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Leadership and defensive communication: a grounded theory study of leadership reaction to defensive communication 1998

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Leadership and Defensive Communication: a Grounded Theory Study of Leadership Reaction to Defensive Communication. by Edward W. D. Peck B. A., the University of British Columbia, 1974 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENT FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Counselling Psychology) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard The University of British Columbia January 1998 © Edward W. D. Peck, 1998 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of ^ ^ ^ ( ( ^ U ^ ^ C ^ O A Q\ The University of British Columbia —' Vancouver, Canada Date <?S~o£r2*> DE-6 (2/88) L e a d e r s h i p a n d Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n ABSTRACT A demonstrated link between effective leadership and the reduction of defensive, communication has been established in research. Leaders who are effective in reducing defensiveness create group climates which foster trust. In these climates people are more productive, content and resourceful. Understanding how leaders effectively manage defensive communication is critical to effective leadership. The purpose of this study was to explore how leaders react to group defensive communication climates. Leaders' reaction to critical defensive group experiences was analyzed through grounded theory, what emerged is a process used by experienced leaders to manage their internal emotional reactions to the defensive climate. This process, outlined in five main stages, is linked directly to the successful outcome of the defensive situation. L e a d e r s h i p a n d Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n i i i TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT II TABLE OF CONTENTS Ill LIST OF FIGURES VII ACKNOWLEDGEMENT VIII CHAPTER I - THE PROBLEM 1 Introduction 1 Statement of the Problem Rationale for the Study 4 Definitions 5 Defensive Communication 5 Defensive and Supportive Climate 7 Group Climate 7 Defensive Spiral 7 Role Repertoire 8 Role Rigidi ty 8 CHAPTER II - LITERATURE REVIEW 9 Defensive Communications, G ibb (1961) 9 Applications of Gibb's Concept of Defensive Communication in Subsequent Research 9 Defensive communication in disciplinary situations 9 Defensive Climate Reactions: Hosti l i ty, Constriction or Di la t ion (Beck, 1988) 11 L e a d e r s h i p a n d Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n iv Defensive Effects of Personal Perceptions; a History (Assor, 1987) 13 The Application of Gibb to Leadership Research 15 Related Leadership Research 17 Summary 18 CHAPTER III - METHOD 19 Introduction 19 Research Question 19 Methodology Rationale 19 Grounded Theory Method 20 Analysing the Data Using Grounded Theory 20 Procedures and Canons o f the Methods 21 Summary o f Grounded Theory Analysis 25 Reliability and Validity 25 Setting, Sampling Procedures and Participants 26 Data Collection Procedures 26 Val id i ty Check : 27 Data Anaylsis Procedures 28 Extraction from the Narrative and Coding 28 Reliabi l i ty Check 29 Summary 30 L e a d e r s h i p and Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n v CHAPTER IV - RESULTS 31 Descript ion of the Basic Categories 31 Categories of Incidents 32 Categories o f Internal Actions 33 Categories of External Actions 42 Conc lus ion 43 CHAPTER V - CONCLUSION 44 Statement of Results 44 Successful Anchor ing and Unsuccessful Anchor ing 46 Resonance and Felt Congruence 46 The Cri t ical First Three Stages : 47 Summary 48 Analysis of Individual Stages 48 Awareness 48 Anxie ty Reduction / Focus Shifting 49 Stage Three: Theory Anchor ing 50 Stage Four: M o d e l Matching or Creating 51 Stage Five : Deciding on Ac t ion 53 Summary 53 Implications for Training of Leaders and Practice 55 Leaders Need to Understand Themselves 55 Anxie ty Reduction Techniques 57 A Strong Coherent Theoretical B e l i e f System 57 Leadership and Defensive Communication v i Exposure to Models and Experience 58 Summary of Implications 59 Limitations of the Study 60 Direction for Future Research 60 REFERENCES 62 APPENDIX A - CONTEXT STATEMENT 66 APPENDIX B - PARTICIPANTS CONSENT FORM 67 APPENDIX C - INTERVIEW CONTEXT, QUESTIONS AND PROBES 69 Opening interview Question: 69 Context '. 69 Probe 69 Summarize 70 Linking Situations 70 APPENDIX D - INCIDENT CONTINUUM FORM 71 L e a d e r s h i p a n d Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n v i i LIST OF FIGURES FIGURE I: CATEGORIES OF BEHAVIOUR CHARACTERISTICS 6 FIGURE 2: DEFENSIVE AND SUPPORTIVE CLIMATES 6 FIGURE 3: THE DEFENDING/TRUSTING CONTINUUM 8 FIGURE 4: DEFENSIVE CLIMATE REACTIONS 12 FIGURE 5: EFFECTS ON INFLUENCE LEVELS 17 FIGURE 6: RANGE OF LEADERSHIP CHALLENGES 33 FIGURE 7: RANGE OF CRITICAL INCIDENTS IN STUDY 33 FIGURE 8: MAJOR CATEGORIES FN INTERNAL ACTIONS 34 FIGURE 9: ILLUSTRATIONS OF AWARENESS REACTIONS 36 FIGURE 10: RANGE OF ANXIETY REDUCTION / FOCUS SHIFTING ACTIONS 37 FIGURE 11: ILLUSTRATIONS OF ANXIETY REDUCTION / FOCUS SHIFTING ACTIONS 38 FIGURE 12: RANGE OF THEORETICAL ANCHORING 40 FIGURE 13: RANGE OF MODEL MATCHING/CREATING 41 FIGURE 14: RANGE OF OUTCOMES 42 FIGURE 15: RANGE OF EXTERNAL ACTIONS 42 FIGURE 16: MAJOR STAGES IN INTERNAL ACTIONS 47 FIGURE 17: EFFECTS ON GROUP CLIMATE THE FIVE STAGES 54 FIGURE 18: LEADER'S PSYCHIC STATE AND GROUPS ABILITY TO PROCESS 55 L e a d e r s h i p and Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n v i i i ACKNOWLEDGEMENT M a n y people con t r ibu ted to th is thesis , bu t I m us t f i rs t acknowledge the i n d i v i d u a l s who p a r t i c i p a t e d i n th is s tudy, for w i t h o u t t h e m there w o u l d be no thesis . I apprec ia ted the open m a n n e r i n w h i c h they sha red the i r s t ruggles a n d t r i u m p h s . I also w o u l d l i k e to t h a n k t h e m for t h e i r t ime , w h i c h is such prec ious commodi ty to us a l l . I hope tha t th i s thes is a n d the f ind ings tha t i t pu ts fo rward provide t h e m some r e t u r n on w h a t they have inves ted . N e x t , I w o u l d l i k e to t h a n k the member s of the academic c o m m u n i t y at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a ; Spec i f ica l ly , D r . M a r v i n W e s t w o o d for h i s guidance, f a i th a n d i n s p i r a t i o n . I w o u l d also l i k e to t h a n k the others, too m a n y to l i s t , whose ideas a n d thoughts m i g h t be reflected b e h i n d the pages of t h i s thes is . D r . W i l l i a m B o r g e n s h o u l d not go u n n a m e d for he he lped m o u l d the s t ruc ture , f rom w h i c h I l eaped a n d P a t r i c i a W i l i n s k y w h o agreed to p rov ide the necessary outside perspect ive tha t is a l w a y s needed i n these u n d e r t a k i n g s . I s h o u l d also t h a n k m y fr iends a m o n g the graduate s tudents who have p r o v i d e d me w i t h i n s p i r a t i o n a n d suppor t t h r o u g h th i s process. F i n a l l y , m y wife P h y l l i s a n d sons T e d a n d J u s t i n for t h e i r support , sacrif ice, a n d help me on t h i s jou rney . It was m y t i m e w i t h t h e m tha t w a s sacr i f iced to complete th i s project. I w o u l d also l i k e to t h a n k m y fa ther for h i s k e e n eye, w h i c h was most he lp fu l i n c o m p l e t i n g th i s work . L e a d e r s h i p and Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 1 CHAPTER I - THE PROBLEM Introduction J a c k G i b b , the o r ig ina to r of t rus t - l eve l theory, conducted extens ive research i n the 60s a n d 70s i n the a rea of defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n i n order to const ruct a m o d e l of suppor t ive a n d defensive c l imates . S ince t h e n on ly i so la t ed research has been conducted i n th i s f ie ld . A d d i t i o n a l exp lo ra t i on is necessary i n order, to app ly w h a t G i b b (1978) pos i ted i n h i s o r i g i n a l research . A l t h o u g h h i s w o r k has been usefu l i n desc r ib ing defensive a n d suppor t ive c l imates , i t i s more di f f icul t to app ly t hem, to h i s observat ions since they do not inc lude p r a c t i c a l methods of app l i ca t i on . The present s tudy sought to explore the experience of defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n f rom a leader 's experience of a c r i t i c a l i nc iden t i n the hope t ha t t h i s p rovides a n effective m e t h o d of a p p l y i n g h i s ideas . I n the a rea of l eadersh ip a n d defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n there has been some sca t te red research, bu t none explores how a leader d i r ec t ly appl ies G ibb ' s theory d u r i n g a defensive encounter . The e s t ab l i shmen t of t r u s t i s the core objective of h i s ideas about r e d u c i n g defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n . H e expresses t h i s best i n the f o l l o w i n g passage: when trust is high, relative to fear, people and people systems function well (Gibb, 1978). T h e bus iness c o m m u n i t y as a means of t r a n s f o r m i n g the w o r k place has w i t h a n i n c r e a s i n g m o m e n t u m , embraced G ibb ' s ideas . The strongest example of t h i s i s found i n S t ephen Covey (1996), whose l eadersh ip m o d e l is based on the e s t ab l i shmen t of t r u s t r e l a t i onsh ips i n the w o r k p l a c e t h r o u g h coherent l eadersh ip . H e suggests, l i k e G i b b , t ha t w h e n t rus t i s not present "seventy percent of c o m m u n i c a t i o n is spent on defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n " (Covey, 1996). I t i s s u r p r i s i n g that , despite the wide sp read acceptance of h i s ideas i n bus iness a n d psychology so l i t t l e r e sea rch has been done to ex tend G ibb ' s o r i g i n a l w o r k . G i v e n the preva lence of G ibb ' s theory i n bus iness a n d the i m p a c t i t has on the f ie ld of L e a d e r s h i p and Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 2 group psycho the rapy leadersh ip a s tudy of how leaders react to defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n cou ld have s ign i f i can t i m p a c t on the t r a i n i n g of leaders . Defens ive c o m m u n i c a t i o n behav iou r s are pa r t of our cu l tu re a n d f requent ly our me thod of cop ing w i t h change. It i s somet imes diff icul t to recognize these behav iour s as p rob lemat ic . Defens ive c o m m u n i c a t i o n b e h a v i o u r is a n o u t w a r d man i f e s t a t i on of the res is tance tha t occurs w h e n a n i n d i v i d u a l is a sked or chooses to m a k e the unconscious conscious; i t i s a defensive ac t ion tha t opposes or "resists" a force tha t th rea tens the psyche. I n a bus iness e n v i r o n m e n t or a group the rapy set t ing, defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n he lps a n i n d i v i d u a l res is t the pe rce ived dangers t ha t come from others . T h i s pe rcep t ion is often the n a t u r a l r eac t ion to a defensive posture t a k e n by the o r ig ina to r of the c o m m u n i c a t i o n . The l i s tener , unab le to de te rmine w h e t h e r or not the c o m m u n i c a t i o n poses a threat , adopts a defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n posture to ensure psych ic safety. The di f f icul ty , however , is t ha t the defensive posture i n i t s e l f sends out a w r o n g message to the l i s tener . It can , for example , appear to the l i s t ene r as j u d g m e n t a l c o m m u n i c a t i o n b e h a v i o u r convey ing a sense of supe r io r i t y to or l a c k of in te res t i n the l i s tener . T h i s s tyle of c o m m u n i c a t i o n i m p a i r s the c o m m u n i c a t i o n process a n d creates a s p i r a l i n g effect t ha t c a n e v e n t u a l l y shut d o w n the c o m m u n i c a t i o n process. T h i s s p i r a l i n g effect, w h i c h I w i l l c a l l the "defensive s p i r a l , " occurs as a resu l t of each defensive exchange i n c r e a s i n g the cau t i on of the l i s tener , a n d t hus each response becomes more a n d more defensive. I n a c o m m u n i c a t i o n exchange of t h i s na ture , there is a n i n c r e a s i n g sense of uneas iness a n d danger c a u s i n g bo th pa r t i c ipan t s to focus more a n d more on t ru s t a n d safety issues r a the r t h a n on content a n d m e a n i n g . Defens ive c o m m u n i c a t i o n , a l t h o u g h present at a l l stages of a group's process, is c r i t i c a l l y i m p o r t a n t to the t r a n s i t i o n stage of group fo rma t ion so tha t the group can move in to a p roduc t ive w o r k i n g stage. Its presence has a s ign i f i can t i m p a c t on p r o d u c t i v i t y a n d pe r sona l deve lopment . I f a leader fa i ls to addresses t h i s s tyle of L e a d e r s h i p a n d Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 3 c o m m u n i c a t i o n , i t w i l l in tens i fy espec ia l ly at the t r a n s i t i o n a l stage of group development a n d w o r k aga ins t the best i n t en t ions of a l l members of the group. T h i s type of c o m m u n i c a t i o n makes i t d i f f icul t to convey ideas a n d e s t a b l i s h m u t u a l goals. It creates a dependency so tha t the leader spends more a n d more t i m e c l a r i f y i n g a n d r e f r a m i n g in t e rpe r sona l group c o m m u n i c a t i o n to ensure tha t the in t en t ions of the c o m m u n i c a t o r are c l ea r ly unders tood. W h e n th i s defensive s p i r a l is present , i t d i s t rac t s everyone i n c l u d i n g the leader f rom