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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Have you ever been to Abilene? 

I saw a very interesting video clip last night (and no, I'm not going to blog about Bravo's Viral Videos, although that was kind of fun, too). But actually, during my class on Team Dynamics and Development at PBU, we watched a video explaining the Abilene Paradox. The mighty wiki describes it as "a phenomenon that occurs when groups continue with misguided activities which no group member desires because no member is willing to raise objections." It was put forth by a social psychologist (but I'll call him a "consultant") based on his observations about a hot afternoon in Texas. Essentially, when the father-in-law suggests that the family drives an hour in an un-air-conditioned car into Abilene for supper, everyone goes along with the idea even though no one (including the father-in-law) really wants to. It was at the same time comical and sad to watch what happened. The "consultant" then relayed two other stories where he had watched the same type of thing unfold. The video continued as it focused on an engaged couple, both of whom were unwilling to discuss with the other the fact that they really didn't want to get married, and on a corporate team, all of whom were unwilling to admit they believed that project "x" was doomed for failure. The "consultant" suggests that one of the biggest problems that organizations face is the mismanagement of agreement (as opposed to conflict). I'm still working through in my mind the implications for this in light of some of the current situations that I'm facing. Thoughts?

(PS... sorry for the lengthy delay... blogger is apparently having issues...)

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