From my perspective as a researcher (studying 18 self-organizing groups) and my perspective as a group member (having been consciously part of more than a dozen of these groups myself since 2004), my answer is yes. There are small work groups in all environments that really do change the systems they are part of, despite any and all obstacles you can possibly imagine. Today, I happen to believe that small groups of people—not individuals—bring forth change from within, regardless of what “level” they’re at in organizations. Actually, since I’ve been paying attention to only self-organizing work groups for 7 years now, I often struggle to see the “top” and “bottom” in organizations that others see, because the groups I study organize from the inside out within three dimensional space and foster other groups that do the same. Here are two examples from the self-organizing groups and work groups I’ve studied and been part of.
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