An approach to comparing external and internal methods for analysing group dynamic

Bell, S. and Morse, S. (2013). An approach to comparing external and internal methods for analysing group dynamic. Group Dynamics, 17(4) pp. 281–298.



Beginning with the question, can a multi-methodology explore the nature of group work from both the inside out (group participant self-analysis) and the outside in (facilitator observed analysis), this paper presents the results of a statistical analysis comparing two different approaches to assessing group function: SYMLOG (A SYstem for the Multiple Level Observation of Groups) and BECM (Being, Engaging, Contextualising and Managing). SYMLOG is a quantitative internal assessment of group function made by members of the group, while BECM is qualitative external assessment made by an outsider observing the groups. Together, it is argued, they provide a unique, triangulated assessment of the group dynamic. By employing a ‘best subsets’ linear regression technique it was found that some of the 26 characteristics of SYMLOG are related to BECM scoring (adjusted R2 = 0.82). The paper discusses the reasons for this and the repercussions for such blending of approaches to understanding group dynamic. The paper ends by discussing the relative advantages and disadvantages of the two approaches and potential for further hybridising of them in blended group dynamic approaches.

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