the t a sk at h a n d , a n d the group becomes consumed w i t h the dec iphe r ing of the messages b e h i n d the defensive m a s k s of i t s members . I n i ts ext reme, defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n m a k e s i t imposs ib le for r e a l c o m m u n i c a t i o n to t ake p lace . Therefore, i t i s c r u c i a l for a l l leaders to effectively manage defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n . C a r l Rogers also feels tha t the c u l t u r a l n o r m is to perceive mos t i n d i v i d u a l s f rom a defensive posture to such a degree t ha t society's i n s t i t u t i o n s have been des igned to be m a n a g e d on th i s p remise . H e feels, l i k e Covey a n d other bus iness change agents (Covey, 1996), t ha t we s h o u l d shift a w a y from these u n n a t u r a l defensive modes t ha t have been crea ted b y our soc ia l constructs . The paradigm of Western culture is that the essence of persons is dangerous; thus, they must be taught, guided and controlled by those with superior authority. Yet our experience, and that of an increasing number of humanistic psychologists, has shown that another paradigm is far more effective and constructive for the individual and society. It is that, given a suitable psychological climate, human kind is trustworthy, creative, self-motivated powerful, and constructive - capable of releasing undreamed-of potential. The first paradigm of controlling the evil in human nature has brought civilization to the brink of disaster. Can society come to see the effectiveness of L e a d e r s h i p a n d Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 4 the second paradigm? It appears to be the only hope for survived. (Rogers, 1980.) - Rogers suggests the presence of defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n is c u l t u r a l , embodied i n our i n s t i t u t i o n s and, therefore, e tched i n our behav iours as acceptable group norms . It is , i n h i s v i ew, possible to release ourse lves from the d e t r i m e n t a l effects of t h i s mode of c o m m u n i c a t i o n . H i s v i e w is not d i s s i m i l a r to tha t of E r i k s o n as he describes t he i r in t r i ca te funct ion i n our h i g h l y i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d society. Social organization assigns with the power of government certain privileges of leadership and certain obligations of conduct; while it imposes on the ruled certain obligations of compliance and certain privileges of remaining autonomous self-determining. Where the whole matter becomes blurred, however, the matter of individual autonomy becomes an issue of mental health, as well as one of economic orientation. Where large numbers of people have been prepared In childhood to expect from life a high degree of personal autonomy, pride and opportunity, and then in later life find themselves ruled by superhuman organizations and machinery too intricate to understand, the result may be deep chronic disappointment not conducive to healthy personalities willing to grant each other a measure of autonomy. ( E r i k s o n , 1959) I n shor t i f we are to r e g a i n our au tonomy a n d g ran t others th i s same au tonomy, we need to change our soc ia l s t ruc tures . A d d r e s s i n g defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n is k e y to f a c i l i t a t i n g such a change. Statement of the Problem Rationale for the Study A n u n d e r s t a n d i n g of how leaders react to defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n is c r u c i a l to k n o w i n g how to i n f o r m us of the most effective w a y s to change these s t ruc tures . S u c h a n u n d e r s t a n d i n g m i g h t l e a d to s ign i f i can t changes i n how we t r a i n leaders to manage defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n , w h i c h i n t u r n w o u l d a l t e r the b e h a v i o u r tha t L e a d e r s h i p and Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 5 they mode l a n d i n t u r n t r ans fo rm the norms tha t bo th Rogers and•Er ikson describe i n the p rev ious passages. Therefore th is s tudy is cons t ruc ted to answer the ques t ion " H o w do leaders react to defensive communica t ion?" Definitions W h a t fol lows are a r ev i ew of the t e rms a n d some i l l u s t r a t i o n s of the context of the te rms, used by G i b b s . These t e rms w i l l be found i n the l i t e r a tu re r ev iew tha t fol lows i n the next chapter . Defensive Communication Defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n is a const ruct t ha t arose f rom Gibb ' s research . H i s const ruct descr ibed a n i n t e rpe r sona l c o m m u n i c a t i o n phenomenon tha t eroded t rus t bo th w i t h i n i n d i v i d u a l s a n d groups. It w a s also used to describe a n effective or ineffective leader w h o creates or destroys c l ima te s of t rus t w i t h i n a group se t t ing . The denotat ive m e a n i n g of defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n ar ises out of the j u x t a p o s i t i o n of the two words : defensive, w h i c h is def ined as "serv ing , used, done for defense, protect ive, not aggress ive" (Sykes, 1976); a n d c o m m u n i c a t i o n w h i c h is def ined as "act of i m p a r t i n g news; . . .paper r e ad to l e a r n e d society; soc ia l deal ings , access; science or pract ice of t r a n s m i t t i n g i n fo rma t ion" (Sykes, 1976). The connota t ive m e a n i n g therefore of the j u x t a p o s i t i o n of these two t e rms is l i k e l y to be a protec t ive or defensive means of t r a n s m i t t i n g i n f o r m a t i o n t ha t is not ove r t ly aggressive. G ibb ' s focus on defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n cen t red a r o u n d b e h a v i o u r and , therefore, he defines defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n as " c o m m u n i c a t i o n behav iou r s w h i c h s t imu la t e s one to perceive or an t ic ipa te a threat , c a u s i n g the i n d i v i d u a l to expend energy to defend h i m / h e r s e l f (Gibb, 1961)." F i g u r e 1: Categor ies of B e h a v i o u r Cha rac t e r i s t i c s i l l u s t r a t e s G ibb ' s categories of b e h a v i o r a l charac te r i s t i cs t ha t he felt were e i ther defensive or suppor t ive : L e a d e r s h i p and Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 6 Behavior Characterist ics of Support ive and Defensive Climates in Smaller Groups .\.bnu-d b>-m^^mmbim.oa*i9#> Diagnostic Signs Defensive Supportive Diagnostic Signs • + defensiveness • + responding behaviour • - growth • - perceptive ness • - empathy Advice giving Censoring Defense Persuasion Controlling Punishing 1. Evaluation 2. Control 3. Strategy 4. Neutrality 5. Superiority 6. Certainty 1. Description 2. Problem Orientation 3. Spontaneity 4. Empathy 5. Equality 6. Professionalism Shared- problem- solving Attitude Acceptance Empathy Listening • - defensiveness • + initiating behaviour • + growth • + catharsis • + acceptance and empathy F i g u r e 1: Categor ies of B e h a v i o u r Cha rac t e r i s t i c s • ' 4 4 Message to Listener The communicator is judging me; thinks I am inadequate; doesn't really care about me or thinks I am inferiority. Focus of Listener I need to discover the motives, values or direction behind what is being said to determine if I am safe. Defensive Communication Behaviour Open Communication Behaviour — .• -.'V Illation Control Descript ion Problem Solving Message to Listener The communicator is interested in me, will be honest about what he thinks, will support me, not take sides, will engage in a process of exploration and has no hidden agendas. Focus of Listener I am interested in what is being said, its structure and content. Impaired Communication Optimal Communication F i g u r e 2: Defens ive a n d Suppor t ive C l i m a t e s L e a d e r s h i p a n d Defens ive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 7 D e f e n s i v e a n d S u p p o r t i v e C l i m a t e Gibb ' s developed a t axonomy to describe defensive a n d suppor t ive group c l ima tes tha t is i l l u s t r a t e d i n F i g u r e 2, w h i c h th i s researcher has adap ted from Gibb ' s T O R I tables (1978). I n l o o k i n g at w h a t m i g h t be the most r e l i ab le de t e rmine r of group c l ima te G i b b (1961), suggested tha t the k e y de t e rmine r w o u l d be the "w i l l i ngnes s to share i n a p r o b l e m tha t the group holds i n common." The l eve l to w h i c h the group appears to be w i l l i n g to share p rov ides a n i n s i g h t in to the e x i s t i n g c l ima te of the group. The behav iou r s a t t r i bu t ed to c r e a t i n g e i ther c l ima te are i m p o r t a n t to a l l group leaders a n d to a lesser degree s ign i f i can t for a l l pa r t i c ipan t s , g iven tha t the group can on ly progress as fast as i t s weakes t member ( Y a l o m , 1995). Group Climate G r o u p c l ima te is a n o v e r a l l assessment of where a g i v e n group m i g h t be on the "Defensive/ T r u s t i n g C o n t i n u u m " as i l l u s t r a t e d i n F i g u r e 3. Defensive Spiral I n G ibb ' s w o r k on defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n he discovers a p h e n o m e n a w h i c h he describes as the s p i r a l i n g effect of defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n : Such inner feelings and outward acts tend to create similarly defensive postures in others; and , if unchecked, the ensuing circular response becomes increasingly destructive. Defensive behaviour, in short, engenders defensive listening, and this in turn produces postural, facial and verbal cues which raise the defense level of the original communicator. (Gibb, 1961) F i g u r e 3 i l l u s t r a t e s on i ts left h a n d ax i s a desc r ip t ion of where t h i s s ty le of c o m m u n i c a t i o n takes bo th the i n d i v i d u a l a n d therefore the group. L e a d e r s h i p and Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 8 Cont ro l l i ng M e a n d Y o u Depending The authors interpretation of Gibb's TORI Tables (Gibb, 1978) Defending Process Trusting Process F ind ing m y N e e d s Bu i ld ing a F a c a d e F i nd i ng a R o l e G r o u p Cl imate Oughting Masking Depersoning B e i n g M e Trusting S h o w i n g M e Open D o i n g wha t I W a n t Realizing "Trust begets trust, fear escalates fear" (Gibb, 1978) \\ B e i n g with \ \ O t h e r s \ \ Interbeing I F i g u r e 3: The D e f e n d i n g / T r u s t i n g C o n t i n u u m Role Repertoire Role reper toi re refers to the range a n d adequacy of the role behav iors of a n i n d i v i d u a l or a s m a l l group a n d is a major de t e rminan t of the inf luence of a member (Gibb 1961). Role Rigidity Role r i g i d i t y is the degree to w h i c h a n i n d i v i d u a l res t r ic t s or l i m i t s the roles they assume and/or how f lexible they are w i t h i n these roles. Role r i g i d i t y not on ly l i m i t s the a b i l i t y of a leader to respond to group needs but also nega t ive ly affects group dynamics . L e a d e r s h i p and Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 9 C h a p t e r II - L i t e r a t u r e R e v i e w I n th i s C h a p t e r G i b b s ' o r i g i n a l r e sea rch i n the area of defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n s is o u t l i n e d a n d the subsequent app l ica t ions of th i s a n d other suppo r t i ng resea rch are discussed. A n effective leader w i l l use suppor t ive i n t e rpe r sona l c o m m u n i c a t i o n behav iour s to overcome defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n . Defensive Communications, Gibb (1961) I n 1961 G i b b wrote a n ar t ic le , en t i t l ed Defensive Communications. H e a rgued tha t we needed to m a k e f u n d a m e n t a l changes i n our i n t e rpe r sona l r e l a t i o n s h i p s by r e d u c i n g our defensiveness. One of the const ructs t ha t emerged f rom th i s a r g u m e n t was the c o i n i n g of the t e r m "defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n . " I n th i s a r t ic le he proposes tha t w h e n defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n occurs, i t i s dif f icul t to commun ica t e ideas c l ea r ly or to resolve p rob lems effectively. I n h i s a r t ic le he proposed s ix categories of b e h a v i o u r a l charac te r i s t i c s tha t p romoted defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n a n d s ix tha t p romoted suppor t ive c o m m u n i c a t i o n s i l l u s t r a t e d ea r l i e r i n F i g u r e 2: Defens ive a n d Suppor t ive C l i m a t e s . The au thor e s t ab l i shed these charac te r i s t i cs u s i n g s ix years of r esea rch based on recorded d iscuss ions i n a v a r i e t y of group se t t ings . T h i s a r t i c le is c e n t r a l to the concept of "Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n " i n psycho log ica l l i t e r a tu r e (Gibb , 1978). T h e concepts pu t f o rward i n t h i s paper are i l l u s t r a t e d i n F i g u r e 1 a n d F i g u r e 2. Applications of Gibb's Concept of Defensive Communication in Subsequent Research A l t h o u g h there has been l i m i t e d r e sea rch based on the o r i g i n a l research , for the most pa r t i t has been incomple te a n d not d i r ec t ly r e l a t ed to the cu r r en t p r o b l e m b e i n g cons idered for s tudy. Defensive communication in disciplinary situations. Some s tudies have extended the r e sea rch i n the a rea of f a m i l y soc ia l w o r k by e x a m i n i n g the suppor t ive a n d defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n w i t h i n the context