Coming Together | Coming Apart 2021

Authority and Leadership in a Fragmenting World

A Group Relations Conference in the Tavistock Tradition

Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Groups and Social Systems, Boston

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To dare to be aware of the facts of the universe in which we are existing calls for courage.

 — W.R. Bion

Director's Invitation

 

Dear Participant,

 

Governments and institutions large and small around the world are grappling with the challenges of collective, often deadly social problems. Selecting and authorizing leadership to help us face these problems is arrestingly difficult. Our needs, fears, wishes, desires, conscious and unconscious, creative and destructive, converge in unique, unpredictable and frequently dangerous ways. As we approach the 2021 Spring conference after having been forced to cancel last year, we must continue to ask: how can we wake up to and understand the interplay of these powerful forces that create our collective narrative?

 

The theme of the conference, Coming Together | Coming Apart: Authority and Leadership in a Fragmenting World, highlights these dilemmas. What are the joining and the dividing forces, the progressive and the regressive energies, that press or draw us into parties, camps and identity groups? How do constituencies come together and how do they separate -- around what, around whom? How do intersectionality and identity politics impact our real-time experience of joining? Does our need, our search for familiarity drive us into one domain of commonality and not another? Developing awareness, wisdom, and intention about these questions and bringing ailing constituencies and leadership into alignment, these ideas create the container, or framing context, for this event.

Using the Group Relations Conference model as our lens, this conference is a deep experiential dive into this unprecedented moment in time. This online event offers a unique opportunity to participate in the collective human agenda and heighten awareness about the exercise of authority and leadership in groups as they unfold in the here-and-now. The current context requires unprecedented adaptation and innovation as we manage the opportunities and vulnerabilities in the virtual domain. By focusing at the level of the group while using immediate, lived, individual experience, the conference enables participants to openly and intentionally examine issues of joining, representation, and dynamics that affect our future. I invite you to join us as we pursue first-hand learning that can ripen into wisdom about how leadership and effective impact happen, and about the forces that bring us together and pull us apart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dannielle Kennedy, PhD

Conference Director

The conference is designed to provide members, together with administrative staff and consultants, an opportunity to create and study a temporary institution, giving participants the chance to experience, examine, and understand systemic processes – overt and covert, conscious and unconscious –  encountered in the exercise of authority, leadership and power. The learning method is experiential, and members learn through action and reflection on their experience in the conference.  This method distinguishes this conference from other events where faculty provide didactic information for learners.

The purpose of the conference is educational.  Participants are involved in a program of studying groups at work, in real-time, with structured discussions for review and application of insights.

Conference Participants will have opportunities to:

  • Learn about both covert and overt group processes through participating in groups that vary in size, structure, and task.

  • Discover aspects of group life that create vitality and goal fulfillment and those which lead to resistance, complacency, inertia, and decline.

  • Identify underlying patterns of group interaction by forming groups, establishing leadership structures, and relating with other groups and the institution as a whole.

  • Recognize personal and collective reactions to well-defined authority and clearly delineated boundaries.

  • Experiment with familiar and unfamiliar roles and with various social behaviors including isolation, autonomy, affiliation, collaboration, and coalition building. 

  • Learn how varied aspects and perceptions of individual identity such as race, class, gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and education level are used by groups with and without the conscious awareness of the individuals involved.

  • Understand the difference between the stated task of a group and the task it actually appears to be pursuing.

  • Deepen their awareness of their own capacity and responsibility to lead or advocate in their home organizations and social contexts no matter what their formal authority roles.

  • Apply what has been learned and experienced to choices in back-home work and social contexts.

 
Conference Task and Method 

I have experienced some of my most powerful insights about leadership and group dynamics during Group Relations Conferences. Participating in conferences has really helped me learn about the limits of my leadership effectiveness, about hidden aspects of my own motivations, and about hidden forces that impact groups and organizations...a truly unique learning experience.

 — Hugh O’Doherty

Adjunct Lecturer, Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government

President of the Leadership and Peacemaking Global Network

Tavistock Systems Learning Model

Find out More


This model of experiential learning examines unconscious as well as conscious dynamics that impact the emotional and working lives of groups. It provides opportunities to explore how we authorize ourselves and others to stand up for, feel, speak, act, lead, and follow. It highlights how social identity and role intersect and how we create and challenge the limits of task, time, territory and self. In this unique format aspects of one's motivations, behaviors, projections and ways of assuming roles that might be out of awareness are brought to light.

