure) The Collective Good, Loving contributors, Social network



Yellow - GT - the Systemic, integrative or flex-flow level.

YELLOW is the first of the second ‘Being’ tier levels. YELLOW individuals can operate at any Level, they can transcend to any of the lower levels at will to relate and work with others. They have flexibility, they see the big picture and have purpose, they question yet accept and look for synergy and the win-win, they are constantly looking to simplify chaos with sustainable, integrated solutions. Knowledge and information is what a YELLOW individual values rather than materialism, they want to improve themselves mentally and emotionally and to be able to live a life that produces results with synergy. Change is accepted as the norm, instead of fighting ‘old ways of working’ a YELLOW person will come up with ‘new solutions’ that are functional, simple and bring order. When a YELLOW person sees order in the chaos on a global scale they start to transcend to Turquois.



Big picture views; Integrative structures

Naturalness of chaos; Inevitability of change


Key values

Finding ways that fit nature's patterns and needs



Becomes self-directed; Fitness for purpose; Tuned to interests; Non-rigid structure



Shifting roles; Expects competence; Takes each as is; Information base



Does more with less; Appropriate technology; Power is dispersed; Integrated systems


Organisational type (Visually displayed by Organising principle structure) The Way of Nature, Knowing individuals, Living-system models


Human Niches Explained8


Turquoise  - HU - the Holarctic level.

TURQUOISE individuals operate with a global consciousness, they seek out others who are like minded, they are the minority and their views are poorly understood, they see the world as a global village, they seek ‘the theory of everything’ and they bring together all of the other Human Niche levels. TURQUOISE thinking expands thinking to the limit of human consciousness, it becomes spiritual again as well as being practical. There is less than 0.1% of the world’s population at this level, yet they hold 1% of the world’s power.



Scans the macro; Synergy of all life

Safe, orderly world; Restore harmony


Key values

Reaching for global harmony and awareness of life forces



Access to world; Blend feelings and technology

Bring past to life; Maximise the brain



Global awareness; Grows consciousness

Broad interest ranges; Seeks outreach



Interconnected; Highly diversified

Not isolationist; Information rich


Organisational type

The New Experience, Transnationalists, Planetary holism



AN    INSPIRING          PEACE        FROM        EDWARDS           (2004)       


My daughter had telephoned me several times to say: ”Mother, you must come to see the daffodils before they start wilting.”


I really wanted to go, but it was a two-hour’s drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead. So I postponed. “I will come next Tuesday.” I promised on her third call.


Tuesday dawns cold and rainy. Still, I made a promise, and reluctantly l drive there. When l finally walk into Carolyn’s house, l am welcomed by the joyful sounds of happy children. I delightedly hug and greet my grandchildren.


“Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in these clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world that l want to see badly enough to drive another inch! I came here to see you and the children”


My daughter calmly smiles at me, and says: “We drive in this weather all the time, Mother.”


“Well, you won’t get me back on the road until it clears, and then l am heading for home!” I assure her.


“First we’re going to see the daffodils. It’s just a few blocks.” Carolyn can be very insistent. “I’ll drive. I’m used to this.”


“Carolyn, please turn around.” I use my stern voice as if she were still a child.” 


“It’s alright, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience.”


After about twenty minutes we turn onto a narrow gravelled road, and l see a small church. On the far side of the church, l see a hand-written sign with an arrow that reads: “Daffodil Garden.”


We get out of the car; each holding a child’s hand. l follow Carolyn down the path. Then, as we turn a corner, l look up and gasp. Before me lies the most glorious sight.


Photo A: Yellow Daffodil Garden



It looks as though someone had taken a great vat of gold, and poured it all over the mountain peak and its surrounding slopes. The flowers are planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swathes of deep orange, creamy white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, saffron and butter yellow. Each different-coloured variety is planted in large groups so that the flowers swirl and flow like rivers, each with its own unique hue. Five acres of flowers! Can you imagine five acres of flowers?


“Who did this?” I ask Carolyn.


“Just one woman, Mother. Only one single woman! She lives on the property. That is her home.” Carolyn points at a well-kept A-frame house. Small and modestly it is sitting in the midst of all this glory. We walk up to the house.


On the patio, we see a poster. “Answer to the questions that l know you are asking” This is what the poster tells us. The first answer is a simple one. “50 000 bulbs,” it reads. The second answer: “One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet and one brain.” The third answer: “Began in 1958.”


For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I think of this woman whom l had never met. She who, more than forty years ago had begun to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop. One bulb at a time! Planting one bulb at a time. Year after year, this unknown woman had changed the world in which she lived – forever. One day at a time, she had created something of extraordinary magnificence, beauty and inspiration. The principles that her daffodil garden taught me are among the greatest principles of celebration.


Photo B: Yellow Daffodils



That principle is learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time – often just one tiny baby step at a time –learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we will find that we too can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world.

Adapted from Edwards (2004)



This thesis is a celebration of the planting of my life’s metaphorical bulbs.








In this thesis I believe I can share a lifetime of experiences of successes and failures. This has been an exciting, and sometimes tragic journey.  It has brought me to solution-based thinking and continuous enquiry. I am anxious to share thoughts and insight with people who are responsible for people, and to get these other people to fulfill the needs of an organisation. We talk about management, and we talk about change, and what we do not understand is that we manage it on every level in the organisation. I will attempt here to weave together an integrated post-modernistic argument on how to release the soul in an organisation, and by doing this, to ensure productivity and sustainability in South Africa. This country that I love so much with all its unique and diverse people.


Before I prepare a meal I have to understand and know the people that I am cooking for (my physical guests or the metaphorical guests – the group with which I work – the structure). I have to know the ingredients (contents of the session) that I have to use. The management of the ingredients will determine the taste (measurable result of a facilitated group process). The leadership of the process will influence the acceptance of the flavour (output). The entire essence of my husbandry is fitness for purpose at every level of being. In this magic cauldron the food (situation) is transformed.     


If the elements of the meal are drawn from the spirit of the higher consciousness it has a magical effect that transforms all the people who come into contact with the situation. This includes the process, the company, the department and the meal. 


As part of my PhD-class work at Da Vinci, I had to visually display my Management and Leadership Competency Framework (MLC). In order to do this I chose the metaphor of a three-legged pot, which can be seen in the figure below. I chose this metaphor to describe my approach towards the upliftment of people. Each aspect of the metaphor will be discussed briefly.


Picture A: Loraine’s Three-legged Pot




The various areas can be described as follows:


Fitness for purpose: When an organisation can identify an area (a system, a mechanical or a human-resources problem) that is causing dissatisfaction; the people appointed to solve the dilemma must be those who noticed the difficulty or who complained about it. This is referred to as “fitness for purpose”. 

Knowledge: My observations about the attitudes and behaviours of people are integrated with the study of various psychological theories, management theories, the writings on thinking and an understanding of industry. The overarching strength has been the interest in African culture, learning and studying about it, and the application of the study.


Resources: I use the model I developed from the discipline of Value Engineering, into which I integrate my knowledge of Professor C. Graves’s Existential Staircase, which Dr Don Beck and Christopher Cowan developed into Spiral Dynamics.


Structure: The structure of the Value Circle methodology and the structure of the thinking of the people, who are tasked with solving the situation, will provide an answer that is suitable for the workplace at that time.


Contents: The content of the intervention is provided by the company with a specific need and the people they mandate to address that need. 


People upliftment: When the need has been satisfied, the people who solved the difficulty will be uplifted.


Nothing is without consequences. My teacher, Miss Buckle, said: “If you want to do something, consider the consequences.” She was the lady warden of the St Alban’s hostel where I lived while attending Pretoria Girls High School. She impacted hugely on my life (really giving it a jolt).  


Before one takes a step, one must consider the consequences. What are the consequences of doing this PhD?  I enjoy sharing the journey with Professor Rica Viljoen, my academic supervisor. Another pleasure is found in examining what I learned during my life; remembering the things that one has done that helped people along the road is very fulfilling. It may be viewed as self-indulgent, but it might help somebody who will take the time to peruse this thesis in order to gain insight into his or her own life, business realities or the world. Hopefully it will illustrate that criticism is a faculty or a tool that, if used in a negative way turns against you, but if used in a positive way helps people on the path forward.


I can see the versatility in someone even if they don’t know this themselves. It is frustrating when you can see the potential in someone, but that person will not apply them to do the work what is required to develop his or her potential. My whole life has been dedicated to turn potential into the flowering of the essence of that human being. This has lead to my quest to attempt writing a PhD even being 82 years old. Hopefully my journey will stimulate others to journeying even later in life.


Most studies address research questions from a particular starting point, for example: What can management do differently? In this study I attempt to bring together diverse worldviews and attitudes from leaders at the top and the views and attitudes of workers at the bottom of the organisation. This requires a thorough understanding of the South African social and cultural challenges with the emphasis on enabling congruence throughout the system.


The productivity at the bottom of an organisation has become a critical aspect that needs to be studied, especially in a developing country such as South Africa. Sadly strategists and consultants often only work with leadership, and deny the rest of the organisation their attention. Training programmes likewise tend to concentrate on the productivity of the foreman or the supervisor. Furthermore the Hawthorne effect often applies9. According to Hawthome the best mechanic is promoted to the supervisor position without training him or her in supervisory skills. The people at lowest levels in the organisation are often denied the training opportunity.



1 Fox, Brennan & Chasen (December 2008).

Similarly at lower levels in the organisation employees are seldom provided the chance to become part of the organisational problem-solving team. Workers are not allowed the opportunity to learn how to solve their own problems. This involvement in problem solving is critical because it gives employees ownership of the solution, and gives them pride in what they are doing. Problem solving at this level in the organisation has much in common with strategy – it can be viewed as strategic thinking at the bottom of the organisation. 


Organisations do not provide training opportunities for workers at the lowest levels in the organisation to enable them to learn about dealing with the world of work. They are being promoted without preparation. There does not appear to be a mechanism or methodology, an understanding or an interpretation in the marketplace of what a person requires when entering an organisation. In days gone by employees had to undergo an apprenticeship. The “ap”, for example “taking something on appro” means to enter on a trial basis before being appointed. This was done in the case of teachers, medical practitioners and in positions on mines. Over time this important practice of crossing boundaries between worlds that operate on different sets of rules or principles was forgotten. 


It has become a tendency in South African management to regard innovative strategies from the Western World such as Britain, America or Germany as superior to the local strategies. A lack of translation, or even locally selfdeveloped business approaches, has lead to the implementation of foreign philosophies that are not congruent with South African challenges and realities.


Even if there is good communication in the organisation, the understanding of instructions is often misinterpreted. If management should give an instruction, it is often not internalised in a manner that will produce productivity. Consequently workers feel disrespected and not valued. On the other hand management feel that their strategies are not executed and are disregarded no matter how hard they try.

Not surprisingly there is a void, a disconnection between people with different thinking systems in organisations. The disconnection leads to misunderstandings and perceptions that are being formed, which ultimately result in non-constructive behaviours that are viciously repeating themselves with devastating effect. The above not only affect the organisation, but also the people who form part of that system. 


After years of living, working, lecturing, facilitating, observing, reading and being, I still wonder why management in South Africa fail to understand the social systems with which they are daily faced. Among others the following questions arise:


i.           How do the thinking patterns of management and workers differ – regardless of culture, colour and creed?

ii.          Why do workers and managers talk but don’t communicate or is talking past each other?

iii.        What gifts lie unexplored with people at the bottom of the pyramid? iv.      How can the theory of spiral dynamics be applied to Africa?


In this thesis, I intend to develop an understanding of the thinking patterns of indigenous people of Africa. I wish to explore the phenomenon of not allowing workers to participate in organisational decision-making and thereby failing to make a greater contribution to the bottom line. I want to understand why confusion reigns in organisations, in communities and in society; and I would like to crystalise meta-insights on how to enable functional groups, institutions and societies through Spiral Dynamics theory. 


Spiral Dynamics as developed by Clare Graves (1971) and applied by other psychologists such as Don Beck (1995, 2001, 2003) served as grounding theory in this thesis. I applied this theory extensively in Africa and adapted it to describe the phenomenon of African people more authentically. I speak about Human Niches instead of Spiral Dynamics. The specific contribution of this thesis is to contextualise Human Niches in the African context. Being from Africa and living on this continent for almost a century, has made me appreciate the gifts that Africa can offer the world. It became my life’s purpose to share the insights gained during my journey and to document African dynamics.


Stories from my life are told, recorded, transcribed and interwoven throughout this study. This is done as part of a post-modernistic integral research attempt to remember the dynamics I witnessed and observed in people, groups of people and societies. I offer an understanding of these through applying relevant theoretical models and philosophies, as well as unwritten old ways that are closer to nature.  I would like to believe that I have in effect become my own laboratory, having been blessed to have lived the research for more than 40 years.


The theories, practices, applications, insights and memories have become so integral to my sense of self and my own thought processes that boundaries between these blended. For me everything is interrelated and a mechanistically split between them actually destroyed value. It was difficult to delimit this thesis to the specified topic. 


Post-modernists believe that theories only provide partial views of their objects, and that every representation of the world is filtered through by history and language, so it cannot be neutral (Best & Kellner, 1991). They (post-modernists) explore the manner in which language, power and history shape human views of reality truth and knowledge, in their aim to uncover multiple realities. According to Lessem and Schieffer (2011) my research paradigm can be described as the relational path to research.


The overall data-gathering method in this study was oral history. I speak faster than I type. An oral history refers to “the memories of living people about events or social conditions which they experienced…” (Collins English Dictionary). The Oral History Association (2012) defines oral history as a method of gathering and preserving historical information through recorded interviews with participants in past events and ways of life. Ultimately the oral history was presented in the form of an auto-ethnography and a life-history interview. 


This narrative inquiry paradigm supported me in remembering old occurrences, in exploring different realities and examining different cultures in various contexts. The research reported here was an iterative process – theory, research and practice were inextricably linked, and themes continuously evolved during the study. Ethnographic content analysis was used to cluster emerging themes and meta-insights that materialised from the data and literature.


Joseph (1996) explained in Understanding Contemporary Africa that African awareness is inclusive, and has an oral nature.  Africans have music and rhythm deep down in their souls. Rather than writing theory, African historians, taking their cue from oral literature, use story-telling about beauty (and numerous other subjects) to help communicate important truths and information to society. Indeed, an object is considered beautiful because of the truths it reveals and the communities it helps to build.


I hope to make a methodological contribution to this, and show the way that other, less-formally educated leaders in indigenous societies can follow to ensure that their voices are heard on an academic plane. This I wish to do by sharing my autoethnographic tale (Sparkes, 2002), through oral history and life history interviews. I offer lived experiences in the context in which my life-work played out. I applied ethnographic content analysis to pull everything together.  


I already alluded to me using Lessem and Schieffer’s (2011) integral research approach. It is now important to outline its four Cs, namely: Core, Context, Cocreation and Contribution. In this thesis, my inner calling and inner core are presented in the first part. Then, the context in which my core operated over many years is presented by means of storytelling. In the case studies I share some examples of where elements of participatory action research were used in real-life settings. Here co-creation is evident resulting in important insights gained. 


Ultimately, Human Niches insights are presented, as an extension of Spiral Dynamics theory with an uniquely African emphasis.


This is my story.
















“Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives. The need for imagination, a sense of truth, and a feeling of responsibility—these three forces are the very nerve of


~ Rudolf Steiner (1996)


PART          1:      AN    AUTOETHNOGRAPHIC          TALE           ABOUT       MY    CORE         


You will not be good teachers if you focus only on what you do and not upon who you are.”

~ Rudolf Steiner (1996)


I was born in Johannesburg before the Second World War. My father was a fitter and turner on a gold mine and my mother a housewife. I spent my early childhood in a mining community with the daily occurrences and stories of such communities in Rustenburg, Brakpan and Virginia. Little did I know then that one day I would have visited almost each and every mine shaft in South Africa, to help the workers with their challenges.


When I was still a babe in arms my Mom and Dad took me to show me to Auntie Alice, my father’s sister. In accordance with African custom the Sotho people gave Sotho names to members of the family. African names always have a meaning. My father’s name was Mafoelafoel, which meant the one that was always hurried. I was given the name Potseletso. I was told that it meant “the one who comes after there was sadness or loss or problems of some description”. It is amazing that I ended up doing Value Circles which is an organisational or societal problem-solving methodology. I would be requested to come into an organisation after something traumatic or problematic had occurred. 


Auntie Alice and her husband, Koot Swanepoel, had a farm in Ficksburg. This was in the then province of the Orange Free State in South Africa. The name of the farm was Van Deventersrus. Koot was not a very good farmer, but his brother was unusually skilled at it. We would occasionally go there when I was still very young.


When Koot decided to sell the farm my father and mother bought it. Koot and Auntie Alice stayed on to manage the farm which is how it came about that we spent most of our holidays there.  

Van Deventersrus was a very big farm. The Swanepoels lived on part of the farm in two luxury cottages. We had a lovely little “pondok” on the other side. This is where I had my first experience of being close to African people.


I was about 5 years old at the time. It was the custom that every white child would be assigned an “oppasser” who doubled as playmate, and often became a close friend. A black boy would be the oppasser of a white boy and a black girl for a white girl. My younger brother, Derrick Lewis, and Broekslaan, and Sigawe and I eventually became very good friends.


We used to go up to the “strooise” to play. Up to this very day I can remember the smell of those places: the “pap”, not burning, but with an “aanpaksel” (encrustation) at the bottom of the three-legged pot (“sckoko”), the smoke that filled the air, and the earth of cleanly-swept yards around the huts; all together created a gorgeous never-to-be-forgotten aroma. Later I learned that elsewhere in Africa yellow field flowers were used to sweep and clean the yards.


Inside our pondok we used knives and forks for eating. Outside we could eat rough, yellow maize, soaked in delicious, rich gravy with our hands and we could suck the gravy off our fingers like our black friends were doing.


Reflecting on the past, I now realise that the metaphor of the three-legged pot that I used to describe my leadership philosophy when studying at Da Vinci, has come with me for more than seven decades, and the insights that I obtained there as a child still remain: the aroma that smells delicious for one person may be disgusting for another. I love the smell of Africa.


In more or less the same period in my life (five years old) I remember going to Durban for the first time. Mom kept a big jug with her in the car – just in case someone was carsick. Natal is an extremely hilly region, and in those days there were no tarred roads. All the roads had gravel surfaces, that went up and down hills that seemed to be never-ending. The road meandered from the midlands down to the coast. Once, on our way there Grandpa, who was driving, lost control of the car, and it spun out of control. For the first time that day I had the feeling that I was free-falling. This feeling would continue to recur during the rest of my life. Later I became carsick. The sweet smell of the sugar plantations, and the winding road were too much. 


My studies in meta-physics gave me a theoretical understanding of a very special awareness that began early in my life.


If I have to name people who had an influence on my life, I will have to go a long long way back. My Standard 4 teacher also ran the Sunday school. I cannot even remember the lady’s name. Mom and Dad never went to church. Sunday was their bowling day. 


“May I please go to Sunday school?” I would nag. I wanted to be exposed to more information, eager and ready to learn. 


I became very aware of the impact of a leader on a follower. This lesson stayed with me throughout my life. 


When I went to boarding school at the age of 14, I met Audrey Buckle, a teacher who would have a profound influence on me. Initially I was scared of her, but discovered one could trust her. I never ever caught her out lying. She influenced the way I spoke and the way I thought. She taught me to read books with insight and how to study. Her teachings have always remained with me. Books and her teachings have sustained me.

The love for reading was born.


Later, I was chosen as a prefect for the little juniors. This meant that I had to sleep in the same dormitory as these little girls. We slept on the verandas which had one side open. The little ones were far away from home.  They were only 5 to 6 years old and I had to take care of them. I learned many skills, and gained much insight during this time. This experience deepened my spirituality. It was not about the religion. It certainly was not about the dogma. It was about the meaning of it all. I read a wider range of books. 


As a prefect, I had to sit at the head of a table. There were little juniors, juniors and seniors, as well as a staff member at each table. Staff members switched tables every evening.  We were not allowed to speak about politics, the weather or religion at table. We anxiously used to scan the newspapers. The little ones also had to contribute to the conversation. We had to engage in informed conversation and no silence was tolerated.  I read easy and short articles to the little ones to prepare them for the conversations.


I developed the ability to identify an interest and the level at which one needs to convey it so that the input can become a contribution to the group.  


My Auntie Annette (Annie), my mother’s sister, used to sing at the eisteddfods. She was a spinster until David Malherbe married her years later. He was something of a character. He drove an Auban, which was a very exclusive car. He taught me one valuable lesson, namely, that there is more to life than just following the rules and doing the right thing.


He left his very expensive car unlocked at night. Tramps could open the door and sleep in the wonderful safety that the car offered. This was alright as long as they cleaned it properly the next morning so that he could travel further. He left a feather duster, cloth and brush for them to ensure that the car was in mint condition in the morning. To their credit it must be said that the car was never left dirty.


They had a lovely old house on a farm named Witstinkhoutboom near Potchefstroom. Its walls were 18 inches thick. Above the mantelpiece hung an enormous picture of the agreement that was reached at Potchefstroom after the First Boer War. The Mooi River runs through Potchefstroom. There was an old mill there that no longer functioned.  Oom Dawie fixed it with great enthusiasm, and restored it to its original splendour. This added a lovely feature to the history of the community for all to enjoy. 


He smoked like a chimney. He would wake me at around 12 o’clock at night, saying: “Niggie. Niggie, kom dis tyd vir koffie en ‘n sigaret”[1]. I learned a lot about Afrikaner history from him while listening to his middle-of-the-night stories. Many of these stories were confirmed later on when I studied the literature. Auntie Annie woke up at 6 o’clock sharp every morning. Then he would quietly say aside:  “No, we are sleeping in a bit this morning.”


Our journey to Potchefstroom had a specific pattern to it. All packed and ready to go, Oom Dawie would ask Auntie Annie: “Is the door locked?”  Their flat was on the 18th floor. Auntie Annie would jump out of the car to go and check whether everything was closed properly. While she was away we continued with our indepth inquiry into society.  Just as Auntie Annie would fasten her seatbelt again, he would say (tong in die kies): “Did you switch of the stove?” and off she ran again. That gave as more talking time!


We stopped on the road twice. First for bacon and eggs under the trees near Fochville, and then again just before Potchefstroom when we had tea.  Although Auntie Annie packed lots of groceries for our visit to Potchefstroom, we had a ritual of shopping the minute we arrived. We bought dough for bread and meat from the butchery. The bakery had the most delicious pastries with sugar on them.  We called them “hoefies”.  We bought fresh milk from the dairy, and then we were off to the farm.


On arrival Oom Dawie would say: “Annette, jy sal afpak né?” (Annette, will you unpack for us?).  And off the two of us went to continue our conversation that never seemed to stop… 


From Oom Dawie I learned that there are different views to life, that we must be aware of those living in poverty and that some conversations will never be finished. 


