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Decades On: So where to for Group Relations in South Africa?

Decades On: So where to for Group Relations in South Africa?

An event from The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations festival October 2017. See http://festival.tavinstitute.org/event/decades-on-so-where-to-for-group-relations-in-south-africa/

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Tavistock Institute

November 15, 2017
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Transcript

  1. DECADES ON: SO WHERE TO FOR GROUP RELATIONS IN SOUTH

    AFRICA? Date: Tuesday 17th October 2017
  2. PRESENTERS May, Michelle S., Department of Organisational and industrial Psychology,

    University of South Africa Flotman, Aden-Paul, Department of Organisational and industrial Psychology, University of South Africa Kotze, Hanna, Organisational Consultant (Private Practice) Mnguni, Peliwe, School of Business Leadership, University of South Africa Cilliers, Frans, Department of Organisational and industrial Psychology, University of South Africa Cooper, Jean, Director (TILT) Poss, Sylvia, Organisational Consultant (Private Practice)
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  4.     Institute for the study of Leadership and Authority

    in South Africa (1989-2004) 1. Group Relations Workshops 2. South African Organisations Today 3. Research (ongoing) Interest Group in System Psychodynamics in organisations 2015-ongoing 2015-ongoing Research about Group relations by South Africans (Ongoing) Robben Island Diversity experience (2000-2015?)
  5. Institute for the Study of Leadership and Authority in SA

    (ISLA) (1989 to early +/-2004) DECADES ON: So where to for group relations in South Africa?    
  6. DECADES ON: So where to for group relations in South

    Africa?     Several of the founding members of ISLA (such as Lorna Brown, Andrea Hill, Sylvia Poss) attended the Leicester conference in the late 1980s and early 1990s 1989: Conversations began about establishing a Group Relations Organisation in SA. 1989: First Group Relations Event in SA, Sponsored by Family and Marriage Society of SA (FAMSA) Nat Council “ SEED” SPONSORSHIP obtained from KELLOGG FOUNDATION, USA. 1994: ISLA NATIONAL CONSTITUTED, with PE, JHB and CT Branches
  7. DECADES ON: So where to for group relations in South

    Africa?     1994: First NATIONAL ISLA GROUP RELATIONS EVENT, Director: Evelyn Cleavely at the Dutch Reformed Church, Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth. 1995: Second NATIONAL ISLA GROUP RELATIONS EVENT, PE Club, Port Elizabeth, Director: Eric Miller. 1995: CAPE TOWN ISLA GROUP RELATIONS EVENT, Director: Anton Obholzer. 1996: Third NATIONAL ISLA GROUP RELATIONS EVENT, Vista university campus, Port Elizabeth, Director: Herbert Hahn. 1998: GAUTENG and PORT ELIZABETH GROUP RELATIONS EVENTS, Vista University (Mamelodi and Port Elizabeth), Director: Linda Powell. ISLAs first international group relations event was held in Kempton Park, directed by Lirna Brown, consultancy staff included Carl Mack (USA) and Mannie Sher (UK). Several South Africans took up the role of director in several branch organised Group Relations Events.
  8. DECADES ON: So where to for group relations in South

    Africa?     Many of the early ISLA events occurred in the Eastern Cape (Port Elizabeth), SA’s frontier country. Port Elizabeth branch took leadership in creating alliances with local universities and civil organizations which provided infrastructure and the administrators for the events. However ISLA did not manage to cultivate a permanent liaison with any existing institution which had sufficient infrastructure and gravitas to support this new and demanding theory. Had it done so, ISLA’s sustainability may well have been ensured for many more years. It also is possible that there existed and element of competition between ISLA and UNISA and later RIDE which did not produce optimal results. Once the 3 Branches had been formed, competition between the 3 Branches both helped and hindered their growth, at different stages of their development. Decided to invest the Kellogg Foundation sponsorship in developing local capacity, both by: • sponsoring South Africans attendance to the Leicester Conference • inviting staff members from the Tavistock and AK Rice Institutes to direct events in order to transfer capacity. Consequently there was not sufficient funding to establish a central ISLA office to undertake the work of building infrastructure and sustain alliances to ensuring ISLA’s work and existence.
  9. DECADES ON: So where to for group relations in South

