History of the Map

The Map of Meaning is based on empirical research.

Marjolein Lips-Wiersma originally surveyed people from a variety of backgrounds and roles, including professional, managerial, blue collar and administrative on what gives meaning to their work. Marjolein summarised their answers in the Holistic Development Model. The Model was tested by Marjolein, Lani Morris and Patricia Greenhough with hundreds of people in workshops, lectures, and in organisational and therapeutic interventions. We double-checked its relevance and robustness with twenty colleagues (academics, community workers, consultants, managers and coaches) who use the model in their work. In 2010 we quantitatively tested the model on 500 participants from a wide variety of ages, occupations and cultures. This confirmed that the model captures the content and process of meaningful work. After twenty years of testing the Model in this wide range of ways, in an ever-expanding range of countries (including Romania, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil) we know the framework is robust, relevant and very useful.

In 2011 we published the book The Map of Meaning and decided to rename the Holistic Development Model, the Map of Meaning.  In 2017 our original publisher, Greenleaf, was bought out by Routledge, and the second edition of our book, The Map of Meaningful Work, is published by them with worldwide distribution.

In 2017 we formed the Map of Meaning International Trust. This trust supports our goal of sharing the Map of Meaning with all peoples of the world.

The Map of Meaning International Trust goes from strength to strength.  We acknowledge all who have been a key part of this growth: Marjo’s husband, Charles Lips; Patricia’s husband, Richard Greenhough; Margaret Jeffaries who was the initiator of the first Spirit@Work in conference in Christchurch in 2000 at which the Map was first made public and which created the spark that led us to begin our work together. The early pioneers who worked with the Map: Laura Brearley, Sue Howard, Dave Burton; Robin Burgess and Drew Pryde from the Scottish Institute of Business Leaders; Helena Clayton, Steve Tarpey, Kerry McGovern, who each in their own way took the Map into new parts of the world, and developed new applications.  Further pioneers, Chris Henderson, Sandra Hogan and Judy McLelland also added to our work. We have also been greatly assisted by Cara Bennett of Langley Twigg, and Geof Shirtcliffe, Tim Sherman and Pearson Williams of Chapman Tripp, Wellington who gave us advice and legal support to set up the MOMICT and then complete the IP agreement with the MeaningSphere.  We also acknowledge Sean Bevin who was the witness for the Trust documentation.