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In organizational development (OD), the phrase group process refers to the behavior of people in groups, such as task groups that are trying to solve a problem or make a decision. An individual with expertise in group process, such as a trained facilitator, can assist a group toward accomplishing its objective by diagnosing how well the group is functioning as a problem solving or decision making entity and subsequently intervening to alter the group's operating behavior.
Because people gather in groups for reasons other than task accomplishment, group process occurs in other types of groups such as personal growth groups (e.g. encounter groups, study groups, prayer groups). Even in such cases, an individual with expertise in group process can be helpful in the role of facilitator.
Some dimensions of group process
Some of the aspects of group process that a process consultant would look at include:
- Patterns of communication and coordination
- Patterns of influence
- Patterns of dominance (e.g. who leads, who defers)
- Balance of task focus vs social focus
- Level of group effectiveness
- How conflict is handled
This list includes, but is not limited too: acceptance, behavioral rehearsal, changing member's perspectives of themselves, changing member's perspectives of the world, catharsis, extinction, role modeling, learning new coping strategies, mutual affirmation, personal goal setting, instilling hope, justification, normalization, positive reinforcement, reducing social isolation, reducing stigma, self-disclosure, sharing (or "opening up"), and showing empathy.
- Collaborative method
- Communication in small groups
- Group dynamics
- Group problem solving
- Team building
- Self-help groups for mental health
- Team Building by William Dyer, 3rd Edition, Prentice Hall 1994.
- Process Consultation by Edgar Schein, Prentice Hall 1998.
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