The Force in organisational life: how dominant/other cultural patterns create system fragility…

Naturally and instantly, like a reflex, human groups connect — and part of their connection is to see themselves as different from some other group. As soon as the concept of Otherness is introduced — and one group has superior access to resources, rule-setting, and opportunity — the dynamic sets in.

The Dominants see the Others as not quite right. The Others feel themselves to be off-base, slightly insecure in this world shaped by the Dominants. And we get a locked-in, stable (but destructive) cycle of each side preserving and protecting what they consider to be ‘special’ about their group, and even allowing and adapting to the (slightly ‘wrong’) attributes of the other. This stability feeds the Dark Side of each group — and undermines the capability of the Whole they are both a part of to cope, adapt, survive in a complex and challenging world.

How do you see this Dominant/Other cycle playing out? In your life? In society? In your organisation?