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DAS - Group Dynamics

Group dynamics is a system of behaviors and psychological processes occurring within a social group (intragroup dynamics), or between social groups (intergroup dynamics). The study of group dynamics can be useful in understanding decision-making behavior, tracking the spread of diseases in society, creating effective therapy techniques, and following the emergence and popularity of new ideas and technologies.

We have been friends, some of us, since 1990/91. The earliest memories I have of our friendship goes back to the Boys and Girls club on 17th St. I was in 6th grade. I say all of this to give you a better understanding of how close we are and how well we know each other. Even though we’ve known each other a lifetime we still argue and have disagreements. We are all different and we all have our particular strengths and weaknesses. As a group, as in any good relationship, one tends to compliment the strengths and weaknesses of the others. We generally solve our disagreements in one of two ways.

First we just argue it out. The disagreeing parties go back and forth making points and counter points until the weight of one person’s argument, supported by verifiable fact, wins over the rest of the group. This is only possible because we have a healthy relationship and understand how to disagree without being disagreeable. That is the sort of relationship that is developed over time. A lot of people prefer not to enter into business agreements with friends or in groups because arguments can sometimes be difficult to navigate if the group dynamic isn’t conducive to that type of resolution.

The second way we resolve disagreements is a simple vote. There are five members in our group. Infrequently, we have a disagreement that can’t be solved through discussion. In that case, each member gets a vote and we go with what the majority wants. As in any group sometimes you get what you want, sometimes you have to suck it up and go along with what your group members want.

Personally I think the benefits of opening a business with a group of friends far out-weigh the potential drawbacks. I think this is possible for us because of the close relationship we all share. We have and will continue to have disagreements. I think that’s a good thing for us. It forces us to thoroughly examine any decisions we make several times before we actually pull the trigger. My friends keep me honest. I know I can’t come with any half-cocked ideas for the business because they will call me on my shit and demand an explanation. If I were doing this alone, without any checks and balances, I’m sure I would have taken a wrong path or made far more mistakes than we have made as a group. This might not work for others but it seems to be working for our benefit.      

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