Working Effectively with Others

7 July 2016

Groups that are strategically formed and active will prosper though their endeavors. Creating a successful group can be seen as a difficult task. In reality, numerous factors must be accounted for in the process of organizing an efficient group for important situations and decisions. In his essay, “Small Change” Malcolm Gladwell states, “…if you’re taking on a powerful and organized establishment you have to be a hierarchy” (237). The group must create a thorough plan with objectives for each individual participating in order for all aspects to be controlled.

In the essay, “Committees, Juries, and Teams”, James Surowiecki claims, “One of the real dangers that small groups face is emphasizing consensus over dissent” (476). Often groups feel the need to agree on their points of view. In each strong group, a “devil’s advocate” is an important role that must be filled. Instead of each person agreeing on every problem in question, one person must support the opposing side in order to reach a well thought out solution. Then, those in charge of the group consider the ideas presented and include their beliefs as well.

Working Effectively with Others Essay Example

As each person in the hierarchy states their opinion, the conclusions become stronger. Considering numerous perspectives and collecting evidence from different experiences strengthens the final decision. As Surowiecki explains, “Evidence-based juries usually don’t even take a vote until after they’ve spent some time talking over the case, sifting through the evidence, and explicitly contemplating alternative explanations. Verdict-based juries, by contrast, see their mission as reaching a decision as quickly and decisively as possible” (475).

Coming to a solution takes time and effort from each group member. Juries decide whether someone on trial is guilty or not. The rest of that person’s life depends on the decision made by a group of people. The jury should always consider every bit of evidence as a crucial part of their conclusion while coming to a solid conclusion. Their goal should not be quick agreement by all members of the jury. Someone’s fate lies in their hands. The idea of “confirmation-bias” must be avoided at all costs. This concept enables individuals to quickly come to a conclusion just to confirm their personal intuition.

To ensure a group will work effectively, the participants should be “cognitively diverse” and avoid “group polarization”. If all members have similar beliefs regarding the problem, after discussion their views will radicalize as they are fueling the fire. Surowiecki believes, “…in small groups, diversity of opinion is the single best guarantee that the group will reap benefits from face-to-face discussion” (478). Group members should come from divergent backgrounds. Therefore, their thought process and personal views are different from one another.

The only similarity present should be the degree of dedication and connection to the situation at hand. Face-to-face communication creates a “strong-tie” within the group (Gladwell 233). A solid connection builds through body language and verbal interaction. High-risk groups are most effective and successful when they are strategically organized. If they are not, decisions made incorrectly can lead horrific outcomes. Suowiecki refers to the incident of NASA’s space shuttle, Columbia causing serious damage as he declares, “…small groups are ubiquitous in American life, and their decisions are consequential” (473).

Although the shuttle did not make it home safely, the task itself was knowingly a high-risk factor. On the other hand, social networking websites do not demonstrate the “strong-ties” and all other aspects of a strategically organized group. Their actions do not make a serious impact in the world of activist groups. Difficulties arise as forming effective groups is a rare occurrence. Though in high-risk situations, it is simple to flourish if the groups are assembled correctly in order to be greater than the sum of their parts.

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