Facilitation as Fair Intervention

  • Wendy J. Gregory
  • Norma Romm
Part of the Contemporary Systems Thinking book series (CST)


This chapter elucidates a view of facilitation in which explicit attention is paid to the way in which the facilitator of group processes may adopt a role as (temporary) participant in the process, at times contributing content-suggestions to the discussions. Our argument is relevant to the practice of community operational research (‘Community OR’ for short) in that it considers what it might mean to develop a community towards enriched dialogical competence. Midgley and Ochoa-Arias (1999) indicate that when practitioners undertake work labelled as Community OR, there are often implicit visions of community that they bring to bear as they proceed. In this chapter, we pay explicit attention to the way in which we operated in terms of a specific conception of ‘community’ when we acted as facilitators in the context under consideration. Our approach draws to a large extent on Habermas’s (1984, 1987) concern with enhancing ‘communicative rationality’ in social relationships. We spell out a pragmatised version of Habermas’s argument as it relates to validity checking, but we also extend/modify the argument to take account of the continued fragility of the dialogical process.


National Health Service Validity Check Communicative Competence Soft System Methodology Fair Intervention 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Science+Business Media New York 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wendy J. Gregory
    • 1
    • 2
  • Norma Romm
    • 2
  1. 1.Christchurch Science CentreInstitute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) Ltd.ChristchurchNew Zealand
  2. 2.Centre for Systems Studies, Business SchoolUniversity of HullHullUK

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