[Air-l] groups, intentions and conventions

Michele Sohn michele at spoke.co.za
Sun Sep 24 21:59:46 PDT 2006

Steve wrote:
>Your message suggests to me that somewhere in the literature there are
attempts to distinguish between a "group," a >"team," a "society," an
"organization," and so on. Or are these terms used imprecisely in the

Perhaps the answer lies in the intension behind the group - its reason for
being. The intention behind the group will both influence (possibly even
dictate) the way the group communicates (the tone of voice, the technology
choices, the spectrum of face-to-face vs online), the group dynamics, the
kind of group members and the way that new members are drawn into the group.
Of course, elements like member churn, and the openness to accepting newbies
(the thickness of the skin of the group) influence the way a group grows.
Group recruitment will determine the level of homogeneity between members.
Diverse groups will take longer to bond.

It makes sense to me that groups with a limited clear and single focus (a
political agenda) will have a very different group dynamic to a group which
aims to discuss and debate the issues dejour. 

A virtual group I have been part of for close to 11 years (yes, it is that
old) has a thin skin (members come and go) but a solid core. No set agenda -
it's water cooler conversation for knowledge workers. The spread of
participation and volume of postings is far more frequent than here
(possibly I should wait a while before making snap judgements about this
group, being an outsider evaluating if the level and quality of these
discussions is enough to glue me to the group). 


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