Until 1972 I lived in Virginia in the Orange Free State. I had married Peter Laubscher on 1 October 1949. We had two daughters, and five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Both my daughters attended St Mary’s Convent during their primary-school years. The Afrikaans society[2] in Virginia was very conservative however, strangely enough it was here that I was introduced to Yoga. In a small mining town everybody knows everyone’s business and thus your behaviour had to be very conformist. You could be ostracised if your behaviour deviated ever so slightly from the conservative rules set by the community.


I soon began to practice my organising abilities. I organised fetes for the Mine

Woman’s Social Club and the first International Salon for Photography in South Africa followed on this. 


I realised that I was able to get things done.


I read the Virginia reference library from A to Z while living in the platteland[3]. I only read the reference library. My interest in value systems, in cultural groups, religion and brain technology emerged. I also bought books on Yoga, Quantum Physics, General Systems Theory and Buddhism. At times I covered the books with brown paper not to draw unnecessary attention to them. My favourite quote came from a book by Dr Seuss: “You have to be a speedy reader because there’s so so much to read.”  The name of the book is I Can Read With My Eyes Shut (1978).


These were the early roots of what I would later describe as Human Niches, Thinking Systems and Value Circles.


I attended the Anglican Church, and was appointed Chairlady of the Virginia Nursery School. Later on I assisted with the African Feeding Scheme in the Mamelodi Township. To be able to contribute my share to the family finances, I taught driving and sewing from home. In between the household chores and other activities I took up the role of Brown Owl for the Virginia Brownies[4].


On April 20, 1973 my husband passed away. To this day I remember his departure by keeping the oath of silence that I made then in memory of that part of my life. I was 42 years old. 


A family friend, Leslie Engelbrecht gave me an Elna sewing machine. “On one condition,” he had said, “you must come for a lesson and practice for an hour every day for a week.” I grabbed this opportunity with both hands. This opportunity gave me a career.


Just before my husband died, I started teaching sewing classes at Elna Sewing Machines to supplement the budget. I was soon promoted to organise the Sew Easy classes countrywide. I was made Personal Assistant to the Marketing Director, and had the opportunity to display my organising talents and soon-tobe-developed selling skills by organising the Elna exhibition at the Rand Easter Show in Johannesburg[5]. To my delight, I was promoted to Advertising Coordinator for Elna South Africa, and was exposed to international travel for the first time. 


I visited Switzerland four times on behalf of Elna for training purposes. I was also sent to America for three and a half months to do research. Another project - a television study, took me to Europe, England and America. In 1979 I was promoted to Wholesale Area Manager for Elna and then to Retail Area Manager for the East Rand. I started to use value management methodology[6] and soon became Public Relations Officer for the company. 


I grew in confidence of being able to care for myself. My life was hand-made. 


During one of my business trips to Brittan I decided to search for the school teacher who I referred to earlier, Audrey Buckle. The loving memories from my school days had remained with me. I took a bus to the South of England where she lived. I wanted to thank her for all that she had done for me.


The furniture was arranged similarly to the way it was years ago in South Africa. A strange sense of déjà vu came over me.  Ms Buckle always had stimulating reading material which she shared enthusiastically with her scholars. She had an ebony elephant with a seat on it – the seat was actually a table. We called it Effie. There was always an argument about which of the girls would be fortunate enough to sit on Effie, while we listened to Ms Buckle reading to us. Effie stood close to her, and we all competed for this preferred seat. Now, all these years later in the South of England, here was Effie in the room again. I instantly felt like I was thirteen years old! 


I took a seat on Effie after I had asked permission to do so. I thanked her for all she had contributed to my life.  I told her of my life and my accomplishments. I wanted to share with her the fruit that had grown from the seeds she had planted. At that stage I was the Personal Assistant to the Marketing Director, responsible for advertising and running the shops. I also designed the dress for Miss South Africa for the Miss Universe competition, and together with other staff we made up all her dresses for the occasion.


She was always very non-committal. Her words were: “I would not have expected anything less from you dear.”


Later, I co-ordinated the Video and Hi-Fi Fair in Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Cape Town, for 15 years. I worked hard, and grew in confidence by being able to care for myself. My life was hand-made. 


In 1978 I became a marketing information officer at Hunt, Leuchars and Hepburn. I became involved in corporate planning and strategy formulation for 8 divisions of this organisation. I continued to apply Value Management principles during my tenure there.


In 1979 I joined Rufflette, a company that specialised in curtain tape, curtain rails and hooks. Rufflete was a part of Thomas French & Sons, a company based in the United Kingdom. Initially, I was appointed as Sales Manager, and within months was promoted to Promotions Manager in South Africa. I established a curtain-making operation for the company. One of my most memorable contributions to Rufflette was the introduction of ready-to-hang curtains into the South African Market for Jet Stores. 

Two years, later in 1981, I became Marketing Director for Flig Scissors. Marketing and sales operations were established for the company. In 1982 I joined South African Value Engineering as a director; in 1984 I bought South African Value Centre from this entity, and took over the running of the National Value Centre for Dr Don Beck in South Africa.


Over time I became aware of the different ways in which people make sense of nonsense, and what the implications of different thinking patterns are. I was exposed to Gravesian theory[7], and began to incorporate these thoughts into the processes that I facilitated.


Through participative management methodologies and Value Circles my journey exposed me to external clients such as Infoplan, Littleton Engineering, various Anglo Gold Mines, Anglo Platinum in Rustenburg, Northam and Lebowa, Welkom Mines Limited, West Rand Consolidated, Lite Master, Successful Salesmanship, Middelburg Steel and Alloys, Western Holdings Gold Mine, Saaiplaas Gold Mine, Vaal Reefs Gold Mine, Western Deep Levels Gold Mine, Elandsrand, Buffelsfontein, Unisel Gold Mine, President Steyn Gold Mine, M.I.T, Eagle Tactics, Quo Data, Kwazulu Training Trust, Absa Bank, WADELA Township Establishment, Suitable Technologies and Mmabatho High. I facilitated with numerous consultants and consulting firms, and later worked extensively with Bioss[8] and now Mandala Consulting.


I stepped into my name Potseletso – I came after the difficulty, and I remained African.


Hillbrow was a delightful place in the 70s. There were many cafés, and shops remained open till late, record shops sold any record one could think of, you could even watch the midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. And there was this very special bookshop – the Aquarian Bookshop where very special books waited to find the right readers. There was a collection of works created by beautiful minds. Hillbrow had a totally different kind of lifestyle. In the beginning of the 90s, when Mom and Dad moved there, one could already see the beginning of deterioration in the buildings. It also showed in the streets and the faces of the people.


In the late 1970s Mom and Dad moved to Emmarentia, and then to Hillbrow, Johannesburg. They moved into a retirement residential hotel. Promises of frailcare facilities never materialised. It was a raw deal from the start. I bought the flat next to mine, in Windsor West and prepared it for Mom and Dad. They stayed with me whilst we fixed the place. One day Mom was working in the garden. She fell over and broke both her shoulders. She was too weak to be operated on, and her arms were strapped to her body. That is how I met Jack Idleman, her doctor, who knew the Existential Staircase of Graves inside and out. He also was very familiar with the Psychological Map[9]


Together we strategised, and came to the conclusion that a huge tragedy was going to happen – a whole generation would be wiped out, and grandparents, old people, would have to take care of the young. We discussed Spiral Dynamics, and spoke about its implications on the prevention of HIV/AIDS. We even wrote an article together on the trends and implications of HIV/AIDS, and possible solutions to it. It is my view that nature has its own ways of sorting things out (refer Self-Organising Theory [10] ). One can study the animal and vegetable kingdoms for powerful examples. I view HIV/AIDS in a similar way[11].


Jack presented our article at a conference in West Africa. The audience was informed in detail of the catastrophic side effects of the pandemic of HIV/AIDS.  Years later, out of the blue a foreign doctor told Jack that he wanted to share with him an excellent article on HIV/AIDS. The article we had written was handed back to Jack. Our names had been erased!


I became acutely aware of the ethical and unethical behaviours of people. Until today, I quote the original author when speaking, writing or presenting theory.


During my intense diverse working career, I met Clare Graves (Existential Staircase, 1974) and worked intensively with Don Beck (Spiral Dynamics, 1995). These underlying theories significantly influenced the way in which I work. For more than 20 years I have been placing Graves’s theory of the Emergent Cyclical Double Helix Model of Bio-Pscyho-Social Human Development on the South African cultural landscape. The result is that to understand the diversity of South Africa and the way forward to a future with promise, all South Africans have got to be helped to see their world differently. There is always a different way to see and understand the world around you, and I became part of translating different thinking systems in an attempt to create shared understanding.    


During one of my many visits overseas to study Spiral Dynamics, in 1982 I went to the school of Metaphysics in Los Angeles (LA). Nothing was planned in advance. When I arrived at the airport, I looked at the motel advertisements, chose the most affordable one and took a taxi there. I found that the place was renting out rooms by the hour, and the sheets left a lot to be desired. I realised that I would never be able to stay there; even for a night, and called a cab to take me to the nearest Holiday Inn. My quest in search of Marilyn Ferguson, my favourite author of the Aquarius Conspiracy[12], had begun.

I had to travel to the centre of Los Angeles (LA). At that time LA was the hub of emerging thought processes and thinking paradigms or philosophies such as metaphysics. To my disappointment Marilyn was out of town. However, I managed to spend time with her editor who later edited works for various famous authors.


I now had to get back to the airport. I caught a bus, but it was going in the wrong direction. There were only black people on the bus. For an average South African, in the midst of Apartheid, this could have seemed a difficult situation. I entrusted myself to the caring and support that a group of black people can provide. They took me off the bus; put me on another bus, and got everyone along the way to assist me on my journey.  


Even in mid-LA, I was fortunate to connect with AMERICAN PURPLE[13] in its purest form.


My involvement with the mines included workshops on changing the living conditions of black male workers in hostels. This necessitated working very closely with the unions. In negotiations between management and workers I used value systems and value processes as tools in an attempt to promote understanding of the different human niches.


I have been enlightened about black culture by the most wonderful caring and sharing black people from every ethnic group. The ability of African people to remember past detail, their natural rhythm and copying ability are underutilised in Africa. 


Over the years I have, and even today, I will watch CNN through the night, muting the sound and studying the body language of politicians. I still learn from every experience. I also still consult in the field of Human Development, Systems Thinking and Spiral Dynamics (I call this Human Niches), especially on the integration of first-world and third-world cultures in the global workplace. 


I became the Managing Director of SA Value Circles (Pty) Ltd; and later the Managing Director Spiral Dynamics CC. Furthermore, I was an Associate of National Value Center in Texas and worked extensively with Piet Calitz at Bioss. Recently I established the Human Niches Institute for Africa and work closely with Mandala Consulting. I view it as a great honour to have become the first recipient of the Clare Graves Integral Award[14], which I received in Dallas in 2000. I was handed a framed picture of Graves and myself at this occasion (Photo 1.1, below). Today the photo still has a special place in my house.


Photo 1.1: Clare Graves and I



On one of the advertisements for a course that I presented I was positioned as follows (see Appendix A): 


“Loraine is one of the most experienced users of Spiral Dynamics globally. She is renowned for her ability to apply Spiral Dynamics practically and with lasting results. Her easy and accessible communication style enables her to share sound and practical problemsolving, thinking and conflict-resolution skills with employees at all levels in the organisation. Her research interests include effective work-place forums, diversity management, personnel and organisational change. As a consultant, Loraine has a background in thinking skills and problemsolving training, marketing information research, sales training with specialisation in exhibition selling, tele-prospecting, sales management of both wholesale and retail organisations, as well as the management of changing people’s outlook and identifying organisationalstructures that will work. She has delivered papers at conferences in the United States of America, South Africa and Brazil on Value Circles as an Accelerated Learning Method.”


Recently we visited Liliesleaf[15] for a Mandala Consulting office function. Most members of the group were eager to read the colourful inscriptions on photos and display boards, and learn about forgotten history in the not-so-distant past. I took a walk down memory lane. The chronological progression of events in South African, and especially in the ANC, mirrored my own progression in thought. Very fond, sacred memories and profoundly sad memories filled every part of my being as I too remembered the history of our nation. It was such a privilege for me to see my past experience through young people’s eyes. The photo below was taken on this field trip (Photo 1.2). 










Photo 1.2:  Liliesleaf


Nowadays I end all my emails in the following manner:



Who Explains Spiral Dynamics

P.O. Box 1736




As Spiral Dynamics theory became so integral to my practice and essence, and since Africa is so sacred to me, I adopted the Spiral Dynamics colours in the form of Africa as a logo for my company. I believe that in Africa the full spread of value systems is represented. The logo can be seen in Picture 1.1 below.

Picture 1.1:  Spiral Dynamics diagramme in the form of Africa




In my own opinion I am still Potseletso Seema.

PART          2:      A       LIFE-­‐HISTORY             INTERVIEW         ON    MY    CONTEXTUAL     CORE         


“Just as in the body, eye and ear develop as organs of perception, as senses for bodily processes, so does a man develop in himself soul and spiritual organs of perception

through which the soul and spiritual worlds are opened to him. For those who do not

have such higher senses, these worlds are dark and silent, just as the bodily world is

dark and silent for a being without eyes and ears.”

~ Rudolf Steiner (1996)


On 7 November 2012, Ruan Viljoen, a researcher from Mandala Consulting had an interview with me. The interview was audio-taped and transcribed, and is presented below. It took place in the boardroom of Mandala Consulting where I do part-time work. It became important for the distilling of my thoughts and my research approach to tell my story to a researcher who is familiar with qualitative interview principles. Ruan, a young researcher, is such a person.  


Ruan: “There are 5 topics I would like to talk to you about today. The first topic is about your interaction with Clare Graves. How did you meet him, and what is the story behind your meeting?”


Ruan is sitting ready with his tape-recorder and notebook to take field notes. Loraine shifts round in her chair, makes herself comfortable, and begins reflecting.


Loraine: “Don Beck and Chris Cowan took to visit with Clare on his farm in New York State. I did what you are doing here today. I taped every single word of our conversations. I literally taped everything.  Today, I view these tapes as among my most precious belongings. We are in the process of reformatting the tapes to allow for digital use. Clare was very interested in meeting with South Africans because he had followed up on Beck's work in South Africa”. 


Ruan: “Tell me some more about your meeting?”

Loraine: “I had been exposed to his thoughts and work before I met him. Don's (Don Beck) PhD thesis[16] was placed squarely in the American milieu of politics. Afterwards Don realised that Spiral Dynamics could explain some of the American political dynamics. When Don Beck met Clare Graves, and he (Don) saw the Value Systems as described by Graves’s double-helix model, they both realised that what had happened in America could be explained by means of his model. Don Beck came to South Africa. At that stage South Africa was in political turmoil, and presented a microcosm of international thinking patterns. Beck and Graves discussed the South African position in detail.


I spent time with Graves twice. Once was when I visited him and his wife.  We stayed in their house for the weekend. I meticulously prepared all the questions that I wanted to ask him well in advance.


Graves was interested in talking to me about the politics in South Africa and about indigenous South Africans. His (Graves’s) experience with PURPLE[17] was with the Inuit Indians and the indigenous American people. I met him just after he had had a heart attack. He still became tired very quickly. We arrived at his farm at about two o' clock in the afternoon. We had flown from Texas. Although both of us were quite tired, we talked until about ten o' clock that night. I remember waking up at five o' clock, and writing down all the questions I wanted to ask him during our next session. Later on we had breakfast together, and were talking about numerous things. This took up that whole morning”.


Loraine takes a sip of water, she draws a handout that lies on the table closer.

She continues, while pointing at the spiral on the colourful handout (Figure 2.1):





Figure 2.1:  Spiral Dynamics as described by Beck (2008)


Loraine briefly explains the different Value Systems on the Spiral to Ruan. She points at the different colours on the handout as she moves from Beige to Purple to Red and then to Blue, Orange, Green and Yellow. Then Ruan picks up the conversation again:


Ruan: “You say that Graves was interested in the South African political dynamics? Like those of the natives?”


Loraine: “Well, the word “native” has a bad connotation in South Africa. I prefer to use the term ‘indigenous people’, because those were the people who were here before anybody else came to settle here. The Picts and the Scots were indigenous to England. The Scots can still be considered to be indigenous people.


Whereas there was an influx of Danish people, Vikings and others into England, the Scottish population to a large extent still consist of tribal clans; similar to the clans or ethnic groupings that we have here in South Africa. In traditional spiral dynamics language, we refer to indigenous people as PURPLE.


Eventually we had a much better understanding of what we were talking about; although we must remember that Clare’s research was done with first-year university students when he was lecturing at Union College, Schenectady, New York. People of your own age group came to him, and he asked them to describe what they understood about the mature adult person. He gathered the answers to this question. By way of content analysis he derived his theory of the double helix of Value Systems, or as it is officially called, the Cyclical Double-Helix Model of Adult Bio-Pscyho-Social Behaviour. This took him 32 years of study! You have never seen so many papers in one place in your life. Every time a new theory was developed they took the data and applied it to this new theory, and there was always an excess of data! It simply would not fit into the space available”. 


I used to ask him: ‘But Clare, how did you do that?’


Very humbly he would say: ‘Well we went through the data...’ Ruan, just think about it; 32 years of data! That surely is a heck of a lot of data!”

Loraine stands up in an effort to visually display the magnitude of paper that she was faced with at Graves’s house so many years ago.


Ruan:  “I know how much data I gather on my own in a single year of studies – and that is only my personal work. I can just imagine that gathering work from classes of students over three decades would leave a mountain of paper! I studied organisational behaviour on third-year level, but I did not read about Graves. We were taught about Maslow in Industrial Psychology and

Organisational Behaviour classes at University though.”[18]


Ruan really begins to enjoy the conversation. Political Science is one of the other subjects for his degree, and little did he know when this interview started that this interest of his would also be discussed. In the meantime Loraine has taken a seat again.


Loraine: “Maslow was a contemporary of Graves, and they were friends. In fact I have books in my library that document Maslow's attitude towards Graves’s work, namely: No wait. This is fine". Eventually they both came to the conclusion that Maslow's hierarchy of needs would fit into every one of the Value Systems”. 


Ruan: “Let us please take the conversation back to how Clare made sense of that mass of data”.


Loraine:  “Clare said: I was sitting in my little office, next to my classroom at the university, and all of a sudden I saw a vision of the spiral. I went and I wrote it down..."’ When he does that, he takes his right hand from his left hand, and the hand goes up into the sky. The first document he wrote was about the existential staircase[19]. However, we have to understand that later on, when we worked with the theory, we learned a great deal more. Clare himself evolved it even further. Suddenly Clare had a heart attack. That stopped any future publishing by him dead in its tracks”.


Ruan: “How old was he when you met him?”


Loraine: “He must have been about seventy-eight. He was no youngster, and he was no longer lecturing at the university. However, he had kept all this data and everything else that he needed to proceed with his life’s work. He continually reduced the data, clustered it, and made sense of it”.


Ruan quietly hands Loraine a glass of water, whilst eagerly nodding his head for her to continue.


Loraine: “Clare was a typical university professor. He was breeding quarter horses in partnership with his wife. He was very interested in exploring how the human mind works. You must remember that Clare lived through the 60s. The 60s was the era of the flower children. It is important to remember this as shifts in the consciousness of societies or groups happen, crisis is presented to the individual psyche. This shift happens, as the world in which we operate changes, and our old ways may no longer be functional.  When I look at his work, I try to look at it through my hippie eyes. When I was a hippie; that was what Graves was seeing. So when he talks about the GREEN[20] Value System, I now know what he was talking about. He was talking about love, love, love ... Look at Woodstock! Listen to the music of Woodstock! That was love”.


Ruan (now smiling): “I can really relate!  It's still going on today, hey?”


Loraine: “Ja. This is why I always compare social realities to homeopathic medicine, because with homeopathic medicine you titrate it”.

Ruan: “I do not understand?”


Loraine: “Okay, let me explain. So you take a pinch of jasmine and a cup of icing sugar …”


Ruan:  “And you mix it?”


Loraine: “You mix it. You have a special vortex machine[21] to mix substances. You then take a pinch of the first mixture, and you take another cup of icing sugar, and you mix the two substances together. Study a bottle of homeopathic medicine. It is measured in potency. Potency describes the strength of selfbrewed medicine. If the potency is 200, it means it has been titrated 200 times”. 


Ruan: “Please explain further?”


Loraine: “The principle here is that the less one takes, the more effective it becomes. Now what happens when you apply that principle, which is a homeopathic principle, in human relations and in politics and in all the other things? One finds that it becomes gross. How do we titrate that grossness? If we take a close look at South Africa and the grossness of the political apartheid; how are we going to titrate that to come up with a society that is balanced and strong?”


Ruan reflects on what was said. He is not sure that he truly understands, but in a strange way what Loraine is explaining makes sense to him. He stands up and draws the heavy yellow parsley curtains open.


Ruan: “Van die os op die jas[22].  We are now facing the race between Romney and Obama for becoming the next American president. Who do you think will win?” 


Loraine: “Are you asking me whom I would choose to lead America? I think I'd have to suggest that you read The Fate of Nations[23], which talks about political niches. It describes the rise and fall of nations. You know: how nations come up and how nations go down. We have to go back to the Egyptian civilisation and the Greek civilisation, because the roots of the African civilisation can be found in North Africa. One can trace that pattern right through all history. There is always the ebb and the flow of nations. America is a nation that has risen, and is now descending. We must now begin to watch the Asian nations as they develop their own dynamics”.


Ruan (thinking out loud): “It's like a repeating cycle. So what do you see happening now in the global world?”


Loraine: “I am currently studying the dynamics of BRICS”.


Ruan: “Oh yes, the BRICS countries? We learned about that in Politics 201. 

These countries are Brazil, Russia, India and China, if I am correct”. 

Loraine: “Yes, and South Africa has also recently joined the BRIC countries to form BRICS[24]. I believe the Russian Empire has declined. I think the Russians have been trying very hard by means of communism and with many attempts at its revival. But Russia has been a closed society for thousands of years, and we know from Systems Thinking Theory that closed systems deteriorate”[25].


The Chinese empire is expanding. We saw the Japanese empire rising, but now it has become static. It is stuck in one place. It no longer grows, but it is not at the top of the pole. At the moment I'm watching groupings, and I'm watching that corridor from China, Malaysia and Australia”.


Ruan (realising that everything is interrelated in Loraine’s head): “Yes?”


Loraine (clearing her throat): “China, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and that belt. They have a lot of raw material in India. In Australia, and Fiji they have gold mines, and they have other metals. At the moment in Malaysia they have a highly-trained work force. China has the masses, and its reputation of getting things done and executing ideas”.  


