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Large Group Interventions

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This chapter is all about the unique dynamics that is shared in Large Group Interventions and how to deal with the problems that arises in such groups. At the junction of three intellectual traditions such as psychoanalytic theory, psychology and systems theory that are applied to any organisations, emergence of large group interventions occur. LGI are designed to engage people so that they can think and act efficiently and effectively by keeping mind the whole systems perspective. Kurt Lewin took the innovative to learn the behaviour of people by putting them in small groups. Thus he along with Lippitt conducted many such researches and engaging people in discussions in small groups. The process of getting engage in small groups and reflecting on the same gave rise to a new social innovation called T-group or sensitivity training group.

This study done by Lewin lead to the foundation of National Training Laboratories (NTL) by Bradford, Benne and Lippitt that mainly help individuals to learn about the groups, considering themselves as members and leaders of the group and experiencing the change. Lewin’s study on various aspects of the group life was carried further by the above mentioned people.

LGI are suited for handling complexity that usually traditional model have. The Tavistock Tradition describes the three basic assumptions i.e. dependence, fight or flight and pairing. These assumptions either can inhibit or facilitate the primary task of any groups. Later in this chapter the concept of open system theory with the dilemmas that are associated with the operation of the larger groups is discussed. the major problem associated with the larger groups are that some people talk a lot while some stay silent. This is because people do not get an opportunity to deliver, most feel it difficult when recognised. Thus these people who find it difficult to speak becomes more passive and it becomes difficult for them to come out of it while the people who speak more gets the lead. This phenomenon is described as “Diffusion of Responsibility” in the chapter. According to this theory the more the size if the group increases, the self sense of responsibility for the group decreases which effects the performance of an individual adversely. So one of the solution for the problem stated earlier is Simu-Real that individuates a person in by placing him in his own work groups. This encourages a person to be responsible for their own experience. In this method an individual is played in small group which allow them to participate and get engaged and thus they accomplish the task assigned to the large group easily.

The conundrum of structure that leads to complete disorganisation. Because of the people from different cultures and their different views, anxiety always develop in the large groups. This can be solved by defining the agendas and job descriptions very clearly to the group members. But the only problem in front of us is that we do not know what structure is required to hold the anxiety that is existing in the group.

The egocentric dilemma is the next issue discussed in the chapter where different people come up with different perspectives on organisational reality and they think that their perspective is the only true reality neglecting the others. So in order to ensure that different people share their view with each other it is necessary that they interact with the people from different departments of an organisation.

The contribution of Bion is described in the later part of the chapter that describes how affect flows in larger groups with its implications. In and all this chapter describes the functioning of larger groups is absolutely different from those of small groups, with highlighting the major issues like individuation and affective contagion that exist in large groups that can be dealt by increasing interaction among the people, forming the small groups within the large group, formulation of a better structure that reduces chaos by increasing harmony among the individuals.

This chapter is all about the unique dynamics that is shared in Large Group Interventions and how to deal with the problems that arises in such groups. At the junction of three intellectual traditions such as psychoanalytic theory, psychology and systems theory that are applied to any organisations, emergence of large group interventions occur. LGI are designed to engage people so that they can think and act efficiently and effectively by keeping mind the whole systems perspective. Kurt Lewin took the innovative to learn the behaviour of people by putting them in small groups. Thus he along with Lippitt conducted many such researches and engaging people in discussions in small groups. The process of getting engage in small groups and reflecting on the same gave rise to a new social innovation called T-group or sensitivity training group.

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