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Eliciting engagement through value frames of reference


Psychodynamics of collective engagement with polyhedral value configurations (Part #2)


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A set of values is typically considered significant as a "frame of reference". Hence the effort to elicit such frames for organizational coherence. But what is such a frame of reference and how is to be understood? How does it work?

A single "pillar" can be used as a kind of pole of reference and is so used for surveying purposes, where orientation to the pole and distance from it are the key. Two poles can be similarly used, although they too cannot be described as a "frame". But the latter case makes clear the essential role of triangulation in the operation of any frame of reference within which action takes place.

Triangulation: A frame of reference, presumably in the case of values, is established and sustained through triangulation between a minimum of three nodes that are "other" in relation to each other. This is a feature of the methodology proposed (above) with respect to "pillars" by Inayatullah -- however such nodes may then usefully be understood as attractors or repulsors to avoid the misplaced concreteness of reification.

Any such triangular frame engenders or elicits:

  • a dynamic (vector), pulling awareness through it ("motor" mode), rather than simply framing a focal central point.
  • awareness by the experiencer of being pulled through the frame of reference -- through a configuration of otherness ("dynamo" mode)
  • significance and meaning are then to be associated with this dynamic in relation to values

The value of a triangular frame of reference may be contrasted with a bipolar frame of reference -- only too commonly characteristic of unfruitful polarization and strategic dilemmas. In fact the whole exploration of the above-mentioned exercise (Configuring Globally and Contending Locally: shaping the global network of local bargains by decoding and mapping Earth Summit inter-sectoral issues, 1992) was the configuration of strategic dilemmas through the triangulation fundamental to the integrity of tensegrity structures.

Polyhedral configuration of triangulated frames of reference: The above-mentioned criticism of "pillar-ization" of strategic governance pointed to the need for less simplistic metaphors -- hence the exploration of polyhedral global governance as a means of configuring triangulated frames of reference. But the cognitive challenge may call for other considerations as highlighted by the following:

  • implications of the work of Albert Einstein in relation to frames of reference moving relative to one another -- surely to be recognized as a process characteristic of value frames in dynamic psycho-social systems (as implied above by Chris Mowles)
  • implications of the unsuspected formative influences regarding the development of the frame of reference of Ludwig Wittgenstein as explored by Susan G. Sterrett (Wittgenstein Flies a Kite: a story of models of wings and models of the world, 2005)
  • implications, following from the argument relating to Wittgenstein, with regard to the frames of reference explored by Einstein as effectively defining claims to cognitive property, justifying defence of "our values" (Einstein's Implicit Theory of Relativity -- of Cognitive Property? Unexamined influence of patenting procedures, 2007)
  • implications regarding consensus and incommunicability emerging from the exploration of philosophical frameworks by Nicholas Rescher (The Strife of Systems: an essay on the grounds and implications of philosophical diversity, 1985) who concludes:
    For centuries, most philosophers who have reflected on the matter have been intimidated by the strife of systems. But the time has come to put this behind us -- not the strife, that is, which is ineliminable, but the felt need to somehow end it rather than simply accept it and take it in stride. To reemphasize the salient point: it would be bizarre to think that philosophy is not of value because philosophical positions are bound to reflect the particular values we hold.

Triadic systems: There are several suggestive examples of extensively articulated triadic systems:

  • the triadic paradigm for general system building developed by Paris Arnopoulos (Sociophysics: a general theory of natural and cultural systems, 1992; Sociophysics: cosmos and chaos in nature and culture, 2005)
  • the social process triangles developed through a collective process within the context of the Institute of Cultural Affairs (Jon and Maureen Jenkins, Social Process Triangles, 2001).
  • the classical Chinese BaGua system of trigrams (mentioned above)
  • the archetypal nuclear family system of mother, father and child, notably illustrating the pressures to "make" another values to bring life into the family (and the related challenges of the "eternal triangle"):

*** Lockwood -- ioiu -- knowledge compaction like soil, top soil
*** presumption of comprehension precluding doubt, dialogue and development
*** LER process ???


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