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Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Build Common Ground, and Reap Big Results by Morten Hansen

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CHAPTER FOUR

Lever 1: Unify People

IN 1954, an unusual experiment happened in the United States, never to be repeated.1 A colorful Turkish-born, Harvard-educated psychologist, Muzafer Sherif, stepped out of his usual role as professor and ran a summer camp in the Robbers Cave State Park in Oklahoma. He wanted to explore group behaviors and thought that a real-world experiment would offer better insight than some laboratory experiment on his university campus.

Sherif and four researchers—his psychologist wife and three doctoral students—recruited twenty-two eleven-year-old boys for a three-week summer camp.2 The boys, who were not told that they were part of a giant psychological experiment, were broken into two groups called the Eagles ...

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