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ANSWERS TO EXERCISES

1.1Answers to Exercise 2.1

I can’t provide exact answers since I have no way of telling what you wrote.

But here are some common mistakes that it’s possible to make in this exercise,

and some ways of putting them right.

Table A1.1 Example answers to Exercise 2.1

Construct Comment

Sociable – No! It’s not a construct. It only has one

end

Likes a good

laugh

– Ditto. Make sure your adjectives/

phrases come in pairs

Friendly – Unfriendly Okay, better. But, in what way

‘unfriendly’?

Friendly – Shy, slow to get

to know

That’s better: because the opposite

fixes the meaning of the left-hand

end . . .

Friendly – Aggressive and

in-your-face

. . . compared with this example.

‘Friendly’ means something rather

different here.

Reliable – Unreliable Again, this is a construct but doesn’t

tell us very much . . .

Reliable – A poor timekeeper . . . compared with this . . .

Reliable – Difficult to trust . . . or indeed this

Constructs have two poles. The meaning of ‘good’ depends on whether you intend to say ‘good as

opposed to evil’ or ‘good as opposed to only fair’. The first is a thundering moral judgement while

the second is a comment about the quality of a student essay. The meaning of that first word,

‘good’, is entirely different depending on which opposite is intended.

Constructs are precise. Try to avoid opposites which are the same as the left-hand pole with the

word ‘not’, or an equivalent, stuck on in front. Once you’ve decided on the nature of the contrast,

you can get a grip on what was meant by the left-hand pole. In fact, you might want to change the

word at the left to bring out the contrast better. Do so!

Recent research has suggested that using techniques which result in contrasts, as distinct from

simple opposites, provides for a more complete and cognitively complex expression of a person’s

construct system (Caputi & Reddi, 1999).

Page in Line

App. 2 beginning

Issue

no. The point being . . .

258 Now, can you tell me

in what way

they’re reserved?

10 Getting a more detailed, operational description of

a construct to avoid possible stereotyping or

clicheґs

259 Okay, I know that

this may seem a bit

awkward

12 Write down the emergent pole on the left to

ensure it gets the ‘1’ end of the scale.

264 [shows the grid]

Independent is a ‘1’

and

12 Write down the emergent pole on the left to

ensure it gets the ‘1’ end of the scale.

261 How would you tell? 10 Getting a more detailed, operational description of

a construct to avoid possible stereotyping or

clicheґs

263 Looking over the ratings,

it looks like

all the blokes

10 Handling a construct which appears to be trivial:

if in doubt, ask the interviewee and discuss it

with him or her

263 [refusing to be

drawn]

3 The point about a grid is to identify the interviewee’s

way of looking at the world, regardless

of whether it matches other, more ‘expert’, views

264 That’s all right 4 If a particular triad of elements doesn’t suggest a

new construct, drop it and offer another triad

266 I’ll scribble that down

for the moment

10 Getting a more detailed, operational description of

a construct to avoid possible stereotyping or

clicheґs: what’s a ‘best friend’?

266 By all means! This is

about

3 The point about a grid is to identify the interviewee’s

way of looking at the world, regardless

of whether it matches other, more ‘expert’, views

266 Oh no: the ‘three-at-atime’

bit is just

2 You only give the elements in triads in order to

elicit constructs which are different from the

preceding ones. If another way of presenting

elements brings this about, that’s fine!

266 Okay. Now look,

what I’d like to do

8 Handling several constructs which come out ‘in a

rush’: are they different enough from each

other, or just different aspects?

268 I was going to say

‘predictable–

unpredictable’

7 Interviewee, as well as interviewer, wants to be

sure the construct isn’t repeating an earlier one

268 That’s fine. Now let’s

do the ratings on

each of

11 Rate the triad first if the construct was elicited

with a triad; otherwise, just go along the row

from left to right

268 Well, actually, you’re

not doing too badly

6 Encourage and reassure the interviewee when

s/he’s flagging, or worried that ‘there aren’t

enough different constructs’

1.2 Answers to Exercise 4.1

Table A1.2 Example answers to Exercise 4.1

1.3 Answers to Exercise 4.2

First question:

Q: Is it easier to pyramid lots of subordinate constructs from a construct the

interviewee feels is important to him or her?

A. I’ve really no idea: it depends on what the construct was, and what the grid

from which you took it was about. I’d love to know what your interviewee’s

constructs were, though!

