REVIEW; What Makes People Tick?

What Makes People Tick?
Chris Rose, Matador, 201141I8H5-RO4L._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_

In “Values Modes” theory there are three ‘worlds’ of Settlers, Propsectors and Pioneers who are separated by different ‘values’:

  • Pioneers – need to connect actions with values, explore ideas, experiment. Networking, interests, ethics, innovation.
  • Prospectors – need for success, esteem of others then self-esteem,. Acquire and display symbols of success. Look good and have fun.
  • Settlers – need for security, safety, identity, belonging. Keep things small, known, controllable, and avoid risk.

(summary on page 23).

This is actually a very interesting approach to understanding human motivation – so why did I give it only 3/5 stars [in my Amazon review – scroll down on here]?

Because it simply ignores other, similar and influential approaches that actually overlap quite a bit with the theory of “Values Modes”.

It mentions some other research, but usually only to bolster the ‘Values Modes’ approach rather than to explore what other social scientists have said.

Three obvious examples:

Cultural Theory – originating in the “grid-group” cultural-anthropology theories of Mary Douglas and applied to politics by numerous writers

Competing Values Theory – originated in organisational studies by Quinn and Cameron and applied widely in that field

Relational Models Theory – again originating in anthropology developed by Fiske and again expanded by many writers since (you can read my take on this one here )

The point I have made elsewhere is that these theories are very close to one another – all the above three use four (rather than 3 categories) buy they are remarkably similar. This suggest there is something “there” but we’ll only start to make progress if, instead of researching these as separate strands we start to look for agreement between them (see my “Theories of Performance“, Oxford, 2010 – Chapter 6).

This book unfortunately ‘hypes’ one (rather commercialised) approach to ‘what makes people tick’ rather than searching for shared and validated explanations. It’s a pity because it is of interest and as the author points out has been influential in (some) political circles as a method of analysing voters’ intentions and reactions and ‘framing’ messages to different audiences.

One final trivial but annoying point: my copy of this started falling apart as soon as i opened it. Pretty shoddy production ‘values’.

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