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Ternary Analysis

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Horizontal structure—environments and tertiary dimensions

If one outcome of an intervention, or the lack of it, is to be judged better than another, this will be according to some dimension of imparity. It is obviously necessary to analyse the dimensions of imparity that may be required.

The dimensional scheme used in Ternary Analysis is that suggested by Eduard Spranger (Spranger,1922), which has also been used for psychological tests of values in people (Allport & Vernon,1931). This scheme currently uses the six dimensions of Theoretical, Economic, Aesthetic, Social, Political and Religious.


Figure button   Spranger's dimensions of value


Analysing the environment

It is often the case that, when we have done an appropriate form of dimensional analysis along these lines, for the particular working organisation in which we are interested, it appears that there is a low correlation between these different dimensions. This enables the system to be divided horizontally into departments, each of which is concerned with a particular sub-division of the system's environment.

The feedback loops go out into the environment, and the feedback is assessed according to a particular dimension of imparity. An elementary example of this is where, in a social system, four departments may be devoted respectively to Economic, Political, Social and Theoretical concerns.


Figure button   The system and its sub-environments


It is, however, quite possible that one dimension may be leading. For example, in the case of a company, it may be appropriate for the Economic to be the leading dimension.

Company structures that look like this are often used, where the departments are, for example, Supply, Personnel, Financial, and Market-or perhaps Development, Manufacturing, and Sales. The difference when Ternary Analysis is used is that basing the design on underlying dimensions of imparity helps to ensure that the necessary low correlations are achieved. (What I mean by "low correlations" in this context is that the output from one sub-environment has little effect on the input to another sub-environment, and vice versa.)

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© Copyright D J Stewart 1999, 2003. All rights reserved.

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