However, it is possible to say a little. Very broadly speaking, constructs which

are more personally relevant, those which relate to personal values, and

especially those which are involved in your interviewee’s understanding of

him- or herself are likely to have a large number of subordinate constructs. If

the topic of the grid was relatively impersonal (such as ‘cars I have owned’),

this would be less likely to occur.

Anyway, I’ve got you thinking about the relative importance of constructs.

Good! That’ll be useful in Chapter 7. And you practised laddering technique

as well.

Second question

Q: How would you characterise the constructs? What sort of constructs are

they?

A: Again, I can’t tell, not knowing the topic and not being able to see the

constructs.

However, I asked you to make a judgement of your own about someone else’s

constructs, despite all I’ve said in Chapters 3 and 4 about the interviewee

being the one whose judgements matter. And I have you wondering what I’m

looking for when I ask you to ‘characterise constructs’: what sort of thing I’m

on about.

Do constructs come in different varieties? Can one be analytic about them,

independently of what the interviewee might think of them?

Fine. It’s time to look at Chapter 5, which is about the analysis of single

repertory grids.

1.4 Answers to Exercise 5.2

Each answer is keyed to the transcript in Appendix 2 so that you can check the

answer for yourself.

 (a) What the interviewee is thinking about:

. How did the interviewer negotiate the topic with the interviewee?

By saying he wanted to understand the way in which he viewed his

friends.

[App. 2, p. 257, paragraph beginning ‘Okay, so we have eight people you

know . . .’]

. What was the qualifying statement?

The qualifying statement used was ‘in terms of how you think of them as

friends’

[App. 2, p. 257, paragraph beginning ‘Okay, whoa, hold on a bit!’]

(b) How the interviewee represented the topic:

. What were the elements?

. Eight named friends

[App. 2, p. 257, paragraph beginning ‘Okay, so we have eight people you

know . . .’]

. How were they agreed?

The interviewer suggested that a range of friends be used.

[App. 2, p. 257, paragraph beginning ‘Topic: My Friends’]

(c) How does the interviewee think?

. What are the constructs?

They’re as shown in the final table.

[App. 2, p. 270]

Note both poles of the constructs, and how the interviewee has been

helped to refine the meaning by laddering down (for example, ‘reserved,

hold back till they’re introduced – friendly and approachable’ was

changed to ‘reserved, hold back till they’re introduced – outgoing, will

approach others first’.

[App 2, p. 258, paragraph beginning ‘Now, can you tell me in what

way . . .’])

Read over all of them. And form an impression of what kinds of

construct they are (you will be given some guidelines on construct

categorisation in Section 5.3.3).

 (d) What does the interviewee think?

. What kind of scale is used, and how would you characterise the ratings?

It’s a 5-point scale.

[App. 2, p. 259, paragraph beginning ‘Now, suppose that what we have

here is a rating scale.’]

The ratings are unremarkable: no rows or columns with a preponderance

of the same value; each construct has at least one ‘1’ and one ‘5’.

So there seems to be no particular bias or emphasis obvious in an eyeball

inspection. (In contrast, imagine if one of the constructs had received

ratings of just 1 and 5!)

(e) Look at the supplied elements and constructs

. At an initial glance, which element seems as though it received the most

similar ratings to the supplied element?

There are no supplied elements in this grid.

Similarly, form a quick impression of which construct seems to have

received the most similar ratings to the supplied construct.

The supplied construct is ‘best friends – don’t get on with (each other)’.

At a quick glance, it would seem to have received very similar ratings to

construct ‘on the same wavelength, react similarly, more predictable –

more difficult to predict’: the two constructs differ by one rating point,

and that’s in the rating given to element CD. It looks as though this

interviewee defines friendship in terms of predictability, being ‘on the

same wavelength’, in particular.

[App. 2, p. 270]

(f) Draw your conclusions

. What are the main points, bearing in mind any process analysis you

have already conducted?

There’s lots of things you can say here, and they’d depend on your recall

of what happened during elicitation! Some of the more obvious things

are as follows:

The interviewee was open and quick on the uptake, though things

needed clarifying, such as the directionality of the scale [App. 2, p. 259,

paragraph beginning ‘Okay, I know this may seem a bit awkward, but

the scale goes from . . .’].