As dynamics emerge for collective examination, participants can see what supports or detracts from their effectiveness and how leadership and authority take shape. Organizational narratives at the level of the whole system arise and forces at work that emerge in the conference often mirror the external environment, thus offering everyone an opportunity to see broader social and organizational undercurrents more clearly.





Based on the work of psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion, conferences in the Tavistock tradition combine social systems research with psychoanalytic theory and practice.  The conference provides a unique experiential learning opportunity to study one's own behavior as it happens. By holding the contextual factors of task, role, place, and time boundaries constant and observing the emergence of dynamics in the here-and-now, attendees become participant observers whose task it is to make sense of the temporary organization they are co-creating. 

These kinds of conferences can be an extraordinary opportunity to tune into a frequency of group and organizational life that is always operating but virtually never accessible.

 Robin Ely

Diane Doerge Wilson Professor of Business Administration

Harvard Business School

Who is this Conference for?

Anyone wanting an opportunity to learn through immediate and direct experience about group dynamics and influence and about overt and covert actions involved in the exercise of leadership, authority and power. No particular background or experience is necessary to participate. A wide variety of organizations and industries have participated in CSGSS conference memberships including but not limited to: 

See Past Attendees Here


Anne E Casey Foundation (AECF) Amherst College Austen Riggs Center Brien Center Blue Ridge Wilderness Colorado Fire Fighters Gould Farm The Dallas Foundation INSEAD Harvard Business School Google EY PwC Young Samuel Chambers Princeton University Howard University Graduate School of Education Harvard Kennedy School Harvard Medical School Merrimack Repertory Theater UMass Boston Boston Psychoanalytic Society & Institute The George Washington University





 

Conference Events

Experiential, Here and Now Events

Conference Opening


The conference will open with a meeting of all staff and members for a presentation of the structure, design, and concepts underlying the conference. Announcements by administrative staff will address practical and logistical issues.




Review Group


Usually composed of 4-8 members and 1-2 consultants. The Review Group provides members with the opportunity to review their experience in the conference so far and consider what and how they are learning. The members’ experience of role is often part of the review.




Institutional Event Discussion


This is a meeting to provide an opportunity for discussion among all members and staff. Its task is to share information and consider how the groups formed to co-create a unique social system and its relationship to the underlying dynamics of authority and leadership.




Application Group


Usually composed of 4-8 members and 1-2 consultants. At the close of the conference, Application Groups provide members with the opportunity to review and discuss the meaning of the events of the conference and how they apply to outside roles and organizations. These groups offer a bridge between the here and now conference experiences and the group and organizational dynamics of life outside of the conference.




Conference Discussion


At the close of the conference, a plenary meeting with all members and staff will provide the opportunity to discuss and make sense of the conference as a whole.





Reflective, There and Then Events 

Conference Opening


The conference will open with a meeting of all staff and members for a presentation of the structure, design, and concepts underlying the conference. Announcements by administrative staff will address practical and logistical issues.




Review Group


Usually composed of 4-8 members and 1-2 consultants. The Review Group provides members with the opportunity to review their experience in the conference so far and consider what and how they are learning. The members’ experience of role is often part of the review.




Institutional Event Discussion


This is a meeting to provide an opportunity for discussion among all members and staff. Its task is to share information and consider how the groups formed to co-create a unique social system and its relationship to the underlying dynamics of authority and leadership.




Application Group


Usually composed of 4-8 members and 1-2 consultants. At the close of the conference, Application Groups provide members with the opportunity to review and discuss the meaning of the events of the conference and how they apply to outside roles and organizations. These groups offer a bridge between the here and now conference experiences and the group and organizational dynamics of life outside of the conference.




Conference Discussion


At the close of the conference, a plenary meeting with all members and staff will provide the opportunity to discuss and make sense of the conference as a whole.





What is a Group Relations Conference?

Conference Schedule

All Conference Events will begin and end precisely at the times scheduled.  The conference will begin promptly at 3 PM Eastern on Friday and end promptly at 3:30 PM Eastern on Sunday. 

This conference is co-sponsored by the A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems and the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis and is consistent with its educational standards for Group Relations training in the Tavistock tradition.

