Before we get to the theory this week, can we talk about Jessica’s move? I’m not really sure how I feel about the introduction of another advantage, but I am sure I don’t like Jessica’s move.
Why, oh why, would she give the “advantage” to Devon? It made no sense. Clearly, that tribe looked like it would be two Heroes vs. two Healers. Jessica said she wanted to help the Healers. Why, oh why, take the vote away from the swing vote, then?
You’ll see below that, in general, I like how Jessica’s playing this game, but this move makes me a bit nervous. Why do this? Why keep telling Cole things? Why yell so much at people during challenges? These are my questions, but, in general, I can’t figure out that Devon move. I hope that when Jessica leaves the game, someone doing exit interviews asks the question.
The tribe swap made me want to look into group dynamics this week. There are all kinds of theories out there that attempt to explain organizational communication or, essentially, how groups work most effectively. And I’ve done that in the past in this blog, but, this time, I wanted to delve into group cohesion theory, which scholars have utilized in studies of professional organizations, but also to examine, for example, what makes sports teams successful.
The theory of group cohesion explains the forces that hold groups together. In successful organizations, both small and large, membership can remain strong only through a cohesion between members. This does not mean that each of the members believes the same things and performs their roles in a similar manner, but the members must all align with the main mission of the organization. In Survivor, that’s winning challenges.
Sports psychology scholar Alfred Carron identified four parts of the theory: leadership, personal, situational and organization factors. Essentially, cohesion develops within membership of an organization when members feel close to and respect leadership (or each other), believe they are a fundamental part of the organization, perceive a strong cohesion within the group and have perceived organizational success.
So what does this all mean for Survivor? Well, I think all tribes should want to be as successful as possible and, to do that, you need castaways who are focused on that success. Of course, everyone will have differing personal goals, but those must be put secondary to tribal goals (until, for example, before tribal council).
In general, I think you saw that a bit last episode. Immediately, the new tribe of Alan, Ashley, Devon, Desi and Joe started thinking about factions. Joe started to lie to Devon before he had to … and this backfired. Everyone on that tribe, at least according to the episode, was far more focused on the next boot instead of the next challenge. That’s a problem.
I think, if you look at the history of the show, the tribes, regardless of if they get along, that do the best always seem most focused on staying together … until they can’t do that anymore. There is a cohesion, a belief in the power of the tribe. And, I believe, that’s how you can see what tribes are going to the best: Look for what tribes, regardless of alliances, are laser focused on winning challenges and deal with booting people only when they have to make that decision.
With the tribe swap, I feel like there’s a lot to talk about as many castaways have seen their fortunes change. Let’s talk about each of them:
Well, that’s it. Let’s talk again next week. I’m excited about the next episode. This episode, truthfully, is the one that hooked me on the season. I’m all in.
Pat Ferrucci started watching Survivor when episode two of Borneo first aired. He's seen every episode since. Besides recapping here, he'll be live-tweeting this season from the Mountain Time Zone. Why? Because nobody cares about the Mountain Time Zone except when they want to ski. Follow him @PatFerrucci for Survivor stuff and tweets about anything and everything that enters his feeble mind.