The Grounding Principle apply to ideas and phenomenons that relate to and depend on something in an organisation, company, artifact, or any other analysis object. These entities are grounded and should not defined by themselves without a clear reference to a grounding.

Take strategy as an example. The content of the strategy and its strategic statements should reference something that people in (or outside) an organisation can understand, consider as relevant, and act upon. When people cannot understand what the strategy has an effect on and how, they tend not to follow the strategic intention. A strategic statement should be grounded in organisational realities.
Another example is the idea of goal. A goal should reference something that is considered as important and material in an organisation or enterprise. A goal that is fuzzy or reference something vague in an organisation tend not not be followed. A goal or objective should be grounded in company realities.

Dependencies between grounded entites are in general derived from dependencies in the organisation, enterprise or system. When a goal supports another goal, then this support must be related to some dependencies in the organisation. If not then any action that aims to fulfill the supporting goal may not lead to the fulfillment of the upper goal because no causality linkage can be found between the two goals.


A grounded entity depends on underlying entities and must reference individual or groups of elements in relevant Unit of Interests, such as organisation, company, enterprise, system, project, study or analysis object.

Practice: FUNdamenta Practice

Grounding guidelines

  • The grounded entity and its reference(s) should be defined as clearly as possible.
  • The referenced entites should be easily found as well as the opposite, I.e. the reference(s) should be traversable in both directions. If it is not possible or difficult to find grounded entities such as objectives, requirements, or benefits, then a whole range of important activities becomes problematic. Innovation, continous improvement or any other change activity becomes complicated since the effects of grounded entities cannot be easily predicted and calculated.
  • A reference should be preferable direct. It should be clear if the concept of brand management, brand management actions, a brand manager role, or an individual brand manager person is intended as target of the reference.
  • If referenced entities does not exist in the minds of people, plans or model they should be added.
  • Dependencies between grounded entities should be derived from interdependencies, such as cause and effect between referenced entities.

Examples of grounded concepts

  • Attitude and Value theme
  • Need (attitude) (definition)
  • Influence theme
  • Strategy
  • Principle and Rule
  • Requirement
  • Instrument
  • Change theme
  • Driver of Change
  • Intervention
  • Change
  • Transformation
  • Performance theme
  • Goal and Objective
  • Benefit and Cost
  • Quality
  • Capability
  • Boundary theme
  • Service
  • Uncertainty theme
  • Risk