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New Book Reveals Why Groups of Smart People Sometimes Make Bad Decisions In Communities

12/17/2001  -  Alexandria, VA

Community Associations Press has released a ground-breaking new book that provides a first-ever look at how and why leaders of community associations make the choices that govern their communities. "Decision Making In Communities: Why Groups of Smart People Sometimes Make Bad Decisions," by social psychologist Jasmine Martirossian of Northeast University, applies well-known principles of group dynamics and social psychology to the often misunderstood leadership activities of community association boards. What results is a fascinating picture of how and why some associations find themselves facing inexplicable problems.


"What makes this book so fascinating is that it's the first time someone has taken an in-depth look at community associations through the social psychologist's lens," said Kris Cook, CAE, Senior Vice President of Community Associations Institute (CAI). "But, it also has a very practical—and equally important—role because it explains exactly how community association leaders can make good decisions, avoid problems, and be highly functional."

By examining how boards of community associations are persuaded toward one view or another, and how board composition and size can affect decisions, the book enables readers to function more productively. It discusses how group polarization and cohesion can skew a decision—and provides useful advice on what to do about it. A chapter on mental shortcuts—such as the assumption that what's most expensive is best—gives enough practical information that readers can prevent such shortcuts from becoming short circuits instead. Real examples cited from community associations all across the country bring the situations to life for readers, who will recognize their own association's dynamics in these familiar examples.

The book has been enthusiastically received among community association professionals, who applaud the book for raising awareness of a dynamic operating among their clients that they hadn't considered before.

St. Louis attorney Marv Nodiff, who specializes in community association law, stated: "After nearly 20 years of practicing community association law, I can say that the major shortcoming of my professional education was a lack of exposure to group dynamics—the ability to identify how each board composition is different, and the skills of persuasion and influence that should be applied in each situation."

Steve Harvill, PCAM®—a professional community association manager—commented: "This book does a good job of relating general knowledge of organizational dynamics to the unique nature of community associations."

Florida attorney Ellen Hirsch de Haan agrees, "Jasmine Martirossian has done a very nice job of synthesizing a formidable body of research and applying it to the community association industry."

"Decision Making In Communities: Why Groups of Smart People Sometimes Make Bad Decisions," retails for $40 and is available to CAI members for $24. Call 703-548-8600 to order or purchase online.

The Community Associations Institute is a nonprofit association created in 1973 to provide education and resources to America's 231,000 community associations—condominium associations, homeowner associations and cooperatives. CAI members include homeowners, associations and the professionals who provide products and services to them.

Phone: 703-970-9235