Leadership, Authority, & Otherness

The current psychohistorical moment appears to be a shared experience of global fracturing into adversarial chaos. This Group Relations Conference provides a unique opportunity to investigate the systemic forces that impact us as individuals and members — as well as our leadership roles within numerous groups and social identities — through the conference itself as a microcosm of the global shared experience.

The Art of Working Through Difference

Whether overtly or covertly, The Other is an eternally driving force in socio-political and organizational life. Today, we increasingly find ourselves in conflicts and misunderstandings based on otherness that foster polarization both within and between our societies. The potential richness of diversity and differences has become a denigrated and diminished experience of the world as Us versus Them.

In such challenging times, taking up one’s own authority to lead is more complex than ever. Leadership and followership are context dependent. For instance, a community organization, a multi-national corporation, a political party, a democratic country, a non-democratic country, and a military organization each have unique leadership challenges, as well as ways of addressing — or ignoring — The Other, and of working across differences.

Group Relations Conference

The event is the 53rd Annual Residential Group Relations Conference of the A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems (AKRI). A Group Relations Conference is an experiential event in the Tavistock tradition . It is an educational method of socio-analysis in which the insights of psychoanalysis are combined with open systems theory as applied to “practicalities of everyday living” . Group Relations Conferences are for anyone who is interested in how they and the groups, teams, and organizations to which they belong may work more effectively. Participants will come from all sectors, levels, career stages, backgrounds, and countries. Group Relations Conferences commonly are of particular use to business professionals, entrepreneurs, managers, executives, CEOs, researchers, administrators, activists, academics, students, consultants, facilitators, therapists, trainers, clinicians, service providers, decision-makers, etc.

[icon name=”play” class=”2x” unprefixed_class=””] Watch video testimonials of past conference members.

Why attend a Group Relations Conference? The educational event offers an opportunity to examine the real world by bringing it into one’s personal and immediate experience through courage in vulnerability, openness, and reflective introspection. Such endeavors offer opportunities to learn about intimate experiences outside ourselves, and to begin to understand the systems-level forces at play and patterns manifest in our shared experiences of differences. In this conference, we will find many as many differences as commonalities in a challenging and deeply felt experience that affords a safe space to explore the difficulty and pitfalls in our human search for so-called easy answers.

Loyola University, New Orleans, July 21–26, 2017

Join a diverse membership from the United States and abroad, as we explore seen and unseen realities through curiosity, awareness, and creativity. The conference will be held July 21–26, 2017 at the beautiful Loyola University campus in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Visit the Conference Website and Brochure


Hayden, C., & Molenkamp, R. J. (2004). Tavistock primer II. Group Dynamics, Organizational Irrationality, and Social Complexity: Group Relations Reader, 3, 135–157. Cite
Shapiro, E., & Carr, A. (2012). An introduction to Tavistock-style group relations conference learning. Organisational and Social Dynamics, 12(1), 70–80. Cite

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