It wasn’t hard work: steady effort, but not a matter of ‘pulling teeth’ and

with occasional touches of humour [App. 2, p. 262, paragraph beginning

‘Ah, KL! He’s the couch potato’s couch potato! . . .’].

Some of the constructs were generated relatively quickly, with the

interviewer jotting them down and then going back over them to obtain

ratings (‘on the same wavelength’; ‘easy/a good laugh’; ‘same

background as myself’; ‘honest, reliable, dependable’) [App. 2, p. 267].

With the exception of the construct ‘easy/a good laugh’ the pattern of

ratings appears to be rather similar on each of these constructs [App. 2,

p. 268]: is this a ‘friendship’ cluster? This is something to check in greater

detail when doing a more statistical analysis (see Section 6.2).

GH appears to be rather special (receiving the largest number of ratings

of ‘1’ on scales which all have their preferred end with a value of ‘1’

rather than ‘5’) and KL the least liked (receiving the largest number of ‘5’

ratings likewise) [App. 2, p. 270] Well, fair enough: GH is the

interviewee’s girlfriend [App. 2, p. 263, paragraph beginning: ‘GH is

my girlfriend. . . .’].

Now return to Chapter 5 and continue at

Section 5.3.3.

1.5 Answers to Exercise 5.3

(a) Core: you can’t really tell which of the constructs express personal values

or are otherwise sufficiently private as to express core constructs; you’d

need to do some laddering upwards to answer this question. The

following constructs might be good ones to try laddering in this way:

Independent, self-sufficient – A conformist, group-dependent

More predictable – More difficult to predict

Open and emotionally honest – Secretive, pull thewool over your eyes

(b) Propositional: there’s just the one which you could regard as propositional:

No siblings – Many siblings

and in your analysis you might want to explore to what extent other

constructs (such as ‘reserved – outgoing’; perhaps ‘open – secretive’) are

related, as you explore your interviewee’s thinking, especially if you were

doing a study of what having siblings, as opposed to being an only child,

meant to your interviewees. You could characterise:

Best friends – Don’t get on with

as ‘constellatory’, since friendship is a construct around which most

people build quite complex, rich and close associations. If you glance back

at Appendix 2 (the transcript of this grid interview), page 266, you’ll see

how many associated constructs tumbled out when the interviewer

invited the interviewee to be a bit more specific about what he meant

by ‘best friends’; and if you look at the ratings given to ‘best friends’

and

On the same wavelength – Difficult to predict

Easy/a good laugh – Have to be careful with them

in particular, you’ll see how similar they are.

(c) Affective: there are several of these, which isn’t all that significant given the

topic of the grid!

Open and emotionally honest – Secretive, pull the wool over your

eyes re feelings

Easy/a good laugh – Have to be careful with them

(d) Evaluative: these are often the affective ones, in the sense that feelings

involve preference judgements and hence evaluations. However, it’s

interesting to notice one construct in this grid in which the interviewee

makes an evaluative statement without particularly expressing an

emotion:

Good schooling, like an old – Weaker schooling: inner-city

grammar school comprehensive

(e) Attributional: there’s no particularly attributional construct here. None that

make statements attributing causes or reasons to the actions or behaviour

of the people who make up the elements of this grid.

Now go back to the very end of Section 5.3.3

and finish off the chapter.

1.6 Answers to Exercise 6.1

(a) The basic sums of differences between elements are shown in Table A1.3.

(b) The smallest sum of differences is 4, for T1 and T3; and the largest sum of

differences is 20, for T1 and T4. The first pair are indeed the most similarly

rated, and the latter, the least similarly rated.

(c) The trainer construed by the interviewee as most similar to herself is T3:

the sum of differences is 7, the lowest of all the matches with the Self

element.

Table A1.3 A simple element analysis of the grid shown as Table 6.15

1 T1 T2 T3 T4 Self 5

Prepares thoroughly 5 2 5 3 2 Seat-of-pants speaker

Energetic, moves about 1 2 1 5 1 Just stands there stolidly

Intellectual 3 1 3 5 2 Pedestrian

Language articulate,

precise, and concise

5 1 4 2 3 Language shambolic,

appeals to intuition

Makes it seem so obvious

and clear

3 1 2 5 3 You have to work to

understand his point

Tells jokes 1 5 2 4 3 Takes it all very seriously

Overall, enjoyed his

courses

1 3 2 5 2 Overall, didn’t enjoy his

courses

Simple element analysis

Sums of differences

T1 against – 18 4 20 9

T2 against – 14 16 9

T3 against – 18 7

T4 against – 15

Okay! Now return to Section 6.1.1.

