Frameworks for effective improvised facilitation

Hennessy, Dee (2015) Frameworks for effective improvised facilitation. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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The starting point for this study is the facilitation of groups engaged in knowledge exchange and the ways in which facilitation in that context can be more flexible, more responsive, more creative and more effective. Only anecdotal evidence exists relating to what this study calls Improvised Facilitation and defines as the generation of a series of in-situ, micro-designs at each step and turn, independent of established formats and processes. The study attempts to understand better what those micro-designs might involve, by interrogating the practice dimensions of this emergent and poorly articulated form. Key assumptions underpinning both facilitation and improvisation were explored through a systematic review of the literature. The major works of theorists from group and team theory and those associated with the measurement of creativity were interrogated to construct and test emerging ways of working. Action Research was used to explore the aptitude, skills, techniques, competences and confidence required to perform the role of a facilitator who improvises as s/he flexes and turns in response to group needs and challenges as they emerge. Practice dimensions were explored through reflections on practice and with a cohort of professional facilitators contributing their experience through structured interviews. The theoretical approach shed light on the role and impact played by other factors in the facilitation process, almost as co-facilitators in the process itself. These factors include the facilitation environment, spatial configurations within that environment, restraints of time, levels of preparedness and the materials and resources deployed in the moment. This has enabled the synthesis of a streamlined competence framework for facilitation and the design of an entirely novel confidence frame for Improvised Facilitation. These products of the research formed the basis of the construction of an innovative two-stage approach to the evaluation of Improvised Facilitation that was then tested in dynamic, real-life group events. Driven by practice, experience-capture, passion and reflection, this study has addressed a significant knowledge gap through the design of these frameworks. In so doing, the research offers insights into what this might mean for facilitation, for facilitators and for the development of knowledge exchange processes more broadly.

Item Type:
Thesis (PhD)
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04 Dec 2015 12:38
Last Modified:
12 Sep 2023 00:17