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Effective And Ineffective

In the 50 year old book, “The Human Side Of Enterprise“, Douglas McGregor lists the attributes of effective groups as follows:

  1. The atmosphere is informal, comfortable, relaxed.
  2. There is lots of pertinent discussion and it stays on track.
  3. The group’s task is well understood and accepted.
  4. Members listen to each other and have no fear of looking foolish.
  5. There is disagreement and no conflict avoidance.
  6. Decisions are made mostly by consensus.
  7. Criticism is frank, frequent, relatively comfortable.
  8. Members freely express feelings on problems and group operation.
  9. Clear assignments are made and accepted.
  10. The group lead doesn’t dominate and there is no struggle for power.
  11. The group is self-conscious and periodically reflects on performance.

So, do you think this list is outdated and inapplicable in this day and age? How many effective groups have you had the privilege of participating in?

For grins, let’s look at an inverted version of the list:

  1. The atmosphere is formal, uncomfortable, tense.
  2. There is lots of impertinent discussion and it wanders all over the map.
  3. The group’s task is vague, undefined and thus, unaccepted.
  4. Members ignore each other and put on a mask of infallibility.
  5. There is no disagreement and conflicts are avoided.
  6. Decisions are made by authority
  7. Criticism is personal and uncomfortable.
  8. Members cover up and suppress feelings.
  9. No assignments are made and tasks fall though the cracks – accepted by no one or the ubiquitous “we”.
  10. The group head dominates and there is much politicking to curry favor.
  11. The group is unconscious.

Which of these lists feels more familiar to you?

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