The Continuum Concept
Jean Liedloff, Penguin 1986)
Whenever you are dealing with an organization, remember that change will not be easy. Change agents must look for ways to introduce change in a natural manner. Only in times of crisis are people willing to change abruptly.
The existing organization is always the result of historical processes, which have provided knowledge (fitness). This will always mean a complex system dealing as efficiently as possible with the situation (fittest). The basic form of each part of the system is a reflection of the experiences it expected: "programmed expectations" as it were. The experiences a system can adequately deal with are defined by the conditions to which the system (organization) before has adapted.
To remain fitting the organization will have to continue to learn. And since the organization is the abstract concept in the minds of its participants, it is the people who do the learning. This learning is a subjective process. It is always related to knowledge that is considered necessary. The associative process guarantees the subjectiveness.
Or in other words, when and if new problems present themselves -that cannot be solved in the old ways - the need for new learning will occur.
Compare the different memes (represented as colours) in
Spiral dynamics.

The environment is learned by association. Getting to know the world by means of association means that objects are included in our thinking without noticing any particulars. Only later experiences which somehow differ will make us pay attention. The new situations will be vaguely similar, yet differ significantly, the observed differences will draw the attention. Thus the environment is first learned in a rough manner and subsequently ever more detailed.
However, the psychobiological receptor (perception) starts with an enormous potential, but is soon adjusted to a certain range and will make one see what one wants to see. The information is processed and filtered, we see what we want to see. The origin of paradigms! (see

By using different metaphors to understand the complex and paradoxical character of organizational life, we are able to view and see organizations in ways that are outside our normal ‘paradigm’. An explanantion of this process of reframing can be found by clicking here. The new images complement the traditional images, which in no way means that the old are not valid anymore. The alternatives augment our view and help us to look at an organization from different angles to see its potential.

for more information please go to