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No group of people I have worked with ever seems to conform to any model of group development. Which is not frustrating. Quite the opposite. I get frustrated by programmes designed for average groups - that never (of course) exist.
Reading is no substitute for direct experience, but I do find the 'Gestalt' books below to be the closest to my own experiences of what happens in groups. It is the very diversity of people and groups that makes group facilitation such a rewarding (if challenging) experience!
A Handbook for People Meeting With a Purpose
Dale Hunter, Anne Bailey, Bill Taylor
Good stuff for novice and experienced group leaders.
I saw this book being used by a trainer I was working with, and had to
It covers all types of groups, from a bunch of friends coming together to arrange a holiday away, to experienced therapeutic groups. The authors forgo the normal forming, storming etc in favour of a more sophisticated model of group development, and then elegantly show how this model can apply to all groups. ...
This is a powerful text, suitable for all levels, with stuff you will want to read over and over again. If you only buy one "group" book, get this one...
(Reviewed by email@example.com) See Stephen Pridgeon's full review.
the publisher) Tips
& Tools offers practical ideas and key ingredients for
enhancing group facilitation including:
More information from the publisher:
This best-selling text is a broad, integrative overview of group
dynamics presented in a well researched, readable, and experiential
This text introduces readers to the theory and research findings needed to understand how to make groups effective, and it helps build the skills required to apply that knowledge in practical situations. More than a textbook, Joining Together illustrates how this knowledge and mastery of skills creates choices, opportunities, and successes for each individual.
Synopsis: Providing an overview of group dynamics, this textbook introduces the theory, research findings, and practical skills related to building effective groups. Coverage includes such topics as experiential learning; goals, interdependence, and trust; communication; leadership; power; decision making; conflict.
See full review at: amazon.co.uk and this review in the list of recommended books at infed.org
|Book Description: Increasingly, people working in teams face complex issues that need resolving in an efficient, participatory manner that honors the group’s diverse perspectives and individual creativity. The Workshop Book outlines the best practices of the workshop method, based on the Institute for Cultural Affair’s Technology of Participation,™ and its use in consensus formation, planning, problem solving, and research. It also discusses workshop preparation and design, leadership styles, dealing with difficult behaviors, and special applications such as its use in large groups and for planning purposes. (amazon.com)
Large Group Interventions presents a comprehensive overview of twelve
of the most powerful methods of large group interventions in use today.
This comprehensive guide describes the methods' origins, explores their
differences and similarities, and presents vivid examples and case
studies of each intervention method in action. Bring together as many
as two thousand employees and customers in one location for activities
as diverse as creating future direction, restructuring the
organization, solving problems, and generating new ideas.
Large Group Interventions covers: **A brief history of large group
interventions **The search conference **Real-time strategic change
**Participative design **Large group dynamics Large Group Interventions
is the first and only book to present and compare different large group
intervention methods and describe the situations and conditions under
which each might be used.
Synopsis: As more and more organizations shift from a traditional hierarchical structure to a more flexible and participate networking style, leaders are aware of the need for a decision-making process that reflects this style. Large group interventions can provide this process, bringing together as many as 2000 employees and customers together in one location for activities as diverse as solving a particular company problem or creating a vision of the organization's future. This volume presents a comprehensive overview of the 11 different models of large group intervention currently in practice. It explores their similarities and differences, describes their origins, and presents these methods with examples and case studies that give the reader first hand accounts of each intervention.
|Reviewed by Chris Loynes:
This may be the first text for a long while that seeks to explore the
learning group experience instead of transferring ideas and practices
other types of groups into this context. Martin draws mainly on
psycho-dynamic ideas of groups but he does this critically not bringing
things that only work in the settings in which the ideas were developed
one to one therapy. He also brings in other ideas as they seem to him
explain phenomena we experience in learning groups or help the
understand their experience in act in role.
Martin has a background in corporate and youth social work and what he has to say is linked to examples from both. Outdoor people will enjoy and be intrigued by the wombat story.
Although the book is theory rich it is well written and I found it easy to connect the ideas to experience and practice. The main part of the book does focus on the implications to practice of Martin's ideas.
I've adopted it as a key text for our MA degree. I recommend it.
(reviewed by Chris Loynes. The MA reference is explained on the careers page)
Synopsis: Groups provide a powerful medium for therapeutic work, and are the building blocks of all institutions - whether in the education, health, government, or private sectors. Martin Ringer outlines techniques for understanding groups that should be relevant to those who lead teams in any setting. The result is a guide to both leading a group, and to understanding the necessary dynamics that should result in the best teamwork. Throughout, the author uses his experience to try and make his points as accessible as possible to all readers - whether or not they have a formal background in group psychology. (amazon.co.uk)
You will find a flyer and book reviews from Australia, Germany and the UK
at the author's website.
|Reviewed by Roger Greenaway: This book is definitely about group facilitation - although its potential application is far broader. Each double page is a single topic with an image on the left and a few paragaphs on the right. John Heider is a master of capturing what matters on one side of A5. You won't find any recipes but you will find plenty of valuable insights. Good medicine for anxious, intrusive or manipulative facilitators and a tonic for everyone else. (Roger Greenaway)
A training manual and sourcebook for facilitators, managers and leaders
who want to encourage full participation, promote mutual understanding,
and help groups build inclusive, sustainable agreements. It presents
more than 200 valuable tools and skills and places them in the context
of a lucid, realistic model of the dynamics of group decision-making.
