Tag Archives: collaboration

When too much collaboration is a bad thing

31 Jan

This week’s Time magazine features a look at the upside of being an introvert.

Among other things, it touches on collaboration and how it is viewed in modern society. Now, there is no doubt that collaboration is a positive exercise that can result in some really amazing, creative outcomes. But has the pendulum swung too far in one direction? Have we devalued the act of quiet solo contemplation in favour of the more social aspect of group thinking. And at what cost?

Here is an excerpt from the article:

The trouble is, fewer and fewer of us have time for solitary contemplation and practice anymore. It’s not just the assault of e-mail, cell phones and social media…But the very geography of the American workplace is designed to force people together. Some 70% of American workers spend their days in open-plan offices, with little or no separation from colleagues…Much of this is done in the name of collaboration, but enforced teamwork can stifle creativity. “You need to give people time to think if you want them to actually get work done,” says Cain.

It’s not just introverts who suffer when work becomes an endless series of meetings and brainstorming sessions. Anyone who has spent time in any organization knows that there is rarely a correlation between the quality of an idea and the volume at which it is presented. Defying the loudest speaker–and the groupthink that tends to build around that person–can be painful for anyone. Gregory Berns, a neuroeconomist at Emory University, has found that when people oppose group consensus, their amygdalae light up, signaling fear of rejection. The risks of groupthink are perhaps most apparent in criminal juries, where the desire for social cohesion can sometimes short-circuit justice


Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2105432,00.html#ixzz1kzj3vmeY