The wisdom and foolishness of crowds

The wisdom and foolishness of crowds

The wisdom of the crowd refers to the idea that large groups of people can make more accurate estimates than any single individual. This is based on the idea that the collective knowledge and diverse perspectives of a group can lead to better decision-making. A group of people can make accurate and wise decisions when they are encouraged to share their diverse perspectives and knowledge.

In a way, this is related to what we advocate in doing action research: collaboratively constructing the issue and desired outcomes the group given a particular context.

On the other hand, the foolishness of the crowd refers to the tendency of large groups of people to make irrational decisions. This can happen when individuals within a crowd conform to the behavior or beliefs of the group, rather than thinking independently. a group can make irrational and foolish decisions when individuals conform to the behavior or beliefs of the group without thinking independently.

In action research, we aim for the action researcher to engage in what is called second-person practice – critically reflecting about group dynamics, ways of inquiries, and ways of speech.

As always, the challenge is to find the balance. When is it wiser to listen to the wisdom of the crowd and when is it advisable to go against the crowd’s sentiments? It takes reasonable judgements and responsible decisions.

But what is most important is the courage to be vulnerable.

Mark 3:20-21. Again the crowd gathered, making it impossible for them even to eat.


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