Group Cohesion Index

A. Overview.

Cohesion among a group is a sense of "tightness," the degree to which people in the group think alike, or nearly alike. It is not essential that people who work together think the same. There is a need for diversity in many forms in order for an organization to have the kind of "creative tension" that causes members of the group to ponder alternatives - to stretch their many points of view.

As organization developers, QWLC uses the Unifying Human Systems (UHS) Model as a filter to determine one important measure of cohesion. We expect that a well-tuned group will settle into an ideal Cohesion Index of approximately 2.0. Measures that depart from this Index represent potential dysfunction among the points of view of members of the group. This is important, because too great a variation will cause similar variations in organizational priorities.

B. The Primary Strategy - Facilitated Group Dialog in the Context of Action.

In order to remediate too high a Cohesion Index (in either direction from the "Ideal"), QWLC consistently recommends one or more sessions of facilitated dialog. At the outset, it is important to surface each group member's opinions around topics of organizational importance. If a UHS Profile is available, it may aid in the selection of initial topics.

The most effective approach is for opinions with the greatest difference from the "Ideal" to be explored first. Those with more normative opinions would be try hardest to understand the widest variance.

Any initiative that can be used to create common ground among group members is an ideal catalyst to correcting this condition. Just the dialog will be useful, but generally will not close the gap as quickly or as effectively as a group working together to produce a new condition that is more favorable to the entire group.

C. Secondary Strategies.

Without a facilitated group environment, just ask! Through inquiry, try to determine the merit of disparate points of view. Try to modify your own points of view before you try to sway someone else.

Do some research if the issue is important enough. This discovery process may lead to new understanding for you and for others concerning the topic. Be open to change.

Create within yourself a paradigm of genuine inquiry. Work hard so that others don't get the impression you are nosey, or micro-managing in your questions.


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