1.7 Answers to Exercise 6.2

Table A1.4 A simple element analysis of the grid shown as Table 6.16

1 PC

Mac

G3

iMac

G4 eMac Ideal 5

Looks boxy and ‘standard’ 1 2 5 4 5 The looks are to die for

Large range of software 1 2 4 2 1 Smaller range of software

Slow performer 1 3 5 2 5 Fast

Easy to set up 5 1 1 2 1 Difficult to set up

Good build quality 5 2 1 3 1 Flimsy build

Easy to upgrade 2 3 1 1 1 Upgrade is a dealer job

Difficult to move 1 1 4 5 5 Transportable

Simple element analysis

PC

Mac

G3

iMac

G4 eMac Ideal

Sums of differences

PC against – 12 23 15 21

Mac G3 against – 13 11 13

iMac G4 against – 10 4

eMac against – 8

Ideal against –

 (a) The clear favourite to buy, if the constructs were equally important to you

and there were no other elements or constructs to consider, would be the

iMac G4 computer. A wise choice as of mid-2003.

(b) The least favoured computer is the PC. It compares poorly against the Ideal

because it looks dreadful, has a poor build quality, is difficult to set up,

performs slowly, and is difficult to move. It has a lot of software available

for it, though, and is fairly easy to upgrade if you’re prepared to bolt on

various cards. All right, I prefer Macs, I admit it.

Fine. Now return to Section 6.1.1.

1.8 Answers to Exercise 6.3

The % similarities you calculated should look like those in Table A1.5.

Table A1.5 A simple element analysis of the grid shown as Table 6.16 with element %

similarity scores

1 PC

Mac

G3

iMac

G4 eMac Ideal 5

Looks boxy and ‘standard’ 1 2 5 4 5 The looks are to die for

Large range of software 1 2 4 2 1 Smaller range of software

Slow performer 1 3 5 2 5 Fast

Easy to set up 5 1 1 2 1 Difficult to set up

Good build quality 5 2 1 3 1 Flimsy build

Easy to upgrade 2 3 1 1 1 Upgrade is a dealer job

Difficult to move 1 1 4 5 5 Transportable

Simple element analysis

PC

Mac

G3

iMac

G4 eMac Ideal

% similarity scores

PC against – 57.14 17.86 46.43 25.00

Mac G3 against – 53.57 60.71 53.57

iMac G4 against – 64.29 85.71

eMac against – 71.43

Ideal against –

(c) The element which shows the smallest difference from the ideal in Table

6.16 should indeed have the highest % similarity score. All you’ve done is

to turn element differences into % similarities. The extent of relationship

should be preserved however you measure it!

Table A1.6 An extract from a grid on ‘Computers I might buy’, together with construct difference scores, completed

Simple construct analysis

UNREVERSED

1 PC

Mac

G3

iMac

G4 eMac Ideal 5

Against

C1

Against

C2

Against

C3

Against

C4

Against

C5

Against

C6

Against

C7

C1 Looks boxy and

‘standard’

1

(5)

2

(4)

5

(1)

4

(2)

5

(1)

The looks are

to die for

R

E

– 7 3 15 13 13 3

C2 Large range of

software

1

(5)

2

(4)

4

(2)

2

(4)

1

(5)

Smaller range

of software

V

9 – 6 8 8 6 8

C3 Slow performer 1

(5)

3

(3)

5

(1)

2

(4)

5

(1)

Fast

E

13 10 – 14 14 10 6

C4 Easy to set up 5

(1)

1

(5)

1

(5)

2

(4)

1

(5)

Difficult to

set up R

S

3 10 4 – 2 6 14

C5 Good build

quality

5

(1)

2

(4)

1

(5)

3

(3)

1

(5)

Flimsy build 3 8 2 16 – 6 14

C6 Easy to upgrade 2

(4)

3

(3)

1

(5)

1

(5)

1

(5)

Upgrade is a

dealer job

E

D

5 12 6 14 12 – 14

C7 Difficult to

move

1 1 4 5 5 Transportable 17 10 14 6 6 6 –

Excellent. Now back to Section 6.1.2 to learn

about relationships between constructs.

