Christine Porath On Mastering Community – This Week’s Six Pixels of Separation Podcast

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Episode #833 of Six Pixels of Separation is now live and ready for you to listen to.

What does it mean to build a community? How powerful are communities? Have communities become to insular lately? Christine Porath is a tenured professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. She’s the author of Mastering Civility – A Manifesto for the Workplace and co-author of The Cost of Bad Behavior. Her latest book is called, Mastering Community – The Surprising Ways Coming Together Moves Us From Surviving To Thriving. In this book, Christine argues how important thriving communities are to our wellbeing and the success of organizations, and learn what steps you can take to create them. Enjoy the conversation…

You can grab the latest episode of Six Pixels of Separation here (or feel free to subscribe via Apple Podcast or whatever platform you may choose): Six Pixels of Separation #833.

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  1. This was a good discussion, but I have a fundamental problem with the definition of true communities as positive places that support the well-being of their members. I understand why Christine puts that definition forward, in contrast to the bullying and trolling that takes place online (I run a local online community that has similar anti-trolling/supportive priorities). However: I can point you to numerous communities, both offline and online, that give a sense of belonging and self-esteem for community members, but are NOT good communities for the world as a whole. The influence of radicalizing young people into various violent subcommunities, is, in part, about giving them a sense of belonging they do not currently derive. Tragic, yes, but very real and we can all think of numerous examples, radical Islam, neo-Nazi organizing, nationalist movements are but a few.

    Therefore, a crucial criteria for communities is NOT just how it makes its members feel, but how those who encounter that community who are *different* experience that community. How a community reckons with cultural difference, both inside and outside of the community itself, is a big part of the health of that community and whether it is ultimately positive. There are many communities out there that support each other but are not pleasant to encounter if you deviate from their norm or their agenda.

    I think you got into some of these issues in terms of real world communities (red state/blue state), but in my opinion the definition of positive community put forth by your guest at the beginning of this talk is fundamentally flawed and incomplete.

    1. Appreciate your additional insight and definitions, Jon. I can’t disagree. In fairness, I think Christine was trying to establish a baseline for the conversation and, perhaps, that baseline does not satiate a fully and complete definition of the word… which… in these times, I think it really challenging to do.

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