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An Experiential Conference in the Group Relations Tradition


Cenacle Retreat & Conference Center, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.


April 27-29, 2015

Pre-Dialogues 2 Conference

The A. K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems (AKRI) is holding a three-day, residential Group Relations Conference from April 27 to 29, 2015, at the Cenacle Retreat and Conference Center in Chicago, IL. Shorter than full, six-day residential conferences, this conference is a perfect introduction to residential Group Relations Conferences! The event is sponsored by the A.K. Rice Institute, AKRI’s Training & Certification Program, AKRI Affiliates’ Training Collaborative, and GREX.

What role(s) do you naturally take up in groups, at work, as a leader, and why?

Who’s In Charge? Why Listen To Each Other?

What do you expect from those in positions of authority?

From the official conference brochure:

Today, in organizations of every kind, leaders are pressed to reexamine their goals and strategies. Technological advances have accelerated communication and action to a pace -and across multiple boundaries simultaneously- that change can be measured in nanoseconds. Organizational survival now requires levels of flexibility and creativity unknown several years ago; traditional organizational hierarchies hinder effectiveness. At the same time, leaders and staff are working in an increasingly diverse workplace, which offers increased potential for success as well as conflict and misunderstanding.

All these challenges occur in an atmosphere of deep skepticism about organizational integrity, given the widely reported abuses and missteps of those in positions of authority and responsibility. These trends call for a renewed exploration of questions about responsible authority, leadership and followership in groups and organizations ranging from international corporations to communities, and even families.

The conference provides an opportunity to explore, through one’s own experience, the dynamics of groups, and of the whole system, which emerge in this temporary organization. While reading about group dynamics, or participating in discussions with a mentor or in a classroom does provide opportunities for the critical examination of ideas and diverse perspectives, the focus of the conference is more immediate, attending to what is occurring at the moment: the “here and now” of conference life. As the conference unfolds through a series of group and organizational events, members and staff work together at the task of learning about and understanding the organization that emerges. We will be studying, among other things, the processes and dynamics of group formation, the norms and roles that develop, the

What factors, both conscious and unconscious, shape our participation in groups?

function of boundaries, and the meaning of interactions that occur around authority and leadership. In all instances, the dynamics that unfold will be explored as the result of our mutual participation, collectively constructed from our varying roles and social identities, during the life of the conference organization.

What is a Group Relations Conference?

Group Relations Conferences are events based on an educational model of experiential learning developed at London’s Tavistock Institute. These conferences offer unique individual and collective opportunities to examine, study and reflect on, how we participate, consciously and unconsciously, in the exercise of authority, leadership, and followership in our work, organizations, and communities. There is no other opportunity like this to explore how and when you will authorize others or take up leadership, the styles you use, how effective or ineffective it may be, or to get feedback on the methods you employ.

Who Should Attend?

Anyone working as leaders in formal or informal roles, and/or positions of authority in public, private or not-for-profit organizations, as well as consultants to, and students of, organizational and group behavior, will significantly benefit from attending. Conference registrants are advised that experiential learning may prove to be more stressful than traditional lecture methods, and this must be taken into consideration before agreeing to participate in this intensive learning experience.

Continuing Education

Approximately 18 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be available through GREX. GREX is approved to provide continuing education (CE) for Psychologists (PhD / PsyD) by the California Psychological Association, and for Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT / LPCC / LCSW), by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.

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