In the essay “Relating: The Circular Response,” Follett proposed that “integration is the connection between the relating of two activities, their interactive influence, and the values thereby created” (Graham, 1995, p. 35). Conflicting positions can be integrated though a collective process that includes the entities themselves, their relationship to each other and the values created by that relating. Integration meets the actual needs of each participant of the conflict once those needs are found as the basis for a higher level construct. For Fisher and Ury, this is the third way (1981). For Hill, this is the tertium quid (2003). In these notions, positions are not abandoned or compromised, but rather there is a transformation of conflict into something new that iteratively transforms the conflict and the participants. The willing archetypes enter into enabling dialogical space and transform each other in a dialogic process from which specific characteristics of emerging dialogue can be observed.
My initial exposure to Rosenburg’s (n.d.) model of Jackal and Giraffe modes of communication was my first step in developing the archetypal model for dialogic process. I have detailed Rosenburg’s model previously in this paper, but here is a reminder of how the separate, fragmented relationship between the Giraffe and Jackal appears as a diagram:
A major influence on my work toward the archetypal model of dialogic process was the elemental model from the western magical tradition. Starhawk is a well-known resource for an archetypal model that offers correspondences between elements, directions and qualities (1999) and for a model of group process and leadership (1990).
While there are models of elemental correspondence in many cultures, it is important to recognize that this particular model is from the Western cultural tradition. Practitioners of other cultural traditions will recognize significant differences; in particular this is not a model of the five-element theory from Chinese medicine (Hsu, 2005), nor is it a model of the Native American medicine wheel (Storm, 1972). While there may be use in comparing these various cultural models, the important caveat is that the Starhawk’s model is culturally bound. [3. Reed (2004), an Antioch colleague, developed a process model with elemental, seasonal, direction and quality correspondences that is based on the Native American medicine wheel in her student symposium presentation, for example. ]
I will begin with two diagrams which represent the correspondence between Starhawk’s elemental model and the cardinal directions:
In Truth or Dare, Starhawk (1990) links the elemental qualities to group roles and group process. Starhawk corresponds the seasonal attributions of the directional and elemental model to a model of group growth and process:
“One model of group development is based on the four directions and the four elements of the Wiccan magic circle. No group follows these stages in perfect order; they are merely a framework for thinking about group changes over time, as well as for identifying some of the dynamic polarities that exist in groups” (1990, pp. 264-265).
Placing Starhawk’s group stages and the seasons in the same structure as I used for the directions and elements results in these two diagrams:
Starhawk (1990) connects these stages of group process to leadership roles that are filled by individuals. This archetypal model of individual roles linked to group process echoes the way roles can be filled noted previously in Propp (1971):
“The four directions and four elements of the magic circle are a useful framework for thinking about the roles and tasks of leadership. None of these roles are exclusive, and although they can be formalized when appropriate, they are not necessarily assigned to different people. Rather, they are aspects of power we each might assume at different times. The names I provide here are aids in helping us identify the powers that are needed if a group is to survive and grow” (Starhawk, 1990, p. 277).
Starhawk (1990) explains the leadership roles (Crows, Graces, Snakes, Dragons, and Spider):
“For the East, the direction of air, of the mind and vision, we have the Crows, who keep an overview of the group’s tasks and progress. For the South, the direction of fire, of energy, we have the Graces, who help the group expand. For the West, the direction of water, of emotions, we have the Snakes, who keep an underview of the group’s feelings and emotions. For the North, the direction of earth, of body and finitude, we have the Dragons, who establish and guard the group’s boundaries, who keep the group grounded. In the center, the place of spirit, we have the Spider, who weaves the group’s connections” (p. 277).
Applying the same diagram structure to Starhawk’s model of roles individuals take within groups results in the following:
Issacs (1999b) speaks of a dialogical leader being one that balances four possible “moves” which he takes from Kantor. Issacs introduces Kantor’s model of four moves:
“In any conversation, some people move – they initiate ideas. Other people follow – they complete what is said and support what is happening. Still others oppose – they challenge what is being said. And others bystand – they provide perspective on what is happening” (1999b, p. 1). [emphasis in original]
Issacs points out that there is a missing move in Kantor’s model:
“Balanced action, in the sense named here, is an essential and necessary pre-condition for dialogue” (1999b, p. 4).
By taking each move as necessary within the dynamics of a group, Isaacs’ balance is a fifth move of dynamic equilibrium introduced to Kantor:
“A dialogic leader will often look for ways to restore balance in people’s interactions” (1999b, p. 3).