1.9 Answers to Exercise 6.4

Please see Table A1.6.

(c) It looks as though two pairs of constructs are particularly highly matched:

‘easy to set up – difficult to set up’ and ‘good build quality – flimsy build’

have a sum of differences of only 2. Flimsily built computers are also seen

as difficult to set up. However, if you look at the reversals, C3 reversed has

rather similar ratings to C5 unreversed: the sum of differences is also 2. In

other words, there’s a high match between ‘fast – slow performer’ and

‘good build quality – flimsy build’.

The interviewee tends to see computers which have a good build quality

as easy to set up; he also sees them as fast performers.

Now return to Section 6.1.2, step 7.

1.10 Answers to Exercise 6.5

Please see Table A1.7.

Now return to Section 6.1.3.

1.11 Answers to Exercise 6.6

(a) In Figure 6.3, which construct lies closest to the axis representing a

principal component?

Construct D lies closest to the vertical line representing the second

principal component. Just! Constructs C, D, E, and F lie rather close as

well, varying only in the amount of variance associated with that

component: C the most, D the least.

(b) Which construct shows the least variance along its component?

Construct D.

(c) And which the most?

Construct A, along the first principal component (the horizontal axis).

(d) If element 6 represented myself, element 5 my partner, and element 3 my

ideal self, which of us is closest to that ideal?

My partner lies closer, in a straight line, to my ideal self than I do.

(Element 5 is closer on the page to element 3 than element 6.) Perhaps

that’s why I like my partner: she represents the kinds of things I admire

and would aspire to in myself!

Table A1.7 Grid interview with the manager of the clothing section of a department store, examining the simple relationship

between constructs, showing reversals (% similarity scores), completed

Simple construct analysis

UNREVERSED

1 Jane Ann Billie Ian Alma May 5

Against

Con 1

Against

Con 2

Against

Con 3

Against

Con 4

Against

Con 5

Against

Con 6

Con

1

Learns the new

models

quickly

5

(1)

1

(5)

1

(5)

1

(5)

4

(2)

2

(4)

Takes a while to

learn the

features of

new lines

R – 16.67 750.00 91.67 33.33 66.67

Con

2

Too forward in

pushing a

sale: tends to

put customers

off

3

(3)

4

(2)

3

(3)

1

(5)

2

(4)

1

(5)

Good balance

between

active selling

and just being

helpful

E

V

0 – 16.67 25.00 0 0

Con

3

Could be more

interested in

after sales

1

(5)

5

(1)

4

(2)

4

(2)

1

(5)

3

(3)

After sales

(alterations,

other bespoke

elements) well

handled

E 66.67 0 – 741.67 0 716.67

Con

4

Awareness of

sizes, colours,

availability

5

(1)

1

(5)

2

(4)

1

(5)

4

(2)

2

(4)

Availability and

choice knowledge

poor

R

758.33 8.33 75.00 – 41.67 75.00

Con

5

Pleasant and

easy-going

3

(3)

1

(5)

2

(4)

5

(1)

4

(2)

3

(3)

Takes it all very

seriously

S

0 66.67 50.00 8.33 – 66.67

Con

6

Overall, an

effective

salesperson

5 1 2 4 4 2 Overall, a less

effective

saleperson

E

D

733.33 33.33 66.67 725.00 –16.67 –

What would have to change to bring me closer to my ideal self? Well,

whatever it is that the constructs and components represent! I’d have tomove

down on the second component and from left to right on the first to move

closer to element 3. Hold on to that notion of movement and change, and

Return to Section 6.3.1 where you left off.

1.12 Answers to Exercise 7.1

Not so much a set of answers, but rather, a set of five categories (in boldface)

and allocations of constructs to those categories which I, as your collaborator,

have devised.

Reliability and character

Consistent quality – quality inconsistent

Unreliable – always reliable

A long finish – little if any finish

Ready for immediate drinking – will benefit from laying down

Needs to rest and air – drinkable straight on opening

The eye

Cloudy – clear

Old and brown – young and fresh

Deep colour – colour rather shallow

The nose

Yeasty – clear of yeast

Chocolate overtones – citrus overtones

Fruity – grassy

Heady – light

The palate

Sweet – dry

Robust with tannin – gentle, without tannin roughness

Smooth – petillant

Musty and stale – fresh and bright

Scented and flowery – deep and heavy

Cost

Expensive – cheap

Over-priced – A bargain

Make a reliability table. Lay out these categories along the top of a sheet of

paper; enter your own categories for this exercise as a column on the left of the

sheet of paper; and then enter each construct (or just its number for brevity’s

sake) into the appropriate place in the table, mine as they are above, yours as

you decided them, all following the procedures described in Section 7.2.1,

steps 4.2 and 4.3. The result should look something like Tables 7.2 and 7.3.