 
 

Staff

Members of the staff design and manage the conference as a whole.  As collective management, they serve the purpose of the conference by managing the boundaries of conference events, particularly in relation to time, task and territory.  Staff do not manage the participants or their behavior, but instead collectively manage the boundary conditions that allow the participants freedom to engage  the primary task as they choose and as they authorize themselves and each other to do.

Learn more...


As consultants, staff serve the purpose of the conference by linking their own experiences to the conference activity and offering observations, reflections and working hypotheses that explore both the conscious and unconscious aspects of the organizational behavior that is emerging. Their observations and interpretations focus on group level dynamics rather than on the individual. Throughout the conference the role behavior of staff members is open for examination and reflection by participants and the staff together.





Attendance


This conference is designed as an integrated experience with each event building on the one previous. Participants should plan to attend all events.




Continuing Education


Pending approval, this conference is offering 13 continuing education credits/clock hours for psychologists (all levels), social workers and mental health counselors.




Fee Reduction


A limited number of reduced-fee registrations will be available. Please contact the conference Associate Director for Administration, Rosette Cirillo, at ComingTogether2021@gmail.com for details before you register.




Withdrawal Policy


Fees can only be refunded (less $50 administration charge) if a written notice of cancellation (email is fine) is received before by 6 PM Eastern on April 9th, 2021.




Confidentiality


Staff will not report the behavior of any individual member to anyone outside the conference.





 Executive Staff 

  Dannielle Kennedy, PhD, LICSW

Conference Director and Consultant 

Principal, WORKLAB, Organizational and Leadership Consulting; Former President and Board Member, the Center for the Study of Groups and Social System (CSGSS), the Boston affiliate of the A. K. Rice Institute (AKRI). Member, AKRI. Private Practice Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Cambridge, MA.

Rosette Cirillo, EdM 

Associate Director for Administration

PhD Student, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Member, North American Association for Philosophy and Education; Member, Center for the Study of Groups and Social Systems (CSGSS); Member, A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems (AKRI).

Robert Hsiung, MD

Associate Administrator for Technology


Psychiatrist, Chicago. Former Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Chicago. Member, CSGSS, CCSGO, and AKRI. Past board member, AGPA. Editor, E-therapy: Case Studies, Guiding Principles, and the Clinical Potential of the Internet  (Norton, 2002). Founder, Psycho-Babble.

Consulting Staff

All consulting staff members are certified by the A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems. The consulting staff will be chosen from among those listed below. 

Tyler Bean, CPA

Consultant Candidate

Senior Consultant, Forensic & Integrity Services, EY; Member, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; Member, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners; Board Treasurer, Center for the Study of Groups and Social Systems (CSGSS); Consultant Candidate and Associate, A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems (AKRI); Co-Creator, Group Relations International; Mentor, Freshmen League Program, Boston College.

Linda Gelda, LICSW

Consultant Candidate

Psychoanalyst and Past President, Supervisor, Faculty and Board member at The Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis; Supervisor at Cambridge Health Alliance, a Teaching Associate in psychiatry, Harvard Medical school; Member of The Center for the Study of Groups and Social Systems, (CSGSS).  AKRI Consultant in Training, private practice  in Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis and Organizational Coaching, Newton, MA.

Mineko Anne Legendy, PhD

Consultant Candidate

Mineko Anne Legendy is a Clinical Psychologist in private practice in New York City. Vice-President of New York Center, the New York affiliate A.K.Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems, and has served on the board since 2011. She is adjunct faculty at New York University (NYU) and teaches in the NYU Masters Program for Mental Health and Wellness.

Sheri-Ann Cowie, PhD

Consultant

Adjunct Professor and Lead Faculty, Counseling @NYU, Department of Applied Psychology, New York University; Director and Psychotherapist, Children's Century LLC; Vice President, A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems (AKRI). Member, the Center for the Study of Groups and Social Systems (CSGSS), the Boston Affiliate of AKRI.

Declan FitzsimonsPhD

Consultant

Senior Affiliated Professor of Organizational Behaviour, INSEAD, France. PhD from the School of Management at Cranfield University, UK. Dr. Fitzsimons’ research focus is on post-heroic leadership models such as shared leadership, senior teams, leading in complex environments unconscious processes in groups and organisations, experiential and action learning, and organisational change.

