Of Herds and Groups

This was the topic of discussion in Tom Allen's class:
Contrary to popular belief that wisdom comes with age, research shows that productivity in teams actually decreases with time. Tom began to analyse this issue with a description of the Asch Conformity Experiment.
Upon observing teams, Tom's own research showed that in terms of thought process, there is a narrowing of variants(Conformity), and a shift in tendencies(influence) with the passage of time.

A study of new MBA students shows that they had original feelings on labour relations before they joined the MBA program. Then the shift happens.(Aparna raised the possibility of gullible MBAs.)

Studies reveal that groups often attack the non-conformist. Most of the time, a person needs just another person to agree with her to stand her ground. Tom suggested that you must first do your homework and convince yourself before you try to convince others.

So, how can one keep a team young? Through leadership. A survey of low performance teams, showed that the engineers felt that they ran the show. The inmates felt they ran the assylum.
High performance teams felt that it was the project manager who decided the direction of the team.Most good project managers ran tight schedules but left the details of implementation to the team.

The class got a bit off track with too much discussion on whether music from the Beatles was better when they were together, Van Halen's loss of quality from lead singer replacement and if the Stones had preserved their quality through these decades.

Here are some takes on conformity:

Nietzsche called a major religion 'the triumph of the unthinking lowest classes, of the herd'.
This is Wikipedia's take on Herd Behavior.

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