The Claim Or Blame source method is a way to make sense of how people understand their contributions to perceived tensions and the potential conflicts that may emerge from them.


The Claim Or Blame concept is based on the paradoxical human process of protecting an idealised self-image by locating reasons for failure and poor performance in the behaviour of other people. This process of blaming and finger-pointing is often a form of impression management where a person feels that they cannot be seen to be wrong as it will compromise their self-image in some way. Instead, it may seem easier to try and transfer blame to another person or group of people. Blame transfer may also be attempted with events, places, tools and technologies. An inability to own blame may be a natural self protection process but it does mean that it can be challenging to understand the real cause of a problem, resolve it and move beyond it.


The purpose of Claim Or BlameĀ is to make sense of the accountabilities, ownerships and responsibilities that have contributed, or are contributing, to a particular challenge or conflict. Although it may be easy to jump to the conclusion that a failure or unexpected outcome is due to the behaviour or incompetence the person a group of people, it is far healthier and more productive to view any conflicts or challenges from a systemic perspective. By understanding the system that has created the environment for the failure or apparent incompetence, it becomes easier to resolve the challenger conflict and move beyond it. Even though people may deny making any contribution to an unexpected outcome, their lack of contribution or speaking up may have been a fundamental factor in the outcome. By establishing ownership of actions, needs and beliefs, any challenging situation or conflict can be navigated more successfully.


  • • To identify ownership
  • • To identify accountability
  • • To identify responsibility
  • • To resolve conflict
  • • To claim contribution so positive action can be taken rather than just automatically apportioning blame.


To learn how to use Claim Or Blame in your work, contact us