Where do we differ? What adjustments might we negotiate to increase our

reliability? I make no pretence at expertise in wine tasting! The categories are

my own invention. But there should be enough here to help you to practise the

content analysis steps described in Section 7.2.

Now return to Section 7.2.2.

1.13 Answers to Exercise 7.3

This is what each of your grids should look like after you have prepared them

for Honey’s content-analysis procedure, steps 1 to 5. The particular example

shown is the grid from person no. 8, as given in Figure A1.1.

You need to check:

(a) that you have worked out correctly the values of the sums of differences,

% similarity scores, unreversed and reversed;

(b) that you have chosen the larger of each possibility, unreversed or

reversed. In other words, you should have circled:

construct 1 unreversed

construct 2 unreversed

construct 3 unreversed

construct 4 reversed ‘knows the right questions to ask to check progress’

matches with ‘overall greater expertise’,while ‘you can talk your way around

him and get away with murder’ matches with ‘overall less expertise’

construct 5 reversed, same rationale as above

construct 6 unreversed;

(c) that you have identified the high, intermediate, and low % similarity

scores as shown. If you were to order the constructs in terms of the %

similarities, in other words, they’d look like this:

Topic: Expertise in Project Managers

Figure A1.1 Answers to exercise with Honey’s technique

construct 3: 92.8%, high

construct 2: 85.7%, high

construct 4 reversed: 71.4%, intermediate

construct 6: 57.1%, intermediate

construct 1: 35.7%, low

construct 5 reversed: 28.5%, low;

(Your constructs won’t always divide evenly into thirds; these have.)

(d) that you haven’t forgotten to label each of the constructs with a code

indicating which respondent provided this construct, and which number

in the sequence of elicitation it is. Once you’ve cut up the grid into strips

or transferred the information onto file cards, and started the content

analysis, it’s too late!

And when you’re done, return to the remaining

few words in Section 7.4.

1.14 Answers to Exercise 8.1

(a) Did you sometimes arrive at the topmost level without using up all of the

spaces in Figure 8.2?

Yes, that’s very likely. The worksheet offers you five spaces into which

you can write in the result of each step 7 iteration as you ladder upwards.

There will be times when you find you can’t go any further, and you arrive

at your value in fewer than five iterations. (Likewise, there will be times

when you need more iterations: six or more sets of boxes! In which case, of

course, just scribble down the construct, squeezing it in above the topmost

box in the Figure 8.2 worksheet.)

(b) On your way ‘up’ the ladders, did you sometimes get stuck at what you

suspected was the same level, just saying the same thing in different words?

Yes, that frequently happens. You get the feeling that you’re repeating

yourself and not getting any higher up the ladder of abstraction, towards

the most superordinate construct. This may be a sign that you have no

further to go and this is your topmost construct; or it may be that you’ve

got stuck. Return to Section 8.1.2 for ways of dealing with this.

(c) At step 3 towards the top of any of the ladders, did it feel absurd to be

asking yourself for a reason for your preference?

Yes, I wouldn’t be surprised if this happened. Value-laden constructs are

self-evident things, and to question them seems absurd (‘But why do you

prefer ‘‘having fun’’ to ‘‘being bored’’? Oh, come on!’)

 (d) Did you nevertheless press on and try to find a superordinate construct?

Yes, you should. It’s worth persevering to see whether there isn’t a stillmore-

superordinate preference being expressed. (Different people give

themselves different reasons for wanting to have fun, after all.)

(e) When you did steps 9 and 10 to identify new personal values, did you find

that you were converging on one of the values you had already identified

in one of your previous ladders?

Yes, you’d expect this to happen, at least sometimes. Constructs are

organised into hierarchies that are pyramidal, in which subordinate

constructs may be different expressions of the same superordinate

construct. The same value can find expression in different ways. It isn’t

always the case, of course.

Now return to Exercise 8.1.

