Words-Worth: Tribes

Where does the word 'Tribes' come from?

by John Morrish
Last Updated: 27 Feb 2014

Time for a powwow about business 'tribes'. There are 'tribes' in the marketplace; you need to identify them and supply them with the right warpaint and wampum.

Your teams, groups and departments are rival 'tribes' too; you need to unite them and lead them, like Tecumseh with an expense account. Real 'tribes' claim to be family. These are just groups with their own interests: a subculture, if you like.

A French sociologist, Michel Maffesoli, first identified 'urban tribes' - punks, for instance - in 1988. It's a useful analogy; or it may all be Sitting Bull.

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