By studying the dynamics of power, authority, leadership, diversity, and followership in experiential and reflective activities, participants have the opportunity to discover and consider behaviors and thought processes that support or detract from their own effectiveness and performance and that of their co-workers, employees, teams and organization as a whole. These Conferences benefit professionals in the fields of business, human resources, organizational development, education, and mental health.
The principles and methods of Group Relations conferences were first developed at the Center for Applied Research, Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, London, England, under the leadership of the late A.K. Rice. The A.K. Rice Institute was established in 1970 in the USA to advance knowledge of the dynamics of groups, organizations and social systems.
“The Conference was an eye-opening experience. A person’s own systems of the mind form a barrier that one is not even aware of.”
- This Conference is designed for individuals who wish to study the exercise of authority and diversity dynamics in groups and understand more about their own reactions to exercising and encountering authority. The Conference is organized as a sequence of group and institutional systems interactions. Events include experiential and reflective events.
- This educational model is based primarily on experiential learning and the application of this learning to roles in work and non-work settings. Members will study the often unconscious aspects of common group processes, including joining the group, assuming different roles, delegating and assuming authority and participating in a group task. Such hidden or covert processes have a major influence on how groups perform, and on the ability of groups and organizations to accomplish their primary task (activities, projects, goals).
- Small Study Group: consists of 8 – 12 members with two co-consultants. This group studies its own behavior and processes as it forms and changes throughout the Conference.
- Large Study Group: consists of all Conference members with a team of consultants. This group studies its own behavior in a setting where face-to-face interaction is difficult. This simulates the dynamics of large social systems as they struggle with formation, transition and change.
- Institutional System Event: consists of members forming groups of their choice, then interacting with other member groups and with the staff as consultants and management in order to develop a deeper understanding of the internal experience, thoughts and fantasies about management. In working on this task, members encounter issues with organizing and joining groups, assuming roles, identifying emerging leadership, and delegating power and authority. Staff in management roles will be available to be observed working in sessions in public and staff in consultant roles will be available to consult to member subsystems in order to collaborate with members in creating a more complex understanding of members’ relatedness to management.
- Plenaries: held three times during the Conference. The first two introduce the Conference and the Institutional Systems Event. The third is toward the end of the Conference and enables member and staff to review review together the Conference as a whole.
- The Review and Role Analysis Group: provides opportunities for members with similar “back home” roles (e.g. field of work, academic status, etc) to reflect on and examine their experiences and their roles from the different Conference events. Members will also have the opportunity to apply their Conference learning to “back home” organizational roles and group settings. Each group will have five to ten members and co-consultants.
- Post-Conference review and application sessions: may be scheduled and will be announced during the Conference.