The Handbook for Working with Difficult Groups: How They Are Difficult, Why They Are Difficult and What You Can Do About It

  • 8h 6m
  • Sandy Schuman (ed)
  • John Wiley & Sons (US)
  • 2010

We've all experienced the challenges associated with working with groups, but The Handbook for Working with Difficult Groups turns the idea of "difficult groups" on its head. Rather than view groups as inherently difficult, it looks at the factors that make working with groups difficult. Individual chapters focus on challenges such as involving dissenters, building external perspectives, reducing complaining, adapting to cultural differences, incorporating diversity, facilitating inclusion, working virtually, resolving identity-based conflict, transforming unproductive behavior patterns, preventing workplace harassment, and more.

The book first provides a framework for thinking systemically about the many and varied ways in which working with a group can be difficult. Building on that framework, the contributors each address three basic issues:

  • How the group is difficult–a description of a real group and the observable phenomena that reflect the group's difficulty.
  • Why the group is difficult–an exploration of the underlying causes of the difficulty.
  • What you can do about it–what you can do as a group facilitator, leader, or member to help the group.

About the Editor

Sandy Schuman has been helping organizations work more effectively to solve complex problems and make critical decisions for more than thirty years. He is a group facilitator, collaborative process advocate, and storyteller. He helps groups create shared meaning, make critical choices, and build collaborative relationships. He facilitates problem-solving and decision-making processes for a wide variety of public management and policy issues and provides training in group facilitation, decision making, systems thinking, conflict management systems, and organizational communication. He is the editor of the International Association of Facilitators handbook series: The IAF Handbook of Group Facilitation, Creating a Culture of Collaboration, and Working with Difficult Groups.

In this Book

  • The Handbook for Working with Difficult Groups—How They Are Difficult, Why They Are Difficult And What You Can Do About It
  • Preface
  • About the Contributors
  • Working with Difficult Groups—A Conceptual Framework
  • Keeping Difficult Situations from Becoming Difficult Groups
  • Building an External Focus—Avoiding the Difficulties on an In-grown Team
  • The Downside of Communication—Complaining Cycles in Group Discussions
  • Facilitating Multicultural Groups
  • Interpersonally Hostile Work Groups—Precipitating Factors and Solutions
  • Diversity by Design—Creating Cognitive Conflict to Enhance Group Performance
  • Facilitating Inclusion—Study Circles on Diversity and Student Achievement
  • Overcoming Sources of Irrationality That Complicate Working in Decision-Making Groups
  • Working Without Rules—A Team in Need of a Different Picture
  • Interaction Archetypes—Keys to Group Difficulty and Productivity
  • Virtual Teams—Difficult in All Dimensions
  • Politics of the Arts—Challenges in Working with Nonprofit Boards
  • Competitive Group Interactions—Why They Exist and How to Overcome Them
  • Active Facilitation—How to Help Groups Break Through ‘‘Mutual Stalemate’’
  • Mediating History, Making Peace—Dealing with the ‘‘Messy’’ Stuff in the Conciliation Process
  • Deep Democracy—Multidimensional Process-Oriented Leadership
  • Psychological Capital
  • How Leaders Can Make Diverse Groups Less Difficult—The Role of Attitudes and Perceptions of Diversity
  • The Hero’s Journey—Helping Inflexible Groups – and Inflexible Facilitators – Get Unstuck
  • Difficult Groups or Difficult Facilitators? Three Steps Facilitators Can Take to Make Sure They Are Not the Problem
  • References


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