Ruan:  “And what is your view about the Arabian world?”


Loraine:  “Okay. In the Arab states they now have what they call the Arab Spring[26]. The protests involve strikes, demonstrations, marches and rallies. They even use social media to organise and communicate and to raise awareness in the face of state repression. The same trends are visible and are alive and well today in certain African countries”. 


Ruan stands up to stretch his legs. He realises that he is leading the conversation in a total different direction. Refocused, he takes his position again.


Ruan: “Let’s get back to the task at hand. We were speaking about Clare when I interrupted myself, and asked you about the American election. You very cleverly managed to evade the question and not really to answer me”.


Loraine and Ruan share an intimate glance, and giggle.

Loraine: “We also spoke about the hippies. I must be the oldest hippie alive! I sat on pavements all over the world. On a more serious note; there was a shifting in thinking in America from the fifties to the sixties. This evolvement is still taking place today. It is through this hippie era that Graves lived, and at the end of the era, he gave us Spiral Dynamics”. 


Ruan: “So let’s speak about Spiral Dynamics”.


Loraine: “Okay. Initially Clare called it The Existential Staircase, and not Spiral Dynamics”.


Ruan: “Now where did the name Spiral Dynamics come from?”


Loraine: “It was created when Clare gave Don and Chris Cowan the rights to use his materials, and on publishing the book with the same name in 1996. When he died they inherited all his (Clare’s) original papers and drawings. So the drawings in the book Spiral Dynamics[27], are Graves’ original drawings. 


The photographs that I have of him and me together were taken where we were walking outside his lovely farmhouse. We were walking and talking while Don and Chris took pictures. We went to see his stables. A very special totem was placed above the door of the barn, just like some Africans will do to protect their homes. This was a signal to me that he truly understood PURPLE. Later I learned that different people have different ways of doing exactly this. An example is a Hindu house with flags on poles to protect the owners of the dwelling”.  


Ruan: “On a recent visit to Thailand, I saw spirit houses on the right-hand side of buildings and houses that are supposed to act as protection”.  


Loraine:  “Exactly. That does define protection. There are many things on earth that we don’t understand. There are things that are simply beyond our comprehension. Beyond mine …” 


Ruan (reflecting a bit):  “Hmm. Yes?”


Loraine:  “I always believed that Graves was the forerunner of global thought on diversity. The changes between the different eras, and the changes that he personally experienced informed the insights that he gained into the way in which value systems change. He passed this understanding on to me. As I'm talking to you, I cannot help to wonder about the changes that you are going to be witnessing too. What is life going to be like when you get to my age...”


Ruan:  “Now you make me think”. 


Before the connection of two souls, sixty years apart, could continue, there was a knock on the door. The friendly face of Patricia appeared around the corner. She offered coffee, and asked whether Loraine and Ruan wanted something to eat. Both accepted with appreciation. As the door closed Loraine spontaneously continued with the conversation.


Loraine: “I view the brain as a hologram interpreting a holographic universe[28]. Individual brains are bits of the greater hologram. Under certain circumstances they have access to all the information in the total cybernetic system. Synchronicity[29] – those incidents and occurrences that seem to have some higher purposes or connectedness also fit in with the holographic model. Such meaningful occurrences are derived from the purposeful, patterned and organised nature of the matrix. Psychogenesis, mind-affecting matter (for example bending a spoon with your mind) may be a natural result of interaction at a primary level. There is much that ties this in with Jung”.


Ruan: “Are you referring to Carl Jung, the Swiss Psychologist?”


Loraine affirms this comment with a wave of her hand.


Loraine: “Yes, I am not a Jungian as such, but I enjoyed reading his views about the collective unconscious, or your psychic inheritance[30]


I always wanted to be a chemical engineer. Even today I am still more interested in chemistry, physics, quantum-physics and systems thinking, than in pure psychology. However, I see it through my mind’s eyes. Like I said about the titrations, I can see the chemical, and I can see the physics connection in the mind, so perhaps that makes me a different creature”.


Ruan: “I hear you, but there's definitely a connection”.


Loraine: “So, when you see this kind of thing you wonder… Mostly I get to speak to people more your parents' age. They don't always understand, because they missed the hippie age. Their brains were formatted into a specific thinking pattern in the seventies and eighties. They are functioning in a different niche. So their psychology is different to my psychology. Now that I come to think about it; there are two generations between you and me!”


Ruan: “We have more in common than what I thought. They also do not understand my generation that grew up in the 90s and the new millennium!”


Loraine and Ruan are now laughing out loud! Loraine always has her Apple Notebook, iPad, iPod and voice recorder with her. She tells Ruan to quickly come and look at a picture on her computer. Both of them burst out in loud laughter on seeing the cartoon (Picture 2.1 below):


Picture 2.1:  Granny at the computer



With that, there is a soft knock on at the door and Patricia opens it. She puts down two cups of steaming coffee brewed from freshly-ground beans on a crisp white placemat. On the wooden tray that she carries there are freshly-backed hot-cross buns. The smell of the coffee and buns flavour the air. Patricia serves Loraine, while Ruan helps himself. In the Ndbele tribe from which Patricia comes, it is practice to serve the elderly people first.


Loraine: “Let’s continue our conversation while we have our picnic[31]. Until the middle of the 1980s, a lot of research about the brain was being undertaken. I began to realise that we could not find new publications on the nature of the brain after that. I wondered whether this was a South African phenomenon. However, when I visited America all that I found published there in the early 1990s was pop psychology. I still wonder today why it just stopped. Nowadays we hear about Integral Psychology41 and neuro-science. If you Google you will even find lots of articles on neuro-leadership, especially those of David Rock[32]. I however still sense a pseudo-ness about it. Wilber for example edited the Holographic Paradigm and other Paradox: Exploring the Leading Edge of Science[33]. He is an excellent editor, and seems to integrate things very well”. 


Ruan: “Very interesting. Do you agree with his views?”


Loraine: “Somehow his work did not resonate with me. You understand what resonate is?”


Ruan: “Yes?”


Loraine: “If things resonate with me, I'm attracted to them. I absorb them through my skin. I integrate them”. 

Ruan: “Like a sponge?”


Loraine: “Yes. It's almost a subconscious measure that says: ‘This is okay, and this is not okay’. It is like something that pricks me at the back of my head. I spent a lot of years studying meta-physics, doing meditation and yoga, exploring my body, my soul and my own psyche. I listened to my gut feelings. I also prefer to acknowledge the intent of the original author of an idea or theory.


Loraine takes a sip of water, and pauses for a while before she continues.


Graves developed his knowledge through his research path. He handed over his life’s work to Don Beck and Chris Cowan as discussed before. Don became a close friend of mine. He has been in South Africa sixty three times. I believe he's coming back in November 2013. I am really looking forward to him visiting our country again. Don worked with most high-profile politicians in the early 1990s. I drove with him from the East to the West and the North to the South of our country, I met the politicians of the time with him, and I listened to all the political talks of building a new South Africa”.

Ruan: “Cool! Very cool!”


Loraine: “Ruan, it really was! Mandela, Sisulu, Treurnicht, de Klerk and various other people in government when PW Botha was still in power; before de Klerk came onto the scene. I sat in parliament so many times. I listened and I observed. It was so satisfying to see the people whom we trained in understanding different Value Systems display their capabilities in the political arena. Rolf Meyer, Wynand Malan, Leon Wessels and Cyril Ramaphosa all had been exposed to Gravesian thinking”.


Ruan: “Man! This is amazing!”


Loraine: Did you know that to enable our Constitution to be inclusive, it was deliberately written in GREEN? However, the nuances of ORANGE[34] were missed. These nuances are the only things that could fulfil the needs of the masses. Furthermore, the consequences of not complying, which are the jewels of BLUE[35], were not emphasised. For the RED46 in the country the GREEN Constitution is too open-ended and fuzzy. 


The same thing is currently happening in the Middle East and in the Arab Spring. It is on the cusp of a transition between RED and BLUE. A BLUE ideology is preached, but RED anger is used to apply it. In South Africa we also had “Die Volk”[36], and we had a very specific way in which things had to be done. This was called Apartheid. Apartheid was a BLUE system, and was imposed on PURPLE people”.

Ruan: “I am not sure how you can so easily identify the different colours?”


Loraine: “It's very simple if you can picture the brains or the thinking systems behind the dynamics.”


Ruan looks puzzled.


Ruan: “I am not sure that I understand? Am I correct in assuming that the colours that you are referring to describe the categories of Spiral Dynamics?”


Loraine: “Yes! But Graves referred to them as Value Systems, and not Categories. I call them Thinking Systems. People become confused between the concepts of personal values and value systems. I believe that what we are actually studying are different ways of thinking – therefore my choice of words”.


Loraine turns around in her chair, and stretches to reach for the book on Spiral Dynamics[37]. This book is kept in a rosewood bookcase that guards the sacred book collection of Mandala Consulting. She opens the book on page 41 and explains the basic theory to Ruan.


Ruan (looking more comfortable): “Let’s continue”.


Loraine:  “At that time we had different Human Niches in South Africa”. 


Ruan quickly interrupts.


Ruan:  “What is a Human Niche then?”


Loraine: “Yes, yes, let me retract a bit. As explained, I stopped referring to the Value Systems years ago. I now call these different thinking systems Human Niches. In my opinion a niche is something that you excel at. Because individuals and groups of individuals continually ask the same Gravesian question about existence, they become quite good at certain things. I call this a Human Niche”.

Ruan:  “Now, I understand’.


Ruan takes a sip of his coffee. By now it is cold. The conversation has been too interesting not to have their full attention. He prompts Loraine to continue, whilst pushing his own cup and Loraine’s to the side. The muffins still stand untouched on the table.


Loraine: “In South Africa there was a Nationalist Niche (BLUE). BLUE asks the question: ‘How can we sacrifice today to save the future? But that niche didn't work with PURPLE people. Today, another Human Niche (RED) that doesn't work is in operation in the Zuma government. In America a niche (ORANGE) under the Bush administration, did not work[38]. In Persia, the niche (BLUE) that managed the country didn't work, so RED threw out the Shah of Persia. I'm old enough to remember that battle. I saw it happen; but not on television”.   


Ruan (thinking out loud): “Did you experience it on the radio? Hearing it, listening to it?”


Loraine: “No on bioscope screens! Bioscopes, that's what they were called in those days. And we saw it on those big screens! And after Persia it became Syria and Lebanon. I remember when there were problems in Lebanon. Lots of Lebanese fled to South Africa. I remember as a child going to catch the tram. I saw them, and they would go to the market and buy fruit, and they'd always polish the apples”.


‘”Mommy, buy me an apple?”  I would ask.


"No, those people spit on the apples to make them shine. So if we buy them, we've got to take them home and wash them first. We can't eat them right here ‘ 


The Lebanese were also called the bottle-and-bag people. They settled in South Africa, in all neighbourhoods and they developed the properties. They had places at the Johannesburg market, where they sold vegetables, I can clearly remember that. You could buy two and a half pounds of potatoes for nine pence. It's unbelievable. Five pounds was a fair monthly wage”.


Ruan: “Everything was totally different in those days?”


Loraine: “When I got married, my husband’s salary was twelve pounds and ten shillings a month”.


Ruan: “That's crazy! Today the minimum salary is R6 500 per month, and the wages of a labourer are set at R1 750”.


Loraine: “Yes. It was an altogether different life”. 


Ruan clears his throat. He realises that there is so much to speak about that focusing on a single question is practically impossible.


Ruan: “Could we perhaps speak about the practical application of Spiral Dynamics, or the Human Niches? I know that you teach people in organisations in a way that makes them understand better. Could you give me an example of what you do?”


Loraine: “When I was working in the mining industry, I used what I termed “the African way”. I did this to prove to the supervisors in the training school that there were better ways of training people than those employed at the time. My method was firmly based on the Montessori method of training[39]. When people have not had the opportunity to be exposed to education, they rely on their natural abilities. They use their observation skills that have not been tampered with. For example, they use their inborn intuition. The Bushmen in South Africa are said to have had twenty-six senses.” 


Ruan: “But I have been told that we only have five senses! Only women are supposed to be blessed with a sixth sense?”


Ruan looks puzzled. Loraine continues to explain.


“Indigenous people have many gifts. They have brought families up, they have done many things, but they believed that learning was something you do by writing, and therefore they were not keen on learning. Remember, in accordance with African culture if the mother has a boy child, this child must go to the father's mother. This paternal grandmother takes him as a small, small child, and trains him. This is done the moment he comes off the breast. He is then about twelve to eighteen months old. Normally, when he begins to talk he is already with the grandmother. 


The grandmother (Gogo) teaches him what he has to know about life. To warn him to be careful of fire, she will take his hand and holds it right in the fire. She will let him just touch it, and she'll say: "Sjoe, sjoe!" In future when she says that, he will not go near the fire. Therefore one seldom finds burns on small rural African boys. This is different from children who are brought up in townships, and who are not in the care of their grandmothers. Today almost all children are sent to nursery schools. They are no longer taught the old ways. In townships nowadays children are often found with burn scars”.


Ruan: “I can see the sense in that”.

Loraine: “People in charge of organisations don't use this simple technique of showing how things must be done. The African man who is put in charge of a training school has a little bit of education. He speaks a language that is compulsory. This is usually English or Afrikaans, so that he can converse with the bosses, and translate to the workers. He is told to do it in this way, and that is how it is done! So I blame management at every point! If you haven't got productivity don't look to the workers, look to management. I want you to put that in bold letters. This is one of my pet hates!


Ruan: “You make it quite obvious!”


Loraine:  “So, I put the people in a circle. All our indigenous ethnic groups do precisely that. They sit around a fire in a natural way. They gather under a tree, and sit in a circle to discuss matters that need to be discussed, they ask the advice of someone who is respected as being more senior, or somebody who has the authority through a bloodline. This is also done when an indaba, pitso of kgotla is held. These are the names for important circular gatherings to discuss serious business that concerns the entire group in Zulu, Sotho and Tswana”. 


Ruan:  “Please tell me more”


Loraine: “Every tribe has a word that means a meeting to discuss things. Okay? To my mind, a training session can also be seen as a meeting to discuss things. Management does not understand this. One day I went into one of these classrooms, and observed what was happening at a specific time. What was happening there made me so angry that I rushed out of the room, took my car and sped off. Eventually I stopped next to the road somewhere out of town.  On the plot next to where I stopped were two poles with a wire strung between them. On the wire there were sheepskins that were being treated (cured) to make them soft and pliable. The Afrikaans word for this curing process is “brei” “[40]

Ruan: “Yes, I know exactly what that is”.


Loraine: “The next step in the process is to comb out the wool or hair. The completed product is quite beautiful! I bought one of the untreated skins. My next stop was the chemist shop where I persuaded the chemist to sell me a small bottle of hydrochloric acid. 


The following day I went back to the training school. I held up a sign, and asked the men ‘What does this sign tell you?  The sign that I was holding up to them was the sign for acid water that is used in the mining industry. Acid is also used in uranium and gold process plants, as well as in the flotation process in the platinum mining industry.”


Ruan: “Yes, in the chemical process of mining?”


Loraine: “Yes, it is used there. The acid water is stored in those huge tanks that you saw. The tanks are made of metal, and are lined with special sealant. The sign that I held up warned people that they had to put on special gloves when working in that area. The sign teaches people:  Here you must put on special gloves’.”  


Ruan: “So if you push out your hands straightforward, it means you must wear gloves? Is that the sign for gloves?”


Loraine (shaking her head): “Not really. There are different gloves for different jobs with specific gloves for working in acid. Acid cannot penetrate these gloves. There are other gloves for working with hot metal, and that are used in a boilermaker's shop. So there are two or three warning signs that gloves must be put on. However, there is nothing to indicate the variation in the application of the gloves”.


Workers often do not realise that a different type of glove must be worn when one works with acid. So when I asked the men ‘What is this?  they responded that it was a glove. I would then always ask them:  ‘Why do you wear this?" ‘ and the typical answer would be:  ‘Oh, the glove is to stop you from getting cuts on your hand’ . Less often the response would be that it protected one’s hand from burning. 


So I put the sheepskin on the ground, and I take out my little bottle of acid. Everybody is standing around me. I say:  ‘Watch closely now!’ I pour some of the acid onto the sheepskin, and it eats into it right away. The people are amazed at what they see. Everybody instinctively stands back, and looks at the hole in the sheepskin. 


 ‘What's this? ‘ I ask, holding the bottle of acid in the air.  No one knows. I can hear someone whispering something about a sangoma[41], and me being a white one! I explain:  ‘This is what is stored in those acid tanks out there, and that is why you must put on these gloves! You wouldn’t want your hands to be burnt like the sheepskin? Would you now? ‘ They all gasp.”


Ruan:  “And then they listened!”


Loraine: “After that everybody was wearing gloves. The safety record improved, and for years to come, no incidents or accidents were recorded there”. 


Ruan: “This is a remarkable story!”


Loraine: “I have many stories about dealing with people at this level. They are at the bottom of the organisation. I call them analogue thinkers. They do not see things in a digital word way, but as pictures. Hence reports must be in pictures. At Western Deep we designed cartoons to translate the whole HR policy in PURPLE. We used soccer as a metaphor at the Greater Pretoria Metropolitan Council. Here performance management, reward strategy, discipline, safety and other functional areas of business were all designed in the context of the metaphor of what was happening in the soccer team”. 

Ruan: “What do you think happened at Marikana[42]?”


Loraine: “Before talking about Marikana, I think that we really need to go back a little bit further. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the National Metal Workers Union had been the unions at most mines and in most factories. In the beginning they had RED leaders talking to PURPLE workers, and encouraging them to form a union so that they could have a share of the bounty of the production of the mines and factories. This went well for a few years in the beginning. However, then, as a result of the leaders always sitting and talking to management they learned much more of the BLUE and copied it. Slowly the BLUEs began coming into the organisation. The workers now saw the union reps sitting with the mine management, and they felt that they were not getting their fair share. So once again these PURPLE workers were being mobilised by new RED men who wanted a piece of the action, and they were prepared to stand up and be counted. This is energy of RED and the challenging that RED does to authority. 


We now have the clash between the BLUE, or sophisticated, NUM union officials and the less sophisticated and much more PURPLE-orientated Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU). The AMCU was operating among the low RED leaders. Therefore, where BLUE was contemplating to challenge the mine management on a legal first-world system, the RED reverted back to what they perceived as the strongest system. 


They brought a sangoma in to brew a mixture that was guaranteed that bullets would not touch them. They would be protected from harm, and would not be wounded. We have to remember that within the police force there are a significant number of PURPLE thinkers. So when the AMCU members ran at them with their sticks and pangas they panicked. These PURPLE police knew that rubber bullets would not kill, but would only stun. At that stage these police members were so traumatised that they substituted the rubber bullets with real ones. This they saw as a much better protection of their own bodies. This switch resulted in indiscriminate firing of real bullets and many people were killed. Then the accusations began pouring in.  


There were PURPLE accusations, RED accusations, BLUE accusations and even ORANGE accusations. Everybody was implying that the tragedy was someone else’s fault. Representatives of the government used what they felt was their only defence and that was a judicial inquiry. Naturally this is a BLUE process tempered with PURPLE; so “everybody” had to have his or her say. This included mining officials, police officials, family members and mourners, NUM officials, AMCU officials and employees. Everyone had to have an opportunity to speak. This carried on for months and no resolution was reached. The ORANGE mine managers were extremely frustrated because productivity suffered, and is still suffering as any decision-making was taken out of their hands, and they felt totally emasculated. 


One of the issues at Marikana was identified as job-grading disparities. The question now arises whether the people who were actually involved at ground level ever understood the question: ‘What is job grading?’


Every aspect in business should be translated in a way that knowledge and understanding are shared at all levels. The metaphor of soccer could again be used successfully in this instance. Job grading can be compared to the position you play in the team, and what reward you would receive for helping to score a goal. How does one become a team manager? How does one get to be the team coach? How does one get to be promoted to play for one of the top teams? How does one get selected to play for a club overseas? This is how workers must be helped to understand what promotion is. The word promotion is understood in the context of soccer, but not in the context of the work force. There is so much education that needs to be done in South Africa at ground-roots level. I wish I could stay alive long enough to teach each and every supervisor in South Africa how business works”.


Ruan: “So that we can improve productivity in South Africa, and ultimately turn around our economy to achieve our growth targets? Why would you like to work with the supervisors?”


Loraine now becomes animated. This is exactly what she wants to inform leadership in South Africa about. She believes from her heart and soul that this is what the country needs.


Loraine: “There are digital thinkers and there are analogue thinkers”. 


Loraine points at the picture of the spiral on the handout that still lies on the table. From the smaller suitcase of the three that she brought with her, she draws out a hand-out pamphlet on Digital and Analogue thinking. She hands this (Figure 2.2) to Ruan and continues.










Figure 2.2:  Digital and Analogue thinking


BLUE people put everything they wish to convey in digital language. They then expect the brains of the receivers to understand the contents, and to absorb and apply information. Digital language operates on guilt and fear. PURPLE people, however, are analogous. They think in pictures. BLUE must be aware that their digital process may lead to fear in PURPLE. If PURPLE becomes frightened, productivity comes to a standstill. During my training sessions I always say that BLUE glides of PURPLE.


Ruan: “It will be wonderful if productivity can be enhanced; especially at the bottom end of our organisations. However, I don’t know how? Can you tell me a bit more about this?” 


Loraine: “People have different brain dominances[43]. Take cricketers, for instance. The best right-handed cricketer will have left-eye and left-foot dominance. So his right hand, left foot and left eye will be dominant. That combination makes a batsman excellent”. 


Ruan: “I can see that”.


Loraine: “And you understand why?”


Ruan:  “Yes! It is very important to look at people, and not judge them by the way they dress, or by what they say. We have to see them as having different brains! This is quite funny! Brains on legs!”


Loraine: “Almost.  When I look at you, I see your brain, and more specifically, the way in which it is formatted. I believe that a person’s brain is formatted in the lingo of their mother tongue. I am sure that you have heard me asking people when I meet them about the places where they grew up”.


Ruan: “I did observe that! I was under the impression that you just liked speaking to people?”


Loraine: “Oh yes, I do love speaking to people, and testing my own hypothesis about thinking patterns and human niches! All these years I have viewed my own research approach of observing, asking probing questions, inquiring into Human Niches and different ways of thinking, as informing and enriching. I like testing my insights against my own reflections. I am my own laboratory! Only at the end, I go and see if I can find evidence for my assumptions in books, journals and academic theses, conference papers or on the Internet. I also love to discuss my thoughts and reflections with a few like-minded people who reason from various theoretical assumptions, and who stimulate my thoughts tremendously.


But let us get back to our batsman. If he's a left-handed batsman, right-eye and right-leg dominance become important. 


