Community andCommunity and
the groupthe group
OEEDU 6002 Expeditioning – Week 5
Large human movements spring from
individual human initiatives. If you feel that you
cannot have much of an effect, the next person
may also become discouraged and a great
opportunity will have been lost.
On the other hand, each of us can inspire
others simply by working to develop our own
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
• Have you experienced real community?
• Palmer suggests that most experiences of
community are actually only pseudo-
Parker Palmer on real C.
• The concept of community has been distorted - most references
to community are more realistically - Pseudocommunity – where
people hate conflicts
• By contrast real community is only reached through hard work
… at a great cost.
• To be connected – you have to look at your heart – otherwise
you will not be able to respond to criticism – you will always be
defending. The heart needs to be a place of peace. (need to
know what you believe and be OK with that - worldviews ?)
• Real community involves: taking social risks, being vulnerable,
being able to forgive, soft individualism, working from a position
of weakness, taking responsibility for our own actions.
Is community that
• Rousseau (1991) - we all experience an
• This brings discomfort, loneliness, anguish.
• Our distinctively human way of overcoming
solitude is to “enter into unity with, share the
existence of, other beings through knowing
and loving them” (p35)
• What are the consequences of non-
The “true” meaning of
community (according to Peck 1990)
• Concept of community is used far too loosely
• Community is like a gem - multi-faceted,
inherently mysterious, miraculous,
• Most groups are exclusive cliques that work
hard to keep people out.
• It is much easier to exclude rather than
• Communities seek to be inclusive
• Inclusivity extends the groups
• Must be a willingness to co-exist - and make
• Requires an appreciation of differences.
• Community avoids the use of voting to
resolve differences - as in a democracy
• Consensus values individual difference -
which is not congruent with “majority rules”.
• Consensus is when all agree that they have
come to the best decision for the group at that
time, given all the circumstances.
• Diversity and difference are more likely to
produce realistic solutions to problems
• The multiple points of view and freedom of
expression usually gives a better
understanding of the situation
• Humility is a key ingredient because you
begin to appreciate other people’s gifts and
recognise your own limitations
• Community is self examining, self-critical, self
• Contemplation is the key to insight
• You don’t reach community and sit back and
6. A safe place
• Acceptance and freedom to be yourself is a
critical part of community
• Community is healing - even though that is
not the focus of community - more a by
A group of leaders
• Total decentralisation of authority
• Not leaderless - leader-full
• Flow of leadership
• Community is essentially about being a part of a group
- people can be themselves with fear of being judged or condemned
- People are committed to work together and although conflicts occur
they are resolved without big dramas.
- Forgiveness runs freely.
- People’s strengths are respected and utilised for the good of the
group. People’s weaknesses are shared, understood, and
- You feel safe to try (and possibly fail) new things.
- People are welcome to participate in the group - it is not just a little
club for people who feel the same way.
Community in OE
• How realistic is it to expect us to
experience/promote community in our OE
• What are the constraints to establishing true
community - what makes it hard for OE?
• Should community even be something that
we strive for in OE programs?
• Are you prepared/committed to work that hard to reach
this “state of group functioning” ?
• Forgive people when they hurt you? Current and/or past?
• Accept people with quite different views of the world to
• Accept and value people who annoy you and get on your
• Be prepared to really let your walls down?
• Not just bite your tongue to avoid conflicts?
• Speak up in the group?
Models of group
• The most well known is Tuckman and
Jensen’s (1977) model of:
Peck’s stages of
• Peck’s stages of Community
• Essentially a sequential model.
• People may pretend to be vulnerable - but it is all
• There is no such thing as instant community
• Conflict avoidance is the key feature of this stage
• Minimisation, lack of acknowledgment, or ignoring of
• Key is not to offend, annoy or irritate anyone - and
when people make you feel that way: ignore it,
pretend your not bothered, and change the subject
(good hostess behaviour)
• Usually well intentioned but misguided attempts to heal or
convert …. “everything would be much better if only you were
more like me!”
• People resist change which gets the H&C working even harder.
• Individual differences are no longer ignored, they are “out”, but
the group attempts to obliterate them.
• Unconstructive, noisy, uncreative … not a lot of fun.
• Leader often gets a good serve too !
• Tempting to escape into “organisation” - it is a solution to the
chaos problem but it will not lead to “true community”.
• Fighting is far better than pretending you are not divided. It is
painful …. But it is a beginning.
• Not an attractive solution to chaos
• People empty themselves of barriers to communication - feelings,
assumptions, ideas, motives - self protection mechanisms that we
have been developing very successfully for years.
• Expectations and Preconceptions
• Prejudices (conscious and subconscious.)
• The need to heal, convert, fix, or solve (motive is often
• Need to control
• Once people start to empty themselves …. They become receptive
to others and ….. They can enter the last stage ….
• Soft quietness descends
• Where to from here depends on task? - may be to
simply experience C and benefit from the healing?
• Always community building first - problem solving
• May slip back into chaos - need to work back through
• Emotions range from: joyful, loving, to sadness & grief
• Energy level is almost supernatural (sometimes
sexual?)- things going on in a spiritual level
• there are no sides, factions - cliques have
• Community is a place where conflict can be
resolved without bloodshed
• Conflict resolution is a product more than a
pre-requisite to community
Group member behaviours
• According to Trotzer (1989) there are five categories
of group member behaviour …
- Resisting behaviours
- Manipulating behaviours
- Helping behaviours
- Emotional behaviours
- Sub-grouping behaviours
• Today’s message …
- Before you respond/intervene .. Look beyond behaviour and
try to understand possible cause or contributing factors
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