BEING A MEMBER OF A SMALL GROUP

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Dissertation flow, layout and language

This dissertation is structuredin such a way that it presents itself as a process, or a workinprogress, rather than as a final, perfect product. The dissertation is, therefore, not merely the final story of the research as it was conducted. It is more than that. It tells the story but the act of telling also changes the story. By not removing the traces of trial and error in this final telling, it becomes possible to see the way in which the research, the researched as well as the researcher, changed and developed as the story unfolded. This layout decision was inspired by Henri Matisse’s methods of modern construction, as depicted in his 1913 Flowers and Ceramic Plate (Matisse, 1913), in which he deliberately leaves the traces of development of the artwork in the final product in order to depict art as a work in progress (The Art Institute of Chicago, 2010). Accordingly, it is hoped that this way of presenting the research will allow the reader to follow the logic within its context as it developed and, thus, enable the reader to perceive the research as an honest effort that is never fully completed.
The first chapter discusses both the research problem and the research objectives. The research is delineated, possible weaknesses are pointed out and the assumptions underlying the research are briefly discussed.
Chapter 2 is the first of two chapters (chapters 2 and 5) in which the research method is discussed. Firstly, an argument in favour of a postfoundational philosophical stance with regard to the research is developed. In addition, postfoundationalism and its implications for conducting research are discussed. Following this, constructivist grounded theory is considered as a research design that is both compatible with a postfoundational philosophy and also suitable in terms of realising the goals of this research project. With the philosophy of science and the research design pinned down, chapter 2 continues to describe the initial research process that was conducted. It is important to note that this initial process represents the first attempt at conducting the research, and that the subsequent attempt is discussed in chapter 5. As part of the description of the first research attempt, attention is also given to the research setting;traininggroups as a medium for research;the data collection andthe data analysis. It is specifically with regards to the data analysis that this first attempt at conducting the research is regarded as the initial research process. The outcome of the first attempt at data analysis is described as well as the need that emerged for a theoretical lens through which to analyse the data in a more structured deductiveinductive (abductive)1 manner.
Chapter 3 proceeds to lay the foundation for the development of the theoretical lens. Firstly, the notion of group membership and the way in which group membership is currently defined and understood is problematised and explicated. This is followed by an integrative discussion of four major group-theoretical schools of thought, namely, Kurt Lewin’s Field Theory, Wilfred Bion’s psychoanalytic approach (also referred to as the group-as-a-whole or the Tavistock approach), S.H. Foulkes’s psychoanalytical approach (also known as group analysis) as well as Yvonne Agazarian’s systemscentred approach.

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Chapter 1: Introduction 
1.1 Background
1.2 Research problem
1.3 Research objectives
1.4 Research questions
1.5 Delineation and limitations
1.6 Assumptions
1.7 Significance and relevance of the research
1.8 Dissertation flow, layout and language
Chapter 2: Method 
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Research philosophy and approach
2.2.1 Basic scientific beliefs
2.2.2 Considering the research topic and objectives
2.2.3 Postfoundationalism and the ontology and epistemology of this research
2.3 Research design
2.3.1 Constructivist grounded theory
2.3.1.1 History and development
2.3.1.2 Reasons for using constructivist grounded theory
2.3.1.3 How does constructivist grounded theory work?
2.4 The initial research process
2.4.1 Introduction
2.4.2 Research setting
2.4.2.1 The immediate, physical context of the training group
2.4.2.2 The theoretical and professional contexts whih informed the roles and approach of the facilitators
2.4.2.3 The context of the post-graduate programme and the role(s) of the researcher
2.4.2.4 The institutional context
2.4.2.5 The broader context of experiential learning within the academic environment, specifically with regards to group dynamics training
2.4.2.6 The South African socio-political context as part of a broader, global context
2.4.3 Sampling and data collection methodolies
2.4.3.1 Training group
2.4.3.2 Written reflections
2.4.4 Data analysis
2.4.4.1 Initial data analysis process followed
2.4.4.2 The need for a revised data analysis methodology
2.5 Conclusion
Chapter 3: Theoretical foundations 
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Field theory
3.2.1 Introduction
3.2.2 Field theory as meta-theory
3.2.3 Lewin’s specific field the
3.2.4 Constructs in field theory
3.2.4.1 Life spac
3.2.4.2 Field
3.2.4.3 Elements
3.2.4.4 Goals
3.2.4.5 Goal region
3.2.4.6 Position
3.2.4.7 Locomotion
3.2.4.8 Force
3.2.4.9 Tension
3.2.5 Conclusion: Why field theory is not enough
3.3 Psychoanalytic approaches to groups
3.3.1 Introduction
3.3.2 The group and the individual
3.3.2.1 Foulkes on the individual vs. group dilemma
3.3.2.2 Bion and the individual vs. group dilemma
3.3.3 The group’s task
3.3.4 Specific contributions: Bion
3.3.4.1 The group-as-a-whole
3.3.4.2 Three basic assumption states
3.3.4.3 Recent developments: A fourth basic assumption?
3.3.4.4 Application of Bion’s conceptual structure
3.3.4.5 Organisation-in-the-mind
3.3.5 Unique contributions by Foulkes
3.3.5.1 The group as an abstraction
3.3.5.2 The group matrix
3.3.5.3 Levels of exchange
3.3.5.4 Mirroring
3.3.5.5 Free-floating discussion
3.3.5.6 Resonance
3.3.5.7 Translation
3.3.5.8 Nitsun: The anti-group
3.3.6 Bion and Foulkes: Other areas of diversion and conversion
3.3.7 Conclusion: Why the psychoanalytic approaches are not enough
3.4 Systems theory
3.5 Conclusion 93
Chapter 4: Constructing a theoretical lens 
Chapter 5: Revised method 
Chapter 6: Discussion of results 
Chapter 7: Conclusion 

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