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Typology of 12 complementary strategies

Typology of 12 complementary strategies essential to sustainable development

Tentative adaptation and development from related table on Characteristics of phases in learning / action cycles, derived from Arthur Young's Geometry of Meaning (1978). See commentary on learning cycles in Cycles of dissonance and resonance and below. See also alternative table based on clustering strategies and values. See also Typology of 12 complementary dialogue modes essential to sustainable dialogueconfidence ploysChinese strategems ; strategic dilemmas


 "Positive" Identifying 
Associating 
Recognizing
Responding 
Intending 
Engaging
Acting 
Effecting 
Changing 
Implementing
Ensuring 
Sustaining 
Maintaining
 
 
Symbol A B C D
Knowledge 
Comprehension 
Framing 
Scoping 
("head")
1
A1 [L] 
Monitoring 
Balancing 
Evaluating 
Placing 
Studying 
Modelling 
Consulting 
Detecting Informing
B1 [L/T] 
Adapting 
Accommodating 
Dialoguing 
Educating (theoretical) 
Caring 
(in principle
Protecting 
Planning
C1 [L/T2]
Initiating 
Engaging 
Launching 
Undertaking
D1 [L/T3]
Controlling 
Supervising 
Regulating 
Verifying
M0L
Concern 
Involvement 
Participation 
("heart")
2
A2 [ML] 
Acknowledging 
Recognizing 
Articulating 
Envisioning 
Publicizing 
Sensitizing
B2 [ML/T]
Desiring 
Warning 
Promoting 
Inciting 
Advocating 
Representing 
Protesting 
Appeasing 
Deploring 
Praying 
Stressing 
Calling for..
C2 [ML/T2]
Directing 
Ordering 
Ruling 
Implementing 
(admin.
Administering 
Legislating 
Sponsoring 
Funding 
 
D2 [ML/T3]
Coordinating 
Managing 
Buffering 
Redistributing 
Reallocating
ML
Grounding 
Praxis 
("walking the talk"; "guts"; "being there")
3
A3 [ML2]
Reassuring 
Affirming 
Accepting 
Holding 
Empathizing 
Identifying with 
Celebrating 
Endorsing 
Praising 
Invoking 
Appreciating 
Remembering
B3 [ML2/T]
Resolving 
Deciding 
Determining 
Threatening 
Instituting 
Demonstrating 
Training 
Exercising 
Negotiating 
Mediating 
Vowing 
Pledging
C3 [ML2/T2]
Achieving 
Grounding 
Enforcing 
Establishing 
Developing 
Intervening 
Protecting (practically
Prosecuting 
Conserving 
Revoking
D3 [ML2/T3]
Enabling 
Embodying 
Empowering 
"Educating" 
Maintaining 
Sustaining 
Capacity bld.
ML2
T0 T-1 T-2 T-3  Dim.
"Negative" Denying 
Misrepresenting 
Forgetting 
Desensitizing
Tokenism 
Lip-service 
Irresolution 
Demonizing
Malpractice 
Exploitation 
Domination
Mismanaging 
Disempowering 
Misallocating 
Non-complying
Psychological functions Sensing 
(Touch)
Feeling 
(Sound; Rhythm)
Seeing 
(Sight)
Intuiting 
(Smell; Taste)

Anthony Judge, with comments of Nadia McLaren and Allan Howard,

Commentary

Rows: These distinguish between the 12 strategy types based on (1) knowledge of issues, (2) concern for issues, and (3) "being there" -- where the issues are hurting.

