Nonconformers & their habitat

Contexting nonconformers

With regards to degrees of acceptance of group norms, organizational culture and context, M. Kets de Vries speaks about several variations. Perhaps the most overlooked group would be nonconformers.

Even though the description found in the original works is primarily concerned with a different aspect of communication between actors, the implications for team dynamics are significant for several types of organizations. Nonconformers, for De Vries, are people who withdraw from frequent interactions and prefer limited, repeatable actions and tasks only to avoid participating in a delusion, or any intrusive rituals of everyday life. The author focuses on the latter two – in the context of a over-the-top interpersonal fixation, commonly known as madness for two. (or more – M.)

The activities which nonconformers choose, and dedicate themselves to, are also of interest. Frequent and repeatable actions with limited scope may have been less popular in the past, but they have since become the building block of agile processes. Many companies had to adopt this fragmented approach to accommodate for BPO outsoucing, nearshoring and a variety of similar practices. This has increased the number of jobs which do not entail direct responsibility, plus the 6- and 8-eyes procedures have made sure we can over-complicate processes on occasion.

This is how we end up with a diverse group of people who can be labeled as nonconformers – some by choice, and other because they do not have to conform. Thinking about both variations you will realize, that these people can be found anywhere – low-level to mid-management to C-suite. Naturally overlooked by past research due to low numbers, this group is seeing a lot of interest in recent years. Engagement, a trend and a necessity, could be a way to re-active some of these colleagues in order to context them anew, or simply to mobilize their knowledge and skills.

We can go one step further and claim that this part of the workforce can be utilized in a power struggle or cultural change. Nonconformers are not as burdened as active and overly enthusiastic colleagues by any regime change in the company as they keep to themselves. Being spread over the organization ensures the organization continues to function and at minimal efficiency loss, too.

Whether or not frequent shocks to the system will make all activation potential useless is a fair concern, but fact of the matter is – these colleagues are usually up for grabs. Contexting them does not need too much – they were either never into too much context or have to follow through a short (but sometimes complicated) process.






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