The American Presidency:
2. Interdependent Relating

Posted by Bob on January 2nd, 2008

Relating reflects Washington’s strongest attribute. Of course, through the centuries, the emigrant and migrant population of the U.S. have modified this dimension to emphasize relating to culture and class.

Cultural Relating reflects the levels of relationships that take place within, between, and among cultures. Cultural relating is the phenomenon that transformed America from a “boiling cauldron of exclusivity” to a “melting pot of diversity.”

Only in America during the second half of the 20th century did “Human Relating” skills-building experiences take hold with classes and cultures. Only in America did this Human Relating culminate in “Interdependent Processing.”

We may view the Cultural Relating Scale in Table 1. As may be noted, the levels are developmental from 1 to 5. Independency is the threshold learning experience. This means that relators are empowered to move independently up or down. Below level 3, the relations are competitive and dependent. Above level 3, the relations are collaborative and interdependent.

At level 3, Independency, relators share individual images of experiences or phenomena with each other. This makes all initiatives possible. Independency is illustrated by the behavioral operations of “Get and Give:” Each “gets” the others’ images before “giving” his or her images.

At level 4, Collaboration, the relators share images in order to converge or “merge” images. The behavioral operations of “Get, Give, and Merge” are based upon decision-making with participants’ values and environmental or contextual requirements. A productive “merged” image serves to maximize meeting all values and requirements at the highest levels.

At level 5, Interdependency, the relators have already “merged” images before “going” to interdependent processing. The behavioral operations of “Merge and Go” illustrate interdependency. The behavioral operations of “mutual processing for mutual benefit” define interdependent processing.

Table 1. Cultural Relating Scale
Cultural Relating Scale

Below level 3, the relations are competitive and/or dependent. At level 2, Competitiveness, orders are given and tasks are performed. Behaviorally, this level is manifested in “Give and Go” orders. There is no “getting” of images from the others’ frames of reference.

At level 1, Dependency, there is no attempt to even relate to give orders or instructions. Behaviorally, this is communicated only by “Go” and reduces the actor to helplessness and dependency.

Now you may rate yourself or others on Cultural Relating. As helpers or leaders of others (parent, teacher, supervisor, manager, representative) rate whether you or others engage in the following Relating Behaviors:

Ratings of Cultural Relating
Ratings of Cultural Relating

You may be surprised or even shocked at the levels of Relating Behaviors. Most people rate themselves at Level 1 and pride themselves at Level 2 (Authoritarian).

In summary, relating is a necessary stage in all human endeavor. It ensures that all parties—those acting and being acted upon—have input and feedback to the process. At the highest levels of interdependent processing, it ensures the mutual benefits to which we dedicate our processing.

Again, the function of Cultural Relating is Peaceful Relations within, between, and among the citizens of the nation, its states, and their local communities.

Ultimately, we get what we process for—interdependently and continuously.

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