    Africa?     ISLA PE and CT came to an end around 2003-4. NATIONAL was never formally discontinued; nor was the Gauteng Branch. The work simply fizzled out as it took more and more energy and time to keep it going. People were always delighted to staff events, but as in so many other Organizations, there was much less enthusiasm for the slog of the (often unsung) Institution Building and maintenance, especially so as, in ISLA’s case, these administrative positions remained unpaid. The lack of sustainability may also have stemmed after 1994, from processes in our New Democracy: • ISLA had been started by white South Africans. • Many attempts to interest, involve and enable our Black colleagues to take Leadership were unconsciously resisted, on both sides, despite conscious lip- service to the contrary. Fears of incompetence and of potency were rife and maintained the status quo at that stage of our democracy. • The loss of this once vibrant Organization, that enabled such exciting professional development opportunities for close on a hundred South Africans , has never been mourned …
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  12. University of South Africa (UNISA) Group Relations workshops Middle 1990s

    -2005 South African Organisations Today (SAOT) 2005-2013 Ongoing research – accredited journals, conference presentations (posters and papers), masters and doctoral thesis 1995 – ongoing DECADES ON: So where to for group relations in South Africa?
  13. DECADES ON: So where to for group relations in South

    Africa? Frans Cilliers and Pieter Koortzen introduced Group Relations work into the South African academic world to the benefit of post-graduate students in Industrial & Organisational Psychology (at UNISA) middle 1990s until 2013. A three day Group Relations event was planned and presented as part of a short course in Group Process Consulting (GPC). This was met with resistance from colleagues in the department who (it seemed) were threatened by colleagues who ‘could read their behaviour’ on a deeper level than they were willing to look at themselves.
  14. DECADES ON: So where to for group relations in South

    Africa? 2005 to 2012 - The focus of the GR events at UNISA changed, the subtitle South African Organisations Today (SAOT) was added The design included an opening plenary, and a daily sequence of a large study group, an institutional event and a review group, and ended with an application group on day 3. The large study group was called The Lekgotla, an African word referring to place where all the voices can be heard Lekgotlas provided management and participants with very interesting insights into the prevailing South African organisational, governmental and social dynamics manifesting at the time. On two occasions there were doctorate students using the workshop as data gathering events for their research. Several Masters and Doctorate students started (and are still on-going) to do research organisational phenomena through a systems psychodynamic lens
  15. DECADES ON: So where to for group relations in South

    Africa? THE WAY FORWARD? Group Relations and systems psychodynamics were starting to be associated with UNISA as a somewhat strange and peculiar consultancy stance only accessible to UNISA students. Therefore, the initiative was moved to a national professional society - the Society for Industrial & Organisational Psychology (SIOPSA), where the Interest Group in the Systems Psychodynamics of Organisations (IGSPO) was formed.
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  18. DECADES ON: So where to for Group Relations in South

    Africa? Robben Island Diversity Experience (RIDE) 2000-2015(???)
  19. DECADES ON: So where to for Group Relations in South

    Africa? Background: The first RIDE was presented in 2000. Since its inception, it has become an extremely powerful diversity experience. RIDE can be described as a professional (understanding the field of diversity) as well as a personal journey in exploring diversity dynamics and in how individuals create and collude in keeping behavioural patterns and interactions intact. Purpose: RIDE’s mission is to provide opportunities to study diversity at a deeper unconscious level – enhancing understanding and insight into the dynamics that drive individual and group behaviour. Primary task: To provide opportunities to delegates to study their dynamics of diversity as they manifest in the here-and-now
  20. DECADES ON: So where to for Group Relations in South

    Africa? Challenges: • Resistance/reluctance of delegates to work with emotional material including their pain • Crippling dependency and the giving away of authority by delegates • Consistently building systemic and psychodynamic awareness • Expenses associated with hosting the group relations vent Contributions: • Courageously confront the unspeakables and “weness” at micro, meso and macro level
  21. DECADES ON: So where to for Group Relations in South

    Africa? THE WAY FORWARD? • How to effectively support delegates in order to do the emotional work • Working more deliberately within potential space • Working with object relations in relation to social relations (relational turn) • Venue for this kind of group relations work
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  26. Interest group for the Study of System Psychodynamics in Organisations

    (IGSPO) DECADES ON: So where to for Group Relations in South Africa?
  27. 2014 the Interest Group in the Systems Psychodynamics of Organisations

    (IGSPO) was formed under the auspices the Society for Industrial & Organisational Psychology (SIOPSA). Since 2014 IGSPO presented an annual three day (non-residential) Systems Psychodynamic Workshop for professionals and postgraduate students. Students who are part of the Doctorate programme in Consulting Psychology (UNISA) has participated in the 3-day workshop. Group Relations consulting, coaching and research skills are imparted as part of the processing events. DECADES ON: So where to for Group Relations in South Africa?
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  30. TILT (The Institute for Leadership and Transformation) A DREAM UNFOLDING

