I think Group Think LO29233

From: Jan Lelie (janlelie@wxs.nl)
Date: 09/25/02

Replying to LO29229 --


This is the third time this day that i read he word "dialectic".

Dialectic is the ugly brother of dialogue: a method for resolving through
the use of rules, as in law courts and arbitration. Graduallly dialectic
has become a way to settle disputes between opposing systems of thought,
cultures, beliefs. A polarization is part of the the dialectic way, as a
polarization creates clarity on the issues. At the same time however the
polarization might lead to the use of force - even revolution - ,
persuasion and charisma. If i understand correctly, dialectic offers
solutions that reinvent their original issue in a different form. Will
McWhinney writes (Paths of Change, 178)

"the paradoxical approach builds on the fundamental principle of dialectic
thinking, that every position implies its opposite. Here (the case under
discussion, absence in an organisation) the extereme of absence was total
attendance. The principle appears everywhere: if I adopt the principle of
life, I must confron it with dying or transcending, or, if I adopt the
criterion that one should grow up independent, I must deal with becoming
interdependent. If I take pluralisme as my assumptiom, hen I must discuss
with the tools of holism, such as comparing and boundary setting.
Conversely, if i take a holistic premise, it is only with the tools of
pluralisme that I can articulate its arguments. So determisme is meanigful
only in the context of free will, and choice is discussable only in
referring to limitations." He goes on to show how every issue can be
reformulated as a dispute by the processes of resolution themselves.

So GroupThink is a step in the dialectic of an issue, it is the step that
deepens the conflict or polarization in order to reach a solution that
will induce the re-occurence of the same issue in a different way.

Jan Lelie
'facilitator mind@work'

AM de Lange wrote:

>My personal experience with Group-Think is that it is a most dubious
>term. As far back as thirty years ago (when i began to think about
>these things) people consider it as stereotyped, conformist, mindset
>thinking. I still remember negative claims like "The communists and
>socialists want to brain wash us with Group Think and then to control
>our minds with it." Here in South Africa even the dialogue was shot
>down as an example of Group Think. A polemic debate was thought
>to be the good thing.


Jan Lelie <janlelie@wxs.nl>

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