There are some things, even when they’re predictable or mediocre, that never disappoint. For me, that’s coffee, my dog Coach, and Survivor.
And even this episode, one I would argue is the worst of the season so far, didn’t disappoint and definitely gave some new things to think about. While Kyle/Jason made his predictable, long-desired and much-deserved journey to Ponderosa, we now have better insight into the alliance remaining and how the players see each other.
But we’re going to discuss Tai today. The boot of Kyle/Jason was, as we all know, a long time coming. However, the manner in which Tai’s character continues to evolve, well, it hasn’t been predictable. And, I think, the best way to discuss Tai and everything else that happened this week is to talk about a theory of organization.
You see, a lot of scholars study organizations of all kinds. This makes sense, of course, because we want to understand what makes for a good organization and what makes for a bad one. And because all organizations are, sort of, unique, there are numerous different theories relating to how they work. We’re going to discuss Gareth Morgan’s organization as organisms theory.
Morgan, a professor of management at York University in Toronto, believes the best way to discuss theory is to think of them as metaphors. So in his influential book, Images of Organization, Morgan discusses eight different theories, or metaphors, for how organizations could potentially operate.
I think we can examine how an alliance works by using theories of organization. When we as regular folks think of organizations, I believe, we think of companies. And that’s mostly what scholars study also. But, according to its definition, an organization is really just “an organized body of people with a particular purpose.” Isn’t that the very essence of an alliance?
In this particular case, Aubry, Cydney, Joe, Tai and Michele have essentially been acting as an organization for the past couple votes. They’re an alliance, yes, but they’re also an organized group of people with a particular and like-minded focus that know they have to work together well to accomplish their goals. Like any members of any organization, these five certainly have personal goals, but know the best way to achieve those means working together, most of the time.
So now let’s get back to theory. I think the best way to describe an alliance on Survivor, the best metaphor or theory, is Morgan’s organization as an organism theory. This is based around the idea that workers have different needs that must be satisfied if they are to do their jobs in the most effective manner. The metaphor describes an organization made of people who act like muscles and organs in the body; they all do different jobs, but need each other to live.
We can clearly see some of this in the five-person alliance. So far, we’ve seen that Aubry and Cyd tend to make the decisions, Joe does the work around camp, Tai makes people laugh and owns advantages, and Michele, well, Michele is pleasant and easy to be around and owns a vote. Things have worked well for this alliance with folks taking on these specific roles. But this week, Tai changed things up and all of a sudden tried to nudge Cyd out of her role.
For an organism to work properly, people need to know their roles. If, say, our brain started to do the job of our heart, well, things aren’t going to end up healthy. And that’s what happened here. Tai tried to change something up and the alliance started to crumble.
This is going to make next week fun. Once an organization feels a major shakeup like this, Morgan argues, it’s hard or close to impossible to return to working in the same manner. And for Survivor, as we’ve seen over and over through the seasons, once an alliance member does something unexpected, it’s rare the alliance continues in the same manner. So now the final five, all folks supposedly aligned together, will have to eat their own and Tai made sure it was going to be more interesting than ever.
So we’re down to five. I feel like Aubry is the clear favorite right now, but let’s talk a little bit about all the remaining castaways.
OK, well that’s enough for this week. We’re almost done with this season, which has turned out far better than any of us thought, I think. So let’s sit back and enjoy the end game and talk next week. Have a good one.
Pat Ferrucci started watching Survivor when episode two of Borneo first aired. He’s seen every episode since. Besides recapping here, he’ll be live-tweeting this season from the Mountain Time Zone. Why? Because nobody cares about the Mountain Time Zone except when they want to ski. Follow him @patferrucci for Survivor stuff and tweets about anything and everything that enters his feeble mind.