Zeitschrift Organisations Entwicklung
Stand: Oktober 2018

In 'Meine Akten' einfügen

ZOE vom 15.10.2018, Heft 04, Seite 38 - 42, ZOE1283212
OrganisationsEntwicklung > Reflection > Aufsatz

In-group Arguments

Why Complex Conversations are Getting Harder and What We Can Do About It

Michael Kang

Michael Kang

Consultant Reos Partners, Mississauga, USA. Kontakt: kang@reospartners.com

In 2017, a US Department of Justice report found that the Chicago Police Department systemically uses excessive force that disproportionately targets black and Latino citizens . I shared this report, along with the comprehensive database of police violence compiled by the Washington Post, with an acquaintance with whom I have been engaged in a years-long discussion about #BlackLivesMatter. I see BLM as a valuable movement calling attention to a critical social issue. He, a well-educated police officer from an urban, middle-class background, describes BLM as an excuse to scapegoat the police for social ills that are caused only by poverty, not by institutional racism in law enforcement.


  • In-group Argument
    • 1. The «Google» Effect
    • 2. Unpreceded Complexity and Pace of Change
  • Four Lenses of In-group Argument
    • 1. «My story is complex. Yours is simple».
    • 2. «You’re being intellectually dishonest to promote your agenda. I shall do the same.»
    • 3. «I’m right, so you must be wrong.»
    • 4. «If I listen to your tribe, I’m betraying mine»
  • Relevance for Organizational Development
  • Lessons Learned in Navigating In-group Argument
    • 1. Frame your discussion as a search for greater understanding
    • 2. Use polarity mapping
  • What Next

His reaction to the DoJ report frustrated me. After citing a few sources of what I saw as highly selective counter-evidence, he said, «numbers like these can be interpreted however people want. I’m hesitant to continue this argument when neither of us are going to change our minds.» He had resigned to the notion that our differences were irreconcilable. «My facts» and «his facts» were never going to agree. We could not move our discussion forward without ceding ground neither of us wish to cede.

I believe my opponent is wrong about BLM, but his arguments against it are not incoherent. He provides evidence, including some peer-reviewed academic sources, which, if considered without any opposing evidence, would support his claims.

The problem is that the opposing evidence matters when one is truly trying to understand a complex issue. I see our impasse as the result of a form of thinking I see increasingly often in deliberations about complex issues: «in-group argument».

In-group Argument

Der Volltext dieses Inhalts steht exklusiv Abonnenten zur Verfügung.