of L e a d e r s h i p a n d Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n fami l i e s engaged i n d i s c i p l i n a r y behav iou r w i t h t he i r c h i l d r e n . D e S a l v o a n d Zurche r (1984) i n t he i r observat ions used Gibb ' s descr ip t ions of defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n to describe how w o m e n tended to be more exper ienced i n d i s c i p l i n a r y ac t iv i t i es , a n d more l i k e l y to use a t a sk o r ien ted approach (wh ich he describe i n t e rms of svipportive communica t ion ) whereas m e n were more l i k e l y to exh ib i t i den t i t y -o r i en ted behav iours (wh ich he describe i n t e rms of defensive communica t i on ) . The s tudy also found tha t the use of video t a p i n g could s ign i f i can t ly p red ic t defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n . T w o observa t ions come out of r e v i e w i n g th i s research: the f i rs t is t ha t s t u d y i n g defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n t h r o u g h the use of video t ap ing , i n some cases, cou ld create a b i a sed sample , a n d second is t ha t these s tudies do not i n f o r m us of how to app ly G ibb ' s ideas to reduce defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n . A l e x a n d e r used G ibb ' s m o d e l of defensive a n d suppor t ive c o m m u n i c a t i o n i n a n a t t empt to iden t i fy f ami l i e s i n w h i c h j u v e n i l e de l inquency m i g h t be p reva len t . I n the p r e l i m i n a r y s tudies a Defensive a n d Suppor t i ve C o m m u n i c a t i o n ( D S C ) , I n t e rac t ion C o d i n g S y s t e m was developed based on G i b b . H e found tha t t h i s scale w as usefu l i n e v a l u a t i n g the in te rac t ive b e h a v i o u r of these fami l i e s (Alexander , 1973). T h i s l i ne of i n q u i r y was extended by W a l d r o n et a l . (1993) bu t s t i l l on ly p r o v i d e d the g r o u n d w o r k for the e s t ab l i shmen t of a n i n s t r u m e n t for the measu remen t of suppor t ive a n d defensive c l ima te s . T h e research, however , does not provide a n y connec t ion be tween the i den t i f i ed in t e rac t ions a n d psychopathology, nor does i t he lp us u n d e r s t a n d the b e h a v i o u r associa ted w i t h c r ea t i ng these two c l ima te s or the b e h a v i o u r a l eader m i g h t exh ib i t to reduce defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n . I n other r esea rch Gibb ' s m o d e l w a s used to e x a m i n e defensive b e h a v i o u r s such as the w o r k of C i v i k l y et a l . (1977) w h o observed pa t t e rns of v e r b a l a n d n o n v e r b a l b e h a v i o u r i n i n t e r v i e w s be tween soc ia l service agents a n d t h e i r l ow L e a d e r s h i p and Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 11 income c l ients . I n th i s s tudy he discovered two th ings tha t are re levan t to the cur ren t s tudy: f irst , tha t behav iou r reper toi re m a y be a more i m p o r t a n t iden t i f i e r of c l ima te t h a n i n d i v i d u a l behav iours , a conc lus ion also made by G i b b (1961), a n d second, tha t G ibb ' s sub categories needed to be we igh ted . T h i s s tudy provides a n a d d i t i o n a l r a t iona le for u s i n g grounded theory i n order to look at the v a l i d i t y a n d prevalence of G ibb ' s categories of group c l ima te to de te rmine i f they are accurate a n d comprehens ive descr iptors . Defensive Climate Reactions: Hostility, Constriction or Dilation (Beck, 1988) B e c k presents a m o d e l of the e x p e r i e n t i a l l e a r n i n g process i n h i s 1988 s tudy, w h i c h he has based on K e l l y ' s (1955) pe r sona l const ruct theories . Beck ' s m o d e l suggests t ha t group p a r t i c i p a n t s enter groups w i t h expecta t ions a n d const ructs about themselves , m e m b e r s of the group a n d t h e i r r e l a t i onsh ips w i t h other people. These constructs are e i the r v a l i d a t e d or not v a l i d a t e d d u r i n g the i r in te rac t ions w i t h the group. I n v a l i d a t i o n of const ructs causes anx i e ty or gu i l t as i t th rea tens the self- image . One reac t ion to these threa ts is a defensive reac t ion , w h i c h B e c k suggests can mani fes t i t s e l f i n two ways . The f i rs t is c a l l e d "hos t i l i ty" in w h i c h the i n d i v i d u a l ac t ive ly d is tor ts da t a a n d as a r esu l t b u l l i e s people in to b e h a v i o u r tha t va l i da t e s h i s or her constructs . T h e second defensive r eac t ion he descr ibed as "cons t r ic t ion" i n w h i c h the i n d i v i d u a l n a r r o w s h i s or her pe r cep tua l f ields to reduce the confl ic ts . B e c k also suggests t ha t a n i n d i v i d u a l m i g h t also t ake a non-defensive approach , w h i c h he describes as "d i l a t ion" , the opposite of cons t r i c t ion . H e r e the i n d i v i d u a l broadens h i s or he r pe r cep tua l f i e ld i n order to reorganize h i s or he r const ruct at a new leve l . These t e rms are t a k e n from K e l l y (1955). This result offers some confirmation that dilation is dependent upon participants' feelings of being accepted by other group members, and shows the importance of group support in helping participants learn from the training L e a d e r s h i p a n d Defens ive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 12 experience. It seems then that feelings of acceptance might be the key that enables the participants to widen understanding of what is going on, rather than retreating defensively into an interior "castle" (Harrison, 1965a) to lick the wounds inflicted by invalidation. (Beck, 1988) Defensive Climate Reactions Hostility Constriction Dilation F i g u r e 4: Defens ive C l i m a t e Reac t ions T h e research descr ibed i n the ar t ic le m a k e s the fo l l owing f ind ings : - A s ign i f i can t a m o u n t of gu i l t a n d anx ie ty is present i n a defensive group, w h i c h i s not present i n non-defensive groups. - H o s t i l e groups, where defensiveness is present , show s ign i f i can t leve ls of fear a n d gu i l t . - Ind ica t ions tha t acceptance m i g h t be a k e y to p r e v e n t i n g a defensive r eac t ion i n i n d i v i d u a l s . - H o s t i l e p a r t i c i p a n t s do not show a tendency t o w a r d "mono l i t h i c cons t ruc t ions" bu t r a the r show low levels of s t ruc ture i n t h e i r const ruct sys tems; B e c k describes these const ructs as segmented . - Ind ica t ions tha t groups w i t h low defensiveness appear to see a l l members of the group as he lpfu l , whe reas member s of defensive groups r e l i e d on those w h o were s i m i l a r to themselves . T h i s s tudy conf i rms G ibb ' s approach to defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n bu t ind ica tes tha t "d i l a t i on" a n d "segmented constructs" m i g h t con t a in e lements L e a d e r s h i p and Defens ive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 13 over looked by Gibb ' s t axonomy. T h i s research sets out some of G ibb ' s f indings w i t h i n a different const ruct bu t i n so do ing conf i rms the need to fur ther explore defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n . D e f e n s i v e E f f e c t s o f P e r s o n a l P e r c e p t i o n s ; a H i s t o r y ( A s s o r , 1987) I n a research s u m m a r y paper A s s o r (1987, p 120), o u t l i n e d a b r i e f h i s to ry of the concep tua l i za t ion of the defensive effects of a person's percept ions i n a n effort to u n d e r s t a n d defensiveness. H e describes a n u m b e r of stages of t h i n k i n g tha t he a n d h i s cohorts cons idered t h r o u g h the i r years of research . I n h i s m o d e l ".. .a defensive process is unders tood to o r ig ina te w i t h the percep t ion of mo t ive - th r ea t en ing features of the s t i m u l u s tha t increase the perceiver ' s au tonomic a r o u s a l to a n unp lea san t l eve l . " (Assor, 1987, p 121) T h e resu l t is t ha t the perce iver moves in to a defensive posture by cons t ruc t i ng a more b e n i g n image . T h i s is done t h r o u g h "... deny ing , m i s i n t e r p r e t i n g or g i v i n g less w e i g h t to the t h r e a t e n i n g aspects of the s t i m u l u s . " (Assor, 1987, p 122) I n t h i s m a n n e r the rece iver is less a roused by the experience. The research i n t h i s a rea po in t ed out tha t a r o u s a l d i d not necessa r i ly resu l t i n a defensive response bu t some t imes r e su l t ed i n r ea l i s t i c p rocess ing . T h i s is s i m i l a r to Beck ' s conc lus ion on d i l a t i o n a n d leads to another r e v i s i o n of h i s m o d e l to i nc lude r ea l i s t i c a n d defensive process. I n Asso r ' s m o d e l r ea l i s t i c p rocess ing can be the outcome of considerable e m o t i o n a l a r o u s a l i f the i n d i v i d u a l s c a u s i n g the emot ions can cause s ign i f i can t losses or gains . I n these s i tua t ions the m o d e l suggests t ha t r ea l i s t i c process w i l l con t inue u n t i l the th rea t passes or the hope tha t r ea l i s t i c process w i l l he lp i s lost . A t t h i s po in t i t m a y have e i the r d i sp laced or de l ayed the defensive process ing a n d i t i s i n t h i s d i r ec t ion tha t the a r t ic le ind ica tes fur ther r esea rch is necessary. I n t e rms of defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n even t h o u g h the perce iver m a y be u s i n g r ea l i s t i c p rocess ing to d i m i n i s h the pe rce ived threat , t h i s approach is based on the L e a d e r s h i p and Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 14 perceiver 's e v a l u a t i o n of the other 's power a n d the i r a b i l i t y to con t ro l the perceiver . T h i s s tudy is t h e n not a n e x a m i n a t i o n of a t rus t s i t u a t i o n bu t r a the r a n e x a m i n a t i o n of a defensive c l ima te . A l t h o u g h th i s research is useful i n c l a r i f y i n g defensive c l imates , i t does not p rov ide i n f o r m a t i o n about suppor t ive c l ima tes or the role of t rus t . Assor ' s s tudy does, however , d iscuss the potency of negat ive feelings, w h i c h seems to suppor t the pos i t ion pu t f o rward by G i b b i n h is paper on "Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n . " Potency of Present Negative Feelings Produced by the Stimulus. Research in personality and person perception (particularly the New Look tradition) has emphasized that the tendency toward defensive processing increases when perceivers experience strong negative feelings Assor et al., 1981, 1986; Eriksen, 1963; Eriksen and Peirce, 1968; Lubosky, Blinder and Mackworth, 1963; Luborsky, Blinder and Schimek, 1965; McGinnes, 1949). It is reasonable to assume that the tendency toward defensive processing will be particularly strong when perceivers experience a very high level of emotional arousal. High arousal has often been shown to have a disorganizing impact on thought and behavior (cf. Sarason, 1961, 1980; Spence and Spence, 1966), and therefore is likely to interfere with realistic problem-oriented processing. As a result, perceivers are likely to lose hope regarding the effectiveness of such processing and lean toward a defensive, simplistic and stereotypic mode of processing (cf. Spence and Spence, 1966; Ray, Katahn and Synder, 1971). (Assor, 1987) To th i s extent the research c i t ed by A s s o r does p rov ide cor robora t ion of G ibb ' s genera l f ind ings , tha t defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n s u s u a l l y resu l t i n even greater defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n a n d a n i m p a i r m e n t of a n i n d i v i d u a l ' s a b i l i t y to process. A s s o r seems to ind ica te l i k e G i b b t ha t t r u s t is a more effective m e t h o d of f a c i l i t a t i n g the group process. Therefore the w o r k of Asso r , w h i c h focused p r i m a r i l y L e a d e r s h i p a n d Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 15 on the effects of defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n , fur ther demonst ra tes the need to u n d e r s t a n d how leaders effectively reduce defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n . T h e use of g rounded theory w o u l d not on ly explore how to reduce defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n bu t also serve to conf i rm the accuracy of the mode l , w h i c h are also present i n Asso r ' s a n d Beck ' s work . The Application of Gibb to Leadership Research G i b b , i n h i s 1961 ar t ic le for P e f r u l l o a n d Bass ' s book on Leadership and interpersonal behavior, ou t l ines the r e l a t i onsh ip be tween h i s theor ies on defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n a n d l eadersh ip . I n th i s a r t i c le he suggests t ha t the inf luence p o t e n t i a l of a group member , or t h e i r l eadersh ip po ten t i a l , affect the degree of defensiveness present i n a group. One of the w a y s a leader can evoke a defensive r eac t ion is t h r o u g h role b o u n d a r y v io l a t i ons . W h e n a leader v io la tes a role b o u n d a r y other m e m b e r s of the group react defens ively by ac t ive ly i g n o r i n g the v i o l a t i o n , subt le f igh t ing , open r e b e l l i o n or i n shor t wha t eve r b e h a v i o u r the group no rms p e r m i t (Gibb , 1961). G r o u p s e s t a b l i s h role boundar i e s over t i m e as a r eac t ion to a leader 's role consonance. W h e n the leader or leaders ' behav iou r s are w i t h i n the