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Group Dynamics and solidarity

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posted on Jul, 9 2014 @ 03:03 AM
I’ve been analysing certain human behaviors at work lately, and found a very interesting dynamic, which strikes me as funny because it mirrors instincts I watch in social animals (in dogs and horses, specifically, though it might not be limited to those, they are just what I am familiar with).

It is the bonding of individuals through shared enemy. I noticed this happens in groups of humans, and that it happens differently with males and females.

Groups of men will bond together through a shared enemy- they may have many differences, but can find similarity through both hating one individual (we have that in common- the enemy of my enemy is my friend). They will most often choose the male with the most power- the boss, the teacher, the leader- often the one closest to them (not the big CEO, but their manager).
It seems to be linked to the instinctive drive to rise in the hierarchy and be an “alpha”, the draw to power. Yet a fear of carrying the responsibility that goes with it can be an opposing emotion, which keeps them lower down, but resentful and hostile towards the perceived chief.

Females, on the other hand, seem to be more comfortable with being in position of less power, being protected and directed by someone in power, so they choose one of the group of submissive to focus on- usually one of the other females. Particularly if she looks to have any possibility of rising higher, of being a protégée of the chief, of standing out in some way (be it purposeful or not- could be their behaviour, could be looks, or something else). They want the herd under the head to stay conformed.

So you see the men supporting each other and becoming close knit against the boss, while the females choose a “enemy of the month” amongst themselves. One woman gets this role in alternation, and attempts are made to cut down her ego or sense of individuality. When she shows her willingness to sacrifice self for the good of the whole, and submit to the group, she is let back in and a different girl is focused on.

I watch this exact same thing happen with animals. With the females, I can usually see who is being picked on this month and know she will most likely be part of the bullying group next month and the wheel will turn. With the males, it sort of depends upon whether the male will be able to withstand the challenges effectively, and if there is an individual in the challenging group who has the will to accept the responsibilities of taking the role themselves. If they do, they will be faced with the same opposition they once took part in.

If they withstand, they will gain more respect for a period of time and the males will become more scattered and less bonded for a while. Until they begin to gather again and decide to do it all again.

I guess this observation is only useful in the sense of being part of it and not taking it all too personally?

Just had that thought blooming in my head lately and wanted to write it down!

posted on Jul, 9 2014 @ 03:23 AM
I think I know what you are seeing. My dog is a female. I prefer the temperament of female dogs, but they are very jealous of other females. The males usually settle their differences pretty quick.
I have observed similar behavior in humans.

posted on Jul, 9 2014 @ 03:25 AM
a reply to: Bluesma

Good thread mate, and for the most part I'd agree with you. One observation I would add is, when you get a group of alpha males in the same room, on occasion, they are likely to turn on the juveniles.

As for commenting on female behavior, I just ain't going there. Self preservation and that sort of thing

Kind Regards

posted on Jul, 9 2014 @ 03:49 AM
Good observation.

I have seen it all many times, most of my work involving being in and leading teams.

I have often been on the brunt of the jealous wrath of other women though never became a 'hater' because I prefer rising above such behaviour.

As narcissism has grown in the past 10 years or so, it is also reflected in the workplace where IMO young women are even more self centred and egotistical than before, the whole 'princess' ego has got out of hand.

I truly believe that schools should teach ethics and the importance of being a constructive member of society instead of breeding the 'alpha' /'princess' mentalities that are abound and workplaces should keep a firm check on these things for an efficient and constructive workplace and the greater good of society.
edit on 9-7-2014 by theabsolutetruth because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 9 2014 @ 04:45 AM
a reply to: Bluesma
There is a proverb, supposed to be Arabian; "My enemy's enemy is my friend".
It's an attitude which seems to be universal. If you read history, you find it happening all the time.
One of the most famous expressions of it is Churchill, when Hitler attacked Russia. He observed that if Hitler invaded Hell, he would at least be willing to make a favourable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons.
The phenomenon of "ganging up" against the most dominant figure is the norm in politics, especially international politics, and can be seen in sport as well.
In the last office I worked in, my work-mates had a sense of unity against an unpopular manager, which vanished once the man was made redundant and other frictions were found or revived.

edit on 9-7-2014 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

edit on 9-7-2014 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

edit on 9-7-2014 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 10 2014 @ 01:14 AM
a reply to: myselfaswell
That's an interesting observation too- I get less looks into the male perspective because I am a woman!

posted on Jul, 10 2014 @ 01:44 AM
a reply to: theabsolutetruth

My thoughts in response to what you say here are complex- I don't know if I can express them clearly.