Zachary Gabriel Green, PhD

Consultant

Professor of Practice, Department of Leadership Studies and Nonprofit Institute University of San Diego; Lead Faculty, RISE San Diego, Urban Leadership Fellows Programs; Founder and Principle; Organizational Therapist, Gabriel Alexander Institute. Co-Founder, IMAGO Global Grassroots; Fellow, A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems.; Member, IFSI/FIIS; Founding Circle and Director, Group Relations International.

 

Conference FAQs

Attendance


This conference is designed as an integrated experience with each event building on the one previous. Participants should plan to attend all events.




Continuing Education


Pending approval, this conference is offering 13 continuing education credits/clock hours for psychologists (all levels), social workers and mental health counselors.




Fee Reduction


A limited number of reduced-fee registrations will be available. Please contact the conference Associate Director for Administration, Rosette Cirillo, at ComingTogether2021@gmail.com for details before you register.




Withdrawal Policy


Fees can only be refunded (less $50 administration charge) if a written notice of cancellation (email is fine) is received before by 6 PM Eastern on April 9th, 2021.




Confidentiality


Staff will not report the behavior of any individual member to anyone outside the conference.





Dannielle Kennedy, PhD, LICSW

Consultant

Principal, WORKLAB, Organizational and Leadership Consulting; Former President and Board Member, the Center for the Study of Groups and Social System (CSGSS), the Boston affiliate of the A. K. Rice Institute (AKRI). Member, AKRI. Private Practice Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Cambridge, MA.

James Krantz, PhD

Consultant

Organizational Consultant and Researcher, New York City.  Principal, WORKLAB; Fellow, A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems (AKRI); Former President, International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations; Faculty, Dynamics of Consulting, Wharton Center for Applied Research; Visiting Professor, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia.

Mary B. McRae, EdD

Consultant

Retired Professor of Applied Psychology, New York University; Scholarship involves exploring racial and cultural dynamics in group and organizational life; Private practice in individual and group psychotherapy; coaching and group facilitation for groups and organizations; Fellow, A. K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems; Member of the New York Center for the Study of Groups, Organizations and Social Systems.

 

Fees

One discount per application. A limited number of partial fee-reductions will be available to those for whom the conference is financially out of reach. These grants will be based on number of applications and the overall enrollment of the conference.  To inquire, please contact the conference Associate Director for Administration, Rosette Cirillo, at ComingTogether2021@gmail.com before you register.  

Readings

Basic Introduction to Conferences

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A Tavistock Primer - Molenkamp & Hayden

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Intro to Tavistock-Style Group Relations Conferences - Shapiro & Carr

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A Tavistock Primer - Molenkamp & Hayden

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Intro to Tavistock-Style Group Relations Conferences - Shapiro & Carr

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Learning Leadership - Carr

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The BART System of Group and Organizational Analysis - Green & Molenkamp

History, Theory & Method

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Interpreting Irrationality - Shapiro

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Some Psychodynamics of Large Group - Main

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The Leicester Model Group Relations Training Program - Miller

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Interpreting Irrationality - Shapiro

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Some Psychodynamics of Large Group - Main

Application

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Managing the Unconscious at Work - Obholzer

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Learning, Managing & Organizing - French and Vince

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Group Relations and Society - Carr

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Participant's report to his partners on the Conference experience

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The unconscious at work in groups and teams - Stokes

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The Psychodynamics of Taking the Role - Hirschhorn

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 Group Relations Conferences as an organisational intervention: the method and its value  - Aram & Sher

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The Denigrated Other: Diversity and Group Relations - Skolnick & Green

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Managing the Unconscious at Work - Obholzer

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Learning, Managing & Organizing - French & Vince

 

Contact

For more information, please contact
the conference Associate Director for Administration, Rosette Cirillo, at 
ComingTogether2021@gmail.com.
 
 
 

Coming Together |
Coming Apart

Authority and Leadership in a Fragmenting World

A CSGSS Group Relations Conference in the Tavistock Tradition

Conference Location: 

Online via Zoom

Conference Date: 
Friday, April 23, 
to Sunday, April 25 

For more information, please contact Rosette Cirillo by phone or email:

Tel: 267 640-5872

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