I was working in a factory, and there were complaints about an employee. It was said that he was slow on the machine he was working on. I always like to take a good look at things. I looked at the machine, and saw that it had a right-hand pedal. Most machines that are made in America and Germany have right-hand and right-foot dominance. Later I saw this man playing soccer, and I saw him kick the ball with his left foot. I light went on for me!  This guy was left-foot dominant. I went back to the factory the next day and got hold of the foreman. I asked his permission to make an adjustment to this employee’s machine. At first he was somewhat reluctant. When I explained my reasons to him he became excited, and gave me all the support I could wish for! We welded on a piece, and built in a simple addition to the infrastructure to balance the machine. In effect we adjusted the machine to have a pedal at the left as well. On the altered machine, this man now proved to be just as fast as anybody else”.


Ruan: “He could now use his left foot?”


Loraine: “Yes, and he was productive. Everybody always blamed the machine. I showed the foreman how to examine the machine. This man had been shouted at, and was viewed as sluggish. I proved that he wasn't slow. We used a stopwatch and timed him; first on a right-pedalled machine, and then on a leftpedalled machine. On the machine that had a pedal on the right, the man was very slow indeed”.  


Ruan: “What if you had not seen it? I am sure he could have been dismissed?”


Loraine: “Oh yes, that was a real possibility!” 


Loraine nods and continues eagerly.


Loraine: “Observational skills are among the most important skills that a supervisor must develop. One has to ask various questions as a first-line supervisor. One question is: what happens after observation? Once I watched the operator working on a drill machine that seemed to be broken. I asked him: "What happens if the drill is broken?" 


Ruan: “What did he say?”


Loraine: "Oh, big problem, big problem!"


Ruan:  “Is that what he said?”


Loraine (chuckling): "’Oh, big problem!’ That is the typical response in a PURPLE system. Management must understand the education of employees should be translated to the level of thinking of their employees and their cultural dynamics should be taken into account. I am speaking about Human Niches. But then, we need to teach the workers HOW to think about their jobs. Once workers are taught how to think about what they are doing, organisations will gain productivity”.


Ruan: “That makes sense!”


They both stand up for a while. Ruan leaves the room to quickly attend to something while Loraine sends an SMS to her daughter about arrangements for the night. After a while Ruan returns, and both take their seats to continue with the discussion.


Ruan: “Loraine, what can we as the young people of today do to heal South Africa; to make it a better country for the future?”


Loraine: “I think if your generation can understand the different thinking patterns of the different …”


Ruan looks up as Loraine pauses.


Loraine: “… I don't want to call it population groups, it's niches, I am speaking about niches. The brains of the different groups are differently calibrated. So we have young people who speak different languages, we have young people who have different levels of education, they come from different cultures, different religions, some are male and some are female. We have the most diverse society in the world, and I believe that we need to understand our different thinking patterns and that nobody is better or worse than anybody else. We are all calibrated differently. Now you will understand, and I think young people may understand the word 'calibrated' better”.


Ruan: “It's like we're tuned in differently”.


Loraine: “Tuned in differently, calibrated differently, calibrated to Facebook, Twitter, to computers, to websites, how to find information; we are all calibrated in different ways. But let's go back to the brain – whether it is analogue or digital? The answers for the next generation lie in the brain. It is about the way in which the brain fires. That firing is set by the age of two, after that it starts to digress. A brain is what each of us has, whether it is damaged, or whether it is the brain of somebody who belongs to Mensa. I am not speaking about intelligence. I am speaking about calibration. Managers must know how the brains of their workers are calibrated. We must remember that Graves said that the different value systems have a bio-psycho-social nature”.


Ruan: “I am beginning to understand. We need to understand the thinking systems of people. Do you think the world has changed a lot over the last two decades?”

Loraine: “Years ago the world was big for youngsters like you! People travelled only within a radius of a few kilometers during their entire lifetimes. Due to enhanced technology the world has shrunk so much that we can go to all different places by aeroplane. Today, the younger generation can easily become global citizens. In my generation travelling overseas was a wonderful, wonderful experience – but a very rare opportunity. For those who ever went overseas, it was a once in a lifetime experience. Some people my age had only been overseas once. Today it is interesting to see how many of my generation’s children have gone to various places abroad. Particularly in the area where I live, most people have children who now live in other places. Youngsters travel. Travel is considered to be an education. Cross-pollination of food, music, hobbies, sporting activities and ways of making a living happen”.


Ruan: “Culture as well, probably?”


Loraine: “Well, the understanding of different cultures … I find the understanding of different cultures absolutely fascinating. I watch how people look at African and South African culture. I find the way in which people look at African culture particularly irritating, because they only see the Hollywood version of African culture”.


Ruan: “Yes, that is what they perceive”.


Loraine: “What is perceived to be African is not truly understood. I find that Africans are very reluctant to share their culture with you unless you have proved to them that you are able to understand it, and therefore to understand them, and accept them as persons. Maybe they will share it then. Try and find the books of Watson (1982) and Mutwa (1969, 1986). I am not sure if you will be able to find them in South Africa. I smuggled books from these authors in during the Apartheid years”.


Ruan scribbles down the detail for himself. He really wants to know more about the indigenous African culture and African ways.


Loraine: “I have eagerly watched this phenomenon of what I call indigenous peoples, in countries all over the world where I've been to study. I found them in New Zealand (the Maoris), in Australia (the Aborigines), in the Caledonian Islands (the original people there), in Africa, in North America, in South America, in Europe and in England; these indigenous peoples, they are all there! In every way I look at it I think indigenous people in Graves’s work appear everywhere, and are misunderstood everywhere. The PURPLE Human Niche is not explored, and there are gifts that will materialise and bless us all when we manage to understand the mechanisms of the thinking system.


I look at the PURPLE, and at the progression into RED, and I see what African RED looks like. I must talk to you about what's going on in the American election at the moment.  But let me first speak about productivity.


Your focus must be away from the person and on the product, but try and make the product compatible with what that person has to do with it in a natural way”.


Ruan: “Yes. That makes sense”.


Loraine: “We use BLUE psychometric tests, which cannot dictate PURPLE ways of being and doing. So we believe that everybody must learn to read and write. Okay, but what does reading and writing give you?”


Ruan: “I am with you”.   


Loraine: “Should we not be studying people, instead of people's psychology? Should we not rather study people's thinking? How their brains operate, what is natural to people? When we want to create an Olympic swimmer, we watch the candidate and we observe. We use our abilities to assess his skills and possibilities. Firstly, can that person move? What is his breathing like? Are his arms and leg movements coordinated to make him a champion swimmer? If these are okay, we have to look to see if he has resilience. Has he got what we call 'stick-ability'? Has he got it within himself to be a winner? What will he risk to win, and how badly does he want it? All the above aspects fit into a certain value system. Now, we have two kinds of risks. We have a visible risk and a calculated risk. When we're watching Olympic swimmers, like Chad le Clos or similar performers, I see calculated risks being taken by those people. In my opinion, calculated risk is a trait of being ORANGE”.  


Ruan: “Maybe we should train the Human Resources practitioners to identify different Human Niches?”


Loraine: “That is a good idea Ruan!  But we also can teach people about different Human Niches and their different thinking systems at the university”.


Ruan: “That’s a great idea”.


Loraine: “Yes, but at this stage it’s a very comprehensive idea. We will have to sit down and panel-beat and evaluate it. You can do a Value Circle on it. Do you know what a Value Circle is?” 


Ruan: “Never heard of it!” 


Loraine:  “I think you should attend one of my training sessions. A Value Circle is a process that I facilitate with a cross-section of an organisation to collectively engage in organisational problem solving. The old concepts of quality circles, value engineering and Human Niche theory are integrated to create a transformational experience for participants[44]. I will tell you more about it if you come for the training”.


Ruan: “Do you really believe that Human Niche theory and Value Circles can make a difference in organisations?”


Loraine: “Oh yes I do. I see no other way. We have to try and make people, especially the decision-makers, understand that the different human niches are a critical component of diversity. I am not referring to values or to ethics. Rather I'm back to the thinking systems in brain. How does the brain value a person, a thing, a sentence, anything in the world; how does the brain value these things? What we have been doing did not work. We need to start understanding the system – whether individual or collective – not from where we are at, but from where they are.


We have to make executive managers understand that they have to make a start in honouring each Value System for what it stands for. In our world today, intellect is the ‘God’, and intellect has landed us where we are. If we're to look into the future, we have to look into the brain. What challenges must the future brain be calibrated with to enable it to deal with those challenges? 


Unless we have the decision-makers who can begin to acknowledge this, and accept it, there is not going to be any change. Everything will carry on in the same way. And eventually we will do to ourselves what has been done with Lemuria and Atlantis: they are no longer here!”


Ruan: “It goes way beyond the basics”.


Loraine: “It is not only about the mechanics. It also has to be about the body, mind and spirit. Unless teachings satisfy body, mind and spirit, nothing will be achieved. People are at different stages of development[45]. New designs can be dangerous to some peoples, and a boon to others. So, what is to be done about it? 


There are moral decisions to be made. In inventing and producing motorcars, Henry Ford thought he was doing something very good for humanity. Cars fulfil a purpose for us today. But, people are also using cars to kill other people. Cars can be lethal objects. Why? Because the brain capacity of the people who were going to operate those machines was never considered when they were being manufactured. Nobody asked: “What is the operating system of that brain?”   


Ruan: “So it all comes back to the thinking system?”


Loraine: “It comes back to the brain. It is the only thing that we have to work with. If you can work with your brain, you don't really need arms or legs or anything else. Let us take Stephen Hawking as an example. Stephen is almost completely paralysed, but he performs at the highest levels because he has an outstanding brain”.


Ruan: “A truly magnificent brain!”


Loraine: “Magnificent brain, yes. That is the thing that counts. In my career I have tried to make people, especially decision-makers, understand that the different niches are important; not the values as in ethics, and not what people consider being valuable, but the manner in which people value. In other words I'm back in the brain. How does the brain value a person, a thing, a sentence, anything in the world; how does the brain value it?”


Both Loraine and Ruan are suddenly quiet. Three very intense hours have passed from the moment they began. Ruan feels a bit guilty. He has totally lost track of the time.


Ruan: “I know that I have asked more questions than the five that I promised to ask you …”


Both stand up and gather their things.  


Ruan:  “I still wonder about the American elections”.


Loraine informally continues to explain.


Loraine: “America has grown big on innovation. In reality even the War of Independence, was innovation. How do we define innovation? When we begin to do things differently; surely that's innovation. I know that people have the idea that innovation is “a step forward”. This is the ORANGE that we saw. Innovation can also be a step backward. I suppose that in South Africa, Verwoerd’s Apartheid system could be seen as a step backward. It certainly was an innovation, but it was a step backward; if you want to see the negative of innovation”.


Ruan: “Yes?”


Loraine: “So we are agreed that you can get good and bad innovation. America has thrived on innovation. They had ORANGE innovation. We have a RED version today. One must remember that the presidential candidate Mitt Romney is a Mormon and he is extremely conservative – just as much as Treurnicht was in this country”.


Ruan: “Does religion then also play a role?”


Loraine: “Yes! Mormons believe that Jesus was a prophet; they don't believe he was the Son of God. This is almost similar to the structure of Muhammad in

Islam. You want to talk about politics; you have to look at religion first!”


Ruan: “I will remember this!”


Loraine: “Now, there’s a subject about which I can talk for a long time! You have to look at where all the aspects of human diversity fit in. Often societies adopt a BLUE belief and implement it in a RED fashion. Now BLUE is absolutistic, there is only one right way. The RED niche displays visible risk. RED is a "I'm right", egocentric, outward expressive thinking system. You can see it in Romney. I've been watching his body language as he hastens down the steps of the plane. He's getting tired, his shoulders are beginning to droop, and yet his bodyguard can't keep up with him – perhaps he is too fat”.


Ruan and Loraine both burst out with laughing. The conversation turns serious as Loraine continues.


“You need to observe behaviour very closely. Romney wants to go back to the days of Ronald Reagan, but those days are gone forever. However, a certain percentage of Americans support him, and this is what is taking America out of the mainstream. The Democrats are prepared to make peace with everybody, and give him or her a fair chance. They do not want to make war, but would rather talk and change things through dialogue. There seems to be more of a future in that than in fighting about it. Romney, however, differs from that standpoint. In his opinion if the military power is increased, and if more planes and guns are built or bought, there will be more jobs for people. Those jobs will be for the purpose of killing other people. This will ruin America’s image – they will be declared warmongers. It appears that Romney is almost thinking like the Libyan leader, Gaddafi”. 


Ruan: “In the long term this is not going to work at all”.


Loraine: “Definitely not. Obama believes in the power of the small businessmen and the middlemen. If one looks closely at the history of America, the middlemen are those who in truth contributed most to the economy. Middlemen are who did it here in South Africa too. I always laugh when, I think of Napoleon calling the British a nation of shopkeepers. Have you been to Britain?”


Ruan: “Yes”.


Loraine: “Indeed they are a nation of shopkeepers. And this big business that Romney is talking about? Look what has happened to Mica. Mica stores have closed down everywhere, and Builder's Warehouse has taken over, but they're not Mica. They don't have the variety of goods that Mica had. They don't have the expert to whom one may go and ask: "What can I do about this problem?" That expert could tell you how to use a certain tool, he could show you how to use a gadget, he could tell you: "If you're building a structure you've got to remember this, and remember that …" Once when I wanted to paint the garage floor, I was told to remember to acid wash it first”. 


Ruan: “Step-by-step advice?”


Loraine (nodding in agreement): “Now you cannot get that advice and help at Builder's Warehouse. They only have bodies that are moving goods around. There is no expertise whatsoever. And this is the Romney world. One can take Builder's Warehouse as an example of American politics in a South African context. The economic situation of Mica and Builder's Warehouse reflects what is happening. We don’t know yet what the outcome will be. Everything has got some good and some bad in it. Nothing is altogether good or utterly bad. In everything there is a bit of both”.

Ruan: “Like the yin and yang sign?”


Loraine: “The idea is to have some reserve to be able to deal with disaster when it strikes. There must be a reserve of the good. So we can repeat cycle, after cycle, after cycle …”


Ruan realises that they will never stop talking…


Ruan: “So you would be pro-Obama?”


Loraine: “Oh Yes. I will watch the progress of the election polls through the night and study the American Dynamics”.


Ruan:  “I also hope that Obama will win the election”. 


Ruan concludes by explaining that he will type up the recorded interview. He thanks Loraine for the insightful time that they spent together, for the many stories shared and the patience that she displayed by explaining Spiral Dynamics and the Human Niches theory to him.


Ruan:  “I will see you at the training session Loraine”.


Loraine: “Thank you, Ruan, that I could learn from you too”.


Ruan leaves the boardroom. Loraine makes fields notes about their discussions. She really enjoys interacting with Ruan. If she only had more time to interact with the youth of today maybe some of the mistakes of the past could have been sidestepped. She scribbles something on her Apple Notes. Then she packs up and goes home. She wrote:  “It is only by standing on the shoulders of the past that we can gaze into the future.”

PART          3:                PEOPLE      WHO          HELPED      SHAPE        MY    VIEW         AND           WHO          PROVIDED           CONTEXT            


“People are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be. When I look at a sunset, I don't find myself saying, "Soften the orange a bit on the right hand corner." I don't try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds.”

~ Carl Rogers (1961)



Over the years of my life some names kept popping up. It is with great fondness that I share these memories. There are too many stories to tell, and emotions were shared over too wide a spectrum to be able to recall them all here. Some incidents, however, permanently impacted on my being, and I share these with love. 


One of my finest memories is that of Joe who introduced me to the work of Roedolf Steiner[46]. Like myself, Joe was an area manager at Elna, and we spent many hours discussing a host of different subjects. Years previously I had come up from the Free State to visit my brother Derrick58 in Johannesburg. I spent an evening with him, Joe Reinecke and Leslie Engelbrecht. We discussed some very interesting philosophies of Steiner. Joe told me that the only place I would be able to purchase Steiner’s books was at a branch of a particular bookstore group. I went there the next morning, and bought his book entitled “Knowledge of the Higher Worlds”. It took me twelve months of concentrated attention to read and grasp the contents of that book. In due course I purchased many of his other books, and he became one of the gurus of my life.


I became very aware of different levels of consciousness and diversity.


Meeting Don Beck was, and still is, one of the highlights of my life. Everything Don and I did together was a pleasure. It was fun working with him. When he was short of money, I would pay for him. That was my contribution to making a better SA. I often communicated with him and in the recent past - Skyped him; and do so now throughout the progress of this thesis also. His picture is added below (Picture 3.1)


Photo 3.1:  Don Beck




Don has a PhD in psychology from the University of Oklahoma. He was professor in psychology at the University of North Texas, and professor at the Center of Human Emergence for almost twenty years, co-founder of The National Values Center, co-founder of the Gallup Institute at Princeton, Fellow of The International Paleopsychology Project: "Cadre-of-Experts on Ethnopolitical Violence" and co-author of Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership and Change (1995).

Years ago Keith van Heerden of SA Values Circles convened a three-day conference at Sun City and sponsored Don Beck and Chris Cowen to speak at the conference, and to present workshops for some of the clients. I remember Keith had gone to the airport, and Don walked in, this great big mountain of a man, and said: “So you are Loraine?” That was the beginning of a wonderful friendship. Don taught me how to apply Spiral Dynamics to politics, and I hope that he in turn learned something from me.


Don then invited me to America to speak on the same platform with him at the American Society of Training and Development and the World Future’s conferences. In between he visited South Africa 63 times.


On working though the solicited data, I found a transcription of our broadcast conversation during a Confab[47] on Saturday May 24, 2003 in Irvine, Dallas. Don interviewed me on the situation in South Africa. The proceedings were audiotaped and the tapes were later transcribed and published. An abstract of the interview follows. My name is abbreviated as LL, and Don’s as DB. The language remains unaltered.



The Context is 1981 South Africa through townships, sanctions, activity, release of Mandela, preparatory meetings for constitutional convention. If we go back to 1990 when Mandela was released, what would you say about the future, what might you have done differently?


Difficult off the top of my head. We needed to have talked more about the

micro things that needed to be done after the elections. Elections were euphoria... we stood for 3 days in the boiling sun; speaking to people you’d never really spoken to. A black person spoke to you on a level of equality never seen before. No complaining about any details that were wrong. After that, when reality set in, there wasn’t BLUE preparation. If you watch what’s happened to the various parties...the interesting thing about that slide (shown on screen) ANC ideologues are still there, pragmatists and National Party hardliners are now together. Labour Party has disappeared into IFP. Inkhata has not moved from PURPLE.

Buthelezi has moved his position closer to the king of the Zulus, closer to PURPLE, the older he gets (well into his 80s now). Democratic party has downshifted into critical BLUE (once they were ORANGE). Tony Leon is taking the same line (through CNN) that Israel is taking.  


How to decide who’s going to call the shots, not a conversation about what kinds of shots should be called. In “The Crucible” Graham and I laid out a government of national unity over a ten year time. We thought it should be a nation-building time, not to decide who should do what. Based on memetic approximations, most people weren’t recognising heavy RED and PURPLE (and still aren’t). 


There are certain departments, but anybody who’s moved into GREEN hasn’t recognised this. People have forgotten what PURPLE and RED can do (positively). You can’t run a mine without RED. It will live in the hearts and minds of people makes heroes. RED needs to be used for nation-building, not breaking down.  In education, people who are qualified to Grade 12 cannot do mental arithmetic...counting on their fingers. A Chinese abacus would fit the people better than the Western model of doing maths in their heads.  


Over 10 years the memetic shift will be toward the BLUE zone. But they didn’t get any support from the first world, about who should be in power to do that. Ubuntu is heavy right-brained, which is why math development is very slow. Heavy right-brained system needs new ways to teach maths. This is historically why there’s a lack of African Americans in maths professions. South Africa can become a global model of fusing right and left sides of the brain. But because the issue was who gets to call the shots, and not what shots should be called, one person/one vote democracy is not the right model for developing societies. 


Our constitution is written in GREEN. PURPLE sees them as just like (a different kind...) you have to be very careful honouring PURPLE without superimposing GREEN on it because it goes mad.  


In Crucible, we ask what the 7th world system is (YELLOW). What does it do? Address the gaps in the first tier memes. Democracy in 2nd world CP/DQ simply won’t work because it will erode ER and FS.  


It’s amazing what’s happening...people are coming back home to South

Africa. They saw that it didn’t fall apart. I stayed and went through it all, and have to be careful to tell people not to spread your GREEN here. We need BLUE here...lots of BLUE. GREEN people give us money, which we love. We have a bit of difficulty with American Aid, who sent us GREEN facilitators who contaminated PURPLE and RED and didn’t leave any BLUE behind. Our educational system is going more Montessori, getting those connections in place. African BLUE will be different than any other kind of BLUE. We understand BLUE value systems...we can change the contents as needed as long as the BLUE structure is there.

  DB:   Key is integral design of habitats, being able to convey to decision-makers in a government of national unity, with CAPI and funneling all the Ford and Rockefeller foundation money, with foreign aid, let’s do a nation-building exercise. So there’s a national plan. Rather than a political fight, let’s do a ten-year development plan to focus like lasers, rather than political corruption messes. Heavy PURPLE has a lot of kin, and you need to take care of them. 


Like in this hotel...if there’s an opening here, a family member will be offered the job.


 It’s RED that’s loud-spoken enough to get power — then it will disappear with the money. BLUE will eliminate a lot of that corruption. They don’t need majority rule at this point.


As you articulate that, your words did not always fall on barren ground. Even if the Afrikaner socialist party wanted to throw Don out of the country.


Assimilation/Contrast effect, how one’s own position becomes an anchor

so anyone far enough away from my point of view becomes polarised, eliminating the center. Contest is between extremists and moderates. In Israel/Palestine we’re circulating a proposal where each side has to reject their own radicals at the same time. If only one side does it, it won’t have the effect. Now there’s a window opening, reading the positions in both societies and how they perceive each other. Based on that South African experience we learned a lot.

(End of conversation)[48].


Don introduced me to many of the foremost practitioners in human relations of that time. I met Edward de Bono, Ned Hermann and Barbara Marx Hubbard amongst others. I remember listening to what was presented at the first public presentation of neuro-linguistic programming. I presented again at the Confab in 2007 on Working within BO-PURPLE and CP-RED Learning and Motivational Environments.


Over the years Don took me to many places, among others he showed me where Kennedy was shot and killed. This made his assassination very real for me. He also took me to the Fort Worth Stockyards; a place that celebrates the early days of the cowboy in Texas. This is a historical and entertainment venue where one can buy real cowboy boots, hats and shirts with genuine fringes at the sides. All the Texans who attended the Spiral Dynamic courses in Dallas dressed up as Texan men and ladies of the previous century. This included Don Beck. They all had smart boots, frilly shirts and fancy hairstyles. Even the food that was served was that of the old cowboy days. To me this was a fantastic experience. 


