Re: Power Struggles After Move-In
From: Ruddick, T.R. (
Date: Mon, 10 Dec 2001 11:57:01 -0700 (MST)
Racheli and Diane and Fred, and Rob if he can stand hearing some more of an
imperfect theory that academics invented for their own purposes (nudge,
wink, all intended in fun with the joyous hope that we can joke around while
engaging in good debate)...

This is, alas, what the theory describes.  Big changes in groups, especially
in membership, run you back to the first stage, from there back into the
unplesant second stage with its power struggles and political factions.

The transition to the third stage often happens when people get tired of
conflict and start to withdraw or give in.  There's another way, not easy to
achieve (impossible to force) which seems more likely to propel the group
into that fourth (high-performance) stage.

It's call "shared rhetorical vision" or "group fantasy theme" or other
terms, and if you get the impression we don't really have the theory down
pat yet, you're right.

However, it happens when group members get happy with one another.  Not
necessarily that they agree, but they come together with a mutual sense of
excitement and eagerness.  The conversation gets unstructured, people
interrupt freely; they exchange visions, gags, quips, puns; they forget
time; they smile and make eye contact and perhaps touch; they sing,
ritualize, dramatize; they brainstorm, freewheel, and avoid hasty criticism
of ideas.

How to facilitate this transformation?  Try to change the environment, tone,
purpose, or process of meetings.  Reduce to smaller groups with fluid
membership which then come together.  Smile and be open yourself.

Remember that there are no guarantees.  Others can make it fail despite your
personal skills.
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