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Family Structure

When combining the closeness pole, the security pole and the belonging pole, teams develop a family structure. These are characterised by a sense of community and belonging. Regardless of performance, you feel like a team member, taken care of and valued. The human, rather than the function or the competence, is important. Conflicts tend to be avoided. If disputes, high performance or flexibility are necessary, such teams develop difficulties.

When such teams slip into extreme manifestations, then the closeness becomes a blunder (“You can’t interact with me in this way!”), the security becomes a straitjacket (“This is how it is with us, and that’s that!”), and members who deviate from team rules or norms, are sanctioned (“You are behaving as if you were not one of us!”). The exaggerated belonging allows performance to become unimportant. In an organisational context, this is not necessarily favourable, because the underachievement of an individual in the team is not a problem.

You can see, just like in many other parts of this theory, that dysfunctionality always occurs when systems fixate in a temporally stable way on certain poles and thus give up regulation competence.