assessment

Conflicts are messy affairs. It is difficult to precisely identify causes and determine appropriate interventions.

assessment

Assessments are sophisticated instruments to analyse and understand a particular situation in all its complexity.


Meta‑Culture assessments are used to achieve an in-depth understanding of complex and dynamic situations in communities, industry sectors, or with multiple stakeholders involved in a particular issue. Unlike other methods of investigation, the purpose of our assessments is to unearth and understand the
"multiple truths"
and the many dimensions that characterize a system, so that interventions are appropriate and effective.

Our assessment methodology is comprised of extensive interviews with various individuals who have a stake in the situation.

We supplement this interview data with perspectives from academic and popular literature. Then we analyze all the information we've gathered in an effort to understand multiple factors:

  • Stakeholders' perspectives and interests, including the way they construct their identities in relation to the situation.
  • Stakeholder relationships and how they impact the system.
  • Structural causes underlying tensions in the system, including long-standing differences and economic, social, and political characteristics.
  • Systems issues, the trends and patterns that have created the landscape of conflict or tension over time.
  • Immediate leverage issues, the systemic weaknesses or threats that are immediately apparent and, if addressed, can give stakeholders satisfaction and relief right away.
  • Underlying values, stakeholders' core beliefs, principles, and ideas that govern and influence their thinking and behaviors, and therefore work to sustain and perpetuate the system.
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  • FAQs
    How is the assessment that you do different from any other investigation in a conflict situation?
    The quest to unearth complexity is what distinguishes a conflict assessment from any other type of investigation, whether it is justice-oriented, journalistic, or academic.
    Instead of seeking to determine the truth, a conflict assessment aims to uncover multiple truths, i.e., the truth of each stakeholder involved in or impacted by the conflict. In doing a conflict assessment, it is not uncommon to find that individuals from different stakeholder groups hold drastically different views about events and their root causes. Even different individuals within a particular stakeholder group often have divergent perspectives. While these layers of complexity are critical to conflict assessment, justice-oriented and journalistic investigation, in attempting to find classic victims and oppressors, typically fail to identify and grapple with them.
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META SPEAK

It is not just in movies that we love villains and heroes. In every conflict we seek comforting dualities: good and bad, sinners and saints, oppressors and oppressed. Black and white are more appealing to us than more subtle shades of grey. While simple stories make for better morality tales, they do not allow us to plumb the depths of the real problem so we can address it.