Star Power is a game that simulates interaction between groups within a stratified society. The game begins with every one having equal opportunity to ascend. After the first round, the facilitator separates and labels the groups as squares, circles, and triangles. The squares represent the upper class or upper management. The circles represent the middle class or middle management. The triangles represent the lower class or laborers. In the following rounds, there is the addition of bonus points which the group needs to spend in a timely manner. From this point, things are stacked in favor of the squares.
Their resources (the bag of colored chips) contain more of the high point valued chips. At a point in the game, the squares make new rules with or without input from the other groups. The rules usually help maintain the power position of the squares whether knowingly or not. I think that this game illustrated well that those in power positions want to stay there. The squares made new rules that mostly benefited their group. They rationalized to themselves and the others that they thought the rules would help more people elevate their status. They would not want to investigate anything (i. e. hat the bags were not equal or the suggestion for a rule requiring one trade per round by all) because it might cause them to lose their status. I think that people can feel powerless to change things. Once I became aware that the squares had an unfair advantage, I did not really care about improving my score. I do not think that equality is a realistic expectation because those with power and wealth do not want to give it up. It was somewhat frustrating to try to trade with the squares and find them all sitting with arms crossed. Organizational structure can influence communication within an organization.
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The squares were set up around a table by the windows. The circles and triangles were in chairs in loose circles where communication with all group members was sometimes difficult. There were many strategies put forth within the triangle group to help each other. Most of the time there was consensus. The triangles cooperated with each other to help advance their members while the other groups cooperated amongst themselves to keep their position. As for trust and competition, there were examples that showed that you could not always trust those that you helped promote by giving them the bonus points.
They made promises that they would help bring more up that did not happen. This was an interesting way to spend a speech class. This game did provide some insights about power and communication within a company or organization or country. I do not think either the flat or the tall structure is ideal. The people in an organization ultimately influence how power is wielded and how communication flows. In general, people are decent but they want to preserve what they have. Not everyone wants to be in the top echelon of an organization but most of us want fairness, security and recognition for a job well done.
Our square group did not show the greed and lack of conscience that can occur when a few people have most of the power and wealth. Our triangle group did not become angry or self-pitying or start cheating. It would have been interesting if the triangles and circles had decided to play by their own rules (i. e. pooling chips to move people to the next level). If enough of the lower classes were able to get to the highest level, maybe they could put equality back into the system. That would be a justified revolution.