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Group Questing or Twelving

Proposal for a large-scale small-group development process (Part #1)


Variant subsequently published as Facilitating Group Formation in Transnational Associations, 1977, 7-8, pp. 302-304 [as a PDF version]


Introduction
Proposal
Objective

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Introduction

It will be assumed that the readers of this note have information enabling them to accept the following points without substantiating arguments:h

1. Individuals in society are increasingly isolated in terms of meaningful inter-personal interaction despite the extensive development of communications of every kind. It is therefore appropriate to consider processes whereby such Interaction could be facilitated or catalyzed.

2. The manner in which individuals are isolated in society issuch that they tend to form links amongst people with similar backgrounds, situations or goals thus depriving themselves of meaningful exposure to individuals with different world-views with whom interaction may be mutually beneficial and richer in other ways. It is therefore appropriate to consider processes whereby adequate mixing (randomization) could occur but balanced by some measure of selectivity.

3. Society is so structured that new Inter-personal Interaction may well be perceived as a threat to existing relationships between people. It is therefore appropriate to consider processes which provide some measure of protection for existing relationships whilst allowing new relationships to develop.

4. Small groups (of approximately 7-15 people) tend to provide the context within which new degrees of inter-personal interaction are explored. It is therefore appropriate to consider processes which Increase awareness on the part of group participants of the dynamics and structure of the group.

5. The increasing complexity of society demands of individuals an increased ability to respond appropriately to that complexity rather than closing themselves off from it. It is therefore appropriate to consider processes which help people to increase their ability to handle social complexity, particularly within and with the support of a group .

6. In the face of the wide range of social problems each individual feels increasingly unable to undertake any remedial or compensatory action of any significance - particularly when the experts disagree on the course of action which should be taken and when political or governmental action appears to be of questionable value. It is thetefore appropriate to consider processes which facilitate the emergence ofgroups whose own dynamics lead, if appropriate and desired, to the formulation of goals and to the implementation of projects - namely to the emergence of self-motivated and self-aware groups progressively better able to evaluate the utility and value of their own activities.

7. Whilst it is possible to develop and Implement small scale (laboratory) experiments to respond to the conditions identified above, the value of such exercises is limited unless they have built-in characteristics which make it possible to use them on a large scale. It is therefore appropriate to consider processes which are largely self-energizing, which do not require a large investment, and which are desired by, rather than imposed upon, those for whom they are conceived. They should have widespread appeal (with a built in "snow-ball" effect) in order to be of significance at this time.

8. It is a characteristic of the times that any such process is immediately suspect, and therefore of questionable value, if it is perceived as constituting an imposition upon those involved, or a form of "programming". It is therefore appropriate to consider processes in which what must necessarily be imposed (for there to be the minimal structure far the organization of the process) should have the characteristics of the rules or regulations of a new social game. The content of that game is what emerges from the interactions in which the individuals engage.

content of that game is what emerges from the interactions in which the individuals engage.


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