1. Interpersonal and Group process Interventions
The interventions are aimed at helping group members assess their
interactions and devise more effective ways of working together. These interventions re
present a basic skill requirement for an OD practitioner.
Interpersonal relationships and group dynamics, involve four types of interventions:
2. Process consultation.
3. Third-party intervention.
4. Team building.
T-group, is an early forerunner of modern OD interventions. Its direct use in
OD has lessened considerably. The National Training Laboratories (NTL)
and UCLA are among the few remaining organizations that offer T-groups on
a regular basis.
OD practitioners often attend T-
groups to improve their own functioning. For example, T-groups can help OD
practitioners become more aware of how others perceive them and thus increase their
effectiveness with client systems.
2. Interpersonal and Group process Interventions
What Are the Goals?
T-groups traditionally are designed to provide members with experiential
learning about group dynamics,
leadership, and interpersonal relations. The basic T-group consists of ten
to fifteen strangers who meet with a professional trainer to explore
the social dynamics that emerge from their interactions.
Modifications of this basic design have generally moved
in two directions. The first path has used T-group methods to
help individuals gain deeper personal understanding and development. This intr
apersonal focus typically is called an encounter group or a personal-growth
It generally is considered outside the boundaries of OD and should
be conducted only by professionally trained clinicians.
The second direction uses T-group techniques to
explore group dynamics and member relationships within an
intact work group. Considerable training in T-
group methods and group dynamics should
he acquired before trying these interventions.
3. Interpersonal and Group process Interventions
there are six overall objectives common to most T-groups,
although not every practitioner need accomplish every objective in every T-
group. These objectives are:-
Increased understanding, insight, and self-
awareness about one's own behavior and its impact on
others, including the ways in which others interpret one's behavior.
increased understanding and sensitivity about the behavior of others, including
interpretation of both verbal and nonverbal clues, which increases awareness an
d understanding of what other people are thinking and feeling.
Better understanding and awareness of group and inter-
group processes, both those that facilitate
and those that inhibit group functioning.
Increased diagnostic skills in interpersonal and inter-
group situations. Accomplishing the first three objectives provides
the basic tools for accomplishing the fourth objective.
Increased ability to transform learning into action so that real-life
will be successful in increasing member satisfaction, output, or effectiveness.
4. Interpersonal and Group process Interventions
Improvement in individuals' ability to analyze their own interpersonal behavior as well as
how to help themselves and others with whom they come in contact, achieve more satisfying,
rewarding, and effective interpersonal relationships.
These goals seem to meet many T-
group applications, although any one training program may emphasize
one goal more than the others. One trainer may emphasize understanding group process as
applied to organizations; another may focus on group process as
a way of developing individuals' understanding of
themselves and others; and a third trainer may concentrate primarily on
interpersonal and intrapersonal learning.
Process consultation (PC) is a general framework for carrying out helping relationships. It
is oriented to helping managers, employees, and groups assess and improve processes, such as
interpersonal relations, decision making and task performance. Schein argues that effective co
nsultants and managers should be good helpers, aiding others in getting things
done and in achieving the goals they have set. Thus, PC
is more a philosophy than a set of techniques aimed at performing this helping relationship.
The philosophy ensures that those who are receiving
the help own their problems, gain the skills and
expertise to diagnose them, and solve them themselves. Thus, it is
an approach to helping people and groups help themselves.
5. Interpersonal and Group process Interventions
Schein defines process consultation as "the creation of a
relationship that permits the client to perceive, understand, and act on
the process events that occur in (her/his) internal and external environment in
order to improve the situation as defined by
the client." The process consultant does not offer expert help in the form of
solutions to problems, as in the doctor-
patient model. Rather, the process consultant works to
develop relationships, observes groups and people in
action, helps them diagnose the way they are
carrying out tasks, and helps them learn how to he more effective.
Process consultation deals primarily with five important interpersonal and group
• 1. communications,
• 2. the functional roles of group members,
• 3. the ways in which the group solves problems and makes decisions,
• 4. group norms development, and
• 5. The use of leadership and authority
6. Interpersonal and Group process Interventions
One of the process consultant's areas of interest is the nature and style of
communication at both the overt and covert levels. At the overt level,
communication issues involve who talks to whom, for how long, and
how often. One method for describing group communication is to keep a
time log of how often and to whom people talk.
For example, at an hour-long meeting conducted by
a manager, the longest anyone
other than the manager got to speak was one minute, and that minute was allot
ted to the assistant manager. Rather than telling the manager that he
is cutting people off, the consultant can give descriptive feedback by citing the
number of times others tried to talk and the amount of time
they were given. The consultant
must make certain that the feedback is descriptive and not evaluative (good
or bad), unless the individual or group is ready for evaluative feedback.
7. Interpersonal and Group process Interventions
the manager uses several techniques to analyze the communications processes i
n a work group.
Observe. How often and how long does each member talk during a group discussio
n? These observations can be easily recorded on paper and referred to
later when analyzing group behavior. It is also useful to
keep a record of who talks to whom.
Identify. Who are the most influential listeners in
the group? Noticing eye contact between members can give insights on the
communication processes. Sometimes one person, and perhaps not even the
person who speaks most frequently, is the one focused on by others as
Interruptions. Who interrupts whom? Is there a pattern in the
interruptions? What are the apparent effects of the interruptions?
The manager will probably share this information with the group to enable the m
embers to better understand how they communicate with one another.
8. Interpersonal and Group process Interventions
Functional Roles of Group Members
The process consultant must be keenly aware of
the different roles individual members take on in a group.
