Home Concepts Organizational Theory Journey to Irony I: The Lands of Alpha and Beta

Journey to Irony I: The Lands of Alpha and Beta

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At the other end is a World of Enmeshment. In family systems theory, enmeshment describes a family in which activities of every member of the family are deeply interwoven with the activities of every other member. Everyone must stay in contact all the time with everyone else. There is heavy dependency and interdependency. A lot of interaction is taking place: there is a whole lot of “there” there.

At the level of organization, society and culture, we can describe an enmeshed system as one with “high context”. Every word and action can only be accurately understood within the specific interpersonal context in which the word is spoken or action is taken. This is a tightly bound system in which each element operates with considerable interdependence. We can readily predict the behavior of any one element knowing the behavior of one or more of the other elements in the system.

In a world of enmeshment, there are strongly shared and reinforced commitments to specific values and visions of what a “good society” should be. Collective responsibility reigns supreme. With enmeshment comes a profound sense of shared obligation to other residents. Collective intelligence is of great importance.

Residents of this world rely heavily on the insights and wisdom offered by the group and by leadership. Typically, residents don’t trust the insights and wisdom they arrive at independently. They go through their world “hand in hand “with one another. Put simply, this is a world filled with collectivism and interdependence.

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