group's boundar i e s " . . .members are less defensive a n d more produc t ive i n p r o b l e m so lv ing . . . " (G ibb , 1961, p 69). These bounda r i e s b e g i n to become more f lex ib le over t ime i f a group is able to create greater role d i s t r i b u t i o n r e s u l t i n g i n b o u n d a r y r i g i d i t y b e i n g reduced (Gibb, 1961, p 70). A n o t h e r w a y a leader can create a defensive r eac t ion is by fos te r ing role a m b i g u i t y , w h i c h m a y cause a group to a t t r ibu te ab i l i t i e s to the leader t ha t the leader does not possess. T h i s m a y re su l t i n groups f a i l i n g to assume roles tha t are r e q u i r e d for the progress of the group (Gibb , 1961). The d y n a m i c s of t h i s false role a s s u m p t i o n is w e l l descr ibed by B i o n (1961). L e a d e r s h i p a n d Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 16 Defens ive c l ima tes can be c u l t i v a t e d by a leader i n other w a y s as G i b b goes on to describe i n h i s 1961 study: Defensiveness was increased by induced polarization (Gibb and Borman, 1954); instructional sets; increasing the size of the group (Gibb, 1951); violating role expectations; and by giving distorted interpersonal feedback (Gibb, 1956;Lott, Shopler, and Gibb, 1955). Defensiveness was decreased by feeling - oriented feedback (Lott, Shopler, and Gibb 1955); sharing of negative self-perceptions in a training group (Gibb, 1956); informality of group atmosphere (Gibb, 1951); discussion of role expectations (Smith, 1957); and sustained permissive leadership. When high defensive levels were induced role boundaries became more rigid; boundaries were less accurately perceived (Gibb and Gorman, 1954); and boundaries were more difficult to change with training (Gibb, 1959). Specific role actions were less influential when defense levels were raised. (Gibb, 1961, p 72). A leader 's a b i l i t y to inf luence a group is d i r ec t ly affected by the degree of defensiveness p resen t i n the group c l ima te . T h i s is i l l u s t r a t e d i n F i g u r e 5, w h i c h s u m m a r i z e s G ibb ' s desc r ip t ion of leader 's in f luence a n d the r e s u l t i n g group c l ima te . G ibb ' s r e sea rch ind ica tes tha t there is a r e l a t i o n s h i p be tween a leader 's l e v e l of inf luence, a n a b i l i t y to dea l w i t h defensiveness, role r i g i d i t y a n d b o u n d a r y percept ions . D i s c o v e r i n g how a leader reacts to defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n cou ld c la r i fy these r e l a t i onsh ip s i n a p r a c t i c a l context . T h i s suppor ts the need to re la te Gibb ' s o r i g i n a l r e sea rch to the reac t ion of leaders to defensive encounters . T h i s l i n k a g e m a y p rov ide some c l a r i t y to the p h e n o m e n a G i b b h i m s e l f w a s unab le to e x p l a i n i n t h i s m o d e l (Gibb , 1961). Leadership and Defensive Communication 17 Effects on Influence Levels adapted by author from G i b b 1961 Influence Climate U Group member influence Increased Defensiveness i) Group member influence Decreased Defensiveness Boundary C l i m a t e Rigid boundaries less accurately perceived and not as easily changed Broader boundaries more accurately perceived and easier to change. Climate Descriptors Introduction of polarization Violate role expectations Distorted interpersonal feedback Persuasive speech Expressions of powerlessness during unpredictability of events Polarization Unproductive conflict Interpersonal attacks Punishment Low - integration of roles Sharing of negative self perceptions Informal atmosphere Discussion of role expectation / Permissive leadership.Expressions of control Feelings of relative comfort with decisions Productive group locomotion High interpersonal support High integration of roles High acceptance of deviance Less role rigidity F i g u r e 5: Effects on Influence L e v e l s Related Leadership Research The l i t e r a tu re sea rch on defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n a n d leadersh ip has p r i m a r i l y uncovered non-research l i t e r a tu re t ha t descr ibed effective l eadersh ip s tyles a n d i n d i v i d u a l leader 's concepts of w h y they though t these s tyles were effective. A n u m b e r of these ar t ic les such as S ine ta r ' s a r t ic le Building Trust into Corporate Relationships (1988) dea l ve ry d i r ec t ly w i t h the issue of b u i l d i n g t rus t . N o n e however seek to e x a m i n e the m a n n e r i n w h i c h leaders dea l w i t h defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n . Some of the r e sea rch focuses, as G i b b d id , on i n t e rpe r sona l c o m m u n i c a t i o n bo th f rom a r e l a t i o n a l a n d content -or iented perspect ive (Penley & H a w k i n s , 1985) bu t does not look at the na tu re of the i n t e r p e r s o n a l exchange. O t h e r r esea rch focuses on l eadersh ip types such as t r a n s f o r m a t i o n ( P a u l , 1982;Podsakoff et a l , 1996) or leader 's soc ia l s tyles such as those ou t l ine by D a r i n g (1991): a n a l y t i c a l , d r ive r , amiab le a n d express ive . I n th i s approach leaders are p laced i n specific categories a n d the w e a k n e s s a n d s t rengths of these categories are e x a m i n e d . N o n e of th i s research i n the a rea of l eadersh ip appears to be r e l a t ed to the a rea u n d e r V L e a d e r s h i p a n d Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 18 cons idera t ion i n th i s s tudy. These resu l t s demonst ra te the need for a n exp lo ra to ry s tudy from a leader o r ien ted perspect ive . Summary The l ack of research, i n the a rea of s tudy under cons idera t ion , ind ica tes tha t there is a n inadequa te founda t ion on w h i c h to base a quan t i t a t i ve s tudy. A qua l i t a t i ve s tudy, therefore, w o u l d be the most appropr ia te tool for e x p l o r i n g the proposed p r o b l e m . It was hoped tha t some in s igh t s w o u l d be ga ined tha t w i l l p rov ide fert i le g round for fur ther s tudies . A l t h o u g h G i b b has done extensive w o r k i n the a rea of defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n a n d i ts effect on l eadersh ip h i s theor ies t end to describe p r inc ip l e s r a the r t h a n techniques . Therefore a n exp lo r a t i on of leaders ' react ions to group defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n c l ima tes m i g h t he lp to describe techniques tha t leaders c a n use to create a c l ima te of t rus t . These techniques , l i n k e d w i t h the p r i n c i p l e s o u t l i n e d by G i b b cou ld p rov ide us w i t h s ign i f ican t i n s igh t s in to how to dea l effectively w i t h defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n a n d how to more effectively app ly Gibb ' s ideas . L e a d e r s h i p and Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 19 C H A P T E R III - M E T H O D Introduction T h i s chapter ou t l ines the resea rch ques t ion as w e l l as de t a i l ed i n f o r m a t i o n on. the methods used to gather a n d ana lyse the da ta to answer the ques t ion r a i sed i n C h a p t e r I, " H o w do leaders react to defensive communica t ion?" F i r s t , the r a t iona le for u s i n g grounded theory to ana lyse the da ta as w e l l as the r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n for the use of the c r i t i c a l i nc iden t technique to s t ruc ture the i n t e r v i e w i n g process w i l l be ou t l i ned . T h i s w i l l be fo l lowed by a de t a i l ed desc r ip t ion of g rounded theory me thod a n d c r i t i c a l i nc iden t method . F i n a l l y the proposed m e t h o d of p a r t i c i p a n t select ion, process for i n t e r v i e w s a n d the m e t h o d of ana ly s i s is descr ibed. Research Question Effect ive leaders recognize behav iou r s tha t help or h i n d e r t h e i r approach i n c r i t i c a l defensive s i tua t ions , as they see these behav iour s as i m p o r t a n t i n deve lop ing groups or w o r k i n g teams. C r i t i c a l defensive s i tua t ions are also easier to r e c a l l due to the i n t e n s i t y of the exper ience a n d therefore eas ier to describe. These descr ip t ions s h o u l d ident i fy specific l eadersh ip behav iou r s tha t b o t h h i n d e r a n d fac i l i t a te a group's c o m m u n i c a t i o n c l i m a t e . Therefore, a g rounded s tudy a n a l y s i s w i l l p rov ide a s ign i f i can t i n s i g h t in to how a how a leader creates a suppor t ive c l ima te t h r o u g h a n a n a l y s i s of leader 's reac t ions to defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n . It s h o u l d be noted tha t c r i t i c a l i nc iden t t echnique w a s used to i n fo rm a n d s t ru tu re the i n t e r v i e w process. Methodology Rationale T h e l i t e r a tu re r ev iew es t ab l i shed tha t the exp lo r a t i on of a l eader r eac t ion to defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n is a n a rea i n w h i c h there is l i t t l e research ; t h i s s tudy is t h e n a n i n i t i a l exp lo ra t i on of t h i s a rea . A c c o r d i n g to M c L e o d (1994) the use of g rounded theory is appropr ia te to exp lo ra to ry s tudies , as i t i s a means to explore L e a d e r s h i p and Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 20 a n d c lar i fy a new d o m a i n for fur ther research . T h i s , accord ing to Woolsey (1986), is also t rue of c r i t i c a l i nc iden t technique; i n a d d i t i o n the r e q u i r e d s k i l l s for bo th these methods are consis tent w i t h the n o r m a l s k i l l set of counse l l i ng p rac t i t ione r s . T h u s , the t echnique appears to be appropr ia te to the type of s tudy under cons ide ra t ion as w e l l as the s k i l l set of the researcher . G i v e n tha t F l a n a g a n (1954) suggests c r i t i c a l i nc iden t me thod is a n ex t r eme ly effective me thod e n s u r i n g de ta i l ed f ac tua l da t a on successes a n d fa i lu res tha t can be s y s t e m a t i c a l l y ana lyzed , t h i s researcher has chosen t h i s m e t h o d to s t ruc ture the i n t e r v i e w s to ext rac t da ta for the g rounded theory ana ly s i s . Grounded Theory Method G r o u n d e d theory methodology is a m e t h o d tha t seeks to b u i l d theory u s i n g a n a l y s e d i n f o r m a t i o n tha t has been g rounded i n s y s t e m a t i c a l l y ga thered da t a (St rauss & C o r b i n 1990). I n order to ensure tha t the da t a w a s not on ly ga thered s y s t e m a t i c a l l y bu t also is of the most r e l i ab l e na ture ; c r i t i c a l i nc iden t methodology was used to s t ruc ture the i n t e r v i e w process, as o u t l i n e d i n the p rev ious sect ion. T h r o u g h t h i s process, a comprehens ive set of c r i t i c a l i nc iden t s f rom competent i n d i v i d u a l s w h o have experiences i n the a r ea unde r s tudy was ga thered . D u r i n g the i n t e r v i e w s a n d after the da t a was gathered, a g rounded theory methodology w as used to ana lyse the data ; th i s is c o m m o n to b o t h c r i t i c a l i nc iden t m e t h o d a n d grounded theory ( M c L e o d , 1994). Analysing the Data Using Grounded Theory I n t h i s m e t h o d of g a t h e r i n g d a t a t h r o u g h a s t ruc tu red i n t e r v i e w , theory is p rogress ive ly developed t h r o u g h the i n t e r p l a y be tween ana ly s i s a n d d a t a col lec t ion; t h i s i s refer red to as "the me thod of cons tan t c o m p a r i s o n (St rauss & C o r b i n , 1990). T h i s i n t e r dependency be tween co l lec t ion a n d concep tua l i za t i on forces the researcher to focus on the theory tha t is e m e r g i n g f rom the da t a r a t h e r t h a n a s s i m i l a t i n g new i n f o r m a t i o n in to a p r e e x i s t i n g theory. T h i s does not m e a n tha t L e a d e r s h i p a n d Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 21 p re -ex i s t ing theory is h e l d i n abeyance. A s G l a s e r & S t r auss (1971) ind ica tes the. " theoret ical s ens i t i v i t y" cont r ibutes to denser desc r ip t ion of the da ta b e i n g researched as w e l l as a "p rov i s iona l test" of these p re -ex i s t ing v iews . T h i s is ou t l i ned i n the f o l l o w i n g p a r a p h r a s i n g of C o r b i n a n d S t r auss method . Procedures and Canons of the Methods The "Procedures a n d Canons" of the g rounded theory me thod are o u t l i n e d i n the. fo l lowing steps t a k e n from C o r b i n , J . & S t rauss , A . (1990). 1. D a t a co l l ec t ion a n d ana lys i s are i n t e r r e l a t e d processes. I n g rounded theory, the a n a l y s i s begins as soon as the f i rs t b i t of da t a is col lected. A l l s e eming ly r e l evan t issues m us t be incorpora ted in to the next i n t e r v i e w s a n d observa t ions . D u r i n g the f i rs t few i n t e r v i e w s i n t h i s s tudy, pa t t e rns emerged w i t h i n specific areas of the i n t e r v i e w process p r i m a r i l y those a r o u n d w h a t the researcher ca l l ed the i n t e r n a l process. The i n t e r v i e w s t ruc ture w a s modi f i ed to ensure t h i s process was c la r i f i ed , a n d t h i s mod i f i ca t i on was a p p l i e d to the r e m a i n i n g i n t e rv i ews . I n i t i a l l y t h i s occur red i n the p i l o t stage w h e n the de ta i l ed i n t e r a l act ions emerged, the i n t e r v i e w process was modi f i ed to ensure t h i s de t a i l was cap tu red i n subsequent i n t e r v i e w s . T h i s , then , i l l u s t r a t e s how the d a t a co l l ec t ion a n d a n a l y s i s were i n t e r r e l a t e d i n th i s s tudy . 