    2015 – ongoing DECADES ON: So where to for Group Relations in South Africa?
  31. DECADES ON: So where to for Group Relations in South

    Africa? TILT’s primary task is to create spaces to think about and transform our roles, institutions and society. We want to contribute to the healing and transformation of South Africa. We want to change the world. In the 28 months since TILT started to meet in Pretoria as a sub-system of society to think about our roles and institutions, a lot has happened: • Thinking System was born - from the desire for a space to think and explore thoughts that were previously unthinkable (a second Thinking System, in Johannesburg) • Reading System where participants read and discuss a wide variety of literature on the conscious and unconscious dynamics of complex social systems • Residential Group Relations conference together with the Tavistock Institute and GIBS (the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science) • 2016 - Leading our Transformation. 43 people (33 members and 10 staff) from 11 countries. • 2017 - Transformation 2.0 – Leading at the boundaries of the unknown • Board of TILT - six members who had been elected from a group of 16 co-founding members to lead the formation of an institution that can hold and contain this type of work.
  32. DECADES ON: So where to for Group Relations in South

    Africa? THE WAY FORWARD? • Starting a scholarship fund to make our work (especially our Group Relations conferences) more financially accessible to people from a wide range of roles and backgrounds • Create a platform from which many people can draw support as they launch their own initiatives • Create authentic and safe enough spaces where people who desire to lead the transformation of their roles and institutions can pause, reflect, find containment and lighten one another’s load As Steve Biko put it To: “Change the way people think and things will never be the same”
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  35. RESEARCH ONGOING DISSEMINATION OF RESEARCH: GROUP RELATIONS IN SOUTH AFRICA

    DECADES ON: So where to for Group Relations in South Africa?
  36. DECADES ON: So where to for Group Relations in South

    Africa? DISSEMINATION OF RESEARCH: GROUP RELATIONS IN SOUTH AFRICA Articles in accredited journals, theses, presentations and posters Cilliers, F. (2004). A Person-Centered view on diversity in South Africa. The Person-Centered Journal, 11(1), 33-47. Cilliers, F. (2007). A systems psychodynamic exploration of diversity management. South African Journal of Labour Relations, 31(2), 32-50. Cilliers, F. (2011). Individual diversity management and salutogenic functioning. International Review of Psychiatry, 23(6), 501-507. Cilliers, F. & Koortzen, P. (1998). The psychodynamics of the organisation. UNISA Psychologia, 25(2), __-__. Cilliers, F., & May, M.S. (2001). South African diversity dynamics. Reporting on the 2000 Robben Island Diversity Experience. A group relations event. Paper presented at the Annual Psychological Society of South Africa Congress, September 2001. Cilliers, F. & May, M. (2002). South African diversity dynamics. Reporting on the 2000 Robben Island Diversity Experience. A Group Relations event. South African Journal of Labour Relations, 26(3), 42-68.
  37. DECADES ON: So where to for Group Relations in South

    Africa? Cilliers, F. & May, M. (2002). South African diversity dynamics. Reporting on the 2000 Robben Island Diversity Experience. A Group Relations event. South African Journal of Labour Relations, 26(3), 42-68. Cilliers, F., & May, M.S. (2006). South African diversity dynamics: The competition for survival. Paper presented at ISPSO Symposium, The dark side of competition – psycho-analytic insights, 23 -25 June 2006, Harlem, Netherlands. Cilliers, F. & May, M.S. (2012).The director’s role in containing the Robben Island Diversity experience (RIDE). SA Journal of Industrial Psychology, 38(2), 10 pages. Cilliers, F. & Rabichund, S. (2001). Group Relations Training. What does it entail? People Dynamics, 19(1), 28-30. Cilliers, F. & Rabichund, S. (2001). Group Relations Training. What does it entail? People Dynamics, 19(1), 28- 30. Cilliers, F. & Rabichund, S. (2001). Who benefits most form Group Relations Training? People Dynamics, 19(2), 24-26. Cilliers, F. & Smit, B. (2006). A systems psychodynamic interpretation of South African diversity dynamics: a comparative study. South African Journal of Labour relations, 30(2), 5-18. Coetzee, O. (2007). Exploring interpersonal and inter-group diversity dynamics in South African organisations by means of a theoretical model. (Cilliers F) Greyvenstien, H. (2008). Understanding current South African leadership dynamics from the systems psychodynamic paradigm. (MBL) (Cilliers F) Hammond, V.J. (2003). The relevance of group dynamics in management meetings. (Cilliers F)
  38. DECADES ON: So where to for Group Relations in South

