Here is my response to Mary’s comments in previous post.
Interesting to learn about your experience about cops and robbers game. I did enjoy those games too, where our classmates were divided into two groups – the cops & robbers. The cops were allowed to chase after the robbers, but so far if the robbers managed to escape and return back to their “home base” then the cops can’t catch them. Besides, the robbers could line up by holding their hands to those reaching to the home base, and the cops need to use ways to disconnect them (by force) so they could catch them. Some robbers could try every means to disrupt the “society”, but the cops are always chasing after them. I remembered that we usually appointed someone to be the leader of each team, and the team leader would appoint their team members – cops or robbers. So, why did it work well when young, but not as good as it should be when people become adults? First, these games were designed by and played out by the kids, and the fun elements were built in their experiences. It is not important as to who was the cop or robber. It is a way to allow children to know and appreciate that cooperation and collaboration is required in order to play well, and to have a sense of responsibility when one has assumed a particular role, to help out each others (especially for the robbers) to escape from the chasing of the cops, or the cops to collaborate and develop different strategies or tactics to catch the robbers.
As adults, could we adopt those mindsets or similar approaches, when working in groups or learning in a COP? Yes, to some extent, in groups of an organisation and COPs, if we base our assumptions that most people (employees, students, educators etc.) will look for ways to contribute and build a better working and learning environment, leading to a more cooperative, collaborative and productive work force or learning team. The challenge is: what sort of organisation COP structure is most effective in encouraging people to contribute in such ways? Do people have choices to consider, similar to the cops & robbers game, where they could opt in or out or choose certain roles to play? How would responsibilities be shared or taken in each of the roles (in institutions, COPs or networks)? What are some of the critical factors in deciding those roles, responsibilities and structures in COPs and networks etc.? How would people be motivated and rewarded in the institutions or COPs? Finally, how are authority, power and control distributed? I think power, autonomy and cultures are intermingled in any networks, COPs, and organisation. It is an evolving and emergent phenomena in the case of open environment as each COP/Network is unique and different, and so we could not predict what form of structure would likely lead to positive learning or performance outcome.
So, is collective action beneficial to individual learning? Surely, we all learn through working together. Our lessons of games when young could be a good model for us to consider in the case of COPs, or even our institutions. Back to you.
Photo: Toy Story Images from Google
Have you tried this Cops and Robbers Game?
May be this would be the modern game to play – in business, institutions and COPs: