This week, the topic is paradigms! Who knew I would become so enthralled with a social science research class. Looks like what I thought would be the most dreaded class may end up being the most interesting and throught provoking. Just what I need to get my wheels a turnin! ;)
When you compared the two paradigms, symbolic interactionism and conflict, the differences in them made me think about the terms "givers" and "takers"
A friend and I were having lunch one day and during the conversation, he brought up a book that he was reading, "Givers and Takers." (Grant, 2013) My friend explained to me how the author noted that we tend to associate these terms with good/bad, dominant or submissive, or one more important than the next. He then pointed out that neither the givers nor the takers are any more or less important or better or worse than the other because the givers need people to give to just as much as the takers need to have someone to take from. Both would feel inadequate and most likely unhappy without the other. When you defined the conflict paradigm in your post, at first I may have had a negative connotation to it due to the competition; however, when relating it to the perception of the author, I had a very different perspective on it. It just reminds me that life, nature, and the universe itself most likely needs conflict, differences, and various perceptions in order to create a balance.
According to Popova, besides the givers and takers, there is also a group called the matchers. The takers are competitive (conflict paradigm), self-serving, and always put their pursuits above others in order to get ahead in life. (n.d.). The givers tend to put others needs above (or at least equal) to their own and are focused on how they can give and serve others without the need for recognition or expecting anything in return. (Popova, n.d.). The third type of person Popova identified, the "matchers," are identified as those individuals who seek out balance for the acts that they do. They believe in give and take and strive for fairness. (Popova, n.d.).
As your example for conflict paradigm, you identified individuals within an organization who are competing for the same position. According to research, the givers are the ones who tend to suffer most in the employment world and are the ones who fall to the bottom of the corporate ladder. (Popova, n.d.). In one specific study of 160 engineers that rated one another on performance, the engineers that were identified as "giving the most" were at the bottom of the ranks. (Grant, 2013). In a similar study, salesmen were examined with a similar result, the salesman who had the most concern for helping others were the ones who made the least amount of money. (Grant, 2013) I am curious on your thought on "givers" and "takers" in the sense of the conflict paradigm? Do you have an opinion as to which of the three types of people that you feel would dominate the competition, be of more value/worth, or which would end up on the bottom of the organizational structure?
If I were asked to determine which of the three types of people that I would consider to be of most worth or able to be the most successful, I would come up with a different answer depending on what "lens" or paradigm that I am utilizing to understand and determine my choice.
If I was using a conflict paradigm, I would say that the "takers" have it made because they are getting everything that they need to get ahead, wealth, knowledge, power, titles, status, and resources. With all of the materialistic items, information that others will give them, the willingness to fight for superiority, and access to resources, more than likely the takers are able to come across more opportunities, are willing to take risks because they can always take some more, and are willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.
If I were considering the same question through the ethnomethodology paradigm, I would most likely choose the "givers" to be the most successful because they are creating their realities through communication and interactions with others through their acts of kindness and generosity. These individuals are able to "create their realities" (Babbie, 2016 p. 36). What better way to be successful than to create the life and relationships that you want?
Lastly, if I were asked to identify who I would think would be most successful based upon structural functionalism paradigm, I would most likely choose the "matchers." Matchers are able to think in broader terms, and at, both, micro and macro levels. Being able to focus on, both, the whole and individual people/moments so that balance is achieved and good/efficient functioning is occurring around them are important to matchers because they seek balance.
Based on the three different paradigms, I could identify very different types of individuals that could be considered superior, most successful, or most important in the grand scheme of things which is an important aspect to remember when we are forging out thoughts, theories, and opinions because our viewpoint may change based on which lens we choose to view the situation through. Paradigms are able to show that our thoughts and opinions should not remain fixed and that every scenario will offer many different perspectives that can be utilized by us to evolve and begin to more clearly understand people, events, and reasoning.
Since I spent so much time identifying the different types of people that I felt would be “successful” based on the different paradigms, it is time to grow our understanding even further by realizing that everyone’s definition of “success” could be vastly different. By determining what each of the three person view or perceive as successful within their own terms, it can help us, as social researchers, to understand what internal motivating factors contribute to the choices that each individual makes.
If I had to theorize, most likely takers are more extrinsically motivated by things such as praise, attention, wealth, status, etc. In the same sense, givers are most likely intrinsically motivated and make choices that are based on treating others how they would like to be treated, feeling good about being able to help bless someone in some way, and the joy that comes through friendships and associations that are forged in the bonds of service to others and sharing/giving process. Lastly, matchers would most likely be motivated from a force that is greater than themselves. A force that cannot be explained, could be internally and/or extrinsically motivated (most likely a little bit of both), and are able to realize that our inner world is just as important as the external. Viewing life in terms of “we” and understanding that “I” am just as important if “we” are to be successful, masters understand that through conflict, differences, and extremes, come an opportunity for understanding, collaboration, and understanding that will allow for fairness and balance to manifest in the world, individuals, and experiences.
With that being said, a givers idea of success could be summed up to quality experiences and internal values, a takers idea of success may be in terms of quantity, and what can be attained in life, and a matchers idea of success is the acceptance, balance, and peace that comes with being open to all sides, willingness to seize the moment (through both giving & taking), personal dedication to understanding and growth, and openness & transparency. Matchers prefer to refrain from labels, categories, and other extremes/barriers because they realize that it could hinder their ability to make authentic connections with others so that with each person, an even greater understanding of the universe as a whole is achieved. Every individual, every experience, every culture or land, every belief and norm, every beautiful difference that is witness has the opportunity to bring an even greater understanding and beauty to what we have already experienced or what it’s that we think we know! Taking in everything that we experience, witness, and learn, we may be being selfish, but when we turn around and share all of the same with others so that they too can become more worldly and educated, we become givers.
With each person with whom we cross paths with, there is an opportunity for us to learn and find something truly unique and beautiful within them so that we can turn around and share the findings with others so that hopefully we can spark that little spark of wonder and curiosity that will open their mind and send them on their own journey of knowledge and fulfillment. Just like experiencing life through a child’s eyes, the world suddenly isn’t explained in terms such as good or bad, pretty or ugly, or right or wrong, just different!
When life and experiences are no longer a competition or an argument for what is right or wrong or considered better or worse, acceptance of what is can be achieved that will allow for a realization that they key to life is acceptance of others and balance in all that we do and all that we are. For better functionality and better processes to be achieved, whether within each individual internally, within a group or organization , or as humanity as a whole, we must value and work on all of the things that make up who we are, find ways to work together while appreciating and valuing all that makes up who others are, and a dedication that what can be experienced as a whole, through love and acceptance for others, far surpasses anything that we could ever create and sustain by viewing ourselves as more worthy or as the center of the universe.
What one or few can achieve by separating themselves from others in a fight for superiority, power, or privilege, will never compare to the beauty in the reality that manifests from the positive energy and joyous moods of people who feel united with others and safe to be 100% authentically pure and true to who they are and who they want to become without the worry that they have to measure up to someone else’s standards, adhere to norms or pressure, or worry that they are being judged.
When it comes to maximum production, output, and functionality, there is one concept that has proven time and time again to be efficient and productive, balance! Whether biology, sociology, psychology, neurology, physiology, metaphysics, and physics, balance is key. If anything is to evolve in a more healthy and positive direction, whether internally/biologically, structurally, mechanically, functionally, or socially, there must be a balance of give and take and a sense of responsibility and respect for the whole!
Babbie, E. (2016). The Basics of Social Research (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.
Grant, A. (2013, April) In the Company of Givers and Takers. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved on September 8, 2016 from https://hbr.org/2013/04/in-the-company-of-givers-and-takers
Popova, M. (n.d.). Givers, Takers, and Matchers: The Surprising Psychology of Success. Brain Pickings.Retrieved on September 8, 2016 from https://www.brainpickings.org/2013/04/10/adam-grant-give-and-take/