2. Concepts are the bas ic u n i t of ana ly s i s . A theor i s t w o r k s w i t h concep tua l i za t ions of data , not the a c t u a l da t a per se. I n t h i s s t udy the pa r t i c ipan t ' s descr ip t ions of the i nc iden t were used to p rov ide concep tua l labe ls . These labe ls were t h e n used to describe the r e m a i n i n g inc iden t s ; i n th i s process they were re f ined a n d mod i f i ed becoming more accura te . 3. Ca tegor ies m u s t be developed a n d re la ted . Concepts t ha t p e r t a i n to the same p h e n o m e n a m a y be grouped in to categories . N o t a l l concepts become categories . Ca tegor ies are h i g h e r i n l e v e l a n d more abs t rac t t h a n the '' '- L e a d e r s h i p a n d Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 22 concepts they represent . T h e y are generated t h r o u g h the same a n a l y t i c process of m a k i n g compar i sons to h i g h l i g h t s i m i l a r i t i e s a n d differences tha t are used to produce lower l eve l concepts. Ca tegor ies are the "cornerstones" of a deve lop ing theory. T h e y prov ide the means by w h i c h a theory can be in tegra ted . I n th i s s tudy three t e rms are used. F i r s t , p l anes of da ta d iv ide the da ta in to four discreet sect ions. Second, categories tha t describe genera l themes found i n each of the p lanes . F i n a l l y , subcategories, w h i c h describe r e l a t ionsh ips , found w i t h i n the categories . 4. S a m p l i n g i n g rounded theory is conducted by d r a w i n g samples f rom specific groups of i n d i v i d u a l s or un i t s of t ime , bu t i n t e rms of concepts, t he i r proper t ies a n d va r i a t i ons . D a t a co l lec t ion consis tency is m a i n t a i n e d by w a t c h i n g i m p o r t a n t concepts i n every observa t ion , c a r r y i n g these concepts f o r w a r d f rom prev ious ana lyses to the ana ly s i s of new da t a a n d t h e n c o m p a r i n g the cond i t i on under w h i c h bo th these concepts were observed, the ac t ion / in t e rac t iona l fo rm they took. I n th i s s tudy th i s cons tant c o m p a r i s o n p rov ided a consis tency to the concepts tha t emerged by d e m o n s t r a t i n g t h e i r r e l a t ionsh ip to the p h e n o m e n a under i n v e s t i g a t i o n i n a l l the inc iden t s i n the s tudy . 5. The a n a l y s i s of s i m i l a r i t i e s a n d differences i s used to g u a r d aga ins t b ias , achieve greater p r ec i s i on a n d develop consis tency. I n t h i s s tudy th i s constant c h a l l e n g i n g of concepts w i t h f resh d a t a r e su l t ed i n the deve lopment of a n u m b e r of sub-categories a n d i n t e r r e l a t e d categories such as successful a n d unsuccessful a n c h o r i n g or the r e l a t i onsh ip of the f i rs t three i n t e r n a l ac t ion categories to the outcome p lane . 6. P a t t e r n s of r e g u l a r i t y a n d v a r i a t i o n s are used to f i n d pa t t e rns tha t give order to the da ta . E x a m p l e s of th i s have been g i v e n i n the las t to steps. L e a d e r s h i p a n d Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 23 7. I n th i s me thod the b r e a k i n g a phenomenon d o w n in to s taged phases or in to act ions or in te rac t ions of the process is used to b u i l t theory. I n th i s s tudy the i n t e r n a l act ions were o rgan ized in to stages tha t were not necessar i ly progress ive bu t were f lexible depend ing on the c i rcumstances . 8. W r i t i n g theore t i ca l memos is a n i n t e g r a l pa r t of g rounded theory methodology. Since the ana lys t cannot r e a d i l y keep t r ack of a l l the categories, proper t ies , hypotheses, a n d genera t ive ques t ions tha t evolve from the a n a l y t i c a l process, there m u s t be a sys t em for do ing so. The use of memos const i tu tes such a sys tem. M e m o s are not s i m p l y "ideas." T h e y invo lve the f o r m u l a t i o n a n d r e v i s i o n of theory d u r i n g the research process. The w r i t i n g of memos w a s ex t r eme ly i m p o r t a n t to t h i s s tudy a n d was done i n the fo rm of tables , w h i c h pos i t ed a theoret ic memo i n g raph ic form about the e x i s t i n g ana ly s i s . These tables were t h e n added to a n d modi f i ed d u r i n g the ongo ing ana lys i s . I n t h i s w a y the researcher was able to r e t a i n a great d e a l more of the conceptua l d e t a i l t ha t w o u l d have been n o r m a l l y lost or left undeve loped . The tables found i n the next two chapters s h o u l d give the reader a concrete i d e a of how th i s memo me thod w a s used by t h i s researcher . It s h o u l d be noted tha t the non- l inea r na tu re of th i s t echnique appears to be h i g h l y compat ib le w i t h the canons of t h i s method . 9. Hypo theses about r e l a t i o n s h i p s a m o n g categories s h o u l d be developed a n d ve r i f i ed as m u c h as poss ib le d u r i n g the r e sea rch process. I n t h i s s tudy the hypotheses about the r e l a t i onsh ip s a m o n g categories w as developed u s i n g a x i a l cod ing a n d re f ined u n t i l i t h e l d t rue a n d ve r i f i ed aga ins t a l l the da ta . 10. A grounded theor i s t needs to test concepts a n d t h e i r r e l a t i onsh ips w i t h col leagues who have exper ience i n the same subs tan t ive a rea a n d not L e a d e r s h i p a n d Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 24 work alone. I n th i s s tudy the researcher consul ted w i t h a n u m b e r of i n d i v i d u a l s d u r i n g the .ana lys i s stage i n order to g u a r d aga ins t pe r sona l b ias . D u r i n g th i s consu l t a t i on gender a n d names of i n d i v i d u a l s i n the s tudy h a d been removed from the da ta to ensure conf iden t i a l i ty . 11. B r o a d e r s t r u c t u r a l condi t ions m u s t be a n a l y z e d so tha t the ana ly s i s is not r e s t r i c t ed to the condi t ions tha t bear i m m e d i a t e l y on the p h e n o m e n o n of c e n t r a l in teres t . B r o a d e r condi t ions affecting the p h e n o m e n o n such as economic condi t ion , c u l t u r a l va lues , p o l i t i c a l t rends , soc ia l movements , a n d i n f o r m a t i o n of tha t na tu re m a y be i nc luded . I n th i s s tudy th i s w as done i n cons ide r ing the g e n e r a l i z a b i l i t y of the s tudy. C o d i n g is the f u n d a m e n t a l a n a l y t i c process used by the researcher . I n g rounded theory research , there are three bas ic types of coding: open, a x i a l a n d select ive. 1. O p e n C o d i n g : O p e n cod ing is the a n a l y t i c a l decons t ruc t ion of n a r r a t i v e da t a in to conceptua l l abe ls t ha t group s i m i l a r act ions, events or in t e rac t ions in to categories a n d sub-categories. T h r o u g h the use of t h i s cod ing the researcher ga ined new in s igh t s by b r e a k i n g t h r o u g h s t a n d a r d approaches of t h i n k i n g about or i n t e r p r e t i n g the p h e n o m e n a . T h r o u g h t h i s concep tua l ref lec t ion on the data , the researcher was able to become aware of the d i s t inc t ions be tween the categories a n d was t h e n able to spe l l out t h e i r proper t ies a n d d imens ions . I n th i s w a y the researcher was able to reduce the affect of b ias , i sola te errors i n cod ing a n d refine the cod ing u n t i l i t was cons tant w i t h a l l the da ta . 2. A x i a l C o d i n g : W h e n u s i n g a x i a l coding, categories are r e l a t ed to t h e i r subcategories a n d the r e l a t i o n s h i p s tes ted aga ins t da t a as p r e v i o u s l y descr ibed i n t h i s sect ion. I n t h i s s tudy th i s cons tant c o m p a r i s o n w a s used to pos i t r e l a t i onsh ips t ha t were t h e n compared to the da ta . I n t h i s w a y L e a d e r s h i p and Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 25 r e l a t i onsh ip s were ver i f ied aga ins t the da ta w h i c h a l l o w e d a hypothes i s to be s y s t e m a t i c a l l y developed to encompass the f u l l range of v a r i a t i o n found i n the da ta unde r ana lys i s . 3. Selec t ive coding: Select ive cod ing is the process by w h i c h a l l categories are un i f i ed a r o u n d "core" categories. Those categories tha t need fur ther e x p l i c a t i o n are f i l l ed - i n w i t h descr ip t ive de ta i l . T h i s type of cod ing occurs p r i m a r i l y i n the f i n a l stages of da t a ana lys i s . I n th i s s tudy the core categories r ep resen t ing the cen t r a l phenomenon of the s tudy were i den t i f i ed by a s k i n g the quest ions: W h a t is the m a i n a n a l y t i c i d e a p resen ted i n th i s research? The m a i n phenomenon tha t emerged t h r o u g h th i s cod ing was the iden t i f i ca t ion of the i n t e r n a l process t ha t effective leaders use to address defensive group c l ima tes as the m a i n f i n d i n g of the research . Summary of Grounded Theory Analysis G r o u n d e d theory ana lys i s r e l a t ed the d a t a ga thered i n the i n t e r v i e w process to abs t rac t components tha t emerge w h i l e the researcher w a s i m m e r s e d i n the da ta . These components t ha t emerged were t h e n fur ther o rgan ized in to abs t rac t concepts t ha t describe pa t t e rns e m e r g i n g d u r i n g the a n a l y s i s of the da ta . F i n a l l y the concepts were r e v i e w e d a n d re l a t ed to each other a n d a theory w as developed to e x p l a i n the p h e n o m e n a (Schumacher & M c M i l l a n , 1993). Reliability and Validity G r o u n d e d theory a n d c r i t i c a l i nc iden t t echn ique have been used ex tens ive ly over the l a s t few decades to improve the f i e ld of educa t ion a n d sociology. R e l i a b i l i t y is e s t ab l i shed w h e n the i n t e r v i e w e r reaches a s a t u r a t i o n po in t a n d pa t t e rns of the f ind ings b e g i n r epea t ing . T h i s process is de t a i l ed i n the p rev ious sec t ion t ha t ou t l ines g rounded theory process. I n th i s s tudy s a t u r a t i o n w a s reached w e l l w i t h i n the inc iden t s b e i n g repor ted . F u r t h e r r e l i a b i l i t y is e s t ab l i shed w h e n independen t Leadership and Defensive Communication 26 researchers find an acceptable level of category reliability as was clone in this study. In order to ensure that this was the case the validity and reliability of this process of categorization was examined by Andersson and Nilsson (1964). Their study demonstrated that this method had a reliability of 95% and that the categories and incidents gather through this critical incident interviewing technique had a high degree of validity when compared to related studies. Setting, Sampling Procedures and Participants The interviews themselves were conducted in a quiet office and averaged an hour in length. They were recorded on audio tape and conducted by first providing the participant with a context statement and then asking probing questions as outlined in Appendix C - Interview Context, Questions and Probes page 69. Sampling requirements for the grounded theory, because of its descriptive and exploratory nature, requires less stringent methods in the selection of participants. The participants should be individuals who are likely to provide an accurate recollection of the incidents being studied and individuals who have been identified as proficient group leaders. Therefore, the individuals were selected by requesting a list of competent leaders in the area of counselling psychology from university graduate level instructor of group leaders in counselling psychology. Only group leaders known to be experienced and effective were selected for this study. Data Collection Procedures The interviews began by reviewing the context of the study and clarifying any misunderstandings that arose out of the review. During this stage of the interview, the researcher established his interest in the incidents, demonstrated respect for the participants, used a non-judgmental perspective and established confidential environment (Schmuacher and Mcmillan, 1993). It would appear from the nature and detail of the incidents being reported that the researcher was able to • •• Leadership and Defensive Communication 27 successfully established an appropriate environment. At this point the various incidents that could be used in the interview were drawn out of the participant and discussed for their appropriateness to the objectives of the study. In addition, the participants were encouraged to use the most critical incident to ensure that those incident gathered would be rich in detail and therefore more accurate (Flanagan, 1978). Once the incidents were selected, the tape recorder was turned on. The participants were then asked to reflect on the incident and describe how he or she reacted to the incident. Once their descriptions were completed, the participants were to reflect on what they were thinking or feelings at the time. Once the participant had finished this description, the description was summarized by the researcher or clarified if necessary. The participant was then asked what he or she did next. This cycle continued until both the interviewer and the participant agreed that the end of a discreet incident had been reached. At this point the participant was then asked to summarize and categorize the incidents on the Incident continuum form found in Appendix D. The process described on this sheet was then summarized by the researcher to ensure that what was written on the sheet was also linked to the process