What is Spiral Dynamics?

Spiral Dynamics is a theory developed by Clare W. Graves (1914-1986). Graves was a developmental psychologist and professor of psychology at Union College in Schenectady, New York. He was a peer of Abraham Maslow.

Graves’ model is a bio-psycho-social one based on more than two decades of research. According to Ken Wilber, the founder of the Integral movement which incorporates Spiral Dynamics, the Gravesian model has so far “been tested in more than fifty thousand people from around the world, and there have been no major exceptions found in the general scheme.” 

With this model, Graves discovered the underlying pattern for human and societal change. He identified eight unique stages that we move through in a set sequence. However, the model continues beyond these stages and is “neverending”. As long as humanity survives, we will grow and evolve.

It has tremendous application and has been integrated into other theories, books, personal development models, and change concepts, including the Integral movement. Once you understand spiral dynamics, you begin to see it everywhere.

Spiral Dynamics was used by Nelson Mandela during his presidency to eliminate apartheid in South Africa, without a civil war. Dr. Don Beck, the leading pioneer in the application of spiral dynamics, worked with Mandela during this time. He detailed his experience in the book, The Crucible: Forging South Africa’s Future


Articles on Spiral Dynamics

Free Assessment 

What is Spiral Dynamics?

The Colors of Change (Spiral Dynamics Layers/Stages):

Pre-Rational Layers

Rational Layers

Second Tier Layers

Spiral Dynamics Applied: Whole Foods

Recommended Books on Spiral Dynamics

Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership and Change

Spiral Dynamics in Action

Clare W. Graves

The Change Code: A Practical Guide to Making a Difference in a Polarized World

9 Levels of Value Systems


The Crucible: Forging South Africa’s Future

Recommended Podcasts

Future Sense

Graves' spiral dynamics  from The Change Code
Graves' Spiral Dynamics - from The Change Code
The Change Code