Convergence and Divergence in the Work Place

Convergence and divergence are terms used in business psychology to describe a fascinating phenomenon that occurs almost without fail in most workplace environments as well as several others. This is one that will affect both workers in an organization as well as their employers and it’s something that both parties should be aware of in order to be effective as possible and to avoid potential problems.

What Is Convergence and Divergence?

The general idea behind the terms is that the members of any group are likely to become more similar to one another over time and this is known as ‘convergence’. Conversely meanwhile, the term ‘divergence’ describes how the members of two DIFFERENT groups are likely to become less similar to one another over time. In short then, if you go to work for an organization then you are more likely to gradually become more like your colleagues and as a group you are likely to develop your own expressions, habits and in jokes that would then set you apart from other groups who might not understand the references. This can also lead to animosity in some cases as one group doesn’t understand the other and as they become more opposed on gradually more serious issues.

What This Means for Workers and Businesses

Of course for businesses it is important to understand the roles of divergence and convergence in order to get the most out of your staff. On the one hand you need to realize that over time your business is going to become more and more closed minded as your colleagues gravitate toward particular ways of thinking. It is thus important to make sure that you are trying to constantly mix things up and change your groups around so that there are always new ideas and opinions coming in to challenge what you already know rather than just more concurring voices.

It also can help managers to understand the nature of some workplace conflicts as staff are clearly more likely to disagree when they are from different groups within your organization such as different departments. Thus it is wise for managers and employers to look at ways to encourage their staff to feel an overall identity within the organization rather than segregating parts of the teams to create a divided culture.

It’s also important for us to recognize these effects ourselves in order to avoid being influenced in negative ways and to help yourself to adapt to a new group. Coming into any group from the outside be it in a social setting or in a workplace environment will always mean coming into a clique with their own habits and behaviors and this will in turn make it potentially difficult to adapt and to be accepted by the group. You should also make sure to try and remain objective and to keep your individuality when making decisions, and carefully choose which groups you want to become more like. This way you can bring about positive changes to your behavior, confidence and more through smart use of convergence.

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