described in the incident. The participant, during this process, was prompted if necessary using the researcher's notes of key phase used by the participant during their descriptions of the incident. The interviews varied in length from 30 minutes to two hours depending on the number of incidents being reported by the participants. Validity Check In order to guard against researcher bias, a potential problem in qualitative studies according to Schmuacher and Mcmillan (1993), a number of measures were taken. First during the interview process, an on-going validity check was conducted when this researcher asked if my paraphrasing or summarization was correct. If L e a d e r s h i p a n d Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 28 th i s researcher h a d been inaccura te , the p a r t i c i p a n t w o u l d c la r i fy the inaccuracy a n d th is researcher w o u l d then repeat the s u m m a r i z a t i o n or p a r a p h r a s i n g process. Second, once the inc iden t was comple ted th i s researcher a g a i n s u m m a r i z e d the whole inc ident ; u s i n g key phrases t h i s researcher h a d noted i n w r i t i n g d u r i n g the i n t e r v i e w a n d used these phrases to frame m y s u m m a r y . A g a i n the p a r t i c i p a n t s were a s k e d i f m y s u m m a r y was correct. F i n a l l y th i s researcher asked , for each inc iden t tha t a c o n t i n u u m form be f i l l ed out. O n th i s sheet of paper , the p a r t i c i p a n t s wrote t he i r s u m m a r y of key i n t e r n a l a n d e x t e r n a l act ions of the inc iden t s . I n th i s process a d d i t i o n a l c l a r i f i c a t i on occurred i n a n u m b e r of inc iden t s . Once th i s sheet was completed , i t was t h e n s u m m a r i z e d b r i e f ly by the researcher a n d the p a r t i c i p a n t was a sked i f t h i s s u m m a r y was accurate . G i v e n these p recau t ions i t seems reasonable to suggest t ha t the da t a col lected w a s v a l i d a n d reasonab ly unb ia sed . G i v e n the cons tant v a l i d i t y checks, i t i s also reasonable to assume tha t m y u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the inc iden t s r e l a t ed to me a n d t h e i r m e a n i n g was accurate a n d complete . Data Anaylsis Procedures I n t h i s s tudy, categories a n d subcategories emerged f rom the data , as o u t l i n e d i n g round theory resea rch (Schmuache r a n d M c m i l l a n , 1993). T h e process began i n the da t a co l lec t ion stage w h e n a r eoccu r r ing a n d consis tent p a t t e r n emerged i n the pa r t i c ipan t ' s descr ip t ions of h i s or her i n t e r n a l ac t ions . T h i s da ta a n a l y s i s con t inued as the c r i t i c a l n a r r a t i v e descr ip t ions were ex t rac ted f rom the audio tapes a n d t h e n compared a n d r e l a t ed to the inc iden t c o n t i n u u m sheet. T h r o u g h th i s process the i n t e r v i e w s were ca tegor ized in to major a n d m i n o r categories a n d ident i fy cons is tent subcategories w i t h i n these categories . Extraction from the Narrative and Coding Once the i n t e r v i e w s h a d concluded, the researcher began e x t r a c t i n g the c r i t i c a l n a r r a t i v e passages in to four p lanes of da ta : f i rs t a gene ra l desc r ip t ion of the .<:•.-,,- - Leadership and Defensive Communication 29 incident which included the participant's feelings and actions; second, a summary of the, key internal actions taken by the participant, supported by key phrases from the general description; third, a summary of the key external actions taken by the participant, supported by key phrases from the general description; and finally, summary of the outcome of the incident that included the participant's feelings of how; much resolution occurred. Using these planes of data, the researcher focused on the internal action plane in which a strong pattern had emerged during the interviewing process. These patterns were then coded or labeled and compared for their similarities and differences. In this way the narratives could be grouped into categories and subcategories. Once these had been arranged into categories and subcategories, axial coding began. In this process the categories and subcategories were then checked against the original data. Through this process additional subcategories emerged, and the interrelationship between the categories, and subcategories began to emerge. Finally the central phenomena of the study began to emerge through the selective coding process in which the five main internal actions were described. Reliability Check Once the final process of coding was completed, the narrative and coding structure was reviewed by another researcher to verify that the categories, subcategories and coding were consistent with the data collected in the various plans. This was done by reviewing the narrative planes and then relating and comparing them to the categories and subcategories. This researcher found that the subcategories and categories were in keeping with their analysis of the data. Therefore it seems reasonable to conclude that the subcategories and categories are not idiosyncratic or incomprehensible to another sorter. In addition a group of leaders in training were asked to reflect back on their experience in leading groups and review their internal process within a highly L e a d e r s h i p a n d Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 30 defensive group c l ima tes . Once they h a d ref lected on the i r o w n process the m a i n a n a l y t i c a l i dea i n th i s research, the five stages of the i n t e r n a l process, was ou t l i ned . I n those case where the i n d i v i d u a l s h a d been able to r e c a l l such a group inc iden t , not a l l the i n d i v i d u a l s were able to do th i s , they found tha t the process o u t l i n e d i n the research accura te ly reflected the i r o w n process. A n u m b e r of i n d i v i d u a l s r e m a r k e d tha t i t was a ve ry good desc r ip t ion of w h a t they exper ienced a n d a useful s u m m a r y . T h i s process also he lped to conclude tha t these subcategories a n d categories were not i d io sync ra t i c or i ncomprehens ib l e to group leaders i n genera l . Summary T h i s chap te r s u m m a r i z e d the methodology for cons t ruc t ing the i n t e r v i e w process a n d the m e t h o d used to ana lyse the da ta . It wen t on to e x p a n d the theore t i ca l de ta i l s of b o t h of these processes a n d t h e n to describe the process of da t a co l lec t ion a n d a n a l y s i s . I n the next chapter , C h a p t e r I V , the resu l t s of the s tudy w i l l be ou t l i ned . L e a d e r s h i p and Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 31 C H A P T E R IV - R E S U L T S T h i s chapter s u m m a r i z e s the major f ind ings of the s tudy t h r o u g h the use of a g round theory method . F i v e major categories emerged i n the i n t e r n a l ac t ion p lane of ana lys i s . These are A w a r e n e s s , A n x i e t y R e d u c t i o n / S h i f t i n g Focus , T h e o r y A n c h o r i n g , M o d e l M a t c h i n g / C r e a t i n g and D e c i s i o n to T a k e A c t i o n . N o e m e r g i n g categories r e su l t ed f rom the anay l s i s of the e x t e r n a l ac t ion p lane , a l t h o u g h th i s p lane does reflect a b road range of effective i n t e rven t ions t y p i c a l of w h a t w o u l d be expected f rom effective leaders . The p lane tha t descr ibed the inc iden t s a n d the p lane tha t descr ibed the outcomes served to suppor t the i n t e r n a l ac t ion p lane d u r i n g the cod ing process, a n d therefore no major categories have been repor ted as c o m i n g from these p lanes . Description of the Basic Categories The bas ic categories i n t h i s s tudy are de r ived f rom the four p lanes of ana lys i s . The f i rs t p l ane is the genera l types of i nc iden t descr ibed by the pa r t i c ipan t s d u r i n g t h i s s tudy; the second is the i n t e r n a l act ions t a k e n b y each p a r t i c i p a n t i n each inc iden t ; the t h i r d is the e x t e r n a l act ions t a k e n by each p a r t i c i p a n t i n each inc iden t ; a n d the four th is the i nc iden t outcome p lane . T h e inc iden t s repor ted were a l l i nc iden t s i n w h i c h the p a r t i c i p a n t was the group leader or co-leader, a n d they r a n g e d f rom s i tua t ions i n w h i c h m e m b e r to m e m b e r confl ic ts occur red to s i tua t ions i n w h i c h m e m b e r to leader confl icts c rea ted the inc iden t . I n t e r n a l ac t ions refer to i n t e r n a l decis ions t a k e n by the i n d i v i d u a l s w h i c h they repor ted as p a r t of the t h e i r process of r e s o l v i n g the c r i t i c a l inc iden t . E x a m p l e s of i n t e r n a l act ions i nc lude dec id ing to i m m e r s e one's se l f in to empa thy , e n g a g i n g i n pos i t ive self- ta lk to re f lec t ing on a group member ' s body language . E x t e r n a l ac t ions refer to i n t e rven t ions or behav iou r s repor ted by the i n d i v i d u a l s used to create a shift i n the group's process or reduce the defensive c l ima te of the group. E x a m p l e s of e x t e r n a l act ions w o u l d inc lude act ions tha t the p a r t i c i p a n t s took t o w a r d •-< L e a d e r s h i p a n d Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 32 r e so lv ing the c r i t i c a l i nc iden t that the members of the group cou ld experience; they ranged from eye contact or a confident posture, to e m o t i o n a l l y charged in t e rven t ions . W h a t fol lows w i l l be f irst a p resen ta t ion of the categories of inc iden t s desc r ib ing the i r range fol lowed by a n in -dep th d i scuss ion of the categories of i n t e r n a l act ions i n w h i c h the range of outcomes is d i scuss ion . G i v e n tha t s ign i f ican t categories emerged i n the i n t e r n a l ac t ion, the chapter concludes w i t h on ly a b r i e f d i scuss ion of e x t e r n a l ac t ion . Categories of Incidents The inc iden t s a n a l y s e d i n t h i s s tudy are a l l recol lec t ions of c r i t i c a l events tha t took place w i t h i n a group se t t ing l e a d by a competent leader . I n a l l of these inc iden t s the p a r t i c i p a n t faced a c r i t i c a l chal lenge to h i s or her role as group leader . These cha l lenges r anged from direct a n d aggressive a t t acks on the leadersh ip to more subt le forms of group chal lenges such as m e m b e r to m e m b e r confl icts a n d subve r s ion of group no rms . T h i s range is i l l u s t r a t e d i n F i g u r e 6: Range of L e a d e r s h i p Cha l l enges . I n the 12 inc iden ts , there appear to be two p r i m a r y subcategories: direct a n d i nd i r ec t l eadersh ip chal lenges . T h e inc iden t s w i t h i n w h i c h ind i r ec t cha l lenges occured c a n be b r o k e n d o w n in to two sub-categories: m e m b e r to m e m b e r act ions a n d m e m b e r to leader confl icts . The au tho r recognizes tha t the range of inc iden t s repor ted is v a r i e d a n d represents a b r o a d range of l eadersh ip cha l lenges . T h e inc iden t s themse lves appear to cover a w ide v a r i e t y of c r i t i c a l i nc iden t s i n v a r i o u s types of groups, a v a r i e t y of set t ings a n d va r ious stages of group development . These groups are o u t l i n e d i n F i g u r e 7: Range of C r i t i c a l Inc idents i n Study. . W i t h i n a l l of these inc iden t s the pa r t i c ipan t s repor ted a cha l lenge to t h e i r l eadersh ip , a s t ruggle w i t h t h e i r a b i l i t y to fac i l i ta te a pos i t ive group outcome a n d a process t h r o u g h w h i c h they s t ruggle t o w a r d t h i s a i m . L e a d e r s h i p and Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 33 1.1 Member Challenges Leader 1.2 Member Questions Leader's Competence 1.3 Validating Member at Detriment of Other Member 1.4 Inappropriate Focus on Individ ual 2.2 Member Reacts to Leader's Block 2.3 Member Attacks Group Member 3.1Member Diminishes Leader 3.2 Islolated Sub-Group <l.l Leader Challenges Group 5.1 Member Calls Leader Poor Communicator 5.2 Member Attacks Leader's Language G. 1. Member Violation of Norms F i g u r e 6: Range of L e a d e r s h i p Cha l l enges 1.1Therapeutic Group Institutional Setting Late/Mature Stage 1.2 Therapeutic Group Institutional Setting Early Stage 1.3 Therapeutic Group Institutional Setting Early Stage 2.1 Therapeutic Group Institutional Setting Early Stage 2.2 Therapeutic Group Private Practice Setting Middle Stage 2.3 Therapeutic Group Private Practice Setting Late/Mature Stage 3.1 Psychoeducat ion Group Corporate Setting Early Stage 3.2 Psychoeducat ion Group Corporate Setting Early Stage 4.1 Psychoeducat ional Group Institutional Setting Middle Stage 5.1 Psychoeducational Group Corporate Setting Middle Stage 5.2 Psychoeducational Group Institutional Setting Middle Stage 6.1 Therapeutic Group Institutional Setting Middle Stage F i g u r e 7: Range of C r i t i c a l Inc iden ts i n S t u d y Categories of Internal Actions F i v e major categories emerged f rom th i s s tudy, as i l l u s t r a t e d i n F i g u r e 8, a n d together these categories cover a somewha t l i n e a r a n d s taged i n t e r n a l process tha t is c o m m o n to a l l i n d i v i d u a l s i n t h i s s tudy. These five categories t h e n create a process t h r o u g h w h i c h leaders address the c r i t i c a l inc iden t . The process of c r ea t ing a n i n t e r n a l shift i n the leader 's approach to the group's c r i t i c a l i nc iden t begins w i t h the awareness tha t the cu r r en t course of e x t e r n a l ac t ion is d e t r i m e n t a l to group process. T h i s awareness comes out of a self- m o n i t o r i n g process i n w h i c h the leader becomes aware tha t he or she is fee l ing defensive as a resu l t of a r eac t ion to the inc iden t . T h i s f i rs t i n t e r n a l ac t ion, awareness , is most c r i t i c a l , for i t l ay s the founda t ion t h r o u g h w h i c h the leader begins to move i n a n effort to address the c r i t i c a l inc iden t . T h e second major category to emerge is the " R e d u c i n g A n x i e t y / S h i f t i n g Focus A c t i o n s " category i n w h i c h the leader recognizes the need to dea l w i t h the anx i e ty crea ted by h i s or her defensive r eac t ion to the inc iden t , often descr ibed as a n i m p a i r e d a b i l i t y to be ana lyse the s i t ua t i on . I n order to overcome th i s i m p a i r m e n t , the i n i t i a l anx i e ty m u s t be reduced so tha t the leader is able to process the inc iden t . T h e more exper ienced leaders t ended to move t h r o u g h th i s category or stage q u i c k l y a n d Leadership and Defensive Communication 34 integrate it with the process of the remaining stages. The anxiety reduction stage is followed by a theory-anchoring stage in which the leaders begin to analyse what is transpiring within their theoretical framework or personal theoretical belief system. They are engaged in naming or identifying within this theoretic framework what they are experiencing. The process of naming provides a link to the next stage, which examines a series of models previously used, or seen used, that effectively dealt with this particular theoretic problem. Once a model that best fits the situation is selected, the leader then acts on the model. The data in this study indicates that when none of the selected models seems to match, the theoretical- anchoring appears to allow the leader to construct a new model from elements of various models that were considered but did not match exactly. 