Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Character of a Group

A group exists as an optimal configuration of resources to maximize progress along a particular purpose to achieve a particular goal. Of course, it has a name too, but the name is only a label or identifier. The actual character and form of the group is determined by the group goal, purpose, and the set of policies that allow the purpose to be forwarded.

It is interesting to note that the policies that define the form of the group are the actual agreements between members that are acted from. In an aberrated group these may have little or nothing to do with written or formal policy, and there may be a lot of informal “localized policy” that is followed by some part or parts of the group, and which may be unknown to other parts of the group. Such “localized policy” results in the individuation of parts of the group. The individuated parts become less in touch with or involved with the overall group purpose and more into their own separate “thing”. This is symptomatic of dirtiness in the area. There will be found some sort of unethical or criminal activity happening in these individuated areas that undermines or cuts across the group purpose.

What happens if the goal, purpose or policies of the group change, either formally or through an accumulation of dirtiness as described above, but the group name does not? Is it still the same group? Should it still demand the same loyalties as before?

If the change was a reconfiguration of resources to follow the same purpose to achieve the original goal, then yes, it is still the same group. If the purpose, or even the goal, has been effectively changed, then it has become a different group, and should not expect to hold the same loyalties that were applied to the original purpose and goal. This can be a little confusing if the group retains the same name. It can get a lot confusing if the “change” of purpose/goal is the result of an accumulated amount of group dirtiness rather than a formal change.