There are numerous activities that enhance understanding a complex issue. This week we explore the use of polarity mapping. After reading the articles that explain its use and application, use the technique to contrast the experiences of women, minorities, and immigrants with finding employment, earnings and promotions, and unemployment.
Polarity mapping refers to the balancing of interdependent values or perspectives that exist in tension with but also support each other in such a way as to maintain the upsides of each while avoiding the downsides. A common example that most people deal with on a daily basis without consciously realizing it is the polarity of home life vs work life. Focusing on home life without balancing work life can result in stronger familial bonds and greater time for play and hobbies but may be achieved at the cost of a rewarding career, monetary rewards and strong work relationships. Polarity mapping can help to find the balance between the interdependent values, resulting what some may refer to as a “win – win situation” in which both perspectives/values are valued and optimized as much as possible. Other examples of interdependent values include the individual vs the team, short term vs long term rewards.
There are four basic steps in the creation of a polarity map: Step 1: Describe the issue. Explore the perspectives or values of an issue and identify the potential “sides” to the issue. Step 2: Identify and describe the paradox. To identify a potential paradox, you need to determine if the issue is a continual or recurring issue with two distinct perspectives that are both critical for long-term success. Clearly identify both perspectives/values. Step 3: Fill in the quadrants of the polarity map. The right side will represent one perspective and the left side will represent the other. In the bottom middle of the map, place the outcomes that are undesirable and to be avoided. In the upper middle of the map, place the outcomes that are desirable. In the lower left, list the negative aspects of the left-side polarity; in the upper left, list the positive aspects of the left-side polarity; in the upper right, list the positive aspects of the right-side polarity and in the lower right, list the negative aspects of the right-side polarity. Step 4: Determine the steps to take to achieve the most desirable results from both perspectives while avoiding the undesirable results. Outline the steps to manage for positive results while watching for indicators of negative results.
Here is a great resource from Levknecht (2013): https://www.elsevier.com/connect/using-polarity-thinking-to-achieve-sustainable-positive-outcomes (Links to an external site.)
In a 700-1000 word essay, contrast the experiences of women, minorities, and immigrants using polarity mapping and the theories presented throughout the course. Be sure to include a polarity map visual that depicts the poles and the corresponding upside and downside of each pole.