This Guide will help all facilitators improve their diagnostic
judgement and increase their repertoire of methods and skills for
supporting groups to make sound, saner decisions.
See Paula Green's detailed and favourable review published in Fellowship July/August 1997
|A book to help members of groups. This is a practical, readable and affordable introduction to groupwork - with useful matchstick figure illustrations. (78 pages) (Roger Greenaway)
A practical and readable introduction to groupwork
with useful matchstick figure illustrations! It also demonstrates
in action - a whole person approach to development.
Based on the author's BBC TV programmes. (Roger Greenaway)
|Book Description: No Contest stands as the definitive critique of competition. Contrary to accepted wisdom, competition is not basic to human nature; it poisons our relationships and holds us back from doing our best. In this new edition, Alfie Kohn argues that the race to win turns all of us into losers.
|Synopsis: The Interaction Method is a recently devised way to stop wasting time and get things done at meetings. This book covers the method that increases productivity, allows a feeling of greater participation, allocates types of meeting-goer, and shows how to develop agendas and meeting rooms.
|Synopsis: Every day, we must work with others to solve problems and make decisions. Yet these efforts at collaboration often leave us frustrated. This work reveals why collaborative problem-solving seems so hard, and describes five time-tested principles for making collaborative efforts more joyful. The principles are - Involve the Relevant Stakeholders, Build Consensus Phase by Phase, Design a Process Map, Designate a Process Facilitator, and Harness the power of Group memory.
|Book Description Faulty decision-making can have dire consequences, and when it comes to group decisions, the challenges are even greater. Join Dr. Jerry B. Harvey as he clearly illustrates why no organization wants to find themselves goin' to Abilene. See how group dynamics can keep individuals from stating their true beliefs for fear of isolation and separation, and how that often leads to mismanaged agreement. You'll learn to recognize the warning signs of risky group dynamics and improve decision-making processes throughout your organization.
|This essential text deals with the benefits of relaxation, covers both theoretical and practical relaxation methods, includes over 100 activity ideas, provides constructive guidelines for good practice and incorporates actual workshop themes. Including comprehensive appendices comprising of alternative therapies, further reading matter, useful addresses and visual aids, this manual will be of real value to both seasoned and beginner practitioners alike. (see the full review at Therapeutic Resources.com)
|A clear and practical introduction to the art of facilitation.
The Skilled Facilitator:
a Comprehensive Resource for Consultants, Facilitators, Managers, Trainers and Coaches
Roger M. Schwarz
Book Description: When it was published in 1994, Roger Schwarz's The Skilled Facilitator earned widespread critical acclaim and became a landmark in the field. The book is a classic work for consultants, facilitators, managers, leaders, trainers, and coaches--anyone whose role is to guide groups toward realizing their creative and problem-solving potential. This thoroughly revised edition provides the essential materials for facilitators and includes simple but effective ground rules for group interaction. Filled with illustrative examples, the book contains proven techniques for starting meetings on the right foot and ending them positively and decisively. This important resource also offers practical methods for handling emotions when they arise in a group and offers a diagnostic approach for identifying and solving problems that can undermine the group process.
|Synopsis: Facilitation is an innovative and stimulating book that guides you through the skills you need to help you develop as an effective facilitator. What makes this book unique is that it avoids being a simple 'how to' guide, but takes you on a journey through the facilitation skills the author, Trevor Bentley, has found essential in his own extensive experience. Chapter by chapter this book follows a real-life workshop facilitated by the author, from its inception to completion. In this way you are provided with living examples and illustrations of the high and low points of facilitation in practice. Entertaining and enlightening, this book will allow you to learn how to: Cope with group facilitation methods that will help group members to work constructively together Use intervention strategies to guide the group Manage the interaction between all parties involved - between you and the group, and the members of the group. (amazon.co.uk)
|Synopsis: In this text the author, Ingrid Bens, delineates a well-defined set of practices and tools for meeting facilitation, providing the participants with the structure they need to identify their goals and develop their own action plans. Bens demonstrates how to stay neutral, synthesize ideas, summarize content, ask questions and manage digression. In this hands-on workbook and CD-ROM package, she also provides process tools for facilitating brainstorming, priority setting, root-cause analysis and systematic problem-solving. (Amazon.co.uk)
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