When the crowd exerts its power
In trying to explain norms and culture as well as their powers, a critical realist perspective is very powerful and useful. Margaret Archer provides the Structure-Culture-Agency (SCA) framework, while Dave Elder-Vass proposed the idea of “norm circles” which can exert power to influence the behavior of a group’s members. These concepts of norms and culture are hard to operationalize and analyze for they include intangibles and levels of abstractions that are not easily describable.
Since what I’m writing now is less of a research paper (though, maybe this could be a seed?) and more of a reflection, my mind wanders to how strong different “crowds” are, whether in the physical or digital spaces. Harnessed effectively, this can lead to international movements that have social justice issues in mind even if not perfect (e.g., #MeToo, #BLM). However, these forces can also be dangerous – cancel culture and hustle culture quickly come to mind.
For now, my insight is this: no structure or culture should be absolutely powerful such that it prevents the individual human in exerting their agency to pursue how they can best flourish. We should embrace the healthy tension between a culture trying to maintain itself and the individual trying to better themselves. Magic happens when the group and the individual are openly and not blindly aligned.
Mark 10:46-52. Many of the people scolded him and told him to be quiet. But he shouted even more loudly, “Son of David, take pity on me!”
[DAILY GOSPEL INSIGHTS AND REFLECTION FOR MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION 2023-152: JUNE 1, 2023]