Defining the vision in orgs. LO13202

Bill Godfrey (
Sat, 12 Apr 97 19:22:31 +1000

Replying to LO13183 --

I suggest that Bunker and Alban's "Large Group Interventions: Engaging the
Whole System for Rapid Change" (Jossey Bass ISBN0 7879 0324 8) is an even
better starting point than Future Search or Discovering Common Ground,
because it gives a brief and very c lear overview of the whole field and
the different situations in which each variant of the general search
technique is most useful. Weisbord's Future Search is a very detailed how
to do it. Also important is Merilyn Emery's The Search Conference.

Here is an extract from a topic article on search (the numbers are my
references to the reivews and indicate the date of the review:

The theory and practice of the techniques and their similarities and
differences are now covered by at least three authors in recent major
works. They are

961101 Emery, M. & Purser, R.E.: The Search Conference.
940204 Weisbord, Marvin R, et al. Discovering Common Ground.
960202 Weisbord, Marvin R & Janoff, Future Search.
961201 Bunker, B.B. & Alban, B. T. Large Group Interventions.

All of them have a strong focus on giving practical guidance to use of the
techniques and all of them are well worth owning. Each has a somewhat
different perspective. (At the time of writing, I have only recently
received Bunker & Alban9s book and have only scanned it.)

Professionals who expect to design or facilitate such conferences will
need to read all of the books as each one adds something to the others.
Bunker & Alban9s has what appears to be a very useful comparison of the
similarities and differences between th e techniques and which is
approapriate to what situation. It also has an appendix with a quite
excellent short listing of useful books, videos, training and other
resources in the field.

I find it difficult to recommend a single source for those who simply want
an overview of the uses and power of the techniques. Emery & Purser9s is
most solidly based in theory and has the authority of the Emerys9 long
history of championship of the Sear ch Conference, but comes dangerously
close to advocating one right way9. Weisbord & Janoff9s is specifically
a how to9. The choice is really beteen Wiesbord9s Discovering Common
Ground, which has the advantage of being a collection of chapters by a wi
de variety of authors, with plenty of case examples, and Bunker & Alban9s
new book, which has the advantages of working from the broadest platform
and of specifically trying to put the range of methods in context.

Bill Godfrey
Bill Godfrey & Associates Pty Ltd
8 Reibey Place, Curtin, ACT 2605, Australia
Tel: (61) 6 282 2256
Fax: (61) 6 282 2447
BookWatch site:


Bill Godfrey <>

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