|Re: Groupthink||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Saoirse (ccharisearthlink.net)|
|Date: Fri, 16 Jul 2004 07:27:32 -0700 (PDT)|
Norm, I'd respectfully submit that some of what you are seeing is an interpretation of the events from your personal perspective. My interpretation might differ. I agree with you that groupthink is a dynamic that occurs in organizations, and is something to be concerned about and to actively discuss. However, I believe that an activity at the beginning of a meeting is not necessarily designed to condition folks for groupthink. Rather, in my comm'ty, these activities are designed to help transition people from the hectic pace of their lives into a focus on what we are doing in THIS place at THIS time. It's also intended to help people relax a bit, and to feel connected to one another. One of the reasons we choose comm'ty is to feel connected to one another. Being connected to one another could increase the danger of groupthink, but in and of itself is still a value we share in my comm'ty and worthy of some time and attention in our meetings. I suspect that it is human nature to want agreement and to want harmony. It is a basic need identified by Marshall Rosenberg in his model for Non-Violent Communication. However, I share your implied frustration with the reluctance to really dig in and discuss the pros and cons of a certain proposal. Actually, my understanding of consensus is that we are not debating so much as using our intelligence and our perspective to identify potential concerns on behalf of the comm'ty. To fail to do so is a disservice to the comm'ty, a failure to hold the commonweal as a shared value. To rush too quickly to agreement just to keep the peace is not true comm'ty but pseudo-comm'ty. Many people have written about this. So -- in my opinion -- consensus is not just about reaching agreement, but about being thoughtful and intelligent and taking the time to sort it through to the best of our ability, with the best thinking we can summon at the time. We may not make a perfect decision. We may change our minds later on, with more experience. You use the term "debate," and of course debate means different things to different people. To me, it casts people into the position of trying to persuade or convert others to their thinking. It implies black and white thinking, a right and a wrong. I'm more inclined to view consensus as finding the gray area in-between, the place where there is more than one possible solution, and we choose what seems to be right for us AT THIS TIME. As for blocking, I cotton to Carolyn Estes' view that blocking is done only with great reluctance, likely less than three times in a lifetime, and only when it absolutely necessary and after a lot of discussion. Blocking consensus is a gift to the comm'ty, but only when done from the position of the deepest belief that to move forward with the proposal "harms the comm'ty." Not "I disagree" or "I don't like this" or "I have strong personal reservations" but "I believe harm will come to the comm'ty if this proposal moves forward." Having said all that, I bow to our online experts on consensus and remind you that I have my personal biases just like everyone else. If something I say rings true and/or contributes to the discussion, great. If not, so be it. I don't need for anyone to agree with me, though it is nice to be heard!! Saoirse -- Harmony Village Cohousing Golden, Colorado http://www.harmonyvillage.org
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