I wonder how much culture influences things) I am in France, where the collective culture is somewhat different- individualism is de-valued and considered ...well.....assumed to be "bad".

I don't think that changes our deepest human drives- but it might change the ways in which we express those.

What I observe at work though, with the females, is that the motivation of the females who are "ganging up" on one of the others is exactly the same as your concern- they will call ambition, self confidence, or any sort of individuality "egoism" and consider it something that needs to be rejected, in preference for a sense of collective equality, conformism, social conscience.

An example- when I first started working there, the woman was being targetted was a nice girl, but she had ambitions- she made it clear she would like to move up the ladder eventually. Without having done anything except try very hard to prove she was reliable and did her work well, the ambition made the other women pissed at her. In her case, they actually made her life such hell, she quit within a couple of months.

A more personal example- I fell under fire when a mistake was made at work, but they didn't know who did it. There was a possibility it could have been me, so I became very concerned about that, and was very cooperative and pro-active in going back to look at all the evidence to figure out if I did.

In my mind, I was concerned with responsibility- taking responsibility for my own mistakes, so nobody else might end up getting the rap unfairly. I was also concerned about learning where I screwed up, so that I can be more careful in the future, not to repeat the same mistake.

I saw signs of my females co-workers feeling hostile towards me, and that increased my efforts, as I figured they too, must be worried that I screwed up and one of them might end up taking the blame in my place!

I confronted the females directly and kindly, promising them that if I did it, I will find proof and take all the responsibility- they did not have to worry. They blew up.

Apparently, what they had expected of me was that I remain vague and distant with the boss, proclaiming "It could have been me, it could have been anyone. We'll never know." Refusing to give any other info about the actions and movements I had made earlier- keeping them from being able to investigate effectively.

The idea (it took me a while to understand what they were saying) was that if we remained a solid block, no individual would be saddled with the responsibility- we'd take it as a group, no one would be to blame, and no one could be reprimanded. A form of group solidarity that my american mentality had never considered.

I kept wondering how we, as a team working together, can progress if we don't honestly look at our mistakes and learn from them...?

Within a couple of days, the investigation showed they I didn't (couldn't have) been the guilty one, and in fact, it uncovered that it was another of my female co-workers. I didn't expect that.

I realized that my determination to be a honest and conscientious team member actually brought to the forefront our individual responsibility- even those that were not keen on such concepts. I got myself in the dog house for that month. The cruelty that those women could dish out was rather impressive and I could see how a person could end up quitting, or having a nervous break down.

But what is interesting is that from my view, I was trying to be considerate of the group, and from theirs, that was not at all what I was doing. Perhaps they saw me as being a "princess"! I was almost completely sure I had been the one who made a mistake somewhere, and my actions to find where that was would relieve all the others from any suspicion.

IN the end, I talked privately with the boss, and the explanation was sort of vaguely blamed on an exterior person accidently doing something wrong, so my co-worker did not get in trouble. They don't know I did that, and she thinks it was just a coup de chance- a stroke of luck, for her. It turned out she was aware all along she had done it, and was just relying on group solidarity to keep that hidden.

The reason I bring up that example is to illustrate- the ganging up thing can be seen from either side, as people trying to do what they think is best and right for all. Kind of weird, how the best intentions can pave the road to hell, I guess they say???

posted on Jul, 10 2014 @ 07:27 PM
a reply to: Bluesma

This is why group dynamics never worked out well for me. The enemy of my enemy, is my enemy, and will remain my enemy until the things which bought us into conflict are resolved. If that means I have two enemies, rather than one, that is fine by me.

I prefer to have friends, but I also have standards lol!

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