1/ Research group meetings: Pros and cons

These are the ones where a paper/book/project is openly discussed and criticized.

Their dynamic is present in very few places (scientific research, theological debate, close friendships). IMO, most organizations have no idea it exists.
2/ Pro: They are great if you avoid groupthink. Always have someone other than the boss present so that dissent doesn't become associated with career risk.

Pro: This setting flattens organizations. If you have an idea, speak up: don't bother raising your hand.
3/ Pro: A good boss loves getting criticized here. If you get in a friendly argument with him in a safe setting and win, you've shown you can add something to the organizations' research efforts.

Pro: It's hard for people to get away with fudging ideas. Always present evidence!
4/ Pro: If you try to over-politicize everything (think Twitter), you either have to present strong evidence or face a barrage of criticism from half the people in the room. (But this dynamic becomes dangerous if your group is dominated by one political ideology!)
5/ Con: It's still a meeting, and it can still be boring. Someone still has to run the meeting, which creates a status distinction that can allow the boss to unconsciously give more floor time to pet ideas and the unspoken (sometimes problematic) assumptions within the field.
6/ Con: Some topics are unsafe for discussion: experiment types that consistently fails to replicate but which the group is also currently performing; exemplars in textbooks that don't replicate or have problematic assumptions (CAPM, the Miller-Urey experiment, among many others)
7/ If your group is doing factor research, it's safe to criticize CAPM, but criticizing assumptions outside your immediate purview may be off-limits. ("Why don't benchmarks use ensembles with respect to rebalancing methods and factor definitions?" My guess is you get shot down.)
8/ There are fundamental debates in other fields that your group may not notice because the research and vocabulary of those fields is too different. This engenders overconfidence in textbooks/outward appearance of consensus that actually doesn't exist.

9/ Con: Even though you hated those meetings, you'll miss them once you start working for a different (more "normal") sort of organization. Being too critical of the status quo can get you fired, and you end up reading philosophy by yourself while contemplating your future.

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