The word entitativity is the consideration of something as a pure entity. The concept can be applied in group dynamics and help you build a stronger team.
In 1958 Donald T. Campbell, professor at Northwestern University, proposed that entitativity is the difference between groups and aggregates of individuals. The images below show what happens when an individual, represented by a color on the left, blends with a group/team, shown in the center. After the interaction the individual’s original color is not 100% pure, it’s blended and takes on part of the group/team’s color.
These images illustrate the effect the group/team dynamic has on an individual.
Entitativity can measure a person’s willingness to blend into the group, and it’s easier to blend when the identity of the group is clear.
When the values, direction and leadership are clear; individuals can have a better sense of belonging. In this instance the individual knows the identity of the group and will choose to blend in. However, if the individual has the idea that the group operates in a relaxed environment, but in reality, it works under pressure, his or her willingness to blend will be affected.
When addressing an individual’s ability to be part of a pure entity, it’s important to consider the distinction between being comfortable and accommodated. When a person is comfortable, he or she might not be willing to help achieve the team’s goal.
When an individual is accommodated in his or her role, he or she may feel set in their position and are unwilling to move. The leader needs to observe which rewards or reinforcements that are preventing he or she from moving. In both cases, the leader needs to understand the impact this type of behavior has on the pure entity of the team and take action.
The word “leader” comes from the latin word lid, which one meaning is to separate or cut. In this sense, it’s the leader’s responsibility to separate or cut the behaviors of individuals that are not aligned with the team’s vision or rules. Under this perspective the leader also needs to take action when an individual is not willing to stretch or is accommodated in his or her role.
The observance of entitativity by the leader is a critical factor in Transformative Leadership.