I challenge the popular notion of European rural development group dynamics and argue for a better understanding of the role of micro-politics as a means of enhancing the performance of these groups. The views are research based and have relevance to the broader rural development and regeneration sector. Micro-politics involves knowledge, power, trust, perceptions, understanding, social networks, values and traits that arise as a result of individuals interacting within a group whilst working on a shared goal, such as rural development. The monetary and time costs to a community of failing to address micro-politics and nurture positive group relations are considerable. These include time spent in unproductive meetings and poorly prioritized—and ultimately unsuccessful—funding applications as a result of failure to agree priorities. Successful groups rely on individuals interacting in a way that achieves a greater social good. Mutual trust amongst the actors lies at the heart of effective group activity. Effective management of micro-politics requires steps to nurture a culture of mutual trust to ensure that rural development actors co-operate rather than play destructive games with one another. A case study example of a relatively straightforward approach illustrates how this might be done in practice.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development