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A Framework for Analysis

3. A framework for analysis. The corporate world has a well developed framework and vocabulary for analyzing business and finance: budgets and balance sheets, profit and loss accounts, assets and liabilities, cash flow, debt to equity ratios etc. Managers use these every day. But in the realm of relationships, we need fresh categories and vocabulary to allow us objectively and accurately to describe and analyze what is happening to relationships. The following principles for analyzing relationships were originally outlined in Michael Schluter And David Lee’s book, The R Factor and subsequently developed into the “Relational Proximity” model by our partner organization, the Relationships Foundation. It is based on 5 key characteristics:

Directness considers the degree of presence in a relationship, and how that is mediated by technology (email, phone, texting etc.), time and other people.

Continuity: since time is the currency of relationships, continuity looks at how much time is spent on a relationship, as well as its overall length and stability.

Multiplexity examines the breadth of knowledge in relationships, especially of people outside work: family roles, hobbies, community involvement, past experiences.

Parity deals with power in relationships; differentials may exist but do they foster participation and respect, or are relationships poorer through misuse of power?

Commonality considers the extent to which goals and/or identity are shared; where they diverge, especially through hidden agendas, tension is created in relationships.