Group relations conferences

What is a group relations conference?

A group relations conference is a personal development programme, which aims to increase your personal effectiveness in any organisational role. Development happens through experiential learning – you will learn from the immediate experience of participation in, and reflection on, the conference event.

We're living in a time of unprecedented uncertainty and fragmentation, conflict within organisations and the society we live in, and between nations; we're facing a lot of conflict. You could say we're constantly all of us living in 'group relations'.

So what's the difference between the way that we live and a group relations conference?

The task of a group relations conference is to give the whole membership the chance to notice, to understand and to reflect on what is going on between people and between groups within the whole conference. We form what's called a 'temporary organisation' for the duration of the conference. So it's not a conference in a traditional sense where you have papers and experts and speakers and an audience, it involves the whole group trying to understand some of the complicated and difficult things that go on in organisations, as well as some of the creative things that can happen.

Staff are there to manage the event, and also to consult. This involves observing the group, helping to notice the kinds of things that are taking place and putting forward some hypotheses about how these can be understood. It's a chance to have a relationship within an organisation, and have a chance to think about that. They get to have some strong feelings about that, as they are in group and organisational life; people get confused, competitive, excited about what they're doing.

The difference in this context is there is a chance to reflect on that and understand it. So there's  an opportunity to really develop your leadership and try things out in a different way - think about what goes wrong in the organisations that you currently inhabit. Perhaps more importantly at the moment, especially in the public sector, the chance to really think about robust followership; how is it possible to both support and challenge when you're working in the middle of an organisation – 'leading from the middle'.

Our experience is that having an opportunity to learn about leading from the middle, and learning in the middle of a complex organisation, is something that a group relations conference really allows you to do.

For more information on upcoming group relations conferences, please contact Maisam Datoo.

Upcoming conferences

Strength and vulnerability: exploring authenticity and risk in contemporary organisational life

Conference Director: Lydia Hartland-Rowe

Past conferences

Discovering Leadership: Authenticity, Action and Responsibility – a group relations conference

Conference Director: Ben Neal

Exploring the complex realities of inter-agency working: a group relations conference

This is an applied four-day group relations conference exploring complexities in caring for the emotional and psychological well-being of adults,...

Identity, culture, and class in group and organisational life: a group relations conference

This popular group relations conference draws an international membership from New York and the UK, including Tavistock staff and students, the...

Working in organisations – the unconscious at work – a group relations conference

How can you take up your professional role at work with a stronger sense of freedom and authority ? The conference is a three-day intensive...