  • Row 1 is primarily intellectual and detached from reality "on the ground" or "in the field", even if it is obliged to deal with it; a "concern" barrier must be passed to get into Row 2 strategies.
  • Row 2 is concerned with, or involved with, grounded reality -- but without "being there"; a "grounding" barrier must be passed to get into Row 3 strategies.
  • Row 3 is identified with grounded reality in some way; a "comprehension" barrier must be passed to get into Row 1 strategies (repeating the learning cycle within a larger framework) .
Columns: These distinguish between the 12 strategy types based on (A) acknowledging issues, (B) responding to issues, (C) acting on issues, and (D) sustaining action on issues.
  • Column A is primarily identifying and relating to issues (sensing them); an "intention" barrier must be passed to get into Column B.
  • Column B is developing intentions with respect to the issues; an "action" barrier must be passed to get into Column C.
  • Column C is engaging in action; a "continuity" barrier must be passed to get into Column D where the action can be rendered sustainable.
  • Column D is ensuring that action is controlled and maintained knowledgeably; a "contextual" barrier, recognizing new feedback loops, must be passed to get into Column A  (repeating the learning cycle within a larger framework).
Each of the 12 strategy types has a vital function. The challenge is that their complementarity is not necessarily recognized. Certain strategy types are easily neglected, notably those in Row 3 and those in Column D. Because of its lower "dimensionalty", it tends to be easier to engage in strategy A1, for example -- which is coded with the lightest colour in the table. The current challenge is to give meaning and force to strategies of type D3, that correspond to sustainable development -- which is coded the darkest in the table.

The words used to describe each of the 12 individual strategy types are commonly encountered in describing strategies -- notably in the declarations of international organizations. The colour coded diagonals suggest a pattern of progressive engagement towards sustainable action "on the ground":

  • Diagonal A1: Monitoring type strategy, frequently used as a preliminary to any other strategy, whether relating to massacres or environmental disasters. Response to many issues is often limited to this, notably by the academic community.
  • Diagonal A2-B1: Acknowledgment of the issue and adaptive response to it. This has little effect "on the ground" but administrative and intellectual frameworks and procedures may be adjusted to take account of the issue.
  • Diagonal A3-B2-C1: The issue evokes empathy (reassuring the victims), official warnings and calls for action, and initiation of patterns of response. This is typical of responses by the international community / media / local activist complex. New issues, including potential genocides, notably evoke strategies of type B2, namely "deploring", "protesting", etc by the international community -- possibly accompanied by "undertaking", and "initiating" strategies (type C1), but without significant follow-up.
  • Diagonal B3-C2-D1: Concerns expressed on the preceding diagonal may lead to strategies of type B3, namely "resolving", "deciding", etc -- on the part bodies such as the UN Security Council. Decisions are taken, coalitions are formed, orders are given and supervisory structures are set up. This may be framed as effecting change, but this form of implementation typically lends itself to positive reporting on action taken with little awareness of whether this is effective "on the ground".
  • Diagonal C3-D2: Enforcement becomes evident "on the ground" and coordination is ensured with respect to the continuity of the implementation process. Unfortunately the engagement is such that the "continuity" is essentially short-term and tends to be eroded and abandoned once attention passes to other issues. This is typical of many responses to issues that are momentarily in the public eye.
  • Diagonal D3: Action becomes sustainable through building in procedures that guarantee long-term continuity based on appropriate attention to feedback loops. However any such form of grounded, sustainable action is itself challenged by unforeseen issues and feedback loops that may call for new kinds of issue detection and monitoring (Diagonal A1).
Negative variants of each strategy type necessarily also exist. These are suggested by column labels at the foot of the table.

Meeting participation: It is also fruitful to see each of the 12 strategy types as reflecting the complementary views that need to be expressed at an archetypal strategic "roundtable" (Camelot style). The specific relationships between each such view have been tentatively explored in an earlier study on Toward a New Order of Meeting Participation (http://www.laetusinpraesens.org/docs/contract.php) that charts the Shadowy Roundtable Hidden within every Meeting. This endeavours to show how the seemingly "external" issues tend to be reflected in the different behaviour styles of meeting participants -- and the need for a new kind of participant contract to move beyond such constraints.

Torus representation: As implied above, the Row 1 strategies can also usefully be considered as bordering the Row 3 strategies -- by rolling the table into a cylinder. Similarly the Column A strategies can also be considered as bordering the Column D strategies -- by connecting the ends of the cylinder to form a torus. It is on the surface of this torus that the connectivities between the strategy types might be more appropriately comprehended. A possible representation of this structure, appropriately coloured, has been developed as a hypersphere to illustrate Arthur Young's insights (http://www.hypersphere.com/hs/abouths.html)

Individual action: The relevance of the above typology can also be explored in relation to individual or community group action. The status of a "New Year's Resolution" with respect to personal sustainable development is then clarified -- a demonstrates the nature of the challenge for international organizations inspired by its many Resolutions.