She assumed the community was unified
by Phil Bartle, PhD
Short stories to illustrate the principles
Yvette was working in a small fishing community. She found good community informants who advised her on customs and concerns. As she saw it, the biggest priority in the community was a central smoke house. Fish could be smoked so they would last longer and could be sent further inland to be sold. Soon she began hearing the villagers were saying that she was unfair.
What Yvette had not known was that the village was highly divided, full of antagonistic factions. People in groups other than the one with whom she associated were saying that the women already had adequate private smokehouses, but a covered fish market place would be much more useful.
She could not get a general consensus because of this disunity, and she was assumed to be in favour of only one faction, therefore biased and prejudiced. Although the issue was eventually understood, her manager had to send her to another community to start over, and bring in a fresh mobiliser who had a blank reputation in the fishing community.
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