Collective identity and shared values in a blink

"Collective identity is not simply a sum of individual identities but emerges from the interactions, performances, and symbolic representations that individuals engage in within a social context." - Erving Goffman

Organisations and places thrive when individuals thrive. As a consequence, developing a vibrant culture begins with an understanding of collective identity and shared values. These are the foundation for every human action and interaction, conscious or unconscious. Over the previous 15 years, a group of global experts analysed the identity and values of over 100 teams, organisations, and places.

Challenging them to answer the following questions:

  • How can we brand ourselves for our customers?
  • How can we strengthen our identity?
  • How do we put our common beliefs into action?
  • How do we make values-based decisions?
  • How can we maintain our integrity as an organisation?
  • How can we attract and keep young people who stand up for their values?

Shared Identity

Visualised in a blink

Extensive research and the collective experiences of the group have been condensed into a framework that forms the basis of ValueMaps. This tool enables teams, organisations, and communities to promptly uncover their shared values and collective identity.

By incorporating ValueMaps alongside an inspiring workshop methodology, teams can rediscover their identities and values within a single day. Field tests have shown that this approach yields rapid and long-lasting results. We provide global support to a wide array of organisations and communities.

Unique Profiles

Finding collective identity

ValueMaps are distinct profiles that illustrate the shared values and collective identity of teams, organisations, and communities. An example of a ValueMap, which was shaped by over 500 individuals and features a colored matrix, is shown below.

The horizontal axis represents genotype and phenotype, while the vertical axis presents eight archetypal identities. By plotting the participants' chosen values inside the matrix, a shared set of values and a collective identity are generated. Following this step, an interactive workshop is conducted.

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Archetypal Organisations

The ValueMaps feature eight archetypal identities. Archetypes are universal patterns that represent fundamental aspects of the human experience and are present in the collective unconscious. They exist within every social system. For the ValueMaps, we have crafted eight distinct archetypal identities, each with its own set of unique characteristics.


These organisations are primarily bent on self-preservation and independence. The people that work here strongly identify with the organisation. If the organisation is doing well, the people are satisfied. If the organisation is not doing well, the people are unsatisfied.


These organisations bubble with energy and are constantly in motion. People in this organisation aim to satisfy their emotional needs. This can be seen in many ways such as the use of language. Everything is aimed towards self-fulfillment, the content and structure of the work are guided by this.


Within these organisations there is a drive to make accomplishments: from their own free will and their own strength. People who work here are decisive and are constantly looking for new challenges. They are proud of the work that they do. There is little room for mistakes, which is the same as failing.


These organisations place importance on having a social identity. Typically they look for a service-providing role. People in these organisations aim toward developing long term relationships with partners [internally and externally]. The whole is more important than the sum of its parts, but this depends mainly on individual drive.


These organisations take on activities that suit their missions. The people in the organisation therefore take on personal responsibility. They do what the say. These organisations are distinguished by creativity and inspiration. People who work here would like to make a contribution to the whole.


These organisations are aware of their role in the world, they have a clear vision. People who work here inspect their projects carefully and consciously direct these. These organisations grow organically, are innovative and work for a ‘good cause’.


These organisations are aware of their dependence on their immediate surroundings [organisations, people, institutions]. People that work here are driven to develop their knowledge further. There is constant searching for establishing new connections. They communicate in the same varied way.


These are not organisations in themselves. These are people who strive to identify with a higher purpose. Many organisations have elements of this identity. The elements are aimed towards making a difference to humanity. Organisations that strive to become one with a higher goal have difficulty existing independently.

Online Survey

Creating a ValueMap is easy. Individuals, ranging from 5 to over 1000 participants, are requested to answer two questions online. This process typically takes ten minutes to complete. The web-based tool then rapidly generates ValueMaps based on their answers. A ValueMap serves as a unique profile that portray the collective identity and shared values of a team, organisation or community.

Offline Workshop

The ValueMaps spark and hasten a dialogue among participants. They are motivated to interact and exchange stories about their personal sources of inspiration. This collaborative experience instills the necessary level of commitment to take action. The workshop is organised in three simple stages. The workshop structure is straightforward and consistently yields positive outcomes.

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'ValueMaps are sparking a dialogue about identity, values and behavioral patterns. A conversation based on the ValueMap is a memorable experience. What really makes a difference is to experience it yourself'.

 - Jennifer Waller

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For me and the people within Selikor NV the ValueMaps worked very effectively. In my experience there are few methods that can describe reality in such a creative way, covering all details in a realistic manner. A ValueMap is like a mirror in which you see the different faces of the organization: from the great sides to the less pleasant.

- Wesley Kook,
CEO Selikor NV, Curacao
About the ValueMaps - during the workshop participants were very proud and energetic. As a team they have never been so far in their thinking about the development of their organization. During the whole project the ValueMaps were our guides and backbones.

- Raf Vanzeer
Director at beopledd, Belgium
The ValueMaps have helped us to move forward with our burning issues. We looked into a mirror, realized who we are and being able to take appropriate action. I can recommend ValueMaps to any organization that wants to understand more about its underlying foundations and focus on what it is best at.

- Holger Nauheimer,
Founder ChangeDays, Germany

About the ValueMaps

In 2006, ChangeLabs first introduced ValueMaps. Rik Berbé, an organisational development consultant, began integrating research on social constructionism, dramaturgical theory, and archetypes into his work. With the assistance of a community of practitioners and researchers, he developed ValueMaps and a corresponding workshop format. Ongoing efforts are underway, and fresh insights are consistently being added to the existing knowledge base.

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A research paper addresses the challenges of understanding and visualising collective identity and shared values in human systems. It introduces the ValueMaps framework as a research-based model, drawing upon theoretical frameworks like Goffman's theory of social interaction. Innovative visualisation techniques, such as interactive maps enhance comprehension and engagement. The ValueMaps framework allows for analysing the interplay of individual and group values, providing insights into decision-making processes and social dynamics. By exploring methodological considerations and cultural nuances, this research contributes to a comprehensive understanding and visualising of collective identity and shared values. Ultimately, the goal is to foster inclusive and thriving environments through practical application of these visualisation techniques.


Goffman, E. (1959). The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Anchor Books.

Jung, C. G. (1968). The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. Routledge.

Moss, T. (2003). The Iceberg Model: Surface Culture and Deep Culture. In The Mcgraw-Hill 36-Hour Course in Business Writing and Communication (pp. 57-61). McGraw-Hill Education.

Ritzer, G., & Smart, B. (Eds.). (2003). Handbook of Social Theory. SAGE Publications.

Scott, J. (2000). Social Network Analysis: A Handbook. SAGE Publications.

Shotter, J. (2013). Social Constructionism: A Reader. Cambridge University Press.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity. Cambridge University Press.


Diani, M., & McAdam, D. (2003). Social Movements and Networks: Relational Approaches to Collective Action. Oxford University Press.

Hatch, M. J., & Schultz, M. (2002). The dynamics of organizational identity. Human Relations, 55(8), 989-1018.

Schein, E. H. (1996). Organizational Culture and Leadership. Jossey-Bass.

Van Lange, P. A., & Joireman, J. (2008). How We Use Theories in Social Psychology: Lessons from Cultural Psychology. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 12(1), 23-47.


The ValueMaps materials are distributed under the:
 Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license

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