Organizational Consultation XXIII: Empowerment (Part Three)
Forming, storming, norming, and performing. These four predictable stages of group development can provide a powerful insight for group members into what is happening to them and what they can do about it. Group members can appreciate, and thereby better cope with, the stress and apprehension that accompany any shift in the functioning of the group or leadership roles over time. This stage theory can also help a group decide which guidelines are most appropriate at particular times in the life of the group. Guidelines concerned with group membership, acquaintance, and the availability of information are obviously more important at the forming stage of a group, whereas guidelines concerned with agendas, group decision-making operations, and clarity about actions taken are more important for groups at the performing stage. Some of these latter guidelines might also be appropriate at early stages of group development—not to enhance group productivity, but rather to provide structures that help reduce anxiety and accelerate movement toward the performing stage of the group.
Types Of Meetings
Meetings are conducted for many different reasons. The specific purpose for which a meeting is being conducted will often determine the most appropriate procedures for conducting the meeting, as well as appropriate leadership roles and the roles to be played by other group members. We must learn how to appreciate, and then respond in an appropriate way, to the diverse purposes being served by any group. Form should follow function in an effectively run group meeting. It is essential, therefore, to identify the different types of meetings one might encounter before discussing alternative ways of conducting these meetings.
Several different taxonomies have been offered in the identification of meeting types. They share many common properties. Jack Reith proposes six different types of meetings as defined by their primary goal:
- Meetings that inform
- Meetings that instruct
- Meetings that define or plan
- Meetings that clarify
- Meetings that create
- Meetings that resolve or decide
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