Future Search Conferences LO6405

Thu, 4 Apr 1996 05:40:17 -0500

Replying to LO6386 --

In response to sjlux@maxwell.syr.edu (Steven J. Lux) who writes:
>Question #1 - Are there search conference case studies that would be
>relevant for me to study before we writing the proposal for this project?

There are several models for Search Conferences - Weisbord, Emery,
Axelrod, etc. all of which are slightly different. One resource you may
want to get is a "Discovering Common Ground" by Marvin Weisbord. There
are examples in this book which may be helpful. Personally I prefer the
Emery model which is strongly theory-based and have examples of its use
which I would be happy to share with you if you e-mail me directly.

>Question #2 - Should one be concerned about the readiness of the audience
>to accept the search conference methodology, or does the theory suggest
>search conferences are appropriate for any group of people regardless of
>their prior exposure to systems thinking and shared visions?

Readiness is important because (at least in the Emery model) there is the
real potential to impact the underlying structure since people are brought
together to do work and implement it in ways that are not part of the
existing organization structure. If the organization or community is not
prepared to have people (selected because they understand a piece of the
puzzle being considered in the Search not because of title or
constituency) actually design and work toward a future, then the chances
of success are limited.

I take a very specific view of the Search Conference definition and
believe it requires a good understanding of the theory if it is to be
effective - many people do and call many things Search Conferences.
Having co-managed one and learned the Emery process from someone committed
to it over others, I guess that commitment rubbed off.

There is training available periodically in the US on the Emery model (two
places I know of are Loyola University Chicago which is offering a course
this summer and New Mexico - I can get the details - where Merrelyn Emery
teaches the process periodically.) There may be other places as well.

If you'd like to discuss in more depth than the rest of the list might
care to, please e-mail me directly.

Good luck!

Paula Bartholome

"The greatest problem with communication is the illusion it has been

-- George Bernard Shaw



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