Both upon entering and while remaining in a group,
the individual must determine a self-identity influence,
and power that will satisfy personal needs while working to accomplish group go
als. Preoccupation with individual needs or
power struggles can reduce the effectiveness of a group severely, and unless the
individual can expose and share those personal needs to some degree, the group is
unlikely to be productive. Therefore,
the process consultant must help the group confront and work through these ne
Two other functions need to be performed if a group is to be effective: (1) task-
related activities, such as
giving and seeking information and elaborating, coordinating, and evaluating act
ivities; and (2) group-
maintenance actions, directed toward holding the group together as
a cohesive team, including encouraging,harmonizing,
compromising, setting standards, and observing. Most ineffective groups perfor
m little group maintenance, and this is a primary reason for bringing in
a process consultant.
9. Interpersonal and Group process Interventions
Group Problem Solving and Decision Making:
To be effective,
a group must be able to identity problems, examine alternatives, and make decisions. The
first part of this process is the most important. Groups often fail to
distinguish between problems (either task-related or
interpersonal) and symptoms. Once the group identifies the problem, a process consultant
can help the group analyze its approach, restrain the group from reacting too quickly and making a
premature diagnosis, or suggest additional options.
For example, a consultant was asked to process a group's actions during a three-
hour meeting that had been taped. The tapes revealed that premature rejection of
a suggestion had severely retarded the group's process. After one member's suggestion at
the beginning of the meeting was quickly rejected by the
manager, he repeated his suggestion several times in
the next hour. Each time his suggestion was rejected
quickly. During the second hour, this member became quite negative, opposing most of
the other ideas offered. Finally, toward the end of
the second hour, he brought up his proposal again.
At that time, it was thoroughly discussed and then rejected for reasons that the member accepted.
During the third hour, this person was one of the most productive members of the group, offering
constructive and worth while ideas, suggestions, and recommendations. In addition, he was able to
integrate the comments of others, to modify them, and to come up with useful, integrated new sugg
However, it was not until his first suggestion had been thoroughly discussed (even though it was final
ly rejected) that he was able to become a truly constructive member of the group.
Once the problem has been identified, a decision must be made
10. Interpersonal and Group process Interventions
Leadership and Authority:
A process consultant needs to understand processes of leadership and how differ
ent leadership styles can help or hinder a group's functioning. In addition, the
consultant can help the leader adjust her or his style to fit the situation.
An important step in that process is for the leader to gain a better
understanding of his or her own behavior and the group's reaction
to that behavior. It also is important that the leader become aware of
alternative behaviors. For example, after gaining a better understanding
of his or her assumptions about human behavior, the leader may do a
better job of testing and perhaps changing those assumption.
11. Interpersonal and Group process Interventions
These interventions are aimed at the process, content, or structure of the group.
Process interventions sensitize the group to its own internal processes and generate interest i
those processes. Interventions include comments, questions, or observations about
· Relationships between and among group members
· Problem solving and decision making
· The identity and purpose of the group.
Content interventions help the group determine what it works on. They
include comments, questions, or observations about
· Group membership
· Agenda setting, review, and testing procedures
· Interpersonal issues
· Conceptual inputs on task-related topics.
Structural interventions help the group examine the stable and recurring methods it uses to
accomplish tasks. They include comments, questions, or observations about the following:
· Methods for dealing with external issues, such as inputs, resources, and customers methods for
determining goals, developing strategies, accomplishing work, assigning responsibility, monitoring
progress, and addressing problems
· Relationships to authority, formal rules, and levels of intimacy.
12. Interpersonal and Group process Interventions
Third-party intervention focuses on
conflicts arising between two or more people within the same
organization. Conflict is inherent in groups and organizations and can arise from a
variety of sources,include differences in
personality, task orientation, and perceptions among group members, as well as
competition for scarce resources. To emphasize that conflict is neither good nor bad
per se is important.
Conflict can enhance motivation and innovation and lead to greater understanding
of ideas and views. On the other hand, it can prevent people from working together
constructively, destroying necessary task
interactions among group members. Consequently, third-
party intervention is used primarily in situations in
which conflict significantly disrupts necessary task interactions and work relationship
s among members. Third-party intervention varies considerably depending on
the kind of issues underlying the conflict.
Conflict can arise over substantive issues, such as work methods, pay rates, and cond
itions of employment;or
it can emerge from interpersonal issues, such as personalities and misperceptions.
13. Interpersonal and Group process Interventions
A team is
a group of individuals with complementary skills who depend upon one another
common purpose or set of performance goals for which they hold themselves mutua
Teamwork is work done when members subordinate their personal prominence for t
he good of the team. Members of
effective teams are open and honest with one another, there is
support and trust, there is a high degree of
cooperation and collaboration, decisions are reached by consensus, communication
channelsare open and well developed, and there is a strong commitment to
the team's goals.
Many organizations are attempting to increase productivity by implementing team-
based programs. Almost 80% of all companies have some type of team-
based, employee involvement program in place. Just like the
Army believes that individuals perform better when they are part of a stable group;
they are more reliable,and they take responsibility for the success of
the overall operation.
Developing teams is necessary because technology and market demands are compel
ling manufactures to make their products faster, cheaper, and better.
14. Interpersonal and Group process Interventions
One major OD technique, termed team building or team development,
is used for increasing the communication, cooperation, and cohesiveness of
units to make them productive and effective. Team building is
an intervention where the members of a work group examine such things
as their goals,
structure, procedures, culture, norms, and interpersonal relationships, to impro
ve their ability to work together effectively and efficiently.
Need for Team Building:
Work teams may be of two basic types:
1. Natural work team people come together because they
do related jobs or because of the structure of the organizations design.
2. Temporary task team groups meet for limited periods to work on
a specific project or problem and disband after they solve it.