Week 11: Participation, Democracy, and Teamwork…

After reading Teams and Networks: Communication and Collaborative Work, and then watching the pilot episode of Lost and Pitch Perfect, I understood completely why Dr. Hemphill paired these two watchings with this week’s reading. And while I enjoyed both watchings I am going to focus on the pilot episode of Lost, as I am currently flying to the UK as I type this assignment — wish me luck, I do not encounter a plane crash to an island with a mysterious carnivorous creature as did Jake, Kate, and Charlie:).

At the beginning of Lost, immediately after the crash, I believe all the passengers are united with two goals, survival and rescue. As a result of this, the passengers form a network per our authors, Eisenberg, Goodall Jr., and Threthewey, who state that “Networks are emergent, informal, and somewhat less interdependent than teams” (249). Based on this definition, I cannot think of a better example of a network given that all the passengers are thrust together informally to work together to survive.

Additionally, although it appears only a network is present at the beginning of Lost, I would argue that one team exists, the Korean couple, who appear to be acting deliberately for their own interest and independently from the other passengers, with whom they cannot communicate with.

And finally, as Lost progresses, we do see teams emerge from the informal network of passengers from the crash. We observe Jack and Kate acting as a project team, a team that needs to complete a specific project, when Jack asks Kate if she can close the wound on his back by sewing it. Furthermore, we see Jack, Kate, and Charlie acting as a work team, a team that needs to deliver a product (transponder), when Jack explains to Kate (and Charlie volunteers to come too after hearing) that he plans to locate the front of the plane and find the plane’s transponder in an attempt to obtain rescue.

Insight

While we often think of networks and teams centered around businesses, non-profits, or college researchers, I think we should expand our views. You see, I believe tragedy is a large catalyst for the development of networks or teams, and I believe we see it quite frequently in organizations and society today.

For example, after the attack on Paris by ISIL in November 2015, members of the Paris community emerge and informally support each other — strangers — after the wake of terror. Plus, we observe the world join in, in solidarity to Paris.

*I am enclosing a video of an interview of a father and son after the Paris attack, which I found touching, and which I believe displays a network of Parisians (in the video’s background) supporting each other.

And as I type this, I am left wondering, do networks and teams which evolve out of tragedy remain connected long term, or are they only connected during the immediate aftermath of the event? What are your thoughts? Do you think tragedy creates networks and teams?