The work that was done in South Africa should not be underestimated. Although he was often criticised for openly working in South Africa during the apartheid years, Beck continued with his important work here, and, in my view, contributed significantly to our transformation as a nation61. 


Don was directly involved with the l995 Springboks and Mandela's role in the event. The strategy is discussed in his l991 book The Crucible. When South Africa won the World Cup in 1995, many contributed to the team’s success and ultimate triumph. However, a triumvirate still stands out. There was the inspirational presence of the country's president, Nelson Mandela in a Springbok jersey, the leadership of the captain, Francois Pienaar and the astute coaching of Kitch Christie. Don had been working extensively on organisational transformation in South African corporate institutions. He also had an interest in sports psychology, and had assisted with the Dallas Cowboys in Texas. I cannot remain quiet about the role that Don played. He truly believed in the peacemaking power of sport, and he was one of many who helped the Springbok team go from a symbol of apartheid to a new nation’s shared pride.


He designed a strategy for the Rugby World Cup, and referred to it as Six Games to Glory62. He set out the psychological build-up that was needed for each match as the Springboks progressed through the pool stages, the quarter-finals, semifinals and eventually the finals. He also suggested the on-field approach that was necessary for each match.  He recommended aspects such as an African crowd song to be adopted. The audience just loved Shosholoza. He further suggested very strongly that, if possible, Nelson Mandela should be persuaded to identify with the Springboks (Linscott, 1996). This idea materialised, and the rest is history. The 1995 Rugby World Cup was pure unadulterated MAGIC!  



61 See Appendix B for South African newspaper articles that were published in April 1989 on Don’s work in South Africa.

62The Dallas Morning News, July 3, l997; The Dallas Morning News, July 17, l997; The Dallas Morning News, July 31, l997




When Don came to South Africa I used to fetch him at the airport. Without fail his first question would be: “Hey Girl, what’s happening?” He meant what was happening on the political front. Both he and Clare Graves had a particular interest in the politics of Southern Africa. Don’s original work for his doctorate was about the polarisation resulting in the Civil War in America. He actually identified eight political positions that were held prior to 1850. These positions were divided into two political viewpoints that represented the thinking patterns of the North and South. From his interest in South Africa he identified the same world views. He felt it was part of his mission to try and prevent a civil war in South Africa. He endeavoured to speak to as many political leaders in South Africa as possible. Since I acted as his chauffeur, I got to meet most of them as well. 


In South Africa Don worked with Mandela, de Klerk, Buthelezi and many other community leaders. This work sparked the Palestinians’ initial interest in what he was doing, and he is currently assisting them in their efforts to rebuild their country.


Don opened doors for me to speak at world forums. He shared his eclectic book collection with me, and ignited a new direction of reading in me which I now realise helped me on my way to write this thesis. Don took me to several places in Texas and New Orleans. He also took me to the town in Oklahoma where he grew up. This was amazing, because in my mind’s eye I was standing in Senekal in the Free State (South Africa) looking at the rugby field. The only difference seemed to be that in Oklahoma, USA it was a football field. It made me feel at home. He introduced me to Sharron Underwood who was working on her PhD on brain dominance patterns[49]


This gave me insight into the amount of work that completing a PhD-qualification required. 

Don has always been interested in the British-Zulu confrontation in South Africa. In fact in his lounge in Dallas he had a three-dimensional display which depicts the battle at Isandhlwana. We also went on a guided tour of the Zulu territory. During the tour we visited places such as Eshowe, Ulundi, Babanango and then went back to Durban. Don explained.[50]


“Revolutions do not cause change; they confirm the change which has already happened. Typically, this happens more to societies which are already changing, as the raised expectations put pressure on existing leaders and structures, like the geologic tectonic shifts that will cascade to the surface as earthquakes.”


Don triggered my interest in politics, and made the spiral come alive for me. I also valued his ethics. In my opinion, he fulfilled his promise to Graves, to take Gravesian theory further.


In 1972 we moved to Johannesburg because my husband was terminally ill. I really had no self-confidence and very little exposure to organisational projects. Don patiently listened to what I was saying, and asked me why I was always putting myself down. I told him that on my arrival in Johannesburg, all I believed I could do was to be a bus conductress or a boetebessie.[51] To this day Don Beck will have a good laugh and ask me: “How is my meter maid?” He also refers to me as “a honey badger”, very often in the middle of presenting a paper or as a method to introduce me.


To me the honey badger appears to be a sweet animal, but it is described as one of the most vicious creatures in the animal kingdom. Don’s comparison of me with the badger means that I will not back down or give up. I will walk away from an issue or from conflict, but if I am attacked I will fight back. Philips (2013) on his Power Spirit Website interprets the symbolism of a honey badger as follows:


      The white stripe is symbolic of how open it is, providing knowledge and enlightenment to other animals and the earth;

      The strong jaws tie the badger to the mysteries of the ‘word’ – in particular the magic of storytelling. Badger reminds us to remember stories and give them away to people when they are needed;

      The remarkable digger hints at the ability to see beneath the surface of all things and people. Also, the closeness to herbs and roots make badgers dynamic healers;

      Loners and solitary, badgers teach us to be self-reliant and comfortable with ourselves; and

      Bold and ferocious when cornered, the badger reminds us to never surrender.


Phillips (2013, np) continues: “Calling upon the badger energy will supposedly allow the healing to penetrate deeper into the system. Many motions of Reike healers are similar to those used by ancient badger medicine people. In addition to healing energy, badger power includes prophecy. Badger knows both past and future while it maintains a firm grip on the present.” The Honey Badger are seen in Picture 3.1 below

Picture 3.1 The Honey badger


In African culture often the spirit of an animal is adopted to describe the essence of a tribe (Watson, 1982). It is a tradition that is viewed as sacred to the tribe. I believe I have the spirit of a honey badger.


During the Apartheid years, white people were not allowed into the townships. There were roadblocks from 16:00 to 09:00 to monitor this. So I would go into Soweto at 15:00 in the afternoon, sleep at my friend’s house and come back after 10:00. If we wanted to go visiting other friends, I always had to be covered in blankets because my hair has always been so white. If we were stopped they would explain that they were taking granny to the doctor “because she is very ill”. They lovingly called me Gogo.[52]


I remember taking Don to Soweto with Thelma Ncgobo[53] to show him all the ramifications of Apartheid. We showed him the houses of Nelson and Winnie Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Desmond Tutu. Speaking of Thelma always brings to mind the memory of Thelma’s white housekeeper.


Thelma had invited some African Americans for dinner, and to spend the night at her house in Diepkloof, Soweto[54]. Together with her sister and brother-in-law I went over to help her with preparations. Thelma had ordered a pot of curry from an Indian lady she knew at work. She had given the lady her own receptacle so that everything would be all ready for serving. When she opened the dish, expecting it to be almost full, it was less than half full. Panic erupted. There was lots of rice, but she could not serve rice alone to her guests. I grabbed my purse, and we hastened to a nearby Blackchain store where we purchased onions, more curry powder and eight chickens. We rushed back to the house, fried the onions, and added the curry powder whilst Thelma’s sister and brother-in-law cut up the chickens to be cooked and added to the pot. As soon as all was done we added it to the curry that Thelma had bought from the Indian lady. We had to be very careful not to let the curry burn in the pot so I stood by the pot to continuously stir the mixture. When the guests arrived I was still stirring the pot. Then I heard Thelma shrieking with laughter, and telling me: “Ma, these ladies think that I am very rich because I have a white housekeeper”. During Apartheid, the likelihood of having a white housekeeper in a black household was minus zero.


I realised how contextual settings impact on perceptions and learned to suspend judgement. I began to enquire into where people come from and their roots, rather than simply basing my perceptions on what I see.


The promotion of Andrew Taunyane and the dynamics surrounding this event stayed with me over the years. I was working with a group of African men, and I explained to them that just as women in the 20th century had to cut holes in the glass ceiling to get promoted in their jobs, so we had to cut holes in the cast-iron ceiling to give African men placement in senior positions. One day I was returning from a nearby mine just as the sun was going down, and at the side of the road stood three African men holding up their hands for me to stop. I knew them well; they were Andrew Taunyane, Ezekiel Pooe and Cornelius Lobeloe. I immediately stopped because the expression on their faces was of incredulous, uncontrolled happiness. It seemed as if they didn’t know whether to cry or to laugh. I asked them: “What happened?” They cried out: “We have made a hole in a cast-iron ceiling”. It transpired that Andrew had been promoted to a senior human resources position where he would have white employees reporting to him. This was before 1994, so that was an almost unheard of situation! 


Acting as catalyst in the lives of others became very special to me. I considered it to be a special honour, and gave new meaning to my life.

Thinking back, I realise that the journey of my life meandered through many industries, crossing the paths of many colourful people, all adding to the final tapestry of my life. Another key memory is that of coming into contact with Successful Salesmanship. I had a client, Joan Wright, who published a magazine titled Successful Salesmanship. She was considering retirement, and asked me to do a strategic planning workshop for the company to ensure that she could sell the business, and retire in five years’ time. The results of our Value Circle were noted as actions to be taken to accomplish her goal. We entered a five-year term as our goal, determined a figure of money we had to sell for, and noted all the internal operational actions that had to be taken. We missed our five-year period by two years since it took seven years to accomplish, but we sold it for the amount that we had calculated. We felt that we had obtained our objective. 


I also often think fondly of Fernando. He was a Mozambican Shangaan (Tsongo). He attended quite a few of my Value Circles and contributed to all of them. It seemed as if he were writing down or making notes about everything that happened. I went over to him, and what I saw on his paper was an exact copy of my own handwriting on the board. That is what I call copywriting. He did not have the privilege of education. He literally copied my handwriting.


We connected. Later he invited me to his room. He shared a room with eight other miners. The room was about four by four metres (sixteen square metres) and was furnished with double bunks that could sleep eight people. No woman was ever allowed to enter the single quarters. It should also be taken into account that this happened in 1985 – at the height of apartheid. Fernando invited me for a drink after work. He had a fridge in his room. His roommates also displayed all their earthly possessions. They laid out their toothbrushes, toothpaste and shaving blades. Putting up quite a show of what they possessed. Everyone asked me whether I was scared, but I was never scared. These people looked after me and protected me. They would never hurt me, or allow me to be hurt. 

From this experience I gained an in-depth insight into the extent of caring in PURPLE, and about the manner in which PURPLE people learn. They do it by copying.


However, I did not only meet people on this plane.


I have a friend who is a very intelligent Zulu lady and a sangoma. She won a scholarship to Harvard University in America. She travelled overseas to take up this excellent opportunity. I woke up one night, and two men who appeared to be ancestors were standing in my doorway. I realised that they were my friend’s father and her uncle. I spoke to them in their language. They asked me where their daughter and granddaughter were. I told them that she was in America, but that I would phone her, and that they had to come back two nights later. I phoned her, and told her about the appearance. She said that she was fine, and that she had been praying to her ancestors for their assistance during her exams. We checked the time differences, and realised that it was at the exact time that she was praying that they appeared to me. As agreed, they visited me again two nights later. I confirmed that she was fine, but was busy writing exams and that they could send her their blessings. They then disappeared, and did not come back to me.


There are more things in heaven and on earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

                                                                                                                                                Shakespeare (nd)


Remembering influences of people on my life will not be complete without mentioning the name of Keith. The issue of whether leadership can be learned or copied (Ridly, 1993) remains with me. In the mining industry I worked in cooperation with many men. In all that time I found few that I could call leaders. I met many managers, but only a few true leaders. I remember those by name:

Dick Solms[55], Keith van Heerden[56], PK Robertson[57] and Ivan Walters[58].


 Max du Preez (2004, p. 148) had this to say on the topic of leadership:


“Leadership is much more an art, a belief, a condition of the heart, than a set of things to do. The visible signs of artful leadership are expressed, ultimately in its practice.” 


Keith and Hilda van Heerden had been working on the same mine as my husband and me. They had been friends of ours for many years. In the 1970s Keith established a business called South African Value Engineering (Pty) Ltd. This was to use the value-engineering discipline in South Africa, and to train value engineers. Keith himself had been trained in America by the American Society of Value Engineers. He took Hendrik Jansen in as a partner. In 1982 I had the opportunity to buy shares in South African Quality Circles, which was a subsidiary of South African Value Engineering. 


South African Quality Circles (Pty) Ltd was incorporated on 25 November 1980. The company had two directors. Quality Circles was a Japanese programme that was introduced to South Africa after executives had visited Japan and had seen it in operation there. It was a new small group technique. Keith initially brought Don Beck to South Africa.  After Don Beck had exposed us to Spiral Dynamics, we realised what the difference was between factory workers in Japan and African workers in South African mines and manufacturing. Japanese factory workers had the equivalent of a matriculation certificate for their most basic job categories, whereas we in South Africa had semi-literate workers in many of our industries. We also had different thinking memes. This is the reason they brought me in to develop the right methodology to suit indigenous South African workers.

The concept of Value Circles was born. 


On the 17th of March 1982 the name of South African Quality Circles (Pty) Ltd was changed to South African Value Circles (Pty) Ltd. I became a shareholder in and later owner of South African Value Circles (Pty) Ltd on my own. The stories of Value Circles that are told in the next part of this thesis are evidence of the success that was achieved through the Value Circle approach.  


I began to work with Spiral Dynamics, and was accredited to use all the instruments of the National Value Centre[59]. I was told that a man in Cape Town was talking about value systems and all “types of colours”. After having enquired about his contact details I made contact with him, and explained that I would like to know what system he was using, because Don Beck’s work was registered, and I was concerned about protecting his intellectual property. I found out that I was speaking to Piet Calitz. Piet explained to me that he was working with the Strategy of the Dolphin[60]. As Don was already coming out to South Africa, and we had an open seminar, I invited Piet to join us. At the end of the seminar, we were still talking, and ended up sitting on the pavement until the sun came up. In Piet I met a kindred soul. The same Piet Calitz later moved to Johannesburg, and we have been collaborating, talking and sharing ideas ever since. I view him as a mentor, and his generosity has left a very warm place in my heart. He has been a support and an influence on my life. I could spend weeks and weeks just discussing various aspects of business with him. We travelled together to the USA, and both of us presented papers at the Confab75. He became a business partner and a friend (with a wonderful sense of humour) and a willing shoulder to cry on.


From Piet I learned what a mentor should be.

Another person whose memory has remained with me was Tjaart van Staden. I met him when he was seconded to the Value Circles Department at the Buffelsfontein Gold Mine. He was a very interesting character, and had an amazing mind. He was highly irritated by the abuse of authority. This caused him to resign, and start anew, over and over again. We spent many hours talking about love, and discussing the Value Circle and the qualities of being a catalyst, which he innately had. Tjaart unexpectedly passed away three years ago in a micro light crash.


I learned from the sacred journey with Tjaart how important it is to be true to oneself, to face one’s demons and to reflect on one’s life. 

PART          4:      THEORETICAL     FRAMEWORK     FOR            CONTEXT        


“Spirals symbolically represent a passage into the collective unconscious and then back into the world renewed with a greater psychological understanding

of who we are and why we are here.”

 ~ Carl Jung (1953: np)


4.1 Introduction


My views about nations and the people that constitute them were formed by my own observations during my twelve international “expeditions”. I was privileged to study the Aboriginal peoples in Australia by visiting Alice Springs and touring the surrounding areas. The majority of people there were Aboriginal, and I eagerly consumed each bit of information I could find about their social and organisational systems, and about the way in which they make sense of the world.  


I visited New Zealand to investigate the Maori people, visited museums there and attended cultural shows. I studied their culture and past history (Stafford, 1997). When I visited the New Caledonia (Noumea) Islands and Vanuatu my focus was on the indigenous peoples, and I engaged in numerous informal conversations, exploring the indigenous culture and the traditional ways. In the Americas the connection with the original peoples of Brazil, Canada and America were always on my visiting itinerary. I found PURPLE in all these places.


My primary interest has always been the indigenous people of Africa with whom I have worked on the mines, in factories and on farms. These people speak different languages, but their religious systems and cultures are very similar. It is my view that the thinking niches of the Zulu, Xhosa and Swazi (Shangaan) are almost identical. This is to be understood since they all belong to the Nguni group as opposed to the Sotho nations. The main traditional tribes of the Sotho are the Basotho of the mountain kingdom, the Batswana or Western Sotho and the Bapedi or Northern Sotho. I have worked with people from all these tribes as well as with the Ndebele and Ghanaians.  


During my interactions I tried to identify completely with the ways of the different nations. I ate the local food, and listened to the local music. I spoke to ordinary people whom I met along the way, and asked them about their families, their ways, their traditions, their religion and the way in which they structured their society. I view myself as a participant observer like Lemmer (1992: 295) whose role is to observe individuals in their worlds, as well as to study their emotions, verbal and non-verbal behaviours and beliefs.


This practical experience was contextualised by finding supporting documents in a number of scholarships (Mouton, 2001) or study fields like the field of developmental studies, social sciences, sociology, systems thinking, paradox theory, complexity theory and self-organising theory. Valsiner and Rosa (2007) said that the cultural ecology informing people’s behaviour is often a synthesis of anthropological and sociological issues permeating the daily discourse of people’s lives. Ideas from different fields of study come together like parts of a puzzle. Ultimately, they support one another, and together form the scaffolding for further exploration.


The scientific study of human behaviour and mental processes, including their variability and invariance under diverse cultural conditions are called crosscultural psychology (Hu & Wo, 2001: p. 3). Research methodologies are expanded to recognise cultural variance in behaviour, language and meaning. It seeks to extend and develop psychology (Gielen & Roopnarine, 2004). 


Viljoen (2008) ended her thesis with the statement: “There is nothing new under the sun”. I feel the same. Authors are repeating themes just by re-organising the constructs or using different words for old concepts. I prefer to quote the primary author, and to remember who first introduced significant direction in changing thoughts. 


For example, I have observed over the years how the concept of organisational problem-solving has changed – not really in nature, but in how we describe it. Initially we called it administration. Today leaders still rely on studying a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) to equip them for managing and leading organisations.


When the training apparently did not produce the desired results, the concept of administration was relegated to a lower level or rank within the organisation.  Stratified Systems Thinking described by Jaques (1974) explained the importance of strategic levels in companies. The administrators that business schools generated only coordinated and supervised. Stratified systems were not built and therefore had limited sustainability. Gradually at first, and then rapidly, schools changed their names to Graduate Schools of Management.


This approach did not seem to work either, and a new word was created, namely that of the executive. Graduate programmes for executives were established and we began speaking about Chief Executive Officers (CEOs). Again, this approach did not produce the desired results, so once again a new concept emerged: Leadership. Books are now published describing how leadership is different from management. It is important that, as concerned adults, we contribute to and cocreate the external training institutes that we truly need. But then again, Graves (1971) told us that one leader is not necessarily better than another – the best one is the one who is congruent to the external challenges.


Business schools, however, today produce graduates that are not necessarily equipped to deal with the global diversity that faces management in organisations, and specifically in African cultural dynamics (see picture 4.1 below). Mode 2 universities like The Da Vinci Institute for Innovation and Technology focus on action research and return on investment of students. Limoges (1996: pp. 14-15) described the emphasis that Mode 2 universities place on “…'context-driven' research, meaning 'research carried out in a context of application, arising from the very work of problem solving and not governed by the paradigms of traditional disciplines of knowledge.”  


 Picture 4.1:  Cartoon on Business Schools



Jung (1912: p. 246-247) wrote: 


“Therefore anyone who wants to know the human psyche would be better advised to abandon exact science, put away his scholar’s gown, bid farewell to his study, and wander with human heart through the world. There, in the horrors of prisons, lunatic asylums and hospitals, in drab suburban pubs, in brothels and gambling-hells, in the salons of the elegant, the Stock Exchanges, Socialist meetings, churches and revivalist gatherings and ecstatic sects, through love and hate, he would reap richer stores of knowledge than text-books a foot thick would give him, and he would know how to doctor the sick with real knowledge of the human soul.”


This part of the thesis focuses on literature that explains diversity of thought as described by Viljoen (2008). Different people interpret the world differently.  How can we deal with the phenomenon that, regardless of their meaning, people with different worldviews interpret the meaning of words differently? The “road” may mean a highway to one person, or a track to another person. The meaning of words is often acted on differently to expectation. I wonder when academia and business leaders who support academic institutions will move away from studying strategy, change management, finance and economics; and rather take a course in understanding the minds and hearts of the people that produce.


It has become tradition that when scholars study a phenomenon or particular social reality that they look whether existing theoretical concepts and research findings in fields of study, or scholarships, can assist in making sense of the particular phenomenon or social reality they study. It is important to note that qualitative researchers hold different views as to the place of utilising existing literature in such research as well as at what point during the research process the literature review should be used. Delport, Fouché and Schurink (2011: 302) write as follows about this rather complex and contentious issue: 


“The place of theory and literature in the research process depends on the type of qualitative design that will be utilized, as the different designs utilise theory and a literature review to varying degrees and at different moments. One should take note of how theory and a literature review are used within the different designs after the decision on the utilization of a particular design has been made. However, it is generally accepted among qualitative researchers, with the exception of a small number who are postmodernistically inclined, that the literature should serve certain general functions irrespective of the design selected in all qualitative studies”. 


As Schurink (2005) points out considering the utilisation of theoretical concepts relates to the general reasoning logic that is found in social research, namely the issue of deduction and induction. Both are found in qualitative research. Deduction implies the strategy where one arrives at theory after having inferred ideas and hypotheses from existing theory (found in the literature), while induction represents the strategy where one generates theory from one’s own research findings (cf. Bryman & Bell, 2007). Particularly important here is, qualitative researchers typically apply a "middle-of-the road strategy", termed, abduction:


“Many researchers use both induction and deduction in different phases of their study, which means that you move iteratively between these two during a research process. Some research methods books offer abduction as a way to combine deduction and induction in one research project. Abduction refers to the process of moving from the everyday description and meanings given by people, to categories and concepts that create the basis of an understanding or an explanation to the phenomenon described” (Eriksson & Kovalainen, 2008: 23).


But what does ‘literature study’ imply? Mouton (2001: p. 91) says that a literature study is not a mere compilation, or summary, or listing of information sources. In what follows I review the literature not chronologically, that is, how the state of art in the relevant field of study occurred, but rather at a stand still as the authors who significantly have impacted on my thought processes since reading their work for the first time. These works were intermittently validated by daily observations. I read numerous current books simultaneously on my iPad and Kindle. I also have a trolley so that I can easily transfer the heavily underlined classical works from my library to where I am to present a workshop/lecture.


Literature that was considered included books, papers, study guides, prescribed subject books, electronic media, institutional sources, research papers, subject matter papers and human information sources. Botha and Du Toit (1992: p. 2) stated that a human source is an individual who has specific specialist knowledge such as a lecturer, a researcher or a consultant. I know Gravesian theory by heart, and have applied it for many years in Africa.


