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It is very clear from this chapter that, as we consider changes and differences

in construing, we have to engage with theory in rather a different way,

certainly in more detail, and perhaps more profoundly, than when we were

dealing with single grids. We find ourselves in the somewhat deeper waters

inhabited by the change agent, whether s/he is called a personal friend giving

advice (in among the shallows), a trainer-facilitator, an OD consultant, a

guidance counsellor, or a clinical psychologist (in deep and murky waters


Earlier in this guidebook, we were following procedures whose significant

outcome is fairly straightforward. We were working with the grid as a

description, followed by an analysis whose impact on the individual depends

on the extent to which the interviewee felt engaged but whose outcomes s/he

can choose to forget or ignore as s/he returns to the ongoing concerns of daily

life. That is true, to a degree, even of the more personally significant activities

involved in the identification and prioritisation of personal values (as in the

previous chapter). But now, the impact of the procedures – the particular

descriptions and analyses being offered – seems to be different. Their

significant outcome is more complex, and the impact is less easily ignored

by the interviewees themselves.

That’s not really very surprising. It’s quite obvious! As soon as you start dealing with

change, you confront your interviewee with more profound matters than when you

engage themin descriptions of the status quo!

A single grid requires them to make fairly simple choices of which constructs might

apply, and which rating best expresses the personal meanings intended. A change

grid, however, is different because it requires the interviewee to confront the fact that

s/hehas chosen to thinkdifferentlyabout thetopic, and there is animplied pressure to

give an accounting of the difference; in a sense, to justify it, if only to themselves. An

exchangegrid confrontstheintervieweewith the direct awareness, by tryingthemout

personally, of alternative ways of making sense of the topic, and these may well be

ways that had not occurred to him or her before the exchange was made. And the

more important the topic might be (either personally as a result of its impact on the

individual’s values, or interpersonally because it requires collaboration between the

two people), themore acute the internal confrontationmight be.

In this case, you are asking the interviewee to consider rathermore complex choices.

These are the choiceswhich Kelly called elaborative, those that imply thepossibilities

of a development orextension of his or herexisting construct system.With elaborative

choices, it’s‘make-up-your-mind time’.Not onlydoestheindividualhaveto decidethat

the rating of elements dear to himmay no longer apply, but the basis of those ratings,

the constructs themselves, may have to change.

The process may well be triggered by a bit of slot-rattling, as the individual contemplates

each end of a construct and decideswhich is preferred.But, as Kelly suggests

in discussingthe Choice Corollary, the choicemay wellbemade because of thewider

implications, some of whichmay lead to a drastic reorganisation of the whole system

of constructs involved. ‘Here is where inner turmoil so frequently manifests itself.

Which shall a man choose, security or adventure? Shall he choose that which leads

to immediate certainty or shall he choose that which may eventually give himawider

understanding?’ (Kelly,1963: 64).

Once you’re dealingwith issues like these, you need an organising framework within

which to handle your use of the technique, and a good familiarity with the relevant

theory. Something much more organised than my own short interjections becomes

mandatory.Read Kelly!

And at this point, we have reached the end of the possibilities offered by a

simple procedural guide. Don’t forget to visit The Easy Guide to Repertory

Grids website, at www.wiley.co.uk/easyguide