1 Awareness 2 J 4 5 Anxiety Reduction / Focus Shifting Theory Anchoring Model Matching/Creating Decision to take Action Leader becomes aware of his or her own internal defensive reaction. Leader attempts to reduce his or her anxiety level so that they can process what is going on. Leader attempts to understand incident in terms of his or her own theoretical belief system. Leader reviews his or her "rolodex" of models and experiences to find suitable action. Leader makes a decision on what action to pursue and whether to act. Figure 8: Major Categories in Internal Actions The decision to act or not to act on the selected or constructed model is the final stage of the internal process. Category one: awareness Leaders who are aware that they are in the midst of a critical incident attribute this awareness to an internal monitoring process. This then is the first stage of this process that emerged from the anaylsis of data in the internal plane. This awareness is usually identified by the leader as a defensive reaction to the incident; this predominately negative reaction is usually characterized by an inability to process the incident and is often described as being "stuck," "internally L e a d e r s h i p and Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 35 confused" or "frozen." Nega t i ve self- ta lk or a ques t i on ing of h is or her ab i l i t i e s to con ta in the i nc iden t often follows th i s reac t ion . A pe r iod of self-focus is also associated w i t h th i s category, descr ibed by the leader as a n experience cha rged w i t h va r i ous degrees of anx ie ty . The self-focus stage, i n most cases, is d o m i n a t e d by reflect ions on the p o t e n t i a l loss of c r e d i b i l i t y or fear associated w i t h b e i n g lost . The p a r t i c i p a n t s t ended to describe th i s self-focus i n three ways : b e i n g s tuck, b e i n g confused or negat ive self- ta lk or self-doubt. Once the p a r t i c i p a n t becomes aware of h i s or he r reac t ion t h e n he or she is engaged i n the s t ruggle descr ibed i n the next stage of the process. It i s a stage i n w h i c h the leader a t t empts to step d o w n h i s or he r anx i e ty a n d move the focus a w a y from se l f t o w a r d the group. I n a l l the inc iden t s the p a r t i c i p a n t s repor ted awareness of the effect of the i nc iden t on t h e i r o w n feel ings was key to b e i n g able too effectively manage the inc iden t . T h i s awareness i n i t i a t e d the process of cons t ruc t ing a n appropr ia te i n t e r v e n t i o n to manage the c r i t i c a l i nc iden t . T h i s stage cou ld be charac te r i zed as the "Smoke Detector Stage" because the leader 's sel f -awareness detects the defensive c l ima te i n the group before i t becomes so i n f l a m m a t o r y t ha t the group can not recover. It i s t h r o u g h th i s awareness tha t the leader ident i f ies c r i t i c a l chal lenges to t h i s c l ima te a n d sets a course towards i t s r e so lu t ion . Some i l l u s t r a t i o n s of these reac t ions are i l l u s t r a t e d i n F i g u r e 9: I l l u s t r a t i o n s of A w a r e n e s s Reac t ions . I Leadership and Defensive Communication 36 2.1 "I knew we were in a critical incident and if it weren't handled properly by me that the safety of the container would be jeopardized." 3.1 "I recognized that the next move was critical. It was absolutely critical that I recognize that this was a critical incident. So the internal recognition that his was a critical incident was actually a positive thing in terms of resolving the defensiveness." 5.1 "I am feeling defensive but also sense the group, I don't know if they are reacting to my defensiveness or the tone of his comment, that was authority challenging." I was thinking that I was lost. I was thinking whether or not I was maintaining my credibility, then my attention became divided between self maintenance and group maintenance and then also maintenance of this guy. So there were three directions my energy was going in. I was watching how I was feeling, 1 was challenged so I had to divert attention to my self." . ' 6.1 If I hadn't recognized it then [leader's defensive reaction to situation], [ don't know where I would have ended up and I don't think I would want to know." F i g u r e 9: I l l u s t r a t i o n s of A w a r e n e s s Reac t ions Category two: reducing anxiety /shifting focus I n a l l inc iden ts , the leaders report some degree of anx ie ty or fear as a d i rec t r e su l t of the awareness tha t occur red i n the f i rs t stage of the process. T h i s anx ie ty , as repor ted i n the p rev ious category created a state i n w h i c h the leader was m o m e n t a r i l y unab le to act, suspended w i t h i n a n i n w a r d focus. The leaders s t rugg led w i t h t h e i r anx i e ty a n d fear. T h i s self-focus, c rea ted d u r i n g the awareness stage, does not b e g i n to shift u n t i l the leader is able overcome th i s i n t e r n a l focus. Once i t i s overcome, leaders repor t a r educ t ion i n t h e i r anx i e ty levels . T h i s anx ie ty - r e d u c i n g process a l l ows the leader to shift focus a n d move in to the next stage. T h e d u r a t i o n of th i s stage t ended to v a r y w i d e l y . H o w e v e r the more exper ienced leaders repor ted a m u c h shor ter d u r a t i o n t h a n those repor ted b y less exper ienced leaders . A n e x p l a n a t i o n for these p h e n o m e n a was pu t f o r w a r d by one of the p a r t i c i p a n t s as fol lows: "I have developed over the years a movemen t a w a y from t a k i n g i t as a na rc i s s i s t i c w o u n d . So, i t has now happened so often a n d I a m so steeped i n prac t ice a n d theory tha t I see i t as a s t r u c t u r a l t h i n g r a the r t h a n a pe r sona l t h ing . " T h i s obse rva t ion ind ica tes t ha t experience a n d the a b i l i t y to depersonal ize the i nc iden t are r e l a t ed to the t i m e the i n d i v i d u a l spends at t h i s stage. The complete range of act ions used by the p a r t i c i p a n t s are s u m m a r i z e d i n the quotes p resen ted i n F i g u r e 10: Range of A n x i e t y R e d u c t i o n / Focus S h i f t i n g L e a d e r s h i p and Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 37 A c t i o n s . Some examples of these act ions are fur ther i l l u s t r a t e d i n F i g u r e 11: I l l u s t r a t i o n s of A n x i e t y R e d u c t i o n / Focus S h i f t i n g A c t i o n s . Immersion into empathy ' ; Self Focus on Positive Self Talk Shift,from self focus to group focus Shifting to the here and now and dropping plans Shifting focus from self to member focus. Checking with Beacon. Self Focus Theoretical Foundations while hyper group Focused Some sejf.focused external action , mixed with a surveying of non- verbal group indicators. Self-Focus on Positive Self Talk .while seeking.external confirmation of support ' •. Self-focus positive self talk Self Focus on Positive Self talk . moving to Group focus Self-focused moving to group focus searching for theoretically • ' ' recognizable pattern Self-focus on worst possible outcome allowing move to group focus F i g u r e 10: Range of A n x i e t y R e d u c t i o n / Focus S h i f t i n g A c t i o n s The s h a d i n g i n th i s table ind ica tes the inc iden t s i n w h i c h the p a r t i c i p a n t does not repor t a successful i m m e r s i o n in to th i s stage. I n the case of F i g u r e 10, the p a r t i c i p a n t s i n grey repor ted a t t e m p t i n g to c a l m down, bu t the descr ip t ions of t h e i r feel ings a n d descr ip t ions of the r e m a i n d e r of the i nc iden t i n d i c a t e d tha t they h a d not been comple te ly successful i n r e d u c i n g the i r anx ie ty . It i s l i k e l y t ha t these i n d i v i d u a l s d i d not fu l ly u n d e r s t a n d the i r o w n react ions and , therefore, were unab le to comple te ly overcome the i n t e r n a l focus. There is , then , a di rect l i n k be tween self- awareness , sh i f t i ng focus a n d theoret ic anchor ing , a n d t h i s l i n k is c r i t i c a l to e n s u r i n g a pos i t ive outcome. "I do think an important part o f it was engaging or immersing myself empathetically with the other person because it took my mind off being anxious and gave me a little space to reflect an make a decision." "[So this is going on in your mind (challenge to leadership) so in order to combat that feeling you reflected on the process you were going through and previous experiences. Y o u said you had a lot o f experiences (positive self talk) and there are lost o f things (positive) going on in this group.] Y e s . " "It was a shift from being involved in your own self esteem and self interest and self confidence as a leader to getting more empathetic with the group and I think that when you are attending to the group needs then you are not defensive because you cannot do those tow things at once." It was a matter o f going through them [participant's feelings], I don't want to say that I denied them because I did feel very uncomfortable and anxious, so I didn't move into denial I moved into my feelings, [that is what you meant by felt this through]. Yeah right. [In that very quick moment "Then I felt a lot o f relief because I felt he had been sitting there snipping in the weeds for five sessions doing passive aggressive stuff. I felt him standing up and yell ing like that relieved me in some strange way." "I felt like a computer sifting through every chip in the machinery looking for one that would come up for us. I was hyper alive and noticing every thing sifting through stuff." Leadership and Defensive Communication 38 you dropped the agenda in your mind, you still were feeling anxious but the moment you said you have to be in the here and now there was clarity for you]. Yeah then I knew what T had to do.". "What I did was actually locked eyes with a couple of supporters in the group. Checking non-verbals of the group, looking for eye contact and support. ...