    Africa? Koortzen, P. (2006). Psychodynamic perspectives: Personality in unconscious processes. Chapters in Bergh, Z. & Theron, A. Psychology in work context. Third Edition. Cape Town: Oxford. Koortzen, P. & Wrogemann, G. (2003). Intergroup relations in organisations. South African Journal of Labour Relations, 27(4), 79-105. May, M.S. (2010). The unconscious at work in a historically black university: The (k)not of relationship between students, lecturers and management. (Cilliers, F & Van Deventer SH) May, M.S. (2012). Diversity Dynamics operating between students, lecturers and management in a historically Black University: The lecturers’ perspective. SA Journal of Industrial Psychology, 38(2), 8 pages. May, M.S. (2014). Robben Island: A container for diversity. Paper presented as part pf the CIL seminars hosted at the Magill campus, University of South Australia, 11 April 2014, Adelaide, Australia. May, M.S., & Cilliers, F. (2002). The Robben Island Diversity experience 2001: Diversity Dynamics a year later. Paper presented at the 4th Annual Psychological Society of South Africa Congress, September 2002. May, M.S. & Cilliers, F. (2012). Robben Island as a container for diversity dynamics: the directors’ experience. In E. Aram, A. Nutkevitch & R. Baxter (Eds.), Group Relations Conferences: Tradition, Creativity and Succession in global Group Relations network (Vol III, pp. 81-98). London: Karnac Books Ltd.
  39. DECADES ON: So where to for Group Relations in South

    Africa? May, M.S., de Klerk, M., Motsoaledi, L., & Pretorius, M. (2013). South African diversity dynamics: The consultants’ experiences of psychodynamics in the large study group. Paper presented at the 2013 Annual conference of Society of Industrial and Organisational psychology in South Africa, 29 to 31 July 2013, Pretoria. May, M.S. & Evans, A.C. (2004). Making Group relations theory at home in South Africa. Journal of Psychology in Africa, 14(1), 29-36. Naik, B. (2015). The systems psychodynamics underlying the work-family interface amongst managerial women in the public sector. (Cilliers F) Pretorius, M. (2004). An exploration of South African diversity dynamics. (Cilliers, F & May MS). Pretorius, M. (2004). An exploration of South African diversity dynamics. Master’s Dissertation, University of South Africa. Pretorius, M., Cilliers, F., & May, M.S. (2006). Exploring the challenges of South African diversity dynamics from a systems psychodynamic approach. Paper presented at SIOPSA 9th Annual Conference, 8-9 June 2006, Pretoria. Pretorius, M., Cilliers, F., & May, M.S. (2012). The Robben Island diversity experience. An exploration of South African diversity dynamics. SA Journal of Industrial Psychology, 38(2), 9 pages. Rabichund, S. (1999). The role of sense of coherence in group relations training. (Cilliers F). Smit, M. (2012). The experience of the consultant as container in a group relations training event with specific reference to the Robben Island Diversity Experience (RIDE). (May MS, Cilliers F)
  40. DECADES ON: So where to for Group Relations in South

    Africa? Smit, M. (2012). The experience of the consultant as container in a group relations training event with specific reference to the Robben Island Diversity Experience (RIDE). Master’s Dissertation, University of South Africa. Smit, M., May, M.S. & Cilliers, F. (2012). The experience of consultants as containers to the Robben Island diversity experience. Poster presented at the 30th International Congress of Psychology, 22-27 July 2012, Cape Town. Tonelli (nee Ley), L., & May, M.S. (2015). Travelling with tigers: The Robben Island Diversity Experience (RIDE) 2014. Poster presented at Annual SIOPSA conference, July 2015, Pretoria. Tonelli (nee Ley), L., & May, M.S. (2015). Relationships ere never meant to be easy: The Robben Island Diversity Experience (RIDE) 2014. Paper presented at Annual PsySSA conference, September 2015, Johannesburg. Van der Merwe, D. (2004).Predictive validity of a selection battery for Technikon students. (De Beer M) Van Eeden, R. (2006). Group processes and dynamics in relation to transactional and transformational leadership. (Cilliers F & Van Deventer SH, Department of Psychology, UNISA) Wrogemann, G.C. (2002). Intergroup relations in organisations. (Koortzen P)
  41. THANK YOU Michelle S. May (mayms@unisa.ac.za) Peliwe Mnguni (mngunpp@unisa.ac.za)