Thursday, October 18, 2012

Is Sharing Caring?

There is a very simple example that comes to mind when thinking about team production. A couple years ago when I used to live in the Residence Halls, there was a program where we made ice cream from scratch. There was an ice cream making machine and we had special mix that we got to put in it. The ice cream was formed when an individual cranked the handle, creating motion, making the substance freeze and take on an ice cream viscosity. There were two people needed at a time, one to hold the machine and the other to crank the handle. Our group of people consisted of about twenty so most people just sat around and watched the few individuals at work. From time to time, the pairs would switch and someone else had a chance to work. Not everyone in the group got a turn, so some people still remained bystanders.

When it came to eat the product of our hard work, everyone was open to sharing the made product with the rest of the group,even the members that did not do any of the physical labor were more than welcome to have the ice cream. The observations that can be made here are similar to the claims of the article. If a group creates something, the members of the group are much more willing to evenly share the product with each other.

The tricky part was when other people were passing by and wanted to eat the ice cream as well, not part of the group, not there during the creation of the good. The group was hesitant and even hostile to the idea of people outside of the group having any of the made product. Despite this unwillingness to share, the product was still given to those that were not part of the group but wanted some of the ice cream.

The individualistic character of people especially in this country make sharing difficult. Outside of the group setting, sharing is not often seen. While there are exceptions of course, I agree with the observations of the article that product made by the group is much more easily shared equally amongst the members of the group than otherwise.

1 comment:

  1. That's an interesting example, particularly that the onlookers who were there at the beginning were treated equally. It gives a notion of inclusion that we might consider is some more depth later in the course.

    Your last paragraph is also interesting because it points out the cultural dimension in how these things get resolved and the question of whether one person feels another person deserves to be included in the group rewards. I don't believe that everyone simply accepts the culture as is. Some who see its unattractive features rebel against it. Others work quietly to change it. When I grew up in NYC there was much more talk about doing things for the disadvantaged (income-wise) than there seems to be now. The culture itself isn't static.