An Alternative Perspective on Group Dynamics

Jenny Mackness, May 16, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

In this post Jenny Mackness offers a rethink on the need for group formation. "How could it ever be right to not support the weakest member of the group? ... There were some lovely people in our walking group who shared these values, but also some who didn’t seem to understand that in a situation such as walking the West Highland Way, commitment to the group was important." It's an interesting challenge. I'm sure that when people signed up for the walk, they weren't signing up for the task of helping an older person walk 96 kilometres. Yet the group dynamics seems to impose this responsibility on them, to the point where they are criticized for not 'sharing' these values. On the other hand, how is it right to leave an older person behind on a Highlands hike? I think that depending on group formation to establish a basis for morality is a mistake. But that morality itself is not a mistake.

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