HK students demonstrate self-organization

Hong Kong China Tension

I was in Hong Kong last weekend, and made a special point of going to where the demonstrations were happening.

The demonstrations had closed off main thoroughfares and created traffic congestion in many places.  I was told that 90 percent of the university students in Hong Kong were taking part in the demonstrations, and that the students managed it through a process of self-organisation at the micro level.

The students had organised themselves in groups of three or four. One of them would be on the street in the company of other protestors. When anyone gets tired, he or she would call another person in the group to take their place, while they go home for a shower and sleep. The students also organised for one member of the team to attend university lectures, which carried on right through the time of the demonstrations, to take notes and share with the others!

To me, this is a remarkable example of spontaneous leadership and team creation! While this would have been very difficult to organise and coordinate centrally, it is effectively executed when members of the team are tied together in a common purpose, and go all out to help each other in a relationship spontaneously established in trust and respect.

This is how effective leadership and teamwork can spring up at every level in an organisation, if only there were a strong enough sense of purpose and interdependency to achieve a worthy end.  Self-organisation and empowerment is much faster, responsive and flexible than any centrally organised effort can be!

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