Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Collaborative Group Environment

Dear Susan Cain,

It was interesting to read your article “The Rise of the New Groupthink”.  I do agree with you that there are pros and cons to working in a collaborative environment.  As you mention in your article, you talk about how the education system is beginning to use a collaborative group environment as a major part of students’ schooling.  It seems like especially in college being able to work in a collaborative environment has been stressed in the DCIM minor I am taking now.  While I do agree that working in this environment can be beneficial because of more shared ideas, there are cons to it as well. Not everyone works well in a group and some actually work better on their own because they are able to manage their time better.  Also, there are many distractions in group work and if people disagree on certain subjects it results in a huge distraction from accomplishing the goal.  

Contradictory to your opinion, both authors Clay Shirky and Andrew Keen share a different approach on a collaborative group environment.  Clay Shirky writes in “Personal Motivation Meets Collaborative Production” about working in a group environment but on a more wide-scale basis.  He uses Wikipedia as an example of a large group of people working together because anybody can change what information goes on this online encyclopedia. While this may seem productive, I would actually disagree with this as beneficial because there are many different viewpoints on certain subjects which can result in a constant change of information that may not even be completely accurate.  Andrew Keen brings up an interest point in “The Great Seduction” when he talks about the power of society in online blogs and the media.  A lot of our opinions are beginning to be swayed by the majority opinion of society.  With social media having such a major presence in our daily lives, we at times are only seeing one side of a argument.  With such a large collaboration of one idea that may not seemingly be true, we tend to feel that we have to go along with the crowd.  In conclusion, I would have to agree with you. I personally work better individually then I do in groups so it is easy for me to share the same opinion as you.  However, when also reading the articles of Clay Shirky and Andrew Keen, it solidified my opinion of working in a group environment.   

Steve Schreck

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