Re: Re: I don't buy the "stages of groups" theory.
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 10 Dec 2001 12:06:01 -0700 (MST)
> This sort of "structuration theory" gets criticised because people think the
> stages necessarily have to take lots of time and be about as subtle as
> Bigfoot dancing on the roof with Rudolf.  Not necessarily so, and the
> theorists (not working exclusively for their own purposes) have tried to be
> careful to specify as much.

It's also true that individuals in the group are going through the stages at
different times. For a group to work, the individuals often have to "slow
down" or "speed up" to keep in step. You can go through two stages in one
meeting and take half a year of meetings to get through the next one.

"Stages" can be seen as a convenient word for describing a process.

The best definition of good theory came from a study of what makes good
teaching in the elementary classroom. The leader said "What we wanted to
develop was a theory that the best teachers said was just right. One that
stated clearly what they knew from experience, often having never tried to
explain it."

Much theory is, of course, not based on experience and is not developed out
of observation much less measured against experience. That doesn't make the
idea of theory bad, only confirms that as in all things, there are good ones
and bad ones.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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