1.15 Answers to Exercise 8.3

(a) Given the two personal values,

Fair play – Injustice

Top-down leadership – Participative leadership

to present them as a choice between ‘fair play’ and ‘top-down leadership’

is to remove the implicational dilemma. Assuming that most people prefer

participative leadership to top-down leadership, there’s no contest

between the options you are presenting to the interviewee, and no

challenge to values that would encourage him or her to make a preference

choice between the two values. Regardless of how the two values are

written down, in offering the choice as ‘A at the cost of contrast-B’, or ‘B at

the cost of contrast-A’, always make sure that you put the preferred end of the

personal value at A and B, and the non-preferred end of the personal value

at the contrasting end. Because of the way in which you laddered up to

arrive at the personal value, you will always know which is the preferred

end of each of the two personal values!

So the choice in this instance should be presented as:

A contrast-B

fair play at the cost of top-down leadership

or

B contrast-A

participative leadership at the cost of injustice

 (b) Needless to say, the second option is the preferred one.

You do have to get a preference for each of the personal value pairings,

and the technique will fail unless you do so. The first option is out.

But so is the third one. Ultimately, in grid work, what you’re doing has to

make sense to your interviewee, and they can’t be browbeaten into going

along with you.

They can, however, be cajoled, so long as you go about it the right way!

Try to help them think their position through, with a little imagination and

attention to the possibilities in each option.

Hence the second option is the right one.

It would be wrong, though, if you stopped at the end of the third sentence.

This offers the interviewee a way out of the dilemma which, if she is

getting tired or frustrated, she might accept because she sees a reason

behind it. The last sentence is required in order to point out that the other

option is also open to reasoning. This keeps the dilemma in being, but

provides more information according to which she can choose a rationale

which reflects her value preferences.

(c) The four different values were chosen as shown in Table A1.8.

Table A1.8 The values hierarchy for Table 8.7, Question c

Personal values Times chosen

Fair play – injustice Contentment – unhappiness 2

Participative leadership –

top-down leadership

Predictability – unpredictability 1

Fair play and contentment were each chosen twice: so far as this example

goes, they are the most resistant to change, and hence the most central, to

this interviewee. The type of leadership and the predictability of life, while

still there as values, are somewhat less resistant to change, and thereby

more peripheral in comparison to the first two.

1.16 Answers to Exercise 9.1

(a) The change grid shows absolute differences, so it’s worth looking at the

bottom row, which shows the sums of differences for each element. It

looks as though the interviewee’s views of Churchill have changed the

most: the sum of differences is 9.

The changes which contribute particularly to this total are on the

constructs, ‘principled – unprincipled’, ‘experienced – inexperienced’,

and ‘more effective – less effective’; after the course, he is regarded as

being more experienced than he was before the course, and seen as rather

less effective.

(b) Again in the bottom row, the politician about whom there has been the

least change is Wilson.

(c) It’s impossible to tell, without discussing the new ratings with the

interviewee. It may be possible to glean something from the direction of

changes if you look at the two basic grids (the ‘before’ and ‘after’ grids),

and note the direction of the differences.

So, for example, the interviewee’s views of Blair may be changing to a

more extreme position, towards an assessment of ‘inexperienced’, in the

light of information gained on the course about the length of time all of

these politicians were active since first elected to Parliament – Blair

became prime minister rather more quickly than the others. And it may be

that the ratings on ‘ensured the succession’ and ‘political success’ have

moved towards neutrality as a result of learning a little about how such

factors are predicted by political commentators!

But you would really have to discuss this with the interviewee to be sure.

In point of fact, discussion with this interviewee showed that his initial

constructs about Churchill had been particularly influenced by his

previous knowledge of Churchill’s role as a leader in World War II. The

course provided a wider perspective on Churchill’s performance by

reminding him of Churchill’s periods of relative obscurity between the

two world wars, and his declining effectiveness in the post-war period.

The speculations about Blair were partially confirmed.

Now return to Section 9.1.2.

1.17 Answers to Exercise 9.2

(a) The constructs which have been separated and placed at the top of Table

9.3 are those which are common to both of the grids in Table 9.2. (Notice

how minor variations in wording are ignored; if in doubt, ask the

interviewee!) The remaining constructs are listed below. The reason this

has been done is to make the analysis of the change less messy than

working directly with the two grids in Table 9.2.

