Community - Social Belonging

People are social animals who like the company of others, fear social exclusion, we need connection with others, friendships and exchanges of affection and dependency, etc; are comfortable with family sized groups of around 7 people (direct reports, c'tee members, team size, group size, etc); if less than 5 don't feel that belonging and if 9+ too many potential relationships (research on users at Facebook suggests around 7 "most contacted"friends). Villages of up to 5 families and tribes include up to 150 people; memory is challenged if more than 7 things to remember, eg phone numbers. In large organisations, focus on creating stronger bonds via small teams/groups rather than trying to unify the wider organisation. Need to concentrate on this level of connection productivity, eg use family-sized teams and village-size units and tribe-size departments in the change process. Need to be careful of stereotyping; group think has had evolutionary advantages, ie clubbing together against the tiger or a gang of strangers has obvious survival value. In more recent times this inclination to get caught up in group think has had less constructive outcomes, ie the madness of crowds with their ability to be manipulated by demagogues, the collective bloodlust of lynch mobs, etc. This can make people do things as a mob that they would do on their own as individuals; there are plenty of cases where impartiality, objectivity and disinterestedness (not uninterestedness) are important in making civilisation civilised, ie

"...administration of justice, scientific exploration, education, adjudication of competing interest in the daily life of commerce and trade, fairness in the allocation of resources and social goods - in all these cases, bias distorts and causes harm..."

AC Grayling, 2014

 

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