Issacs also speaks to the way in which these moves are related to the ideas of inquiry and advocacy and that this relationship between advocacy and inquiry is balance:
“‘Dialogic leadership’ is the term I have given to a way of leading that consistently uncovers, through conversation, the hidden creative potential in any situation. Four distinct qualities support this process: the abilities (1) to evoke people’s genuine voices, (2) to listen deeply, (3) to hold space for and respect as legitimate other people’s views, and (4) to broaden awareness and perspective. Put differently, a dialogic leader is balanced, and evokes balance, because he can embody all four of these qualities and can activate them in others” (1999b, p. 2).
Balance also means that all group roles are important, because without one the work of the group is hindered:
“To advocate well, you must move and oppose well; to inquire, you must bystand and follow. Yet, again, the absence of any of the elements hinders interaction” (1999b, p. 3).
Connecting Starhawk’s (1990) model to Kantor’s (Kantor cited in Isaacs, 1999b) four moves and Issacs’ (1999b) fifth, balancing strategy, I suggest corresponding bystand to north, move to east, opposer to south, follow to west:
Issacs’ fifth move of balance or dialogic leadership, I place in the center of this diagram:
This arrangement of moves is adapted from that presented by Isaacs. Inquiry (move and oppose) and advocacy (bystand and follow) grouping are no longer across from each other, but arranged next to one another. Isaacs’ central balancing move participates in both inquiry and advocacy:
Isaacs uses these moves to build a model of the practices of dialogic leadership: “Dialogic leaders cultivate listening, suspending, respecting, and voicing” (1999b, p. 5). I have placed “cultivate” as the fifth practice of dialogic leadership, in the location of center and balance, although Isaacs does not himself make this practice of cultivation part of his model.
Isaacs introduces the principles that are behind each of the four practices of dialogic leadership:
“So beneath the practice of listening is the principle of participation; behind respecting is the principle of coherence, behind suspending, the principle of awareness, and behind voicing, the principle of unfoldment” (1999a, p. 81).
Building on what I’ve already shown, I would like to suggest adding a fifth principle to match the fifth practice of cultivation. Because the practice of dialogue is one of transformation, I suggest that beneath the practice of cultivation is a fifth principle of change, or transformation. [4. To compliment the key phrases that Isaacs introduces for each principle a possible key phrase for this fifth principle could be: “everything that changes touches; everything that touches changes.” I suggest this with apologies to Lauren Liebling and Starhawk who authored the traditional Goddess chant of which the relevant part is “She changes everything she touches, everything she touches changes.” ]
Isaacs’ dialogical leader embodies the archetypal roles that are necessary to dynamically balance group process. However, the center position is not limited to taking on the other roles as necessary, but holds on to a strategy that the roles must be in dynamic balance as a whole. This central role cultivates the other practices, and its own, through transformation and change. This may be a subtle distinction. In one, the role of the dialogical leader is to take on other roles that include a center role of balance, which creates a necessary imbalance, which is a distinctly different strategy than maintaining a balance between the other strategies. When imbalance is necessary, extreme strategies might be taken to un-stick the existing state of the group and this is different than a strictly balancing strategy. The central position balances others, cultivates Issacs’ practices of dialogic leadership in others and is itself informed by all five principles of dialogue, which includes change and transformation.
So, there can be stable and unstable relationships between these strategies. Reflecting the circles of engagement, the actors that embody these strategies within a group or organization may also be willing, unwilling, able or unable. They may be willing to work toward dynamic balance. They may be able to work toward dynamic balance. The actors in the group may also be unwilling, unable or both. Those that are unable may be able to learn, become able. The unable may be inadvertently damaging to the group, but not usually with malice. Those that are unwilling, however, are likely to be overtly or covertly hostile. I suggest that these roles can exist in interpenetrating layers, that individuals can express these within themselves as part of their own process and that individuals can reflect roles within groups where other individuals reflect other roles.
While balance is a static strategy dynamic equilibrium is not the same strategy as balance. Isaacs’ concept of dialogic leadership is a strategy that takes on the roles of the others in a pragmatic fashion (1999b). This strategic dynamism is also reflected in the Thomas-Killman conflict model as the collaborative style (DRC, 2003). Starhawk represented this with the center position of spider that “is most effective, however, not by monopolizing communication but by asking questions that can create and strengthen a true and complex web of interaction” (1987). However, in each there’s a conflation of the center position, a strategy of static balance, with a dynamic strategy of appropriate, useful tension between balance and imbalance. The strategy of taking on various roles as necessary is different than a strategy that sees each role as important and useful to take on at particular times.
Keirsey examined the history of temperaments in relation to the MBTI model and points out that there are historical connections between the two (1998). Keirsey includes the elemental entities of Paracelsus, which therefore creates a direct correspondence to the elemental model that is developed by Starhawk (1997) into her group leadership model. Keirsey offers four core temperaments: Artisan, Guardian, Idealist, and Rationalist.
