Divisive Minds and Integrative Personalities: Causes and Consequences
Some Introspective Autobiographical Insights from a Participant Observer
T V Rao
(Paper Presented at the XVI NAOP Conference held at Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, December 14-16, 2006)
To divide means to separate into parts. It also means to make people disagree or the existence of disagreement or difference or between two or more groups. Division is the act of dividing people into groups.
Divisive mind is a tendency or mind set a person has to assign to self or other people, quickly, a group identity (example caste, community, linguistic, professional, occupational, cultural, social, batch, national etc.) and anchor subsequent behaviors and decisions on the basis of such identity.
Individuals with Divisive mind set may be called divisive people just like people with Internal Locus of Control are called as Internals. Divisive individuals often differentiate and attribute group characteristics to divide people into groups that cause disagreement and competition against one another. By nature division has the potential to create competition and conflict than collaboration. Collaboration does not require divisiveness. It is a mind set. All of us perhaps have this mind set. I have it you have it. It is perhaps our nature. However some live on it, promote it and others are either beneficiaries of it or victims of it. The sum of results arising out of divisiveness is likely to be less than those that could be obtained without it or with integrative mind sets. While divisiveness in the short term benefits some people in the long run it hinders overall growth and consumes a lot of resources and increases overheads or transaction costs or process costs.
To integrate means to combine parts into a whole. It also means to make some one accepted within a group.
Integrative personality is intended to depict a constellation of behaviors that strive towards inclusion, integration, cooperation, emphasis on the whole and benefits to larger groups of people or entities including humanity at large. A divisive mind gives importance to parts or small groups while an integrative mind focuses on the whole and strives to build the whole and use the strengths of the whole.