Re: Group Relations Conference LO2012
Mon, 10 Jul 1995 02:23:04 -0400

Replying to LO2003 -- Group Relations Conference (GRC) LO2003

>Host's Note: John, would you followup your own message and
>tell us a little about how these work?

I think that GRC's apply to learning organizations because they are
effective tools for moderating social defenses.

A social defense is an out-of-awareness process by which a group colludes
to avoid anxiety triggered by aspects of the organizational environment.
These defenses are destructive in that they impede the accomplishment of
"real work".

An example of a social defense in modern non-learning organizations is
dependency which I suggest lies behind the concept of "computer guru".
Workers refuse to take responsibility for learning about the house
computer system by asking questions of the local guru rather than even
attempting to find the answer on their own. The guru answers questions on
a question-by-question basis without seeking to teach. Some managements
support this behavior because it is more "efficient". But in the long
term it is less efficient because the guru becomes a bottleneck and the
individual workers give up some autonomy. Both of these effects slow down
the system.

A GRC is an experiential training procedure designed to bring into the GRC
members awareness their own anxiety driven behavior and in a protected
environment to explore alternative behaviors. The conference staff agrees
to provide members with the opportunity to learn but does not teach.
Understanding and experiencing this relationship is useful for members of
organizations that employ organizational consultants. It is also useful
for consultants who do not view their goal to be making themselves

If this summary proves interesting to the list, I can say more but GRCs
are not new technology. I am sure that many list participants have
experience with GRCs and could add useful information. Also as my old TM
teacher said "We can talk about strawberries until the cows come home.
Only tasting gives practical knowledge."