Group work and its influence on individual creativity

Group work relies on collaboration, participation, and cooperation of every member of the group—in general, working towards solving a problem while maintaining cohesiveness in the group.  While group work (teamwork) has many advantages it also has some drawbacks.  Scholars, such as, the psychologist Irving Janis who coined the term groupthink, and the psychologist Solomon Asch known for the Asch Experiment argued that working in a group forces us to conformity and alters how and what decisions we make.  Basically, we tend to make our decision based on peer pressure rather than from our own logical approach.  More recently, Susan Cain, in her book, Quiet. The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking echoes the sentiment in what she describes as the New Groupthink—a phenomena that “elevates teamwork above all else.” (Cain, 2012, p. 75).  She further implies that to succeed in this team one must exhibit “Extrovert Ideal” traits such as—friendly, unabashed, assertive, and great public speaker.  She notes that the New Groupthink “insists that creativity and intellectual achievement come from a gregarious place.”  (Cain, 2012, p. 75), and raises her concern over its increased popularity both in the workplace and in our schools.  While she acknowledges the benefits of teamwork and collaboration, she also argues that such working and learning environments impede on the individual’s creativity.  She argues that solitude/working independently matters and is key to creativity and innovation, and that it is equally, if not more, important as group work.

Here is Cain’s TED Talk presentation

Take time to reflect on her presentation, read the links to Janis and Asch, then (in 2 to 3 paragraphs) discuss your thoughts on the influence of group work on individual creativity—making comparison between group work in the online environment, and group work in a face-to-face environment, to what extent do you feel group work influences an individual’s creativity?

Follow this rubric to guide your response.

(Rubric source: Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository)

Reference:

Cain, S. (2012). Quiet. The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Crown Publishing. NY: Random House, Inc.

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One thought on “Group work and its influence on individual creativity

  1. What a thought provoking topic. Having a group discussion about the power of individual creativity and the negative impact group work might have on that creativity. I certainly can empathize with Cain (2012) in having a need for quiet reflection time. I think Cain (2012) says it best when she calls for a balance of solitary and group work. As an introvert, I need quiet time to wrap my head around ideas and reflect before I am ready to share with the group. I find asynchronous discussion really work well with this need.

    Thanks,
    Marc

    References

    Cain, S. (2012). Quiet. The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Crown Publishing. NY: Random House, Inc.

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