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Pinto theory and method

As noted earlier, the work carried out by the ICI is based on Pinto’s own theory.

What follows is a summary of that theory and a selection of the testimonials, reviews and other responses it has attracted.

Broad-based diversity, theory and practice
Broad-based diversity refers to ethnic, religious and cultural differences as well as differences such as gender, age, job, job level, and sexual orientation and their implications for values, rules of life and codes of behaviour.

Individuals can differ considerably as far as their mental programming is concerned. A great deal has been written on the subject, in particular by anthropologists, the best-known being Geert Hofstede. He conducted a study among employees at IBM in various countries, which resulted in a classification of the differences into a number of, what he called, 'dimensions'. At first, he differentiated four dimensions, but added a fifth later on. They are:

  • Power distance
  • Risk aversion
  • Individualism
  • Masculinity
  • Short versus long-term planning
This classification encountered a great deal of criticism, especially in terms of the methodology used. One point of criticism was that Hofstede applied national cultures to the level of the individual without any foundation. Nevertheless, others followed Hofstede's typology.

Nancy Adler offered six dimensions and Fons Trompenaars seven, some coinciding with and others supplementing those provided by Hofstede. My main reservations against the 'dimensions' approach, apart from the criticism noted above, are as follows. Firstly, the number of dimensions is arbitrary, the model is static and stigmatising, and it does not allow any room for the evolution inherent in the values that underlie all levels of behaviour and communication.

Moreover, the above authors fail to offer a methodology that shows us how to effectively deal with diversity. Indeed, Hofsted states: "it often gets in the way when we try to get a job done with somebody whose mental programming is slightly different". And yet, with an effective methodology, such differences can be mutually beneficial.

These points of criticism led me to develop ''Structure Theory'' and the Three-Step Method (TSM), addressing the issue of how to effectively deal with differences while preserving everyone's identity.

A summary of this theory and method is given below. Both Structure Theory and the TSM are explained in my books, and illustrated with many practical cases from various sectors including business, government, health care, police, the courts, and education. (See 'Books' under 'Publications').
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