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Notes on Meeting No.7 of Safeguard Group


OCRd copy




 Notes on Meeting No.7., Thursday 13th November, 1969


Present: Harold Beck, Murdoch Dahl, Bob Dray, Roy Evans.

The basis of the Safeguard Group was reaffirmed viz.:- examination of purposeful uses of knowledge of group psychological processes with a view to recommending safeguards against misuses.

Danger of elite of T-Groupers.  Other methods of leadership training worthy of recognition.  Too much T-Group activity going on without public being aware.  Safeguard Group should publicise the activity, set the facts before the general public.

Managers are not God-given judges.  They are concerned with the whole person but from one aspect only.  Managers do not have need of services of priest.  Doctors also are only concerned from a limited point of view.  Priests are concerned with the whole person from all aspects, from before the cradle to beyond the grave.  The Church has a heavy responsibility in training leaders.  Nobody is in a position to do as much harm to other people as is a priest.  The services of a priest are much to be prefered to those of a social worker.

Identification of purposeful group situations in Industry.

FORMAL range  from:-

Stranger T-Groups made from members of different organisations, through Intermediate groups formed by horizontal (same level, different depts.) selection or diagonal (different levels and depts.) selection from the same organisation to Familial T-Groups in which members come from the same department, working group etc.  Most difficult is vertical selection i.e. from different levels in the same working group.  Success in these circumstances depends on the nature of the organisation e.g. whether it is Mechanistic or Organic, Authoritarian, Collaborative or Manipulative.  A member brought up in a hierarchical environment would not take kindly to a T-Group experience.

INFORMAL though purposeful use of group processes include:-

Unstructured Committees.  Non-participative chairmen, non-adherance to agenda produces T-Group situation which generates tensions which may be heightened by planned provocation by one of the members.  Can be conducive to exposure of real issues, therefore used purposefully to further ostensible function of the committee.  Alternatively can be used to study relationships or to condition or control for purposes not associated with the committee's ostensible function.

Programmed Committee.  To bring group pressure to bear on individual.  In the limit can be based on beavioural experiments in which all but one member are programmed to respond differently from the individual.  Purposes may be to determine individual's behaviour under stress as part of management development, to undermine confidence of rival etc.  Programming can also take place to influence group processess e.g. decisions.  Lobbying individual members is simplest well-known form.  In the limit each member's habits, interests etc. would be studied and indirect influence brought to bear by any means available.

Brainstorming Sessions.  An "unfrozen" group situation in which a flow of ideas is encouraged.  One person's idea triggers off another's.  Creativity is enhanced by association of different planes of knowledge and experience.  Criticism generally deferred until after the group session.

Intermediary Group.  Communication with or manipulation of individual by passing messages through intermediaries, who have the appearance of a group to the individual.  Message passing can be direct or indirect (e.g. non-verbal, sublimal etc.).  Messages may inform, query, mislead, encourage, harrass etc., according to the purpose of the source group.

Management Development

Management Educator e.g. teacher of management subjects in educational establishment, unfreezes student but does not then refreeze student in any particular direction..  Unfrozen person may be indecisive or disruptive.

Paid Management  Trainer.  Unfreezes the trainee and then freezes in the cluster of attitudes required by the goals of the sponsoring organisation.

Unfreezing  Other methods of unfreezing in addition to the T-Group and the Schein methods are Case Studies (the Bible is full of them) and Role Playing, both of which can be group processes.

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