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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Problematic Moments in Global Groups: Using the Concept of a Dialogic Unconscious to Help Develop Group Competence

Working groups in organizations in the new global context are increasingly multi-cultural, multi-lingual, and multi-national. When we think of diversity in organizations we are talking about increased social diversity and differences. The usual dimensions of diversity explored in the US like race, gender, class, ability, and sexual orientation, are augmented with others such as national culture, organizational cultures, religion, professional background, and language. For the sake of brevity I will call these more highly diverse groups in organizations 'global groups'. 'In this paper I will present an approach that aims to help global groups become more competent. The approach helps the group to focus on what happens at significant moments in the life of the group. I will argue that by focusing on such moments group competence is increased, as members become more aware of the effects of group dynamics and diversity on their thinking and learning. This increased awareness presents the group with an opportunity to test out new patterns of behavior. The approach is based on the assumption that productive discussions about group process will occur when the group discusses and analyzes a significant moment, which they have all shared. Descriptions and interpretations of the moment will differ, of course, according to the different perspectives of members. However, the analysis is grounded in what each member of the group experienced about the behavior of the group and its members at a particular moment. If that moment has been captured on videotape, then the group has the opportunity to undertake a more 'objective' analysis about what members said and did. All moments in the life of a group are not created as equal. Some moments have considerably more significance than others do. Critical discourse analysis uses the term 'problematic moment' to describe key moments in language use that are worthy of in-depth analysis. I have borrowed this term and adapted it for my project, which I call 'The problematic moment approach to developing group competence.