How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Types of Entry
There are a number of ways in which people may enter a group and the type of entry can have a significant consequent effect on how the person is perceived and treated.
A common approach is that the person asks to join the group. This appeal may be to the leader, to individuals or the group as a whole.
The application often includes information and rationale as to why the person should be allowed to join. Typical reasons include:
Where leaders make the decision, the application goes to them. Depending on the culture and rules, some or all of the group may be involved in the assessment and decision processes, which could include an interview and setting of tasks to demonstrate character and ability.
In the workplace, this is the most common form when seeking a job and is usually a highly formalized process, with job application forms, resumés, interviews, and so on. Whilst other situations are not as formal, some of the same principles can often be seen, including supplication of the applicant and judgement by the group.
Sometimes the dynamic is opposite to that of application, and the person is invited to join rather than having to ask. In such cases, it is the leaders and members who are assessed by the invitee, who is typically seen to offer benefits to the group, for example in the skills they bring or the influence they have with other people.
Sometimes the invitation comes autonomously from the leader, in which case the person joining may find suspicion on the part of group members. If the invitation is issued from a group member, then that person may find themselves held responsible for the conduct of the invited person. At other times, the process is more egalitarian, with discussion and consensus about who to invite.
Invitations happen in the workplace when a person is head-hunted, whether from outside the company or from another team. In social clubs, people may bring along their friends.
Some groups have low boundaries and new members can join of their own will. Many hobby groups are like this, where people just turn up at club meetings and are welcomed without much fuss.
The casual entry can also be a surreptitious form of the forced entry as an intruder into the group uses their natural charisma to charm their way in.
There are some organizational forms where casual entry is allowed, typically in loose voluntary structures where people turn up and help where they can.
A forced entry into a group occurs where the person entering the group uses coercive, aggressive or other methods to gain entry. The intruder may then remain in situ despite attempts by members to eject them.
If a person marries someone for the wealth of their family, this constitutes a forced entry into that family. In the workplace, a manager may decide to join a team activity, even though the team members prefer to be left to do their work alone.
A person is injected into a group when an external force is applied and members have to accept them. A typical example is where the person is elected to a political office, where other office members then have to handle this person entering their domain, even if they are a poor social fit.
In the workplace, managers sometimes inject an outsider into a team to 'shake things up'. This can work but may also be a controversial strategy that can backfire.