I've been a big fan of relational grammars for the last two decades. I got started with Karpman's Drama Triangle years ago. Each of these grammars help me understand where others are coming from, how we differ and ways that changes might occur. As Sun Tzu advised us 3000 years ago in The Art of War, it's essential to "know ourselves and know our enemies" to not get blind sided by our own shortcomings, hubris or assumptions. Relational grammars help us accomplish that objective. We can see ourselves more clearly. We can get past those easy us/them labels of others and then apply more nuanced insights into our opponents.
Recently I've become aware of a relational grammar developed by Alan Page Fiske. Michel Bauwens has used this grammar to develop his P2P Manifesto. Others have drawn the parallels between that relational grammar and the TIMN framework of David Ronfeldt. As I've been synthesizing that TIMN model with Dave Snowden's Cynefin framework, the relational grammars I've been using came back to mind. Today I assembled the chart below which combines all these frameworks together. (right click on the chart to open a full size version in a new tab or window)
Here's one way to put this chart into words:
Tribes can bring order to chaotic situations by keeping everyone in line. Surpluses get distributed fairly and shortages evened out by the barter and gift economy dynamics. This means that no one is a winner and there's no way to win in ways that take advantages of others (lose/lose). Everyone is dependent on the tribe for safety, and thus co-dependent, endlessly needy for security, and essentially taking each other hostage to their lack of self reliance. Their tribal culture is powerless in a world of power trippers, colonizers, empire builders and systems of domination. They can migrate, evacuate, take flight and wander as nomads when threatened by land grabs, invasions or violence. Tribes are routinely persecuted in contexts with arrogant institutions, insensitive aristocracies, condescending monarchies or tyrannical dictators. Any member of the tribe who adds to internal instability, chaos or disorder gets ostracized. The fear of being left out from the safety of the herd keeps members from acting out their anti social urges. Being cast outside the tribe if like to deliver fatal consequences in the midst of overpowering and chaotic circumstances.
Institutions can bring order to seemingly simple situations by rule of law and formal social structures. Surpluses get hoarded for lean times and awarded unfairly to those on top of the hierarchy. The top dogs win at the expense of the underdogs. The institution get divided between first and second class citizens which unravels any depending on leadership. Counter-dependent urges get acted undetected by monitoring for deviance, sabotage or traitors. Passive aggressive defiance undermines teamwork, follow through and initiatives. Institutions wallow in stagnation, thwarted by their inability to innovate and change with the times.
Markets can bring order to complicated situations by responding to changing customers, rivals, technologies and resources. Making the sacrifice to invest in long term potentials sets up the next generation winning products, teams and investors to prosper. Power struggles ensue between rival enterprises and opposing camps within an enterprise favoring different innovation strategies. Viable markets foster independence from any monopoly control of prices or brand dominance by introducing diverse services, added value, enhancements and package deals. Customers get rescued from the institutional mass producer that fails to customize, segment and otherwise complicate their market of actual niches, special interests, and cultural diversity.
Networks can bring order to complex situations by providing platforms for the vast interdependencies, connectivity and emergent phenomena to express itself. Networks create opportunities for everyone to win and benefit from others' succeeding. Everyone can have the effect of empowering others by encouraging their contributions, appreciating their sharing, and maintaining the commons. The collective abundance of creativity has the potential to redeem chronically problematic interactions by offering alternative diagnoses, frameworks and stories.