Small Group Behavior

Academic Leader

We are pleased to present this excerpt from the book Leading a Small College or University: A Conversation That Never Ends (forthcoming from Atwood Publishing, www.atwoodpublishing.com) by Harry L. Peterson. This excerpt is from a chapter titled "How Organizations Shape Our Behavior: Why Do People Do The Things They Do?" Within your college are countless small groups. Students form friendships with their roommates or with others of similar academic or social interests. Faculty and staff work in departments or other work units, typically performing tasks similar to one another. Even the president works within a smaller context much of the time with the staff and administrators who directly report to him or her. Within each small group, people socialize with one another, learn from, consult with and gossip with one another. In this interaction, they learn to assign meaning to what is happening around them. So it is important that you not only understand the saga of your college in general, but also understand how people in smaller units behave and think.

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