Paradoxes of Group Life: Understanding Conflict, Paralysis, and Movement in Group Dynamics

By Kenwyn K Smith, David N Berg
During the past decade, leaders have increasingly relied on self-managing work groups, multifunctional teams, and cross-national executive groups to create the organization of the future. Yet groups are not a panacea for organizational problems; conflicts between individuals or factions within a group often create seemingly contradictory situations?paradoxes?that can prevent the group from reaching its goals.

In this groundbreaking classic, Kenwyn Smith and David Berg offer a revolutionary approach to understanding groups and overcoming the problems that often paralyze group members, the group as a whole, and relations among groups. They explore the hidden dynamics that can prevent a group from functioning effectively. And they show how an apparently paradoxical suggestion?for example, inviting a success oriented group to risk failure, or affirming the benefits of going nowhere to a group focused on moving ahead?can break action barriers, overcome conflicts, and improve group performance.

Smith and Berg offer a different way of thinking about groups that will open new avenues of inquiry for professors and students of group behavior, and they propose many innovative ideas that will prove valuable to consultants, trainers, therapists, and others who work with groups on a regular basis.


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"Paradoxes of Group Life is an empowering book of possibilities....It is a book that proposes that we think about groups in a different way and that by thinking in that way, we open numerous possibilities for altering the nature of social systems. It is in illustrating this way of thinking that this book has done a very good job, and it is in the possibilities that stem from this way of thinking that this book gains a power beyond what its immediate subject appears to be." (Jeffrey D. Ford, associate professor of management and human resources, Ohio State University, Contemporary Psychology)



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About the Paperback

Publisher Jossey-Bass
Publish date 10/19/1997
Pages 336
ISBN-13 9780787939489
ISBN-10 078793948X
Language English