Being a member of these two groups I realized that Sigmund Freud was right in his crowd behavior theory. He said that people in a crowd or group tend to act differently towards people who think individually (Freud, 1922). In my workplace group, we have this co-teacher who is very different; in a more general sense, he seems to have god-complex or something. Really, he thought he was so perfect that everything he was doing was worthy of appraisal.
On a normal day at work, he would strut around like a king telling other people that they do things wrong and showing them that his way was the right way. He never listens and he thinks he is above everyone. Being the supervisor, people come to me and confide their natural hatred towards that person. What is funny was that they come to me individually. They had no idea that other teachers felt the same way.
However, when they discovered about the unanimous disgust on this particular person, they sort of united and pleaded me to reprimand the person, since his attitude was really bugging everyone. They were serious about it and they talked about it all the time. They could have even formed a subgroup then. Consequently, when that person became aware of how the others were feeling, he started avoiding everyone, even including the ones who did not come up to me. He started working quietly and did things alone.
He felt like he was not part of the workplace group anymore. On my readings, I was also drawn to a specific concept that was introduced by a French psychologist who dubbed himself as the founder of “group psychology”, Gustave Le Bon. He asserted that when studying groups in general, ordinary individualist psychology becomes irrelevant. And thus, he came up with the term collective soul to refer to the “soul” of a particular group; because according to him, groups are not totally irrational (Le Bon, 1895).
Although Freud loves to criticize this concept just because he thinks otherwise, I think there might be some truth in this collective soul. I can hardly explain but I sometimes feel it in my “friends’ group”. Especially when everyone was just having some raw fun, just enjoying each others’ company and getting a natural high, I can sense that we are “feeding” this group soul. I imagine seeing it smiling back at us. Also, when we decide on something like which movie to watch or what activity to do on a weekend, I can sense that it was the collective soul deciding, not just us.
A functional behavior within the group is any act by a member that would contribute to the betterment of the group (Wallin, 2001). While a dysfunctional behavior is just the opposite; it would cause damage to the group. Something does not necessarily have to be morally right to be called “functional”. Likewise, not all “dysfunctional” behaviors are automatically indecent or improper (Berk, 1974; Blumer, 1951). As to functional behaviors, I have observed quite a handful in both of my groups. Let me just enumerate some of them.
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