The Graves Model Explained by Example </span><span>– </span><span>Level</span><span> 4 </span><span>The Administration</span><span> 

Culture & Organisation

The Graves Model Explained by Example – Level 4 The Administration 

On which Graves level are people, societies or companies? What are their predominant values and what distinguishes them? Bettina answers these and other questions in the eight-part series that expands on the article "The Graves Model". The better we know the systems that exist within us and those that affect us, the easier it will be to live together in our world. 

At the fourth stage - which is called "the administration" or in colours the "blue stage" - the question of meaning emerges consciously for the first time. It is the strongest "WE" stage and it creates structures, order, authorities, rules, infrastructure. Arbitrariness has an end. Recognition comes from the system. 

Blue keeps the impulsiveness of red under control, through guilt and shame - by means of threats, punishment and mockery (toxic), but also by pointing out consequences and appealing to the conscience (healthy). Blue upholds virtue and morality, first and foremost as a matter of principle. 

Core concepts / values: stability, morality, order, fairness, responsibility, intolerance, dogmatism, inertia, formalism, processes 

Character: dutiful, traditional, meticulous, conforming, authoritarian, stable, loyal, reliable, punitive, directive, hierarchical, bureaucratic, responsible, reactive 

Occurrence: Administrations, military, church, scouts, "moral majority" 

Dominant Themes: What is the purpose? What are the rules, the agreements, the boundaries? What do I have to comply with? How is the information ordered and structured? 

All Graves levels at a glance

Blue in Business 

In the "administration", fixed rules apply and there are precise instructions for everyone (only one interpretation is the correct one). Decisions must be made based on a default. If there is no default, one is created. Every case is regulated. The consequence of this is endless paragraph debates and heavy investment in the administrative apparatus to standardise processes and minimise risk. This makes the organisation sluggish, but on the premise of being thorough. Innovation is taboo in blue. 

Instruments: Process documentation, protocols, all kinds of written regulations such as manuals, competence regulations, rulebooks, compliance, ICS, ISO certification, code of conduct, etc. Annual employee reviews using standardized questionnaires, interview guidelines, classic/waterfall project management. 

Blue in transition to orange 

The existence of a blue institution is threatened when rules are challenged. Blue can lead to overregulation and rigidity. When everything is regulated, initiative is lacking. When the comfort zone is oversaturated and it slowly becomes stuffy, the longing for freedom from commandments, rules, and procedures arises. On the horizon, the sun rises in orange glow. 

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