Swarm Theory in Union Organizing

by News on October 6, 2011

in Union Politics and Transparency

Labor Relations Institute

Speaking of night terrors, Cyberunions had an interesting piece last month that applies biologists’ “Swarm Theory” to union network organizing.  “Individual ants or starlings don’t understand the big picture, they follow simple instructions based on local information. And yet collectively, they are able to perform tasks of stunning complexity.”  So too, the article proposes could small organizing efforts (microunions) solve the problem of how to organize more members than unions continue to lose every year.

Instant information sharing is critical to effective swarming (the Cyber organizers call it “crowdsourcing”) and Twitter provides the ideal social media platform to coordinate humans into behaving like ants.  (Imagine a time-lapse aerial perspective of lower Manhattan this week)


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