The role of dynamic and emotional factors in the success of knowledge development groups
1 June 2019
What is a group? What conditions are necessary for its success? What distinguishes a knowledge development group from other groups according to the above? This piece discusses these matters and attempts to shed some light on them.
Groups have many definitions, yet Ziv & Baharav (2001) attempt to present us with the main ones:
Sustained interactions with regular participants aimed at a common, unifying goal
Dynamic integrity based on mutual dependency
The group is more than the sum of its components
People that communicate during a certain time period. This leads to each member being able to contact all other members directly, face to face.
Kartrate and Xander (1968) claim that group success depends on meeting some of the following criteria:
Members' self-definition as a group
External parties defining the members as a group
Solidarity with others
A sense of value gained from the group
Aiming at a common goal
Sense of uniqueness
Typical action towards the environment
A knowledge development group must meet these criteria. This group must be as heterogenous as possible, contain organization members from various areas that meet every several weeks on predetermined dates. These meetings must center on determining what knowledge is vital for the organization in order to develop it and make it optimally accessible. Reading these theoretical definitions also brings up the dilemmas that occasionally rise when planning a group for knowledge development, policy setting or professional doctrine formulating purposes:
Yes! It is necessary to spread meetings over elongated periods, rather than hold three-day marathons. This allows interactions and processes to take place over time. This process enables in depth thinking, considering different possibilities and thought development.
Yes! It is vital to dedicate time to understanding the connection between the different members' work in order to understand and define how these different areas relate and affect each other.
No! occasionally inviting guest members isn't necessarily interesting or refreshing. The group pays a price for this lack of constancy in the relationship. Steady, consistent presence enforces the group's development towards attaining its objectives.
Yes! For a knowledge product to be professional and meaningful, a group must be valuable to its members. Group members should be proud to identify as such and view the product they wrote as unique in the organizational field. They should recognize the product for its unprecedented contribution.
In conclusion, although a knowledge development group is not explicitly focused on developing relationships and dynamics, these relationships nevertheless operate within it and tacitly affect its development and its success. A group director aware of the required settings will handle and improve them while promoting professional discourse, clear writing, the required structure and templates as well as appropriate accessibility. Dynamics and relationships are vital for knowledge development groups as meaningful roots that enable successfully completing tasks and meeting the standards the organization has set for itself.
Yalom, I. D., & Leszcz, M. (Collaborator). (2005). The theory and practice of group psychotherapy (5th ed.). New York, NY, US: Basic Books.