My interested in PURPLE as described by Beck (2004); as well as insights gained from studying literature on development of mine unions, gathered from various sources and fields of studies. The emerging themes from literature and observations, all serve as ingredients for my three-legged pot[61] that over years have been marinated together.


Finally, in the study related to abduction: “the literature review is an integral part of the entire research process and makes a valuable contribution to almost every operational step” (Kumar, 2005:30). In short, in my world, literature is integrated with my very being. Let us now turn to the broad study areas that have been particularly important to me in this study. 


4.2 The development of societies


Ginsberg (1961: p. 3) stated that “the ultimate development of the ideal man is logically certain – as certain as any conclusion in which we place the most implicit faith”.  From this statement the ideological basis of early evolutionary theory can be derived. Ferguson (1982) explained that evolution involves true transformation and reformation of the basic structure, and not merely adding on to it.


After observing that Western societies had a greater generalised adaptive capability than other societies, Parson (1971: np) suggested “the adaptive capability for a society is not necessarily the paramount object of human value.  For many people certain aspects of personality, culture, organic well-being or particular societal patterns may be of greater value”. Hoogvelt (1974: p. 3) made the following statement:  


“A truly international system of social stratification in which societal values of power, wealth and prestige are distributed from the top of the hierarchy, and spread out in ever so many interconnected though increasingly thin layers of participation across the globe. Thus, the political power of elites in Third World countries is not something that is generated and accorded to them from within their own societies, but rather is dependent upon their position in the global imperialist system and can be regarded as a reward for their contribution – as deputies of imperialism – towards the maintenance of that imperialist system. Similarity, the economical wealth of these elites is commensurate with the degree to which they participate in the global system of production and distribution of goods and services. And finally, even such narrowly cultural values as prestige, that is academic excellence, technical skills and competence, and religious eminence, also derive from cultural definitions originating outside the societies in which they have symbolic and aspirational value.” 


Early theorists like Spencer, Durheim, Tonnies, Morgan and many others laboured on the evolutions of society. These early models of evolution suffered from inadequacies at a theoretical level.  All human societies were assumed to follow a singular particular route between two ideal polar types, namely primitive to modern or simplistic to complex.


Hoogvelt in 1978 wrote a book about studying developing societies, and explained that these societies have their own specific cultures and social structures. Although the societies she described operated on three different continents their dominant and characteristic futures were found to be very similar as they derived their positions, both historically and contemporarily, in a global relational context.


Spencer (1976) listed two basic propositions, namely diversification and complexity. Diversification for Spencer referred to the phenomenon in human social life that many forms of life developed from a much smaller number of original forms – expressing the quantitative aspect of the theory of evolution. Further, our complex forms of organisation arose from simpler forms – expressing the qualitative change as necessary concomitant of quantitative growth.


A two-dimensional embedded vision of the world appears with the next structure where a complete liberation from the origin is visible. Einstein’s thoughts about relativity of time became popular, and introduced more dimensions in thinking. Gebser (1984) was of the view that shortly before a new structure emerges the previous structure becomes deficient, and therefore breaks down. Transcendence then takes place where integration of previous broken-down structures occur. For Gebser (1984), the crucial task that faces humanity was the necessity of consolidating these structures of consciousness.


In 1988 Mandelbaum published The Fate of Nations. He showed that while no state is wholly restricted by its position in the international system, neither is any entirely free from external constraints. In another book by the same title, Colinvaux (1982) argued that throughout history the rise and fall of nations could be explained by the niche in nature in which that nation operated. I read and reread this book from beginning to end until it was falling apart.  


In his radio address on 7 April 1932, US president, Franklin D Roosevelt, cloned the phrase “bottom of the pyramid” about the Forgotten Man. He said: 


“These unhappy times call for the building of plans that rest upon the forgotten, the unorganised but the indispensable units of economic power...that build from the bottom up and not from the top down that put their faith once more in the forgotten man at the bottom of the economic pyramid.”


In 1998 Prahalad and Hart stated that people who have to live on less than $2 a day can be called the people at the bottom of the pyramid. They published two books on the topic. The creative entrepreneurship that people from this sector adds to an economy was described. Their resilience was acknowledged, and their need to be treated as value-demanding customers was discussed. The economic benefits for multi-national companies that operate in this market were described. It is specifically the potential of that market segment that earlier in my life enchanted me so much that I made it my life’s purpose to share the richness and wisdom of those people with others.


Schurink (2006) identified the following cultural groups:

(i)            Cultures into which we are born, such as racial, ethnic and gender.

(ii)          Cultures which we choose, such as athletic, social and political. 

(iii)         Cultures into which we fall or are classified, such as education, occupation and parenthood.


Hofstede (2010) originally proposed four dimensions of national culture along which cultural values could be analysed, namely: individualism-collectivism; degree of uncertainty avoidance; power distance (strength of social hierarchy) and masculinity-femininity (task-orientation versus person-orientation). Later a fifth dimension, namely long-term orientation, was added to cover aspects of values not discussed in the original paradigm (Hofstede & Minkov, 2011).


Technology is one element that has facilitated the interconnectedness between economies, and resulted in a flat world (Freidman 2006). Siebert (1998) defined globalisation as a complex process by which national economies are integrated into a world economy through the channels of international commerce (foreign trade), circulation of capital, trans-frontier technology and information flows. 


I am very aware that the crises that created my thinking patterns, namely, the residue from the Second World War, Apartheid and the New Democracy; together with what I read and my personal crises, are different to the crises of those who were born a generation or three later. However, I made it a critical priority to adapt to technology – not only to the physical technology but also the logic behind it. Picture 4.2 below shows how in the near future we will operate without keyboards. Therefore we need to constantly upgrade our brain’s operating systems.


Photo 4.1:  Technological innovations




Viljoen (2008) states that tomorrow’s world will be vastly different from today’s reality, and this implies that new organisational and individual strategies and approaches will be required in order to deal with this accelerated pace of change. The interplay between the changing external environment and the internal individual worlds leads to continual alterations in both worlds. However, within this changing world some things stay the same. The way in which societies function should also be taken into account, when making enquiries or interventions.


I find working with someone younger than me a pure pleasure. Even if younger persons may think they learn from me, the opposite is actually true. I learn about what stayed the same and about what has changed. What a privilege it is to be able to have time to learn from Strauss and Howe (1991). I find it amazing to witness the shackles of our generation that limited our thought processes being broken.


4.3 The nature of social systems


As early as 1973, Watson stated that science no longer held absolute truths, and described its nature as follows: “… all the best sciences have soft edges, limits that are still obscure and extend without interruption into areas that are wholly inexplicable” (p. 12). Russell (1982: pp. 14-16) summarised and described the nineteen sub-systems of a general living system with examples at the levels of the human being, a country and the biosphere. 


Learning can take place from all spheres of life. Bloom (2004: p. 63) and Lessem and Schieffer (2011) explained that in the following way:


There is no vision, nor is there a set of competing visions, of what an educated human being is. There is no overall organisation of the sciences, no tree of knowledge...The student gets no intimation in the university of our day that great mysteries might be revealed to him or her, that new and higher motives of action might be discovered within, that a different and more human way of life can be constructed by what he or she is going to learn, that the world extends beyond the shores of America and Europe. 

[italics in original] 


Russel (1982) explained that complex systems have three basic characteristics, namely, diversity, organisation and connectivity. The components are connected by means of physical links, energy interchanges or some form of communication. Connectivity maintains and creates relationships and organises activity in the system (Russel, 1982: p. 43). In society, organisations and communities we need strong connectivity.  


The interconnected systems of relatively simple elements self-organise to form more intelligent, more adaptive, higher-level behaviour, we call it emergence (Wheatly, 2006). This is a bottom-up rather than a top-down way of evolving, or a way that is engineered by a general or master planner. Emergence begins at ground level (Bohm, 1994). Watson (1973) stated that having a pattern helps us to minimise the chaos. If one studies a system from a high-enough level of complexity, the pattern in the living system can be observed.


The second law of thermodynamics governs the activities of life. This law indicates that the natural state of matter is chaos, and that all things tend to run down and become random and disordered. Living systems consist of highlyorganised matter, typically through a process of self-organisation. Order is created from disorder, but it is a constant battle against the process of disruption (Watson: 1973: p. 99). By intervening from the outside in a system, order can be achieved.


The theory of dissipative structures won the Nobel Prize in 1977. It explains that there are irreversible processes in nature and movement towards higher orders of life. The chemist Prigogine resolved the fundamental riddle of how living systems operate. The following paradox applies: The more coherently or intricately connected the structure, the less stable it is. This very instability is the key to transformation (Ferguson, 1982). The higher on the evolutionary scale, the more freedom exists to re-organise. Ferguson used the example of an ant that lives out a destiny while a human being shapes one.

Only in the last decade did the boundaries between the fields of study, especially natural sciences and systems thinking, find their way into the social-system domain. The insights of Watson (1973: p. 21), namely, that systems will always tend to become chaotic, still apply today. Left to itself, everything tends to become more and more disorderly until the final and natural state of things is a completely random distribution of matter. I have seen this happening in organisations, societies and countries.


Mendel discovered the gene at the end of the 18th century. Avery identified DNA in 1944 as the basic hereditary substance in humans. Dawkins (1989) explained that genes are replicators. We widely accept that the laws of physics are true all over the accessible universe. In his book The Selfish Gene published in 1989, Dawkins listed examples of memes that included "tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches".  Leaders should ponder on the book, The Magic of Reality, by Dawkins (2011), to understand how one can be able to understand what you cannot touch or see.


A meme is an information or energy core that radiates commands, instructions, cultural programmes and social norms into the minds of people. It can, for example, be viewed as pieces of hot uranium that impact on everything within their reach. He (Dawkins 1989: p. 192) wrote that “... memes should be regarded as living structures, not just metaphorically but technically”.


Memes are self-replicating units of cultural information. In her book The Meme Machine Blackmore (1999) explained that memes, in theoretical anthropology, assist greatly in helping to account for culture, or the ideas and beliefs that are commonly shared within human groups. In The Evolving Self, Csikszentmihalyi (1990) also published on the topic.


As genes are the physical structures that form DNA in the body, memes form

“psychological DNA” that contains the coded messages, which create different life forms based on a predetermined script and set of instructions. As such, they simply replicate the core message over and over again throughout any system (Beck & Cowan, 1996). 


vMemes refer to a core value system that acts as organising principles and expresses itself through memes. The prepended and superscripted letter v indicates these are not basic memes but value systems. Value systems include basic memes (Beck & Cowan, 1996). Lessem (nd) explained that each vmeme reflects a worldview, a valuing system, a level of psychological existence, a belief structure, an organising principle, a way of thinking or a mode of adjustment deep within evolving human nature itself.


In 1988 Balkin wrote Cultural Software, a book that offers a new perspective on how ideologies and beliefs grow, spread, and develop – a theory of cultural evolution, which explains both shared understandings and disagreement and diversity within cultures. Cultural evolution occurs through transmission, and spreads cultural information and know-how, or "cultural software" in human minds. Individuals embody cultural software. He (Balkin: 1998) avoided final judgement, and remembered lessons learned from other post-modernistic authors. 


Sheldrake (1982) describes the nature of a hologram – from which pieces can be removed, but can still retain a complete three-dimensional image. A hologram can only do this if it is part of a larger functional whole. Pribam (2004) saw the hologram as a model of how the brain stores memory.


Kuhn (1962) spoke about a paradigm change, a concept that refers to the dominant paradigm or thinking, valuing and doing, associated with a particular view of reality that changes. Rokea (1960) began to refer to the concept of conscious and unconscious belief systems in his book The Open and Closed Mind. Harman (1988: 14) explained that these unconscious beliefs could be inferred from behaviour such as slips of the tongue, compulsive acts and body language. He (Harman, 1988:15) defined a total belief system as: “An organisation of beliefs and expectancies that the person accepts as true of the world he or she lives in – verbal and non-verbal, implicit and explicit, conscious and unconscious”. A belief system simultaneously serves two conflicting motives; it provides a cognitive framework to interpret new experiences as well as wards off threatening aspects of reality. This is how we make sense from non-sense.


Sperry won the Nobel Price for his theory of brain dominance in 1981. He believed that beliefs and the corresponding worldview perspectives that mould moral beliefs are linked to the mind or brain. Habitually the mind tends to reason along the lines of past structures. Choices of action are often considered only within the generally-accepted norms and assumptions. Ideas that fall outside these norms and assumptions are often rejected without being considered. Different thinking systems also look upon behaviours of other human niches and do not understand what they see. Translation becomes important. Often people do not consider paradoxes and “either or” thinking, rather than “both and”[62] thoughts are fostered.


Hunt (1982) explains in The Universe Within, that the mind does not consist of separate entities, but a series of processes of immense complexity. He describes the integration of billions of neural events – or ideas – but these are actually codes or impulses that are processed and saved to memory. Harman (1988: p.

48) says that “the mind is to the brain as digestion is to the stomach”.


Smuts (1922) said that wholeness was a fundamental characteristic of the universe and that holism was self-creative, with final structures that were more holistic than its initial structures.  In Chaos Theory these are called fractals. In biology the parallel structures areis genes (Mandelbrot, 2004). Some examples of memes would be the Puritan Work Ethic, Marxism or Free Market thinking Animistic beliefs are common in some tribes. Memes spread their influence across every aspect of society such as religion, the workplace, families, public safety, education and politics. 


Watson (1973: p. 22) warned that we all have the ability to take in some information and ignore some due to the volume thereof. Living organisms select information from their surroundings, process it according to a thinking pattern (in this case one that will ensure the best possible chance of survival). We learned in our Systems Thinking class at Da Vinci to always take the systemic dynamics of the containing system into account when studying a specific system (Da Vinci Class Notes, 2010).


The principle of quantum entanglement in quantum physics, where two seemingly independent particles appear to be connected to each other in a strange way, is described by Bell's theorem. The question was posed whether particles that are connected through quantum entanglement communicate information faster than the speed of light. Specifically, the theorem explains that no theory of local hidden variables can account for all the predictions of quantum mechanics. The property, which usually takes the fall, is locality – the idea that no physical effects can move faster than the speed of light. Allying these principles to thought processes may be far-reaching (Bell, 1982).


Schumacher (1977: p. 119) explained that inanimate matter cannot be destroyed; it can only be transformed. Life, consciousness and self-awareness, on the other hand, are damaged very easily and almost invariably destroyed when the element of freedom inherent in these three powers is assumed to be nonexistent. Pagels (1988, p. 36) said that knowledge exists “both within itself in an abstract, philosophical sense, and without externally represented in social institutions and human activities”.


Reframing refers to altering the meaning or value of something by altering its context or description (Bolman & Deal 1997). Sandidge and Ward (2011) defined reframing as changing perception by understanding something in another way. They further explained that the meaning of any situation or set of circumstances is found in the frame within which one views it. Argued further by Beck (1987) one cannot get change without reframing. We sometimes make things very difficult. For me, an example of reframing can be seen in Picture 4.3 below:


Photo 4.2: Reframing



By looking at the difficulty from a different angle, the challenges can be minimised and the execution can become quite easy. In our Design Thinking course at Da Vinci[63] I was again reminded that the route to new insights is often to take a step back, and look at the problem from a broader context. Designthinking methods are used in the book, Change by Design by Brown (2009). Brown (2009) described design thinking as the collaborative process by which the manager’s sensibilities and methods are employed to match people’s needs with what is technically feasible and a viable business strategy. In short, through design thinking, need is converted into demand. It is a human-centred approach to problem-solving that helps people and organisations to understand systemic causalities as can be seen in the causal diagram in Figure 4.1 below  (Systems and Us Website, 2013). It is a visual way of systemically mapping systemic causalities.


Figure 4.1:  Example of a causal diagram


Jung (1953) stated that all perceptions are relevant to our viewpoint. Beck (1987: 50) explained that we tend to see things in the way we are in the habit of seeing them, or in the way we are expected to see them. Humans have the opportunity to create new models that have in them the complexity that makes the older systems obsolete. Reframing is focused on change and insight gaining, and therefore on adaptation and learning. Over the years I derived the following insights about change that I present on a slide in my workshops and lectures.


(i)    Change requires individuals and organisations to think, act and perform differently;

(ii)  No matter how well motivated he or she is, an individual cannot change alone;

(iii) The organisation changes only as the percentage of people within the organisation change; and

(iv) Members of an organisation are as important as leaders in changing the organisation.

I am experiencing a dawning realisation that change is more complex than a lot of theories have speculated on in the past. If we underestimate the impact of the various Human Niches and Thinking Patterns in our systems that must deal with this change, we will not have sustainable transformation (Viljoen, 2008).


4.4 Evolution of a global brain


While I don’t want to discuss the current knowledge in the field of study on development of the brain here it is necessary to make the reader aware of the nature or the phenomenon of Human Niches or Thinking Systems.


The embryonic human brain passes through two major phases of development. The first phase begins eight weeks after conception, and comprises a massive population explosion of the embryonic nerve cells (Russels, 1982, p. 77). The number of cells increases by millions every day. After five weeks the process slows down, and the second phase begins. Now billions of isolated nerve cells begin to make connection with each other. Pribram (2013) composed an inclusive paradigm that interlinks brain research and theoretical physics called the holonomic brain model. 


The Upanishads[64] tell us “what is within us is also without”. Jung (1953) echoed “as within so without”. The same awakening happens in the outer world, and we are exponentially connecting worldwide across boundaries. There is a wholesale supply of information as global interaction and complexity increase. We can no longer perceive ourselves as isolated individuals, but must acknowledge that we are part of a rapidly integrating global network with nerve cells of an awakening global brain (Russel, 1982). 


In my view the most valuable contribution that Jung (1953) made is his conceptualisation of the concept of the collective unconscious. It is a part of the unconscious mind, shared by a society, a people or all humankind, that is the product of ancestral experience, and contains such concepts as science, religion and morality. Science is only now confirming what humankind has known intuitively since the beginning of humanity. 


Sheldrake (1982:47) stated that if memories are not stored physically within the brain, but somehow involve a direct action across time, then they need not be confined to individual brains; they could pass from person to person, or a sort of pooled memory could be inherited from countless individuals in the past. 


Theories of Whitehead and Smuts should be considered. Viljoen (2008) later argued that rising levels of consciousness internationally impact significantly on how individuals, groups and organisations interact in relation to the societies in which they exist. The congruence between these domains creates capacity for becoming more conscious.


The following form part of the Mandukay Upanishad, which is an ancient Indian spiritual text (Russel, 1982: pp. 120-121) as it describes the essence of awareness:

It is not outer awareness It is not inner awareness,

Nor is it suspension of awareness.

It is not knowing, It is not unknowing, Nor is it knowingness itself.

It can neither be seen nor understood, It cannot be given boundaries.

It is ineffable and beyond thought.

It is indefinable.

It is knowing only though becoming it.


Huxley (1942) explained with the perennial philosophy that one should turn within, and discover these truths for oneself. Perennial philosophy is an aspect of religious philosophy in which views of each of the world’s religious traditions are sharing a single, universal truth on which foundation all religious knowledge and doctrine have grown. This philosophy affirms that we are all ultimately one, and that this oneness is knowable as the pure Self at the very core of our being (Russels: 1982: 129). Efforts towards an integral view of religion have been published for more than seventy years.


Internationally, we need to adapt to changing external environments. Sheldrake (1981) described three ways of adaptation. Firstly, this can happen through instinct. Secondly, there are normal adjustments that can be made. Thirdly, there is intelligent learning – new patterns of behaviour that appear which cannot be explained entirely in terms of preceding causes – this may be due to changing biology, neurophysiology or rising levels of consciousness. Recently Bar-On (2006) defined adaptability as reality testing (if one can sense the real situation), flexibility (one’s ability to adapt one’s thought processes to suit the new difficulty) and, lastly, one’s emotional problem-solving ability (one’s coping mechanisms).


Einstein (nd) said:


        “A human being is part of the whole, called by us “Universe”, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest on a kind of optical dilution of his consciousness. This dilution is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free us ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty.”


A lot has been said about integration over the years. Steiner (1982) spoke about it, Jung (1953) built his theory of individuation around it, Russel (1982) stated that in order to shift to a higher state of consciousness, society needs to develop ways to integrate differences. Wilber spoke about Integral Psychology. Now, I am applying Integral Research Methodology to conduct this thesis.


Watson (1973) tells the story of a monkey tribe on an island near Japan. The monkeys were fed with sweet potatoes covered with sand, and they were reluctant to eat it. One day a young monkey dipped her sweet potato in the sea before she ate it. It tasted better and she formed a habit of dipping the sweet potato in the water. The other monkeys copied her. Watson said that after the 100th monkey had washed the sweet potatoes, it became accepted practice, and monkeys on other islands also washed their food. 


Sheldrake (1982) supported this reasoning, and shared a similar example of what happened with chimpanzees. Consciousness works in this way. In his book The Breakdown of Nations, Sheldrake writes that the larger and more powerful a social unit becomes – such as a principality, region or nation – the tendency increases dramatically to reach a critical mass where its propensity to abusive aggression and war becomes inevitable. This reminds one of the nature of social systems described earlier. Beck (1996) spoke about reaching a tipping point in a group process when insight is gained and people begin to act in the new manner.


For Sheldrake (1982: 204) consciousness is primarily directed towards the choice between possible actions, and its evolution has been intimately connected with the increasing scope of conscious causation. He continued: “… in the associated development of conceptual thought, the conscious self must at some state in the qualitative leap, have become aware of itself as the agent of conscious causation” (Sheldrake 1982: 205).


Hawkins (2002) described the phenomenon of consciousness, firstly, as timelessness of perception – it is perceived beyond all form and time and is equally present everywhere. The concepts “Is-ness”, or “Being-ness” and “I-amness” and “One-ness” are associated with consciousness. In my opinion consciousness manifests differently in different Human Niches (to be contextualised at the end of this part of the thesis).


I learned a great deal from the writings of Marilyn Ferguson (1980). The Aquarian Conspiracy was an accumulation of personal and social transformation literature from the 1980s. It impacted on me to the extent that I went to look for her. I wanted to find her, and to be part of the thought leadership. She wrote on the nature of change. She explained that one person cannot persuade another to change, and that every person has a gate of change that can only be unlocked from the inside. She explained why interventions often do not work. This is because the solutions lie outside the accepted patterns of thought.


Implicit to Ferguson’s (1982: p.199) views are that harmonious, coherent states of consciousness are more closely attuned to the primary level of reality, a dimension of order and harmony. This harmony can be hampered by anger, anxiety and fear, all with huge implications for learning. She documented insightful paradoxes and paradigm shifts, from old ways to new ways of thinking.


