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Individuals and Human Systems: Searching for Knowledge Between the Disciplines

By: Shawn Nichols | 18 Jun | 0 comments

 


I walk in two worlds though neither is home.

My work and education are based in and on human systems and psychology. I’m drawn to both for a sense and deeper understanding about when, how, and if people connect.  The energy from groups has been a positive reinforcement for me that people co-create and deliver a collective goal while empowering themselves and others. Airplanes fly, bridges get built, and communities mend themselves. No man, or woman, is an island.

The psychological aspect of my focus involves my search for knowledge about who connects well or not, and about the mutual impact that individuals and groups have on each other. The “camera” zooms in, a short internalized video is taken, and my reflection on the individual begins. Often, without pathologizing or disrespecting people, we begin to form opinions of our coworkers, community members, and family. I believe that our view is a noetic snapshot based on a physical presentation and that no two people share the same exact view. That belief is where collaboration and insight into human development gets interesting for me.

In the organization development literature, I find there are beautiful descriptions regarding the social impact of unique contributions by individuals. In the psychology literature, much attention is given to how individuals both derive meaning from their contributions  and work to overcome social relationship obstacles. Passing from one pile of books to another, I am struck by the heavy focus of one mindset over the other.  Why do we click? Does “clicking” improve the success of a group undertaking?

My psychology friends and colleagues tell me I’m too systems oriented to be properly respectful of the individual and my systems friends roll their eyes. I never know when I’ve said too much about either concept to the wrong people.  This walking on thin ice seems to be a pretty good place to observe the world.

Read other posts by Shawn Nichols

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