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Reiniger, I. (2016). A German Dilemma: Challenging Experiences at a Tavistock Conference in Poland: Part Two: Reflection and Analysis. Organ. Soc. Dyn., 16(2):233-244.

(2016). Organizational and Social Dynamics, 16(2):233-244

A German Dilemma: Challenging Experiences at a Tavistock Conference in Poland: Part Two: Reflection and Analysis

Isabelle Reiniger

“You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it. Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief.”

Wisdom of the Jewish Sages, Rabbi Shapiro, 1993, p. 41

More than twenty years prior to my birth, unspeakable atrocities took place, which led to a part of myself becoming identified with evil. It was inescapable and oppressive. Attending the conference and writing this paper has helped me further understand the complexity and difficulties involved for those of us who were born and raised in Germany during or after the Nazi regime, but also some of the inter-group dynamics with groups who were victims of the German people during the period of fascism. In fact using the group relations model, I question what role the Germans were serving in the larger European and world context.

Bion's Dependency and Fight–Flight

Evidence of Bion's basic assumption of dependency was apparent from the start of the conference. During the opening plenary the initial confusion about what was expected and the complaints about space seemed to reflect a wish for an idealised leadership to explain everything in detail and to have prepared the perfect space. However, Rice's (1965) descriptions of early group relations conferences (GRCs) suggests that this dependency at the beginning of a conference is to be expected and normal, since members have put trust in the staff to organise the conference.


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