Re: introductions?

Brian Gaines (
Mon, 13 May 1996 09:53:50 -0700

Wendy Crebbin remarks:

>I read it as an interesting example of how, in this postmodern space
>of multiple, conflicting and ever changing meanings, we still try to
>hold to some kind of liberal notion of the unified individual.

>It is more that in an environment where language is neither
>transparent nor uni-vocal, I have problems with the idea that one
>person can accurately construct a grid of another person's meanings,
>especially self meanings. Its hard enough to articulate, communicate,
>map, one's own meanings.

Grid research bears out your comments. Kelly developed the grid as a
"mirror" allowing a client to reflect on her or his constructs and hence
to construct new insights into them. This is rather different from
it being a psychological measuring instrument informing a second party.
The person who constructed the grid has much richer basis for interpreting
it, and its analysis, than any other person.

In addition, elicitation is always in a well-defined context and attempts
to evoke the role that the person plays in that context. There is no
assumption of a unified person, but rather of a diversity of roles.

These considerations transfer to reflective communities of several
individuals who collaborate in a context, and assume that they have
some shared constructs as a basis for communication. Reflection on
the grids usually surprises them by showing that they share substantially
less than they had assumed.

Attempts to make construct systems overt for third parties, e.g. in
"expert system" development, are made difficult by these phenomena.
They generally involve building a new construct system that satisfies
the criteria of objective science such as inter-subjective agreement,
and they generally lose many aspects of human expertise in doing so.

Interesting questions are: how diverse roles and differing constructs
system co-exist effectively in the same individual; how collaboration
can be effective when individual construct systems are, at most, only
partially shared.


Dr Brian R Gaines Knowledge Science Institute
University of Calgary Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4
403-220-5901 Fax:403-284-4707