Human Resources meets Psychology

Yes, I started on my  psychology paper today, slowly but motivated

One of the first studies I came across, was the Robber`s Cave experiment. (Sherif, Harvey, White, Hood & Sherif, 1961) And my mind started to wander immediately. This is 1. why it takes me forever to read a schoolrelated book, and 2. why I love studying two different things at the same time. Because as a lot of other things in life, they are connected.

First, let me shortly (very shortly) explain Robber`s Cave:

Psychology, the science og mind and behaviour

Psychology, the science og mind and behaviour

It is a summer camp for boys. When the 11-year-old boys arrived at the camp, they were devided into two groups, the “Eagles” and “Rattlers”. They lived in seperate cabins and to breed intergoup hostility, they were competing against one another in different contest. Hostility did develope between the groups.

The next step is where it cught my attention. How to reduce the conflict? Let them share enjoyable activities together. (Yes, my first thought too.) But it did not work. It actually increased the fighting.

So, why did this make my mind wander? Think about a job-situation, maybe pretend you studied Human Resources and Personell. Your job is, among other things, to keep your colleagues motivated, and be sure they all work against the same goal. Piece of cake! (cake <3)

But for some reason, even though you try to encrease job-efficiency by letting your colleagues compete against each other, maybe also in teams devided by for example departments, turnover is sky-high. You try to gather them together for sosial events, but it doesn`t get any better. Why? Robber`s Cave…. Apparently it is a rookie mistake. (I would have walked right in to it) But I have seen it beeing done this way many times.

I heard somewhere that there is no proof that after-work activities improve the work-efficiency. (but I don`t know if that is true, be critical) But still we keep doing it, thinking it will solve all our problems. (it might work just fine with sosial activities to keep the spirit up, if everything already is going smoothly in the work situation, but that is not our case)

But back to Robber`s Cave, what did they do to achieve reduced hostility and create new friendships? They made them work together , and depend on each other, to reach a common goal. They learned that to succeed they had to work together. (it was later developed and tried out more in what has been refered to as Jigsaw calssroom, or the Jigsaw prorgam in 1978)

Once again I can see how an introduction course made me think I am an expert. They tend to do that. But I can`t wait until I am wiser, so wise that I realize how little I actually do know. (lucky for me, that`s a long way to go, so I will feel like an expert for years to come still)

Leave a Reply