Typology of 12 complementary strategies
essential to sustainable development
- / -
The following table is a tentative adaptation
and development from related table on Characteristics
of phases in learning / action cycles, derived from Arthur
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 dialogue;
Chinese strategems ; strategic dilemmas
("walking the talk";
"guts"; "being there")
Anthony Judge, with comments of Nadia McLaren and Allan Howard
: 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
- 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
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
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
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 action.
Extracts from commentaries to Encyclopedia
of World Problems and Human Potential