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The value model of Clare Graves

The value model of Clare Graves
by Heinz Peter Wallner

This post is also available in: German

The value model of Clare Graves

The value model of Clare Graves (Clare W. Graves) describes the development of people and organisations in several stages. It is a very simplified model. We can understand it as a kind of “value heuristic”. Heuristics deliberately omit information in order to arrive at good decisions. Exactly in this sense I use this model in organizational development.

Premises of the model

  • The value model of Clare Graves describes how people, like systems, “think and act” at different stages of development, not what they are.
  • There is no evaluation of the developmental levels. They are all good when they “resonate” with the environment. So they are suitable or unsuitable. Important: “above” is not better than “below”!
  • Each level of development emerges from the previous levels. In this model further development is always a reaction to the environment.
  • The development does not go continuously, but step by step. No level (level) can be skipped. All levels want to be passed through. There are no shortcuts in development!
  • Each higher level contains all patterns of action and potentials of all lower levels.

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„Values are the constitutive elements of culture. They define meaning and significance within a social system (group, society etc.). Many models are based on the behaviour of individuals, or on typologies that cannot be changed. The model of the 9 levels goes deeper – it captures the values. A value conveyed by culture serves as a “guideline” for people to understand or know the world and consequently becomes a premise when planning behaviour. The basic and action-oriented values are analysed and recorded and guide the thinking and behaviour of people, departments and organisations..“ (9 LEVELS DEUTSCHLAND GMBH)

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This post is also available in: German