The post-modernistic philosophy fits me. I integrate things – whether in religion, society, nations or whether I am on my own. One can identify the themes that emerge if one studies dynamics in Hindu, Buddhism and Christianity. Psychology and engineering fit together – I do not see soft science and hard science – I see a science; the yin and the yang in everything that we look it. Black is black and white is white – in the night white is almost black and the day the black with the shining of the sun on it, looks white. What is black and what is white?


Viljoen (2008) argues that each and every voice in the organisation is important and that management should create a culture where different voices are engaged around organisational strategy, and behaviours are congruent with organisational values. I get the feeling that often old paradigms are still at play in organisations. People systems are viewed as mechanistic systems rather than living systems[65]. In order to be productive humans in systems must feel valued. In the picture below, comparing individuals to an electronic board wired in series visually displays the importance of each and every individual in a system. Unless every component in an organisation does the work that has been designed for the position they occupy, there will be dysfunction. This dynamic is displayed in Picture 4.4.


Photo 4.3:  Importance of everybody in the organisation 




An organisation performs as a unit. All the employees in the system should be “connected”. In the Management of People we studied Engagement Theory as described by Viljoen (2008). Engagement Theory focuses on the manner in which the gifts that people bring to the organisation are for the benefit of all. Theorists and academia are still trying to find out how to ensure optimal performance 35 years after Shumacher (1977) wrote his book A Guide for the Perplexed.



4.5 Gravesian Spiral Dynamics


Here I rely heavily on the thoughts of Dr Clare W Graves who formulated the Levels of Existence theory in 1974, as this is the model that was applied in the work I performed for over 40 years. 


As a contemporary of Maslow and Rogers, Graves formalised this complex, eclectic theory after years of inquiry into what was referred to as Value Systems (Cowan & Todorovic, 2006). Don Beck and Chris Cowan contributed to this field of study, and today Gravesian theory is secularly called Spiral Dynamics. The model describes, explains and suggests means for managing the biopsychosocial development of the species homo sapiens (Graves, 1981). Graves never published a seminal work in which the full extent of his theory was explained. His lectures and publications form the theoretical basis of this paper.


The term, bio-psycho-social, reflects Graves’s insistence on the importance of a multidisciplinary, multidimensional approach to understanding human nature. It is explained as follows:


(i)    “Bio” for the neurology and chemical energy of life and the organismic part of us;

(ii)  “Psycho” for the variables of personality and life experiences, our temperaments and sense of self and relationships to other; and

(iii) “Social” for the collective energy in group dynamics and culture.


He published thoughts on the question of existence in a description of the Existential Staircase (Graves, 1974: p. 72) in The Futurist. See Figure 4.2 below.








Figure 4.2: The Existential Staircase (Graves, 1974: p. 72)


After more than 30 years of data gathering Graves reported that the concept of what comprises a healthy adult changed over time. He addressed this phenomenon in the Seminar on Levels of Human Existence (1971: 32) stating: I had a new conception, a new description of healthy human behaviour, a new conception appeared right in the middle of my research.  


Both Rogers (1961) and Maslow (1943), however, conceived the healthy human being to be as an end, an ultimate achievable state. This conclusion challenged Maslow’s conception of the self-actualising human being and Rogers’s conception of the fully-functioning human being as the final end state.[66] Graves viewed psychological health not as an ultimate achievable end state, but rather an emerging, open-ended, hierarchical process. 


No known psychological theory could explain these results. Graves realised that data reflected something else that was not yet accounted for (Seminar on Levels of Human Existence, 1971, p. 37). He proposed that adult behaviours should be described in a manner that does not allow for intelligence and temperament, but that instead the reason for existence that impact on value systems should be considered. The concept of Spiral Dynamics was born.


Graves (1970) described an unbelievable change in human behaviour that takes place when the individual begins to believe that psychological health should be both expressive of self, and taking care of other human beings at the same time. This kind of thinking evidences a reorganising of personality, and results in psychological crisis. In some way the “deny-sacrifice” and the “express self” shifted to, and through on the spiral. When one system dimmed the other brightened. 


Graves (1970, p. 132) explained that a person’s behavioural needs could be ascribed to his levels of existence. He mentioned the following:

i)     A person’s nature is an open, and not a closed system. It is forever emerging.

ii)    Human nature evolves by quantum-like jumps from one steady state to another. 

iii)   Different value systems exist in each state of existence. 


Over a period of thirty-two years, Graves posed the original research question as: “What constitutes psychological healthy human beings?” to first-year psychology students. Through a process that reminds us of grounded theory he clustered the data gathered in this manner in two categories with two subtypes each. Dr Rica Viljoen is continuing this work, and is currently replicating this study in South Africa and Ghana.


The first category Graves (1970) named the “deny self” category. The second category is the “express self” category. He differentiated further between peripheral and central change. Peripheral change occurs within a system keeping the “deny self” or ”express self” categories in place. During central change the first category always changes to the second category, and then again back to the first category. This process of going from the one category to the second and then back to the first, form the foundation of the double helix of the spiral that describes the theory of Levels of Existence (Beck, 1996).


Different Value Systems ask different questions of existence, and develop in an oscillating manner from an individualistic to a collectivistic system. The question of existence for PURPLE, namely, “The group changes to let us join under a leader"; changes to that of RED namely, "I will risk leaving the group to express myself without shame"; to BLUE’s question of existence of  “deny/sacrifice self to get acceptance now otherwise I will feel guilty”, which changes to ORANGE “express self but not at the expense of others” (Beck, 1996).


A coding system was used to describe categories of Value Systems. Graves (1970) began by allocating alphabetic letters to the first leg of the double helix. He allocated A, B, C, D, E, F and G to the different themes that emerged. Graves hypothesised that the human brain is structured functionally, and not physically, into a series of hierarchically ordered dynamic neurological systems. 


A second leg to the helix that referred to the coping systems in the brain developed. For this spiral he set off by allocating letters from the middle of the alphabet to the corresponding coping mechanism in the second helix. N, O, P, Q, R and S were used. Pairs of letters were formed to describe categories of Questions of Existence on the one side and the corresponding Coping Mechanism in the brain on the other side, namely AN, BO, CP, DQ, ER, FS and GT. These systems are described in Table 4.1 below.









Table 4.1:  Gravesian Levels of Existence

Problems existence 


human Neurological solution Colour to the problem


































Cowan and Beck (1996) added colours to the symbols for easy reference, and to act as reminders for the Life Conditions as they referred to Questions of Existence, and Mind Capacities as they referred to Coping Mechanisms in the brain of each system. Cool and warm colours alternate to symbolise the oscillation between Sacrificial and Expressive systems. The colours can be seen in the third column of Table 4.1.


So, Beck (1995) explained that when man has solved the basic problems of existence that “A” produce, there ought to be identifiable in the brain of man, the “O” system, under which man operates when he is trying to solve the “B” problems. BO is called PURPLE for simplicity. This reminds me of my favourite saying of Graves of all times namely: “I will give anything for the simplicity at the other side of complexity”.[67]


Beck and Cowen developed in different directions, and, as a result, presented a different flavour of the Spiral Dynamics theory. On reflection, I realised that the difference between Beck and Cowan is their ontology, their thinking essence.

Beck is post-modernistic while Cowan is a constructivist. This caused a clash between them. We need to understand that, owing to their very nature, different thinking patterns will often crash. However, I wish to honour their intent of working with the insights that Graves had left behind.


According to Graves (1971, p. 40) “...we are equipped by nature with certain information-processing devices and certain decision-making equipment to handle in a hierarchically ordered way a series of problems of human existence”. The coping mechanism in the brain that deals with the challenges of daily life, today still remains relatively unexplored. Although studies such as neuro-science and neuro-leadership are finding their way into leadership research today  (Ringleb, Rock & Conser, 2010; McDonald, 2009), a gap remains that should be researched. The dynamics that Graves described on the second helix and the link between the two spirals of Spiral Dynamics are still underexplored.


As Graves (1971) viewed personality as an open system, he came to see the process of trying to produce a healthy personality as emergent, because as soon as a person is functioning well in one system he wants to be in another. The healthy personality is therefore dynamic. Wilber (2000) held similar views, and said that these "horizontal" typologies are of a fundamentally different nature than the "vertical" levels – namely, the latter are universal stages through which individuals pass in a normal course of development, whereas the former are types of personalities that may, or may not, be found during any of the stages.

After years of working with Spiral Dynamics, as well as personality types, I believe that different personalities as described by instruments such as the MBTI[68], can be found in each of the Gravesian value systems.


The theory proposes that people will not change unless they are pushed into changing by an outside agent. They will stay in equilibrium unless a crisis occurs.

This reminds me of the systems thinking proposition[69], namely that systems will revert back to equilibrium. According to Clares’s (1970) data a factor of improved conditions for existence is involved in the element of change. The first factor that is required in change to a more complex system of behaviour is that a person has potential, and therefore the higher-level structures are present in the brain[70]


The second factor is the solution of existential problems which every person has to face. However, this is not necessarily enough to bring about change. According to Graves (1971,1965), additional studies showed that if a person has existential problems, which he considered to have been solved, and something comes along that louses up his solution, that this is absolutely necessary for change to occur. 


Graves (1971, p. 42) described the concept of dissonance. This happens when something (knowledge, noise) comes in and stirs things up which are in a nice state of equilibrium. This would not necessarily cause change, but it would require the person to use his or her established solutions. These old solutions would evidently not always work, and the person would be forced to try something new, the end product being that a new insight will develop. 


In Graves’s opinion (1971) one should identify from which Value System a person is changing in a quest to understand change. If a person is going from an expressive system to an adjustive (later “sacrificial”) system then the impetus of change appears to be coming from without. If, however, it happens the other way around (going from an adjustive to an expressive system) then the impetus for change seems to be coming from within. (Existential theory supports this view as it assumes that there are two forces that determine the existence of man, namely the need for acceptance and the need for self-actualisation.[71])

Graves (1971: p. 45) elaborates further that movement between systems does not happens linearly from one system to the next. Rather it is a subordination of the earlier system by the later system. So according to him 50% of a person’s thinking is centralised in a particular system, and the other 50% shades off in either direction to where he is going and where he is coming from.


Humans, therefore, normally tend to change their bio-psychosocial beings as the conditions of their existence change. Each successive stage, wave, or level of existence is a state through which developing people pass on their way to other states of being (Graves, 1971). He (Graves, 1970) saw these conditions of existence as states of equilibrium through which people pass on their way to other states of equilibrium. 


Graves (1971) believed that the level of existence changes along with the chemistry in the brain. He viewed these changes neither as cause nor effect, but as an integrated system. He held the view that when dissonance comes into an existing system, then the person is a new being physiologically as well as psychologically, because different chemicals are released in the brain that trigger certain new behaviours in people (Beck, 1994).


When a person is in one state of equilibrium, his psychology is corresponding with that state. Graves was concerned that in some cases a person might not be genetically or constitutionally equipped to change in the normal upward hierarchically-ordered and more complex direction when the person’s conditions of existence changed (Graves, 1971).


The following conditions for Value Systems Change were identified by Graves (1970):


(i)            Potential in the brain

(ii)          Problems solved at present value level

(iii)         Dissonance about appropriate coping

(iv)         Barriers to change identified

(v)          Insight to eliminate or to overcome barriers


It is important to understand that Spiral Dynamics are chronological and not hierarchical. In Figure 4.3 below the Spiral of Levels of Existence is presented.



Expressive Systems


Sacrificial systems



Figure 4.3:  The Spiral of Levels of Existence (Graves, 1971)


In Figure 4.3 above the osculation between expressive and sacrificial systems are visually explained. Graves (1971) believed that one mostly finds PURPLE AND RED in third-world systems and BLUE and YELLOW in first-world nations. The bio-psychological development of the mature human is an unfolding, emergent, oscillating, spiraling process, (normally) marked by the progressive subordination of older, lower-order, less-complex bio-psychosocial systems to newer, higher-order, more-complex bio-psychosocial systems (Beck, 1995). 


These systems alternate between focussing on the external world and an attempt to change it (left hemisphere brain domination) and focussing on the inner world and ways of coming to peace with it (right hemisphere brain domination) with the aim and means of each systemic end changing in each alternately prognostic system (Graves, 1971).

The following descriptions apply (Beck & Cohan, 1996):


. Beige  (AN, 1)   

Survival; biogenic needs satisfaction; reproduction; satisfying instinctive urges

. Purple  (BO, 2)  

Placating the spirit realm; honouring ancestors; protection from harm; family bonds

. Red  (CP, 3)  

Power/action; asserting self to dominate others; control; sensory pleasure

. Blue  (DQ, 4)  

Stability/order; obedience to earn reward later; meaning; purpose; certainty

. Orange  (ER, 5)  

Opportunity/success; competing to achieve results; influence; autonomy

. Green  (FS, 6)  

Harmony/love; joining together for mutual growth; awareness; belonging.

. Yellow  (GT or A’N’, 7)  

Independence/self-worth; fitting a living system; knowing; good questions.

. Turquoise  (HU or B’O', 8)  

Global community/life force; survival of life on earth; consciousness.

9. Coral  (IV or C’P’, 9)  

(insufficient data to define – open to conjecture and philosophy)


Over the years I became aware that my major contribution lies in how I describe PURPLE and even RED. In my practice, I seldom refer to TURQUOISE and CORAL. In my work, I realised that BLUE and ORANGE people especially strive to be what they perceive as the highest level in the spiral. The whole intent is misunderstood in an effort to be more advanced than others. I have not seen enough evidence of the existence of TURQUOISE and CORAL to warrant attention in my thesis. The descriptions in literature of PURPLE and RED are written from a BLUE or ORANGE value system, resulting in a judgemental view on the operating of people “lower” in the spiral. 


Two tiers are identified in the spiral with a distinct jump between them (Beck & Cowan, 1996). The second tier consists of YELLOW, TURQUOISE and CORAL. The fundamental difference between the two tiers is that all the worldviews in the first tier are characterised by fear, while all the worldviews in the second tier are based on love (Crofts, 2008). Beck and Cowan (1996) estimate that perhaps 98% of people live mainly in the first tier. This may explain why so often our reaction to events is aggressive.


Collectively, the value systems or the worldview of societies influence the way in which societies behave (Viljoen, 2008). Cowan and Beck (1996) applied spiral dynamics theory to country dynamics. Viljoen (2008) summarised these dynamics as follows in her work on Inclusivity (see Table 4.2 below).


Table 4.2:  Global Spiral Dynamics


Human Niches – history

Human Niches – the future


PURPLE and RED cores trapped in BLUE boundaries imposed by colonial Europeans.

Move through BLUE before ORANGE free-market and democracy can exist.

Mid East

PURPLE feudal resides, overlaid with ORANGE Western imperialistic ventures, competing RED/BLUE.

Until the RED/BLUE blockage is released and a stabilised nonpunitive BLUE emerges, the shift to ORANGE cannot occur.


BLUE system dealing with strong PURPLE and RED before ORANGE emerged.

Extraordinary reliance on ethos of honesty and Confucian work ethic led to a soft BLUE authoritarianism to bring order out of the third-world chaos. Successful living in BLUE will awaken ORANGE, GREEN, and YELLOW.

America / France

ORANGE terms, free market principles

Move to GREEN.




Human Niches – history

Human Niches – the future


RED   and     BLUE authoritarian             regimes. BLUE commands control over red.

When ORANGE appears, it is associated with RED. A new healthier BLUE needs to stabilise Russia first.


RED organised crime and BLUE thinking. Japanese thinkers with discipline and dignity.

BLUE will re-stabilise the economy to allow ORANGE to meet their calculated  challenge. 


Adapted from Beck and Cohen (1996) by Viljoen (2008)


According to Beck and Cowan (1996) the First World is mostly ORANGE. The First World manifests an achievement-oriented work ethic (Puritan, Confucian), an analytic reasoning capacity which is allied to competence, with measurements that indicate timeliness of execution, and a drive towards materialistic excellence and individual success in the burgeoning middle class. The Second World can be described as a BLUE authoritarian system, in which RED anarchy should be replaced with dutiful, sacrificial thinking (Viljoen, 2008). It is important to remember that there will always be first-world individuals in a third-world country and vice versa. Green and Lascaris (1998) described this as the Third World Schizophrenia.  


I revisit this table and update it with the insight of eyes that have seen the development over the last ten years, and with the knowing of heart, and the understanding of the Spiral Dynamics theory (see Table 4.3 below).


Table 4.3:  Global Spiral Dynamics 2013


Human Niches – history

Human Niches – the future


PURPLE dominant core ruled by RED despot. High BLUE is rejected as being Colonial. Low BLUE has

difficulties with High RED

Academic Education and being converted to a religion will. Facilitate a breakaway from PURPLE to a high RED and then a move into a stable BLUE




Human Niches – history

Human Niches – the future

Mid East

PURPLE tribes and their princes with red secular or religious leaders all wanting the benefits of the oil under the land. Also the control of Holy sites

Until the RED/BLUE religious and power needs are resolved and when the negotiating ability of ORANGE emerges instead of the trading of RED then stability when be restored


BLUE system dealing with strong PURPLE and RED before ORANGE emerged

Reliance on ethos of honesty and Confucian work ethic led to a soft BLUE authoritarianism to bring order out of the third-world chaos. ORANGE commercial ability has prospered upper classes only, PURPLE poverty surrounds ORANGE.


ORANGE       free-market principles, lacking BLUE controls          caused stagnation.

Move to encourage ORANGE to rebuild economy apparent conflict between ORANGE and GREEN egalitarianism.


RED and BLUE authoritarian regimes.

Emerging ORANGE negotiates where ever a deal can be made.

Being a member of the BRIC’S

coalition a gives credibility in the 3rd world


RED youth and BLUE Japanese      thinkers             with discipline and dignity have prevented             disaster, ORANGE

entrepreneurship has not kept pace with countries in


BLUE will re-stabilise the economy to allow ORANGE to meet their

calculated challenge 



In Table 4.3 I listed the Human Niches that are at play in the various countries that are listed, as well as insights gained in terms of what will happen by 2020.


Currently the First World is still mostly ORANGE but I have seen an increase in RED, for example, strikes, rejection of gun control and bullying of poorer nations.  The Second World is still BLUE or authoritarian, but the downshift to RED has not significantly moved to sacrificial thinking. 


Looking forward to 2020 I believe that the current First World will continue to experience stagnation. Parts of the Second World will increasingly take over the ORANGE First World.  Small sections of the Third World will move into the BLUE Second World. History repeats itself (Colinvaux, 1982).


Crofts (2008, np) reiterated that another big difference between first-tier and second-tier consciousness is that each of the levels in the first tier finds it difficult to understand or value the others. This results in communication difficulties. At second-tier consciousness, people find it far easier to understand and value the other levels.


The basic assumption is that the order of the value systems is chronological, and that it can serve as a map of individual, as well societal development. It originally was assumed that as individuals, we are born into the bottom of the spiral and move up as we progress through life (Graves, 1971). No one jumps a level. I believe that children are born at a level higher than their parents were. We also have access to all the levels we have experienced (Crofts, 2008).  “What is Enlightenment?” This was the topic that Beck (2008) discussed in a radio conversation. He said:


“This is very important—I want you to see the interconnection. Memes (a meme is a self-propagating unit of cultural evolution) are not free-floating entities. RED is not better than PURPLE. It's different. So you have to ask, first and foremost, what are the Life Conditions? If the Life Conditions require you to be strong and selfassertive, or to fight your way out of a horrible situation, then the RED meme is the way to be. RED is not an aberration, but a normal part of the human meme repertoire.”


Graves (1970) showed that people who are under pressure are often driven by values different from those when they are relaxed. For example, a manager who has a habit of seeking consensus for decision-making may become dominant and force through his own decision when under pressure.  Beck (2005) explained that if we want to change we have to shift our focus, our thinking and see situations from a wider perspective, based on a fresh set of assumptions about human nature.


Different techniques can be used when focussing on awareness. Meditation is an interesting experience, because on the one hand it is about completely letting go of everything, and on the other hand, paying more attention (Cohen, 2013). One needs to let go of everything and have the courage, faith and conviction to keep on letting go, fearlessly, regardless of what may happen. However, don't let go of consciousness, don't let go of attention, and do not let go of awareness.

Meditation is the paradox between those two positions.


I worked with the Spiral for years. The best way to describe my journey of living with the theory and applying it is by using the words of Steiner. He passed away in 1925, but was only published in 1983. Steiner spoke about inner “mathematicizing.” One must go beyond the struggle of the cold, sober, performance of the mathematics in order to stand in awe of the inner harmony and melody of mathematics. Steiner (1983: p. 38) continued:


 “… then something new enters into one’s experience of mathematics. There enters into mathematics, which otherwise remains purely intellectual and, metaphorically speaking, interest only the head, something that engages the entire man. This something manifest itself insomuch youthful spirits as Novalis in the feeling; that which you behold as mathematical harmony, that which you weave through all phenomena of the universe, is actually the same loom that wove you during the first years of growth as a child here on earth. This is to feel concretely man’s connection with the cosmos. And when one works one’s way through to such an inner experience, which many

hold to be mere fantasy because they have not actually attained it themselves, one has some idea what the spiritual scientist experiences when he rises to a more extensive grasp of this ‘mathematicizing’ by undergoing an inner development. For then the capacity of soul manifesting itself as this inner mathematics passes over into something far more comprehensive. It becomes something that remains just as exact as mathematical thought yet does not proceed solely from the intellect, but from the whole man. On this path of constant inner work – an inner work far more demanding than performed in the laboratory or observatory or any other scientific institution – one comes to know what it is that underlies mathematics, that underlies this simple faculty of the human soul which can be expanded into something far more comprehensive. In this higher experience of mathematics one comes to know Inspiration. One comes to understand the differences between what lives in us…”


I became the Spiral and the Spiral became me.


Next, I present the writings of Beck (2005) in the form of a metaphor to give the reader the opportunity of obtaining a sense of his or her manifested Value System.


Most people know the story of the "Six Blind Men and the Elephant." One discovered the tail, another the trunk, while the others felt the leg, side, tusk and ear. Each was totally convinced he had discovered the "truth" based on the direct experience. Of course, each observer was "right" about the elephant, but only about a part; none was able to sense the whole. 


This can also be said about the various political, economic, religious, educational, child-rearing and technological theories of our own day. This also includes the various listings of worldviews or Weltanschauungen 87 , or the numerous psychological packages, leadership initiatives, or managerial mandates that continue to be popular, or have been discarded in societal dustbins88. 


Rather than continue to pit the vast array of differences against one another in an adversarial manner, or suffer the consequences when the conflicts surface in the form of belligerence or warfare, might it not be useful to find a way to construct a synthesis that can explain why each emerged, where it is useful, and how it can contribute to the total system? 


In Table 4.4 below choose the question that describe your view of the world best.


Table 4.4:  The elephant-world value system (Beck, 2005)


Which of these views of the elephant-world best describe you?

