Conference purpose and primary task
The purpose of the conference is to provide an opportunity to study the ways in which we find and create a sense of community in an online environment.
Conference staff and members will work on the primary task of the conference, which is to provide opportunities to discover creative potential as we study the emergence of community in this temporary organisation.
The conference is underpinned by group relations theory which focuses our attention on leadership, authority, task, and the regulation of organisational boundaries, as well as a complexity perspective which directs our attention to self-organising processes and networks of social, emotional, psychological, and political relationships. These two conceptual bases will enable us to explore how we take up roles and experience communities at work in this temporary organisation, and to experiment with ways of enabling creativity to emerge and flourish.
Primary task. As well as the conference primary task, each event in the conference will have a primary task. This enables an exploration of how tasks are taken up across the temporary organisation.
Role. Instead of focusing solely on a person, in group relations the focus is on a person-in-their-role. Role is where a person, the organisation, its purpose, and its context come together to create an experience that is unique to a person in their role. This enables an inquiry into the formal or informal role a person is taking up at a particular time.
Authority. In an organisation, authority is the right to make decisions which are binding on others. Authority can come from above (formal authority), from below or around (endorsed authority) and from within (personal authority).
Place. In this online conference, we consider the online meeting room as a place in potentiality, in that it will become a place on the arrival of people who have experiences and create meaning there.
Group dynamics. The study of conscious and unconscious group dynamics is enabled through an iterative cycle of acting, observing and reflecting on how people take up roles in groups and organisations.
Complexity. Complexity describes the behaviour of a system or environment that comprises many parts which interact with each in multiple ways. Complex environments require adaptive capacity to moderate and respond to competing and fast-changing demands on an organisation.
Creativity. Creativity is the way in which seemingly disparate, chaotic elements accumulate around a selected fact, giving new meaning to both the chaotic elements and the fact selected.
Community. Communities emerge as self-organising members who are ‘distinct-from’ each other and reach a coherence of unity in being ‘together-with’ each other. We can think of members of communities as citizens with equal rights, who interact and affect each other in a reciprocal way.