(b) The three figures in each cell are, in order, the rating of that element on

that construct in the first grid, its rating on the same construct in the

second grid, and the absolute difference between these two ratings (that is,

the difference ignoring minus signs). You can’t do this for all the

constructs, but you can do it for those constructs which are common to

both grids, as you did in the change grid (see Section 9.1.2 and Exercise

9.1), which has identical elements and identical constructs before and

after.

(c) That would appear to be Prof. AW.

(d) One reason for saying this is the sum of differences: a total of 6 over the

five constructs common to both grids, which is the largest difference sum.

This summarises the ‘slot-rattling’ that’s occurred in the interviewee’s

views.

The second reason goes beyond slot-rattling, and looks at changes in the

actual constructs used. Constructs A1.4, A1.5, and A1.8 have been

dropped. For one reason or another, the interviewee no longer finds

them predictive. Similarly, he has chosen to think of his lecturers in terms

of two new constructs, A2.6 and A2.7. Notice how, as a result, Prof. AW’s

ratings on these constructs have moved from a rather negative evaluative

stance, to a more positive evaluative stance, than in the case of all the other

lecturers.

(e) Which model to choose? Whichever seems to you to be most useful!

The student is about to make a choice of dissertation tutor.

What might the C-P-C cycle suggest? You might notice that he has

reduced the number of constructs in the second grid, and the two new

ones, together with the ones that were dropped, seem to reflect a

refocusing on supervisor skills directly relevant to working on a

dissertation. This is certainly not ‘circumspection’; he is beginning to

make his mind up.

He is drawing on what he knows about the tutorial supervision process

and looking for particular skills; in terms of the experience cycle, he is

‘anticipating’ what working with these tutors will be like, considering

what kinds of ‘investment’ are required. Provided he gets over his

nervousness with respect to the Prof., it looks as though he can live with

him better than he can with either Dr LT or Dr TN. Does he need to have

another short meeting (‘encounter’!) with all three, or does the second grid

already represent his ‘constructive revision’?

(f) As we saw in (d) above, his views of Prof. AW, on the common constructs,

have certainly changed drastically since the first grid, in a direction which

seems to be favourable towards a supervisor–student relationship. He’s

more focused (no longer finds a lecturer’s gifts as an entertainer to be a

useful way of thinking!) and is looking for someone who is easily

accessible and doesn’t require the student to pay for a lot of inter-library

loans in order to access the recommended texts required for the

dissertation. He seems to realise that he can live with the Prof. (finds

him more interesting and easier to understand than before), and realises

he has better tutorial skills than he first thought.

Now return to Section 9.2.

1.18 Answers to Exercise 9.3

(a) If you do a quick change grid comparing Ms B as Mr A with Mr A’s

original, you can see that the sum of differences is lowest for the first

lecturer, Dr JF. When it comes to this lecturer, Ms B understands Mr A’s

views well here.

(b) Likewise, Ms B has been least successful in reproducing Mr A’s views of

Dr LT: a sum of differences of 9.

(c) The difference between Ms B’s ratings as Mr A seems to arise from the first

three constructs, among them being

Clear, understandable – Difficult to follow

and

Makes it interesting – Dull and boring

Ms B hasn’t realized just how ‘clear and understandable’ Mr A felt Dr LT

to be, and how interesting he felt Dr LT’s presentation of the material to

be. Could this be (see Table 9.4, lower half) because Ms B’s own

assessment of Dr LT places him at the less favourable end on such

constructs as

Paces the lecture to – Rushes difficult material

students’ needs during lectures

and

Constantly develops – Repetitively covers years-old

material, keeps it fresh material

and this makes it difficult for her to appreciate how ‘clear and

understandable’ he might appear to Mr A? How Mr A can see this

lecturer as someone who can make material interesting?

The kind of questions that Ms B might put to Mr A might include

. How can someone who uses previous years’ material (and you know

Dr JF does a bit of that!) – be thought of as interesting?

. I find that Dr JF rushes over stuff that we don’t quite understand: to

me, that makes him difficult to follow! What is it that makes him so

understandable for you?

In discussion, Mr A might discover that Ms B does see Dr JF as fairly

concerned about the students and appeal to that. If so, the challenge

for Ms B might be to discount her feeling that Dr JF only does that to

the students he views with excessive favouritism (see Ms B’s construct

B6). And so on.

And finally, return to Section 9.3.