assumptions and techniques are particularly relevant when groups of
are first formed, or re-constituted. It is normally assumed in organisation
development (O.D.) work that effective collaboration in a group
complementarity of personal skills, views and perspectives rather than
similarity or identity (see e.g. Belbin, 1981), and a personal
approach which addresses issues of individuality,
and especially, sociality
is particularly apposite.
grids can be
used where an exchange and
sharing of precisely expressed personal views and assumptions about
shared importance is required. More usefully, though, it is the process
which participants explore their construing, rather than any
statistically-based comparison of constructs based on similarity and
differences of grid ratings, which is valuable. Often, the simple
identification of the elements the individuals use as applicable to a
the use of a flipchart to display and publicly share those elements,
valuable insights and fruitful discussion. Constructs might be elicited
shared in the same way, their actual content, rather than their use as
dimensions for a rating scale exercise, being the focus of attention.
thus a variety of constructivist techniques might be used. Jones (1996;
used various small-group exercises, training inputs, personal-and
group-reflective analysis methods such as self-characterisation
and personal assignments based on fixed-role-therapy
alongside individual repertory grids, to encourage medical consultants
hospital managers (two notoriously ill-articulated groups) to
others’ perspectives and develop more collaborative working practices.
It has been suggested (Eden,
1988) that repertory grids are too
constrained and inflexible a technique to be effective when working
with senior managers. These are people who prefer a more flexible way
of identifying patterns in their collaborative construing than the
repertory grid can provide for. Eden advocates directed graph
technique instead. This computes means-end implicational
relationships, using graphically simple and user-friendly diagrams of
‘what leads to what’ and ‘what depends on what’ as input. And, again,
it is less the statistical analysis, and more the exchange of views on
each other’s initial diagram, which is beneficial. Nevertheless, the
analysis does provide for a flexible identification of categories of
constructs for their strategic implications as participants examine
the policy alternatives associated with their way of construing the
issue in question.
- Belbin, R.M. (1981) Management
Teams: why they Succeed or Fail. London: Heinemann.
- Eden, C. (1988) Cognitive
mapping: a review. European Journal of Operational Research 36,
- Jones, H. (1996) Engaging
doctors. In White, A. (ed.) A Textbook of Management for Doctors.
- Jones, H. & Jankowicz A.D.
(1998) Bringing two worlds together: personal and management
the Health Service. Human Resource Development International 1,