Currently, the intergroup and institutional events are conceptualized and implemented variously in order to respond to differing purposes and cultural contexts. Frequent experimentation, albeit extemporaneous and unexamined, and innovation in regards to the structures, philosophy, and realization of the events mark the intergroup and institutional events as dynamic components of group-relations’ sociotechnical methodology.
Intergroup events allow conference members to form groups, using their own criteria as to membership, size, and manner of functioning. During a plenary opening, the director describes the aim of the intergroup event as the study of the covert and overt processes occurring within, between, and among the participating groups. Alternatively, a written outline of the event's purpose and structure is placed on each of the seats intended for the assembly of participating members.
The number and identity of work spaces set apart and authorized for the groups' tasks are made public, as is the location during the event of the staff and management of the conference. To dissuade members from reconstituting their pre-existing small study groups or systems, the number of spaces allocated for member groups during the intergroup event is usually one more than the number of small study groups offered in the conference.
After opening remarks and response to members' requests for clarification, the director usually departs the plenary room, in order to address tasks of direction within the staff subsystem. A staff consultant, alone or together with a consultant to the member-staff boundary, may remain in the plenary room space in order to be available to assist members in rational subdivision into groups. The staff consultant's task is finished when all members acknowledge, by word or deed, their alignment with one of the subdivisions effected. At this point, the staff consultant and boundary consultant exit the space used for the plenary opening of the intergroup event.
Rarely, members may be assigned
to groups constituted on the basis of race or nationality (Instituto Mexicano
de Relaciones Grupales y Organizacionales, 1993; Walker, 1993). In
conferences with multiple categories of members, such as those with and
without previous conference experience, some members may not be scheduled
to engage in the intergroup event. Likewise, staff 's participation
may vary. The entire staff, a subset of the staff group, or just
the consulting staff members may publicly participate in the activities
of the intergroup event.
Types of intergroup event
Intergroup and institutional event foci
The director's tasks
Structures: Paradigms for learning
The staff room's boundaries
The member-staff boundary consultant's entry into members' groups
The learning tasks of intergroup representation and negotiation
Related topic: Study group consultancy: Elements of the task
© 1998, 1999 by Dr. Stan De Loach. All rights reserved.