Self-Reliance Versus the Collective

Psychologist Alan Ingham ran an interesting experiment to determine the difference of effort between groups of people compared to that of individuals:

The truth, though, is we tend to put in less effort in a group because we know our efforts will be pooled. If you know you aren’t being judged as individuals, your instinct is to fade into the background.

To prove this, psychologist Alan Ingham had people put on a blindfold and grab hold of a rope. The rope was attached to a contraption that simulated the resistance of an opposing team.

The subjects were told other people were also holding the rope on their side, and he measured their effort.

Then, he told them they would be pulling alone, and again he measured their effort. They were alone both times, but when they thought they were in a group, they pulled on average 18 per cent less strenuously.

This phenomenon has been observed in every possible situation involving group effort. Communal farms always produce less than individually-owned farms.

Self-reliance versus collective effort, I’ll always take the first. Call me selfish, but even the military relies on judging individuals on personal effort. Did the private, seaman meet the job he was assigned? The mission requires everyone to be part of a team, but to accomplish the group goals, individual actions must triumph. Communalism or collectivism is a recipe for failure. The slackers can blend into the background and not worry about ramifications. As for the mediocre performers, there are no consequences to their lack of talent. In fact, very often they rise in leadership. Simply, they’ve avoided having to actually produce real results and they can focus on self-promotion with all their free time not working. Think any backwater, tinpot dictator. Do I need to name names?

23 thoughts on “Self-Reliance Versus the Collective

  1. Self-reliance may be the case in ‘Civvie’ street, but I don’t buy into it as far as the Military are concerned.

    The assault… United we conquer (Divided we fall).

    In defence… One on watch, One sleeping, One support/admin.

    http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=united%20we%20conquer&source=web&cd=7&cad=rja&ved=0CEYQFjAG&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.flickr.com%2Fphotos%2Ftiktok-africa%2F2703613266%2F&ei=y1–ULqoCIa7hAfUj4CQDQ&usg=AFQjCNE2CNWMxziCuHtpgHd8LqksxbKPsg

    Three is the symbol of strength and protection. You will find castles and fortresses throughout the UK and Europe whose inner walls are protected by three defensive fortifications.

    The most powerful castle complex has three roundels forming a triangle within, each offering interlocking arcs and fields of fire. Three circles, within a circle.

    Wherever tactically possible the Aussies in Vietnam never went for single line slit trenches in defence; they adopted the triangular trench formation, with a GPMG (M60) placed on each point. The link between each point was a line of men dug in. The OC & his HQ/Comm’s would dig defensive holes in the middle of the triangle to co-ordinate the fire-fight. No matter what angle the enemy attacked, there was always a minimum of two GPMG’s pouring out deadly fire across the kill zone… (Draw it and see).

    Strength in depth was a concept that evolved with the technical advance of individual/support weapon systems. The concept demands a tactical rethink and restructure as technology improves.

    Warfare has always been planned in three’s; Attack, Defence, Withdrawal.

    Obviously there will always be the chain of command within the military. Tactical fighting formations require such and more so for support and logistical movement. Each person at every level has a role to play; the strongest become the weakest if the few do not pull together.

    If Military discipline could be ‘tinned’ and used in Civvie Street some companies would not be struggling in today’s environment.

    Yours Aye.

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  8. “They were alone both times, but when they thought they were in a group, they pulled on average 18 per cent less strenuously.”

    Oh, the very well known essential failure of the mirage called socialism. Not sure, though, that the research adds to the huge existing body of knowledge…

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