Essay on Small Groups and Community

Essay on Small Groups and Community

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Small groups and community are two inescapable aspects the American workplace and the college environment in which small groups exist within a community and communities may function as small groups in a broader community. Both withstand because it is believed that each may produce good results. However, the negative aspects of community and small groups are sometimes overlooked. Rebekah Nathan’s excerpt, “Community and Diversity,” discusses the failures of community and the student struggle against the fear of conformity and isolation from others with community and the longing for the sense of belonging that comes with a community. In James Surowieki’s excerpt, “Committees, Juries, and Teams: The Columbia Disaster and How Small Groups Can Be Made to Work,” Surowieki writes about the failures of small groups in which people are often unable to express their opinions because of issues such as polarization and “confirmation bias”. Yet at the same time, Surowiecki claims that when small groups function correctly they can provide great collective wisdom (440-450). Nathan and Surowiecki both argue that there are flaws to the withstanding forms of community and small groups, however by implementing strategies to diminish the threats that social hierarchy, polarization, lack of diversity, and individualism pose within the small groups and the community, we can create a better and more collective work environment.

One of the many problems of small group malfunction is the ever present threat of social hierarchy, that may be resolved by implementing new strategies to reduce its effects. Social hierarchy tends to define speaking time and determine which individuals are the decision makers in communities and small groups. Consequentially, ...


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... opinions more freely. Employers can defy the rules of social hierarchy protocol by asking for encouraging employees to express their opinions, asking for the thoughts of all individuals at a meeting, and also by conducting polls. Diversity should also be encouraged. Employers should not only strive to create ethnically and educationally diverse small groups and community, but should also seek to create galas that reflect the community. Employers and administrators should also offer seminars to educate people on the effects of polarization along with attempting to depolarize small groups. Employers can increase a sense of community unity through mandatory events, but should also recognize that an increase of unity stifles the benefits of individualism. Through application of these strategies, employers will be capable of producing a more collaborative environment.

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