It all sounds so reasonable … relevant … background … factors … but then we plunge into the exploration of Maslow’s Need Hierarchy as the basis of our venture into the ‘new frontier’ of reasonable small group dynamics. Wait! Did I use the world “reasonable” and “group” in the same sentence?
My mistake, but first, let’s quickly review the need hierarchy, you probably have already heard of this many times before, but quickly, it starts on the first level of basic survival needs called physiological, and once those are satisfied, there is time to recognize and address the basic need for security, followed by belongingness and then self esteem, and when all is in place, secured and assured, the top of the hierarchy of self actualization can begin.
But how do these fit into the idea of small group interaction?
First off, every person in the group is affected to some degree by each of these needs and their ability to relate to others is impacted as well, so when we learn that the “relevant background factors” are Personality, Gender, Age, Health, Attitudes, and Values, we can pick out immediately three of these factors that will be directly affected by the need level of the individual: Personality, Attitudes, and Values.
There has been a great deal of research on all of this and some of that has produced a theory that “most people share three needs that groups help fulfill … inclusion, control, and affection.” [Tubbs, 2012, p. 120]
So, there you have the hierarchy of individual needs that will influence the level the person will be operating on while in a group, and while at the same time, there is a pull by the group itself on the individual as additional fulfillment of the need to “belonging” and to be able to express the need to either be controlled or to control in a group setting, and to form friendships and experience affection.
This expectation and need to belong (or to be included) can be a major step to the beginning of productivity. While we are contemplating these conditions, according to Fast Company, the millennials are expecting it! “For millennials, inclusion is the support for a collaborative environment that values open participation from individuals with different ideas and perspectives that has a positive impact on business. Leadership at such an organization is transparent, communicative, and engaging.” [Dishman, 2015]
All I can say to that is “yes”!
And the Fast Company article goes on to say, “The survey data suggest that a company with an inclusive culture has a positive effect on innovation, which also affects the bottom line. The report references research by IBM and Morgan Stanley that demonstrates companies with high levels of innovation achieve the fastest growth of profits, while radical innovation trumps incremental change by generating 10 times more shareholder value.” [Dishman, 2015]
All I know, is that I am all about innovation and if having a “high level of dissonance” is what it takes to bring that about … I am all about it!
As we progress through our prejudices, it can be helpful to learn a little more about what others mean by cultural diversity and how they perceive it. “Cultural diversity in the workplace offers more challenges than benefits without an understanding about how to harness it in the service of collegiality, civility, and productivity.”
One thing is for certain, inclusion is certainly NOT separation!
- Dishman, L. Millennials Have A Different Definition Of Diversity And Inclusion, May 18, 2015. Fast Company. Retrieved Sept 12, 2016, from Fast Company: https://www.fastcompany.com/3046358/the-new-rules-of-work/millennials-have-a-different-definition-of-diversity-and-inclusion.
- Diversity & Inclusion Plan – From Exclusion to Inclusion, Jul 11, 2014. DTUI.com LLC. Retrieved from : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1qybz4og8c&feature=youtu.be.
- Tubbs, S.L. A Systems Approach to Small Group Interaction. McGraw-Hill. New York City. 2012.