Another question about Charleston



Pic: from Copy Copy Copy – how to do smarter marketing by using other people’s ideas (Wiley), adapted from original work by Bentley/Earls e.g. in I’ll Have What She’s Having (MIT Press) 

As you listen to the various parties and commentators work their way through the events and factors which lie behind the Charleston shooting, it’s informative to try to pin down the models of behaviour that lie behind the different analyses and recommendations.

The map above (which lies at the heart of both I’ll Have What She’s Having and Copy Copy Copy) is a tool for help characterise different kinds of choice and behaviour, based on their assumptions about how the choice is made.

So when you hear the perpetrator Roof being described as a “sick” or “wicked” individual, you know that the commentator is assuming that the decision to act is on the West side of the map, and specifically in the NW quadrant, where an individual is making a conscious and considered choice to do something. albeit in this case with a faulty moral or mental compass.

By contrast, those that portray  Roof as part of a wider cultural context – an individual whose views and behaviour are shaped by those of others – are assuming that the choices are on the Eastern side of the map: either the NE where authority figures such as Earl Holt of the Council of Conservative Citizens and their propaganda about black-white crime hold sway or  issues around Social Identity which are hinted at by Roof’s choice of clothing featuring Rhodesian and Apartheid Era South Africa and the imperative to act on behalf of the white “race”* which he claimed to feel ) or the SE where complex phenomena that tend to be located – typified by long periods of stasis interrupted by sudden outbursts of e.g. violence (as Copy Copy Copy describes, just as in civic violence in the UK)

Whatever you think about the gun laws and the availability of killing machines and their role in these awful events, before we reach for solutions, it’s worth being really clear what kind of behaviour we’re dealing with. The map we’ve created to characterise different choice/behaviour styles is useful in making us do this.

Just as with the rather more banal world of consumer products and services that many of us spend our working lives worrying about.

Only rather more important.