What social processes are present where the artificial manager will work?

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In a previous post, I described that when designing an artificial manager, you must realize that his work environment will be very difficult – a social group, and in it people with unmeasurable group identity, interpersonal relationships, persuasion skills and so on. What social processes dominate the social group in business that an artificial manager must participate in?

To answer this question, let’s answer the question “what do the individuals of this collectivity”, that is, the participants of the organization, do? The concept that will be useful for further consideration is “group action,” understood as any action that benefits the group. [1] Group action always occurs in a particular social group. [2]

The starting point for describing group action in an organization to solve organizational problems is the concept of simple cooperation. It consists in the fact that the effect is produced by many participants in this cooperation, but is the sum of their parallel work. Simple cooperation is such a group activity in which all participants perform the same activities simultaneously, and it results from the division of labor. [3]

An organization is created by people, and simple cooperation takes place between people through social processes. Social processes are “series of phenomena involving personalities, social groups, collectivities, in such a way that they are series of social-only phenomena.” [4] However, if, in addition, there is some kind of relationship between members of a social group, such as specialization or chronology of workflow, then group action becomes team action. [5]

From the point of view of the work of people in a team, the key type of social processes is precisely team action, otherwise known as cooperation. Cooperation is derived from the division of labor, which is the goal of any organization. “Cooperation is a harmonized activity in which individuals or groups perform partial tasks in achieving one common goal, whatever that goal may be (…).” [4]

To fully show the essence of cooperation in an organization, it is necessary to mention four types of social processes that occur in a social group.

The first type is intrapersonal processes. These are by their nature either psychological or social. [6]

The second type are processes that occur between two individuals (referred to as interpersonal in further discussion – author’s note). They are mutual interactions, but also expressed evaluations or ways of perceiving each other. [7]

The third type is the processes that occur between an individual and a group. These can be, for example, “subordination, identification, striving to dominate, opposition.” [4] You can think of these processes as a series of occurrences: a person’s attitude, then his behavior and then the consequences of that behavior.

The fourth type of processes are those that occur between two groups. [8] They can take place directly between members of these groups, taking the form of interpersonal processes, but also mutual cooperation, assistance, tolerance, resentment(between groups.

If you have business experience, you can easily imagine processes that change the organization and structure of groups. They can be triggered by “the appearance of new elements, changes in relations between elements (…), mutual assignment.” [4]

Will you remember these types of social processes? There are really a lot of them. A person somehow copes with the maze of social processes that make up cooperation in a team or in an organization. And how should an artificial manager cope? How should an artificial manager first imagine the world in which I work? I will describe the construction of his world in the next blog posts.

[1] P.E. Oliver: Formal Models of Collective Action. Annual Review of Sociology 1993, Vol. 19, s. 273.

[2] G. Marwell, P.E. Oliver, R. Prahl: Social Networks and Collective Action: A Theory of the Critical Mass. American Journal of Sociology 1988, Vol. 94 (3), s. 502-503.

[3] W.H. Knowles: The Nature of Industrial Cooperation. Southern Economic Journal 1952, Vol. 18 (3), s. 350-361.

[4] J. Szczepański, J (1970). Elementarne pojęcia socjologii. PWN: Warszawa.

[5] J. Kurnal: Teoria organizacji i zarządzania. Warszawa, PWE, 1979, s. 88.

[6] T.A. Beauregard: Introduction: The Import of Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Dynamics in Work Performance. British Journal of Management 2010, Vol. 21, s. 257, 260.

[7] D.M. Fisher: Distinguishing between Taskwork and Teamwork Planning in Teams: Relations with Coordination and Interpersonal Processes. Journal of Applied Psychology 2014, Vol. 99 (3), s. 423-436.

[8] G.A. Fine: Forgotten Classic: The Robbers Cave Experiment. Sociological Forum 2004, Vol. 19 (4), s. 663-666.