The world is . . .*


A natural milieu where humans rely on instincts to stay alive.


A mysterious place where omens and ritual observation provide protection and help.89


A jungle where the strongest with their high energy can survive.90


An ordered existence under the control of the ultimate truth


A market place full of possibilities and opportunities


A human habitat in which we share life's experiences


A chaotic organism forged by differences and change


An elegantly balanced system of interlocking forces

*Question from The Values Test, NVC


In the table above one of the questions that describe each Value System of the Spiral is listed. These questions form part of the Value Test91 although only one


87Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767–1835)

88  Beck (2004)

89  Original statement from the Value Test: Purple – “a magical place alive with spirit beings and mystical signs”

90  Original statement from the Values Test:  Red – “a jungle where the strongest and most cunning survive” 91 A assessment that describe the value systems as described by Beck

question is listed; it may assist the reader of this thesis to understand his or her Value System better.


4.6 African dynamics


Although Graves did a lot of research in prisons and among the Inuit Indians, and had a wonderful understanding of PURPLE, this wisdom never found its true essence in BLUE academic writing. PURPLE and even RED are described as if it should be fixed. A sense of discrimination, almost of superiority or arrogance found its way into this written text. Viewed through the prism of Spiral Dynamics a person can begin to understand Africa. 


In Spiral Dynamics PURPLE is often described as tribal, clandestine, animalistic, superstitious and magical. Crofts (2008) stated that about 10% of the adult population globally is PURPLE. Wilber (2000) quoted similar statistics. I think internationally this figure is closer to 40%, and in Africa it could be 60%. I strongly believe that the beauty in PURPLE and the constructive energy in RED are not acknowledged. 


PURPLE asks the question: “How can I sacrifice for my tribe, my community or my family?” This question of existence becomes the driving force behind behaviours. PURPLE people excel at family-orientated events, community relations and tribal rituals. They are profound storytellers and use metaphor with great skill.


The term “tribe” is like a “nation” of older usage, a body of people of common derivation and custom, in possession and control of their own extensive territory, and that is a constellation of communities and relations between communities (Shahlins, 1968: viii). These tribes are organised according to various principles.

Descent may be matrilineal, patrilineal, cognatic (non-unilineal) or even mixed. 


The Independent of May, 03, 2013 published an article Johanna Eede who describes the 100 tribes that are still functioning today. The overall view is that tribe is equal to black. That is not true. We find different tribes in the world. In Scotland, people still act as if they were part of the clan. One can even belong to a soccer tribe. Society can learn lessons from tribal dynamics.


There is wisdom in the tribal institution (Shalins, 1968: p. 13). One can learn about authority from tribal structures. In tribal meetings often effort is made to ensure inclusivity. Social structures are visible. Humanness can be learned. Western managers can study the self-organising nature of tribal ways, and save on expensive consulting fees.


One of the best books I have ever read about the African Culture is the book Lightning Bird by Lyall Watson, published in 1982. Watson tells the story of Adrian Boshier who spent more than twenty years in the African bush and who shared his experience of African wisdom with him (Watson). Boshier knew that in certain parts of Africa the same word was used for both “yesterday” and “tomorrow”. The present moment was the centre of time. “The distance from the present is more important than the direction.” Watson explains (1982: p. 118) that past and present are not seen as opposites, but merely as more remote forms of the present. This makes the ancestors very real.


Shalins (1968: p. 106) explained that “death is not the end... the past is not dead – it is not even past”. The ritual of a funeral is critical, as it facilitates an awareness that something has changed. It is recognition of the fact of death, but also an assumption that it is not the end, just a kind of transition. Jung (1953) said: “If you want to move forward, look back, look back. Look back.”  We can learn from Africa to remember our roots.


For me, Africa is home, and I view this continent as the birthplace of all humanity.

Watson (1982: 8) prompted us as follows:

“Learn from people whose lineage perhaps runs more directly than ours to the roots of ‘human beings’, and who embody, in their way of seeing and in their system of belief, a philosophy that is older than our own – and which may be closer to the truth”.


Shawn and McKnight (1981:3) emphasised that the importance of understanding people is to try (with their help) to see the world through their eyes, since it is on their view of the world that their behaviour is based. If we want to understand vandals, we must talk to them, not to their parents or probation officers or psychologists, they explained. Managers who hold positions high up in organisations often do not take time to listen to their workers. The West does not listen to Africa. BLUE and ORANGE want to improve PURPLE – as if something were wrong.


Traditionally the indigenous peoples of Africa perceived themselves as living in a cosmos pervaded by powerful, mysterious spiritual beings and forces that underlay and supported human life. Native Africans believed that in order to survive, it was necessary to acknowledge these spiritual powers in every aspect of their lives. They did this by addressing the powers in prayer and song, offering them gifts, establishing ritual relationships with them, and passing down knowledge about them to subsequent generations, primarily through myths (Mutwa, 1999).


Most native Africans believed in a Great Mystery or Great Spirit that underlay the complexity of all existence, as well as in many other spiritual powers that influenced the entire life they engaged in according to a variety of rituals (Mutwa, 1999). As a person passed through the stages of the life cycle – obtaining a name after birth, seeking a guardian spirit at puberty, setting off at death for the journey to the afterlife – rituals marked the passages. In prayer Africans used gestures and words as well as songs and dances to communicate with the spirits (Watson, 1982). Ceremonial observances of prayer and thanksgiving took place at critical stages in the agricultural or hunting season.


The supernatural is usually defined as that which is not explicable by the known forces of nature (Watson, 1982: p. 12). The natural history of the supernatural is designed to extend the traditional five senses into areas where others have been operating under cover. This is an attempt to fit all of nature, the known and unknown, into the body of supernature, and to show that, at this time, of all the faculties we posses, none is more important than a wide-eyed sense of wonder (p. 13).


Watson (1982: p. 150) explained that the belief in magic makes it easier to account for misfortune. The existence of appropriate rituals allows people to take action of some sort in the face of uncertainty. He goes further to explain that magic has two sides, namely, black and white. Black magic is secret and antisocial, whereas white magic makes the unknown accessible to everyday life. There are diviners who use mechanical aids (like bones, sticks, shells, leaves, coins, birds, winds and fatty intestines) and those who do not. Diviners have herbal knowledge.


African culture makes a definite difference between a sangoma and a witch. Witches are viewed as inherently evil. Their powers are inherited, but form part of their organic constitution, and are psychic. Sahlilns (1968) explains that their souls fly around at night to devour people, and that they are projections of hostility along lines of tension in the social structure.


Sangomas are healers. They are the keepers of the old ways, the old stories. Watson (1982: p. 19) explained the African beliefs that there is life on earth – one life which “embraces every animal and plant on the planet. Time has divided it up into several million parts, but each is an integral part of the whole. A rose is a rose, but it is also a robin and a rabbit. We are all of one flesh, drawn from the same crucible.”


Precognition means “knowing in advance”, and systems of knowing cover just about every possible source of variation. They include aeromancy (divination by cloud shapes), electromancy (in which a bird is allowed to peck grains of corn from letters of the alphabet), apantomancy (chance meetings with animals), capnomancy (the patterns of smoke rising from a fire), causimomancy (the study of objects placed on fire), cromniomancy (finding significance in onion sprouts), hippomancy (based on the stamping of horses), onychomancy (the patterns of fingernails in the sunlight), phyllorhodomancy (consisting of the sounds made by slapping rose petals against the hand), and tiromancy (a system of divination involving cheese) (Watson, 1982: p. 273). If one comes into touch with nature, and with the way in which nature works, one suddenly becomes aware of much more. I found my roots in anthroposophy, a philosophy founded by Steiner (1982), who postulated the existence of an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world that is accessible to direct experience through inner development.


As with all methods of divination, a great deal depends on the person who interprets the results. While contextualising his theory on the phenomenon of synchronicity and the theory of coincidences Jung (1953) suspected that the unconscious might have something to do with the way the patterns manifest. Watson (1982: pp. 273-274) supported Jung’s viewpoint, and believed that the power of pscyho-kinesis has a great deal to do with the weird accuracy of the I Ching and other oracles. Even if we do not believe in the predictive ability of oracles, very interesting questions can be introduced that can help one to reframe a difficulty.


Hoogvelt (1976) mentioned that in colonised areas there are increased incidences of magic and witchcraft. She ascribed this to Westernisation where the impacts of rapid social change were widely experienced. Symbols have a great appeal for the unconscious mind (Watson: p. 274). Rather than denying symbols and innate truths, they can be integrated into the way in which we live.


Mbeki (1990), Young (1990), Biko (1978) and Valikati (2012) all alluded to how political, economic and socio-cultural injustices in the South African past, suppressed, erased and misappropriated the identity of African people. Scientific imperialism emphasises the impact on identity even more.  Africans then reject their PURPLE roots, rather than adapting a BLUE or ORANGE persona. An evolvement and synthesis of worldviews can rather occur that may lead to integration and higher levels of consciousness. 


There is a wonderful tradition in most African tribes, where one will always take a gift when one goes to meet a senior person. This is done out of respect, and to acknowledge the audience. BLUE is concerned about the ethical implications of bribery. The world also considers Africa as corrupt. 


The Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo (Issues in Global Governance, 2006, explained this dilemma as follows: 


“The gift is made in the open for all to see, never in secret. Where a gift is excessive, it becomes an embarrassment, and is returned. If anything, corruption – as practiced by exporters from the North as well as by officials in the South – has perverted positive aspects of this age-old tradition.”


In Africa a gift is a concept of appreciation and hospitality, and serves as a token of goodwill. It is not demanded, and the value is not in the material worth of the present, but in the spirit of giving. It is critical to always understand the contextual dynamics, while not violating universally accepted norms. In terms of ethics, the spiral truly assists in identifying the etiology of bias. A PURPLE view arises from traditions and tribes; the RED view is making sense to the survival instinct of the individual holding the view; the BLUE view coincides with a linearly developed logic shared by a rational peer group, namely, compliance with the collective norm. Subjectivism (a person’s perception of right and wrong) and cultural relativism (one’s adopted culture that collectively sees things as good or evil) are tied into the argument. Thus, subjectivism and cultural relativism appear to be at horizontal poles of the vertically evolving spiral (Cavanagh, 2003)[72]


In my opinion globalisation is showing cracks. For an example, let us take a look at fraud. It is slowing all systems down, whether these are computer systems, or banking, buying or ordering systems. More barriers create more interfaces between role players, and in the end the benefits of technical advantages are defeated. People who think in a safe and secure way are typically concerned about personal security. Then there are people who think that there is only one way of doing things. However, technology was actually designed on calculated risk-thinking; thus ORANGE.  


Vusi Vulikati who completed his MPhil on African Spiritual Consciousness in 2012, explained that in itself the term “African” is a very vague concept. Part of what creates the definitional complexity is that Africa is made up of different cultures and sub-cultures. He warns that the risks of crystallising a definition for Africa are losing the very essence of it, because definitions are often used in a commercialised sense in our modern context. Vulikati (2012: p. 23) continued as follows:


“For me African would refer to the simple little thing – how African people define for themselves what life is about - our notion of existence as living because others are living. Being alone and disconnected in the African worldview is almost equivalent to death. Death is a state of being alone. The worst form of punishment in African society is not even the death penalty but exclusion. Throwing somebody out of the community destroyed their sense of identity and their primary focus of existence – it is a state of death.” 


Western ORANGE people have a total different thinking pattern, where individualism and materialism are valued. The loss of communication is profound in the transition from PURPLE to RED.


At the announcement that the rights of societal chiefs could be enforced by legislation in South Africa, Ramphele (2011), said the following: 


“Our leadership is mistaken if it thinks rural people will sit quietly and obediently while the gains they fought so hard to win are betrayed one by one. The Bantustans were dismantled less than 20 years ago. It takes longer than that to forget what it means to be second-class citizens in the land of our birth.”


This legislation makes it a criminal offence for people to refuse to appear when a chief summons them; whether they recognise him (it is always a him) or not. There are about 900 officially-recognised chiefs in South Africa, and more than 1200 disputes have been lodged concerning the boundaries of their districts. This bill locked up over 18 million South Africans in these disputed boundaries and their ascribed “tribal” identities. Ramphele (2011), together with others, rallied against the passing of the bill.


I bought Credo Mutwa’s books overseas, and smuggled them into South Africa. I covered some of them with brown paper to avoid drawing attention to them. Even today I will put the tokkelos[73] on my books when I bring them to a lecture room94. Mutwa’s contribution should not be underestimated, and his courage to share the ways of the “Bantu” should be applauded. Mutwa (2006) explained that “…when people feel with each other, when people feel for each other, when people are connected... that is ubuntu”. From Africa we must learn the gift to connect. The gift that is close to extinction. 


4.7 Human Niches


A niche is defined by Colinvaux (1980) as a specific set of capabilities for extracting resources, for surviving hazards, and for competing, coupled with a corresponding set of needs. This definition, however, does not take into account the thinking pattern of the individual.


Colinvaux (1980) explains that our niches are what have changed since ancient times. We are no longer hunters or gatherers, but have become farmers and industrialists. I adopted the concept of Human Niches by taking this thinking further. It is our thinking patterns that have changed over time, and new thinking patterns have led to new and different realities. I also followed the development of Edward de Bono through the years. In my view he is the world’s leading authority on conceptual thinking and problem-solving. De Bono (1993) began to speak about thinking systems. I am studying thinking patterns in the brain that create Human Niches.


Goethe said: “Thinking … is no more and no less an organ of perception than the eye or ear. Just as the eye perceives colours and the ear sounds, so thinking perceives ideas”. Steiner (1982) based his views on these thoughts. I believe thinking patterns in the brain result in Human Niches. New insights proliferated during the years, and I celebrated the worth of each Value System, or as I refer to it, thinking pattern or Human Niche.


In 1988 I came across a book by Harman that documents an experiment, and describes the work by Michael Gazzaniga and Roger Sperry about the operations of the left and right brain. Sperry and Gazzaniga [74]had been working with a girl called Patience, who had a corpus coliseum lobotomy. This procedure disconnects certain functions of the brain. In business circles, and particularly among marketing people, there was a lot of talk about the functions of the left and right brain. Sperry (in Gazzaniga, 2005) went on to write another book in which he clarified the idea that he and Cazzaniga had made pre-assumptions. All that happened could not be ascribed to the lobotomy. Normal people also had a preference for analogous or digital thinking.


The National Value Centre developed a questionnaire (see Appendix C) and report sheet on analogous and digital thinking. I applied this in my field of work, and discovered that people understood these concepts very well, and were able to be more congruent with their workforce. 


The two Human Niches on which I concentrated most were PURPLE and RED. Graves (1971) stated that “B” questions of existence focus on solving the problem of shelter and food in the local tribe. It is self-sacrificing for the group, the family or the tribe. This is the PURPLE niche. It is here where over the years I began to see that the published texts view this value system as primitive. I moved away from this description in my work (Beck, 2005; Wilber, 2005). The wisdom of storytelling, the lessons learned from remembering the old ways and the true understanding of nature are not celebrated as they it should be. In describing a Thinking Niche I use the terms, High or Low. To me High exhibits a positive aspect of the niche and Low describes a negative example of the niche. RED for example, is an expressive system. RED can be described as egocentric, aggressive, domineering and exploitive. I classify that as Low. The lovely energy that RED radiates, the heroistic and warrior-like attributes that accompany this value system are often ignored. I view these attributes as gifts – and call it High RED.


BLUE countries come to Africa to change PURPLE and RED through interventions by the United Nations and others, and not taking into account that maybe we could rather learn something from Africa; lessons of life and spirit that other societies have forgotten already. Mutwa (1998: p. 792) pleaded that foreigners should please leave his Africa undefiled by their ideals, falsehoods and hypocrisies.  He continued as follows: 


“…they have not learnt – or they do not wish to learn – that one cannot expect people to be loyal to something alien to their customary ways and which they do not understand…How can one expect a tribal-scarred Lukonde woodcarver to be loyal to a Parliament based on the British model? Could one expect an officer of the Guards to be loyal to his Battle Induna immediately after being forcefully transferred to an impi of Baluba warriors?...Why must we be turned into soulless zombies”  


PURPLE people do not ask commercial questions. They ask: “How can we make a sacrifice for the tribe? RED people ask: “How do we get Power”.  BLUE people who ask: “How can we sacrifice for the future” and ORANGE people who ask: “How can I conquer the material world” drive economic systems. I always say BLUE and ORANGE ways just glide off PURPLE.  Translation is needed. 


In co-operation with Wilber, Cowan began to refer to the value systems as Levels of Consciousness (Centre of Human Development Website, 2012). Other authors equate value systems with worldviews (Dinan, 2013; Yeats, 2012). Over the years I began to speak about Thinking Systems. When I walk into a room, I see brains that are calibrated according to a specific Human Niche, and not gender, nationality or age. I found that using the words “Value Systems” are not applied in the way that Graves intended them to be applied. He was concerned with the human system that facilitates the determination of worth – the valuing system (Graves, 1971). He did not refer to personal values. Often people do not take the time to try and understand what a word really means. They just assume that the meaning they attach to it is universal.


Viljoen (2008) emphasised the importance of using the Spiral Dynamics theory in organisational transformation. She highlighted the importance for a multi-cultural organisation to understand national cultural dynamics and insight into differences in worldviews of people in the organisation. Understanding the context in which an organisation operates can be of great assistance in ensuring organisational productivity. 


The African context is often ignored. BLUE business cannot understand why procedures and strategies are not optimally implemented. PURPLE, and even RED to a degree, are not understood. Translation does not happen and the benefits of inclusivity as described by Viljoen (2008) are not brought about. 


Political and economical philosophies have failed owing to a lack of understanding of Human Niches. Two hundred years ago the philosopher and political economist Adam Smith believed that the drive to maintain personal security was the basic force behind capitalism (Russel, 1982: p. 111). He believed that individuals would be looking out for their own interests, and that they would be led by an invisible hand to advance the interests of the society. However, capitalist society did not turn out the way it was expected to, and individuals did not act in their own long-term interests. They actually acted against their own real interests and against those of the society as a whole.

Understanding Human Niches is critical, especially at national and regional level.


Colinvaux (1980) explained that social unrest is a necessary consequence of changing a niche. He warned that this unrest would be a middle-class phenomenon and probably episodic (Colinvaux: 1980).  He further warned that all forms of expansion might cause bureaucracy, and that bureaucracy would crash, since there is a shortage of resources to allocate.

“Freedom wanes within the empire as people in charge seek to maintain ancient standards through more government. Bureaucrats allocate, social divides harden, the possibilities for adventure decline. The ruling classes, once at least sprinkled with people who talked of preserving and extending the people’s liberties, become self-centered, repressive, concerned only with the preservation of their own privileges. The mass, once ready enough to cheer in the success of the state, must lose hope of better things and may be appeased only by a system of welfare. They know very well that their lot will not improve, that children have no chance to live better than they, for the evidence of resources pressed to the limit will be visible on every hand.”


What is needed in South Africa, as well as the larger Africa, is a solid understanding of the processes that support problem-solving, ethical decisionmaking and pro-active thinking while studying management struggles, confusion, dilemmas and the moral challenges that managers are facing. Managers need training in understanding the many elements of diversity management (also diversity of thought as described by Viljoen (2008) that include Human Niches), including such critical areas as change-planning and preparedness, change communications, security of human, physical and intellectual assets and organisational behaviour, communication management problems and strategies.

Managers must be taught how to optimise PURPLE and RED thinking patterns.



4.8 Conclusion


In a tribute to all races, Rabindranath Tagore (revered Indian poet, 1861-1941), said:

"On each race is laid the duty to keep alight its own lamp of mind As its part in the illumination of the world.

To break the lamp of any people is to deprive it of its rightful place in the world festival."


This poem applies equally to Value Systems and Spiral Dynamics or Human

Niches as I refer to it.


We cannot change the Human Niche (thinking pattern) of an individual, and should not try to do so. We can, however create a climate in which people ask different questions and decide for themselves to do something in a different way. In Value Circles, the next part of the thesis, intervention is positioned as a possible method to be followed to unleash the voices of all the Human Niches in a group, to the benefit of all.

PART          5:      SYSTEMS    INTERVENTIONS          –        CASES        OF     CO-­‐CREATION          


The only thing that guarantees an open-ended collaboration among human beings, is a willingness to have our beliefs and behaviours modified by the power of conversation. 

~ Sam Harris (2004, np)


5.1 Introduction


Value management became an essential part of operational processes in organisations in the 1980s as part of Continuous Improvement or Kaizen (改善)[75] This is an ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes. In Japan,

Demming (1950) taught top management how to improve design and therefore service delivery. Quality circles formed an integral part of these processes (Hutchins, 2008). 


Beck and van Heerden (1987:110) mentioned that Japanese high-quality products have resulted in an increase in its exports with subsequent friction with other countries. They described the basic philosophy of quality-circle activities as follows: 


i)     Contributing to the improvement of the organic structure of the company and to the company growth, as well 

ii)    Making the job site an enjoyable and yet challengeable place by paying respect to human personality  

iii)   Demonstrating full capacity of human being so that potential human capability can be used unlimitedly


A quality circle is a volunteer group composed of workers together with their supervisor (or team leader), who are trained to identify, analyse and solve workrelated problems (Hutchins, 1995). The solutions on how to improve the performance of the organisation are shared with management. During the process, employees are motivated. Hutchins (1995: p. 23) explained “…quality circles are an alternative to the dehumanising concept of the division of labour, where workers or individuals are treated like robots”.


Different problem-solving techniques are taught to team members, namely fishbone diagrams, Pareto Charts, process-mapping, graphic tools such as histograms and the pie chart, run charts, control charts, scatter plots and correlation analysis flowcharts. 


Companies in South Africa tried desperately in the 1980s to implement these Japanese philosophies. For a lot of companies this initiative was like most other fads; it soon faded. One of the reasons identified by Beck and van Heerden (1985) was that 50 percent of South Africa’s adult labour force in any given factory was illiterate unlike in Japan. The statistical methods followed in the Japanese Quality Circles thus presented problems. It, however, became clear to me that Japan had very different thinking systems at play than South Africa.

BLUE optimisation initiatives do not impact on PURPLE systems.


I began to integrate Spiral Dynamics philosophy and theory when conducting a Quality Circle. The name Value Circles and logo were developed by the workers at Litemaster, who after experiencing a circle, were asked "what should we call this circle" they drew three circles intersecting. They explained that one circle was for Quality, another circle was Quantity and the last was Cost. They then said the three together give you Value. The concept  “Value Circles” was born.


Quality, quantity and cost balance are what we always strive for in a Value Circle and in facilitating a Value Circle. 




5.2 Value Circles


During this process I alternate analogue and digital thinking activities. I draw heavily on my understanding of PURPLE and RED, and how it differs from BLUE and ORANGE.  I view the Value Circle process as described in Figure 5.1 below.