The pendulum clock was invented by Christiaan Huygens (1629-1695). In his great book “Horologium Oscillatorium” published in 1673 he discusses pendulum clocks among other topics. Don Colbert, M.D. writes of Huygens, “One day as he lay in bed, staring at his clock collection on the other side of the room, he noticed that all of the pendulums were swinging in unison, even though he knew with certainty they hadn’t started out that way. Huygens got out of bed and restarted the pendulums, purposefully setting them at different times to break the synchronized rythm. To his amazement, in fairly short order, the pendulums began swinging together again.”
Later, scientists discovered that it was the largest clock with the strongest rhythm that was pulling the other pendulums into sync with itself. They gave this phenomenon the name “entrainment, ” which is apparent throughout nature.
Entrainment means to pull or to draw along after itself. Think of the power of the principle of entrainment in the workplace. In an article entitled “Microinequities: When Small Slights Lead to Huge Problems in the Workplace,” Eric C. Hinton wrote:
“A microinequity is defined as a subtle message, sometimes subconscious, that devalues, discourages and ultimately impairs performance in the work place. These messages can take the shape of looks, gestures or even tones. The cumulative effect of microinequitites often leads to damaged self-esteem and eventually, withdrawl from co-workers in the office.”
It is precisely this behavior that seeks to derail positive entrainment in the work environment and therefore may become very costly for a company in terms of productivity and human resources.
Companies that have actively sought to address microinequities understand that providing cultural awareness of and appreciation of others for who they are creates positive entrainment toward the most powerful bioethical osicialltor within the workplace: The common good of all.