Limitations in Group Empathy, Representation and Populism

Diversity Inclusion

From my 6 years of Practice on Cultural differences, both in National as well as in Organizational Culture, and by taking part in driving Inclusion in some Organizations, I can confirm that we, individually, are limited in having empathy towards the individuals that come from other groups, especially from groups that are on opposite sides of any of the acknowledged axes of Diversity.

Because of this reason, it is good to remember, that sometimes Representation is more important than Skills, IF AND ONLY IF, the organization, the country or the society is one that focuses on the wellbeing of all of its individuals, aiming to engage them in the most energized and functional way for the benefit of everyone involved.

However, if the country’s focus is outward, “protecting” itself from whatever is outside of it (normal external changes, other groups, or other countries), the rhetoric of “skills above everything else” will be used.

Coming back to Representation, it is not that simple, because if we don’t understand the culture of the group of the Representant of that group, we might miss the easy escape some politicians take (because of lack of skills), and that is to become Populists, and simply tap into the emotional side of representing their groups AGAINST the other groups, just because it is too hard to drive a REAL INCLUSION, or because the personal interests are too tempting.

While for a Populist it is not necessary to understand the Culture of the group and its sub-groups (in its practical way, beyond the superficial buzz word “Culture” has become) because Division is more natural and easy, for a Wise Policy Maker, it is absolutely mandatorily to understand how Culture works, not necessarily to drive the ultimate very functional INCLUSION, but at least to not have their best intentions fueled by some of their societies’ values, backfire on them because they missed the consequences on the other values of hteir society that were more important for one of their large subgroups.

Below you can listen to these points in a 5 minutes edit from my webinar on “Using Identity to Divide and Conquer!

The concept of “Group Empathy” is used here in the sense of understanding an individual from a group beyond their individual suffering, taking into account their possible stigma, their lack of access to the resources that were available for individuals from other groups “by default” throughout history.

If Diversity and Inclusion are important to you in your Organization as an executive, or in your society as a policymaker, this service might be interesting for you: Using Diversity and Driving Inclusion.


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