Keirsey’s work is phenomenal in many ways, but I find there is a significant missing element. Within the MBTI results, it is possible to have values that result in an X type in any of the four indicators. I would suggest, as a temperament that there be considered a type with all X values, a dynamic personality type. This X-type is what I call the Alchemist temperament. This temperament is dedicated to the project of creating the whole self through the constant dynamic processes of disintegration and integration. This temperament is engaged in the alchemy of the self, the search for dynamic wholeness, described by Jung in Mysterium Conjunctionis (1970). This search for wholeness and connection in dialogue is echoed by both Bohm (2000) and Isaacs (1999a), and is clearly key in the notion of the Spider as articulated by Starhawk (1990). Whether on the level of individual or group, entities with the temperament of the Alchemist are engaged in becoming dynamic and powerful whole selves. I would place this fifth temperament, this archetype, in the center position of the previous diagram:
There is one final place in this array of principles. This central nexus in these continuums is an archetype represented by the Meerkat, which is the nonviolent, threshold crossing, and creative strategy. The Meerkat is a social animal that lives in tight knit groups and individuals share defined roles in the group, which they rotate. While Meerkats are hunters, they are also hunted. Meerkats have developed immunity to some poisons and venoms. Most importantly, these social animals use teamwork to survive in a dangerous environment.
The Meerkat is the threshold crossing archetype that dynamically chooses appropriate group roles, and encourages others to replicate this behavior. The Meerkat appears in the center of the archetypal diagram:
This is the inner circle of what Senge calls alignment (1994). This is the collaboration style in Thomas-Killman (DRC, 2004). This is Starhawk’s spider (1990). This is the cultivation in Isaacs (1999a). And, this is the place of dialogic leadership (Isaacs, 1999b).
This role, in the center, is also its own circle of engagement, the innermost circle of alignment. If the willing circle of engagement is also the boundary of the enabling dialogical space, then the innermost circle of alignment is that space in which the dialogic process occurs.
Just as there is willing and unwilling in one direction, I would like to offer the Shark and Locust as the unwilling archetypes paired with the Rhino and Monkey. The Shark is a model predator, an exemplar of power that is monomaniac in focus on the hunt, and eschews the peaceful connections of the Rhino in exchange for complete control and superiority in its environment. Whereas the Rhino is an example of stability within its environment, the Shark is a force of power for the sake of power itself. In the other direction, the creative archetype of the Monkey is matched with the ultimate distraction, the Locust, a swarm of chaos. Whereas the Monkey mixes things up, creating new possibility, the Locust mixes things up to the point beyond possibility for creativity to emerge toward outright damage.
Adding back the outer circle of engagement, malice and indifference, the whole archetypal model so far is represented in the figure 9.
There are times whe the facilitator is necessary, but at some point the Rhino must let the participants continue on their own or risk destroying the project just as surely as if they left the conversation too soon. Although I suggested above that it is necessary that the facilitator not leave the process too soon, it is also necessary that the mental model of the facilitator not limit the ability of the willing to engage in ways that may not be aparent to the facilitator.
Examples of when the framework becomes too limiting to engagement include Janis’ (1972) groupthink and, when a system determines behaviour, being stuck in a system. The importance of creativity is something I’ve experienced while in many of the same engagements that stress the need for facilitation.
In order to balance the control that the archetypal facilitator wields, there is need for creativity, the ability to cast aside the limitations of the facilitation framework. On the continuum from control to chaos, the willing Rhino is counterbalanced by the archetype of the willing Monkey. The Monkey is named after the “monkey-wrenching” tactics they often employ without malice, representing a creative mode of thought.
Placing the archetype of the Monkey results in this diagram:
The Rhino-Monkey pair represent not just archetypes of dialogue, but also paradoxically related paradigms. Rhino is linear thinking, or de Bono’s (1967, pp. xiii-xiv) “sequential” and “strategic” thinking, Monkey is lateral thinking, or de Bono’s (op. cit.) “insight thinking.” The transition from Rhino to Monkey is one from an evolutionary, linear, to revolutionary, lateral, paradigm. The move from an evolutionary paradigm to a revolutionary one requires a discontinuity (Boga, 2004), which correlates to the difference between 1st and 2nd order change (Watzlawick, et al, 1974, pp. 10-11).
Recognizing this relationship, it may be useful to remember that when I introduced the Giraffe and Jackal as archetypes, I suggested that they were also paradigms of thought. The Giraffe is a mode that represents community formation, the Jackal represents individuation. This correlates the Giraffe and Jackal as opposing paradigms, of cohesion and of individuation respectively.