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Faciliated work groups: theory and practice

Phillips, Lawrence D. and Phillips, Maryann C. (1993) Faciliated work groups: theory and practice. Journal of the Operational Research Society, 44 (6). pp. 533-549. ISSN 0160-5682

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Identification Number: 10.1057/jors.1993.96


This paper concerns the facilitation of working groups whose general aims are to achieve a shared understanding of issues, a sense of common purpose and a mutual commitment to action. We see the main role of the facilitator in such a group as contributing to process and structure, not content. This view is coloured by our assumptions about groups and how their work can be facilitated: that groups have an emotional life which influences and is influenced by each participant who experiences a tension between what is best for the group and what is personally desired, and that the facilitator's main tasks are to see and understand the group life, intervening only to help the group maintain a task orientation to its work. To understand the group the facilitator observes verbal and non-verbal behaviour, attends to relationships between participants and maintains awareness of his or her own feelings. For some work groups, the facilitator can be helped by computers, which provide an effective means externalizing many aspects of group work. By assigning to the computer the information manipulation and communication tasks, group members can concentrate their attention on the judgmental tasks, and the facilitator can attend better to group processes. Effectively used, computers can help a group maximize the creative and minimize the destructive aspects of its life.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 1993 Palgrave Macmillan
Divisions: Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2015 14:37
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2021 11:04

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