Monday, June 26, 2006

Thought on Values and Relationships

I want to take the thinking in 'Towards Relationship Management' recently published in the Journal of Communications Management a few stages further.

In relationships management we see that relationships occur when explicit tokens are recognised by actors because they have an understanding of the values associated with the token.

For example, you recognise a rose as a plant, and flower and also recognise it as a social token associated with romance etc. The rose is the token, its description and associations are values.

We know that people associate different values with tokens. A rose grower may have a completely different set of values for a rose compared to a love-lorn student.

Where two people recognise tokens and also have the same or similar values for the token, they are attracted to each other and, as for people so too for organisations and people and organisations.

Some things are metaphors for values. For example, a coin is a metaphor for wealth.

All assets are metaphors for values.

If we imagine an asset, we might imagine our home. Is it the solid tangible asset we believe it to be?

I don't think so. It is a meta pore for a lot of values such as a licence to hold land, a shelter, technologies for making bricks and skills in building and a place to have a social life. It is range of responsibilities such as household costs, cleaning and maintenance. These are the bunch of values that go to make up the so called 'tangible asset'. Your tangible home is really a bunch of intangible values that come together so you can go home to bed.

There are millions of tokens and they have even more values.

My thinking is going this way: As values come together in a nexus of relationships, they form things we understand (both tangible and intangible).

In human terms, we know that people seek out like values that they have in common.

Thus we see a landscape of intangible values forming a terrain of perceived tangible and intangible relationships.

This has interesting consequences for governments and corporations, economies and social constructs.

It is a line of thought that needs deeper research.

Picture: SurealLandscape