Organisational rhetoric and mood

While I was spending time thinking about what I could get out of last week’s CIPD L&D Show, (aka being up my own arse) I forgot something about myself, and about what I was there to do.

Echo chambers are an interesting phenomenon. They exist because we allow them too. Someone says something and it disproportionately affects the way things happen. Conversations are had where there is violent agreement taking place. I’m preaching to the party who are all my buddies and I think I’m being clever and my insights are on the mark.

But it’s what happens outside of those echo chambers that worry me. Sometimes, people decide to share those comments to a broader audience. And suddenly they gain an audience, either pro or against their message, and it becomes part of a bigger conversation. Incidentally this is exactly how UK politics works, and most organised religion.

What I’m interested in, is how emotion plays a part in all of that. More specifically, how does the emotion of a few affect the emotion of the many. And I saw this exactly happen at CIPD L&D Show last week. A few of us, either unwittingly or purposefully, were voicing thoughts and frustrations about the content we were listening to. These started to become echoed by others. By the end of day one, a general mood of “meh” had beset most people.

How incredibly rude and arrogant of us all. I then read this piece by Phil Willcox and was reminded that I control the experience I have and that I share. Well of course I bloody do. I just forgot. And got caught up in my own emotions. So I purposefully set out to appreciate and share better the content for all those not privy to be in the position I was. I wasn’t falsely positive. I just remembered that there’s far more meaning for me in sharing content that others may find useful.

No organisation is immune to these effects. The echo chamber can be a difficult thing to perceive and become aware of. Want to know how dangerous it can be? Look at the likes of Kodak and HMV. Once at the top of their respective games. They got told about change and they refused to listen. The echo chamber was too strong and it couldn’t be penetrated. There may have been people trying to stand up and be heard inside, but their voice wasn’t one of the influential ones.


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Sukh Pabial

I'm an occupational psychologist by profession and am passionate about all things learning and development, creating holistic learning solutions and using positive psychology in the workforce.

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