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Energy group/synergy group

1 October 2005
A group of people holding hands together

As part of my job, I am occasionally required to develop group workshops which are suitable for various purposes, ranging from constructing a team to initiating the activity of different functionaries. While skimming through different sources, I have founded this definition of three groups:

  • Allergy group (1+1=1): combining the two users decreases the unique value of each participator due to waste of time and energy on interests, ego and status.

  • Energy group (1+1=2): combining the users actualizes their abilities as individuals yet not their ability as a work team. This team will avoid conflict in order to maintain a functioning relationship.

  • Synergy group (1+1=3): a team in which the whole is greater than the simple sum of its parts. This group is characterized by fruitful conflicts, patience, tolerance and decision making possible only through team work.

The terms allergy, energy and synergy describes the differences that we view between discussion groups in virtual communities. A discussion group which would be referred to as an 'allergy group' is a group whose members are hesitant to raise a question or discussion that will somehow harm their status, since on the other side of the screen awaits a group of cynics that enjoy analyzing content and nicknaming their teammates. I have had experience with group members who stated that all participating members of the organizational forum are bored workers with too much time on their hands. This type of group will most probably not produce any impressive insights or products.

A group referred to as an 'energy group' is a group whose members all have an interest: to show-off their skills and act according to management's expectations. Group members will make sure not to risk themselves; they will participate as long as there is some personal gain involved. They do not believe the group can be used as a utility for routine work.

A group referred to as a 'synergy group' is a group whose members discuss subject critical to the professional group which employs the group members routinely. This group will conduct dynamic and updated discussions and will feature positive feedback and overall satisfaction of its members.

As consultants responsible for initiating and monitoring processes in the field of content, whether by clarifying to the community members what we expect from them as part of the process or through a process in which we locally formulate the expectations from this discussion group. It is important to know how to direct towards creating synergic groups which provide substantial benefit to the individual worker and the organization and using the aforementioned terms might be affective.

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