Socially Influenced Encounters, One a Term Paper

Total Length: 1041 words ( 3 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 2

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Second example: High School Prejudice

In 2003, the Oprah Winfrey Show profiled a racially divided high school, where racism and prejudice were evident in the student body. Students allied themselves with 'like' persons much as in the above work situation, where only adults were concerned. As in the above-cited example, certain members of the community, although not all, wished to create a more cohesive social organization. Rather than engage in informal broaching of social norms, a more formal approach was used. This reflects the fact in high school, even more so than in the work place, that allying one's self with a particular group of one's friends is extremely important.

The high school instituted what it called a Challenge Day. At first, the students were resistant to the idea. The day began with a series of team-related activities that forced students from different cliques and ethnic groups to engage with one another. The team-based activities broke down the tendency for some teens to socially loaf, or remain silent or introverted when engaged in school-related group activities. Also, by creating a diverse environment the school used social influences amongst the teens to facilitate more positive interactions and experiences between normally isolated groups. Then, small groups were created, again to limit social loafing, where it was required that students openly share truthful facts about themselves.

The purpose of a high school, unlike a work environment, is to build character and to educate the students. Work is always about realizing an objective, however much the organization may pay lip service to the benefits of diversity for the organization.
Although persons must work together, this does not mean that they must like one another, only tolerate one another, nor do they have to get to know their work colleagues very deeply on a meaningful level. Thus, although breaking the boundaries within the workplace may have offended some people and educated others, it did not make a major social rupture within the organization. It could be ignored, or merely chatted about afterwards.

However, in a high school, where social context and community is such an important part of the functioning of the school, breaking down social barriers can have a major impact upon how the organization functions. Sitting with people who are not one's friends can be a major social transgression in the cafeteria. By forcing students out of their comfort zones, the character of the high school changed, and the quality and level of honesty in student interactions was improved. Part of this was due to the fact that the change was induced on a mass scale, but another part of this was rooted in the openly educational nature of the high school community, versus an institutional community of work, where money making is the primary goal of the organization.

Works Cited

Breaking Down Barriers." (2003) The Oprah Winfrey Show. Retrieved 11 Nov 2006 at

Interview with team member. (2006) Personal Interview with Team Member on….....

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