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Khaleelee, O. White, K.P. (2014). Global Development and Innovation in Group Relations. Organ. Soc. Dyn., 14(2):399-425.

(2014). Organizational and Social Dynamics, 14(2):399-425

Global Development and Innovation in Group Relations

Olya Khaleelee and Kathy Pogue White, Ph.D.


Our interest in global development and innovation in group relations work began in 2009 after Belgirate III, the tri-annual conference for group relations staff and directors. The theme that year was on “Tradition, Creativity and Succession in the Global Group Relations Network”. Members reflected on whether the work has been influenced by the upheaval of world events and the globalisation of group relations. As we all agreed, the recent years have proved to be a time of an unprecedented number of group relations conferences being held successfully. Some of these are newer developments: for example, in the Faroe Islands; in Eastern Europe, including Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania; in Turkey; in the Far East—China—and in South America, including Chile, Argentina, Peru, and the Amazon jungle.

After having participated in discussion groups with our global colleagues, where nation-issues and nation-differences in taking up the “tradition” of group relations were being discussed, we began to question not whether, but how the development of group relations conference design in different countries might be linked with societal changes.

This initiative began well before the advent of the apocalyptic global, political, and climatic events of the past four years, now known as the Arab Spring.

In pursuing this idea, we decided to interview a significant sub-set of conference directors, either face-to-face, by phone, Skype, or e-mail conversation. Our original intention was to focus on new directors, as we were working on the hypothesis that they would have the traditions embedded in them from their past experiences with seasoned directors, either as staff or as members. Where they might have made changes in their own designs, these would be derivative from traditional conference work.

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