[then you were able to go to the next stage and develop a strategy]. Yeah." . "1 looked at my co-facilitator and 1 was confident that I had support. One thought that went through my mind is that I was well prepared, I have a sound structure." "My first statement to myself was get a hold of yourself, make sure you are perceiving this situation accurately." "The step down is don't hold on relax, breath, don't speak because 1 am not sure what 1 want to speak." What I am doing is lowering my temperature so I can react effectively. I can do this over a few seconds. This is very key because if it doesn't happen nothing will happen." "This is something you are going to have to pay attention too, you can not taking this for granted. You are going to have to work a bit here to sort out what is going on." "Once I got some balance I could focus on the group as opposed to myself." "Well it was certainly going on in recognizing the panic [leader in process of centering] probably I was doing that back and forth thing is it them or is it me, trying to identify what was going on [looking around for something you recognized]. Searching for a description, for a label." "Between knowing something needs to be done and doing something I don't know the period of time, but during that period of time 1 was looking at the consequences of not doing something, what happens if I jump in too soon and what happens if." F i g u r e 11: I l l u s t r a t i ons of A n x i e t y R e d u c t i o n / Focus S h i f t i n g A c t i o n s F i g u r e 10 ind ica tes tha t leaders use va r ious methods to reduce t h e i r anx ie ty . T h e i r choice seemed to v a r y accord ing to the sever i ty of t h e i r reac t ions to the inc iden t , the type of inc iden t repor ted a n d pe r sona l preference. I n some cases the p a r t i c i p a n t s used the same approach i n different inc iden ts ; i n others, the approach va r i e s w i d e l y . The v a r i e t y of approaches d i d not seem to be l i n k e d to the leader 's degree of exper ience. T h e anx ie ty - r educ t ion process for the leader cont inues t h r o u g h the r e m a i n i n g categories w i t h the comple t ion of each step, at w h i c h po in t p a r t i c i p a n t s repor ted a pos i t ive outcome. The anxie ty , however , appears to be more p r e v a l e n t i n those inc iden t s w i t h less successful outcomes. I n the more successful inc iden t s , the a n x i e t y cont inues to be reduced as the leaders successful ly move t h r o u g h the process. T h i s successful passage appears to bo th fur ther decrease anx i e ty a n d Leadership and Defensive Communication 39 increases the leader's ability to act effectively. This observation is supported by the clarity by which the participants of successful incidents were able to describe their anxiety reduction process. Those participants who reported a successful passage through the theory-anchoring stage, as outlined in the next section, also reported a further decrease in anxiety in their description of the incident. The anxiety-reduction process, therefore, continues through the remaining stages. As the leader experiences success in each of the remaining stages of the process, a further reduction in the anxiety level is experienced. However, once the anxiety is addressed either successfully or unsuccessfully, the individual then moves i n t o the theory-anchoring stage. Stage three: theory-anchoring In the theory-anchoring category the leader usually has reduced his or her anxiety to a degree sufficient to allow focus on naming what he or she is experiencing, by fitting it into a personal framework of theoretical beliefs. In this category the leader is engaged in answering the question "What am I seeing?" Theoretical Anchoring therefore, is a process of relating the defensive situation in the group directly to the leader's system of theoretical beliefs. In the incidents in which the leaders could not anchor an experience to their own theoretical beliefs, they reported either being unable to take action or the outcome of their actions appeared to be unresolved. In these cases the outcome was usually reported as neutral, negative or unresolved. It would appear that the ability to anchor is key to freeing the leader to focus on an appropriate model for action. The participants who reported successful anchoring also reported a further reduction in anxiety or fear. This would seem to indicate that the reduction in negative internal emotions experienced in the previous category is also present in those who successfully move through this category. Leadership and Defensive Communication 40 Tried to understand event from theory perspective but jumped right to model Remembered model Clarified Identified theoretical aspect inclusion did not look for model.' took no immediate action. Identified theoretical aspect • inclusion did not look for model • took no immediate action.' Recognized theoretically the issue I-was dealing with Recognized structure 1 felt a relief because 1 knew because I knew what I had to do. I began to look for a way forward, a link, a familiar process 1 recognized a disagreement between views and stated group views Leader seemed to have jumped immediately to model My reaction was oh I am-now living this, I have now arrived at v something that.I have-read about - (leader recognized theoretical moment but did not seem to anchor) •;' \ It is based in role theory and that is what a leader should be doing at this stage and what would your expect the members to be doing at this stage. Well 1 recall noihin-j about theory I was searching for a description, <; searching for a label;'was,unable to anchoi Looking at group norms F i g u r e 12: R a n g e of T h e o r e t i c a l A n c h o r i n g Category four: model matching or creating I n t h i s fou r th category leaders appear to be engaged i n a n s w e r i n g the quest ions: " W h a t have I exper ienced or observed tha t w o u l d w o r k i n t h i s s i t u a t i o n a n d do I need to modi fy t h i s m o d e l for t h i s experience?" T h i s is done t h r o u g h a process i n w h i c h they ask themselves : " W h a t have I done? W h a t have I seen others do? W h a t have I somet imes concluded I s h o u l d have done?" F i g u r e 13 i l l u s t r a t e s the leader 's i n d i v i d u a l process as he or she searches for a n appropr ia te mode l . T h e grey areas i l l u s t r a t e d those inc iden t s i n w h i c h the leaders d i d not appear to successful ly complete t h i s stage of the process. A l t h o u g h more i n d i v i d u a l s r epor ted b e i n g successful i n t h i s stage t h a n i n the t heo ry -anchor ing stage, the outcomes of the greyed areas were not successful . Those leaders w h o repor ted success i n t h i s category bu t not i n the p rev ious category also d i d not have successful outcomes. Leadership and Defensive Communication 41 Having the model fresh in my mind made it easier for me to respond Used Validation in appropriately No model selected decided to finish current process Referred to experience and models Considered my options or models 1 linked and constructed a new model of repair I wanted to have some options here I remember sliding into norms instinctively 1 came up with a fall back position that is an internal thing, that allowed me to strategize. The strategizing allowed me to take action and move forward. If I am doing something clearly at a wrong stage I need to go back to my rolodex and say I have to do this", this and this and then I am congruent. Model matching did not occur 1 made an emergency decision to do damage control What have I felt, I have seen others do, what have I done, and sometimes afterwards talking to others what do I wish I had done. F i g u r e 13: Range of M o d e l M a t c h i n g / C r e a t i n g Category five: deciding on action I n the f i n a l category of i n t e r n a l act ions there were two inc iden t s i n w h i c h no i m m e d i a t e ac t ion occurred; the outcomes of the inc iden t s were un reso lved and , therefore, i n bo th of these inc iden t s there cou ld be no l i n k a g e to a mode l . I n those inc iden t s i n w h i c h no ac t ion w a s t aken , the r e m a i n i n g ten, there was a d i rec t r e l a t ionsh ip be tween the successful outcomes a n d those models anchored i n theory . T h i s di rect r e l a t i onsh ip is e x p l a i n e d i n the next sect ion. Outcomes The outcomes repor ted by the p a r t i c i p a n t s d i d not negat ive outcomes; however , h a l f of the inc iden t s were repor ted i n a f a sh ion tha t i n d i c a t e d tha t the inc iden t was successful ly reso lved a n d tha t the group appeared to move fo rward . T h e r e m a i n i n g inc iden t s repor ted e i ther a n e u t r a l state or a state i n w h i c h the group d i d not appear to progress a n d the issues a r o u n d the i nc iden t resurfaced i n l a t e r stages of the group. The successful reso lu t ions were best s u m m a r i z e d b y one p a r t i c i p a n t w h o descr ibed the outcome as h a v i n g not on ly re leased the leader f rom t h e i r negat ive emot ions bu t also moved the group to a deeper l eve l of development . N e i t h e r of these descr ip t ions cou ld be s a id to app ly i n the un reso lved inc iden t s h i g h l i g h t e d i n grey i n F i g u r e 14. T h i s table also provides a n i l l u s t r a t i o n of the range of outcomes descr ibed by the pa r t i c ipan t s . Leadership and Defensive Communication 42 Resolved at later point in time Resolved at later point in time Resolved at a later point in time - Felt an enormous sense of relief that was also expressed from the group The defensiveness had gone by the next groupf's meeting]. The last hour we were in a kind of communion, it took the group to a very deep level Some resolution At this point the incident was resolved although some of this issue came up later" 1 was then feeling much better it is no longer a crisis we are getting to the work, we are meeting the needs of the group. Unresolved Outcome Unresolved outcome In doing so knowing that 1 have trust what my gut is saying and go with it. F i g u r e 14: Range of Outcomes C a t e g o r i e s o f E x t e r n a l A c t i o n s The desc r ip t ion of t h i s p lane of data , as i n d i c a t e d ear l ie r , i s b r i e f as no major categories emerged from the researches r e v i e w i n g th i s p lane . It was not iced, however , tha t the act ions ref lected i n t h i s category were t y p i c a l of a b road range of i n t e rven t ions tha t one w o u l d expect f rom competent leaders . I n the inc iden t s repor ted by the p a r t i c i p a n t s they were a s k e d to s u m m a r i z e the e x t e r n a l act ions on the c l a r i f i c a t i on sheet. A s u m m a r y of these e x t e r n a l act ions is found i n F i g u r e 15: Range of E x t e r n a l A c t i o n s . Clarified Feelings and re-framed Took no direct external actions linked to incident Took no direct external actions linked to incident Immediacy, stated group goals and linked Blocked, mirrored, stated group goals Limited by stating boundaries (group norms), group goals, positive reframe, mirrored Humour, clarification, re-framing and group norms Linking for inclusion, re-framing, group norms Blocking, reduced power differential through disclosure, clarification, modeling, and consolidation of consensus Perception checking, Re-framing, Summarization, group goals Immediacy through apology and blocking Validation, blocking, linking, group norms and normalization of behaviour. F i g u r e 15: Range of E x t e r n a l A c t i o n s The re d i d not, however , appear to be a r e l a t i onsh ip be tween the e x t e r n a l act ions a n d the outcome. The range of i n t e rven t ions was t y p i c a l of those tha t m i g h t have been selected by competent a n d exper ienced leaders i n d i c a t e d tha t the se lect ion •A-.; • L e a d e r s h i p a n d Defens ive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 43 process for the s tudy h a d iden t i f i ed appropr ia te pa r t i c ipan t s for the ques t ion under cons idera t ion . Conclusion T h e resu l t s of th i s s tudy focus on the categories tha t emerged w i t h i n the i n t e r n a l ac t ion p lane of da ta . These categories ou t l ine a c lear process, as i l l u s t r a t e d i n F i g u r e 8, a process tha t describes how leaders successful ly or unsuccessfu l ly a t tempt to resolve a defensive group s i t ua t i on . W e have k n o w n for a l ong t ime tha t to t r a i n leaders effectively we m u s t f i rs t steep t h e m i n theory, however the process uncovered i n th i s research places t h i s t heore t i ca l t r a i n i n g in to a new context, l e a v i n g us w i t h some a d d i t i o n a l cons idera t ions for l eadersh ip t r a i n i n g . I n the f o l l o w i n g chapter these cons idera t ions a n d the i m p l i c a t i o n s of the resu l t s of t h i s s tudy for the t r a i n i n g of group leaders l i n k i n g the f ind ings to r e l evan t l i t e r a tu re w i l l be d iscussed. L e a d e r s h i p a n d Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 44 CHAPTER V - CONCLUSION T h i s chap te r discusses the resu l t s of the s tudy i n l i g h t of the r e l evan t l i t e r a tu re a n d research . It also ou t l ines the i m p l i c a t i o n s on pract ice , m o d e l deve lopment a n d future research as w e l l as i t s l i m i t a t i o n s . The i n t e r n a l p l ane of da ta a n d the categories tha t emerged from th i s p lane i n the p rev ious chapter are best descr ibed as a process i n w h i c h there are five stages. Therefore i n th i s chapter the process a n d the five stages w i l l be d i scussed as they w i l l m a k e a s ign i f i can t c o n t r i b u t i o n to h o w we t r a i n leaders a n d set about m a n a g i n g defensive c l ima tes i n groups. Statement of Results The f ind ings of th i s s tudy suppor t the p r i n c i p l e tha t a r educ t ion i n defensive c o m m u n i c a t i o n t h r o u g h effective l eade r sh ip in t e rven t ions is i m p o r t a n t to group deve lopment as demons t r a t ed i n the p r e v i o u s l y c i ted research . I n t h i s r e sea rch th i s researcher also found tha t leaders w h o effectively reduced defensive group c l ima tes also repor ted c l ima te s i n w h i c h the group became more p roduc t ive . T h e s ign i f i can t f i n d i n g of t h i s s tudy, therefore, is the l i n k be tween the r educ t ion i n the defensive c l ima te a n d inc reased p r o d u c t i v i t y for those leaders w h o successful ly m o v e d t h r o u g h the i n t e r n a l ac t ion categories or process o u t l i n e d i n the p rev ious chapter . T h i s process i l l u s t r a t e s how effective leaders manage t h e i r i n t e r n a l process or i n t e r n a l ac t ions w i t h i n a c r i t i c a l l y defensive group c l ima te . A di rec t r e l a t i onsh ip , therefore, w a s found be tween successful m o v e m e n t t h r o u g h th i s process a n d the a b i l i t y of a l eader to manage a defensive s i t u a t i o n so as to t r a n s f o r m i t i n to a n oppor tun i ty for group g rowth . The process a n d i t s stages are i l l u s t r a t e d i n the m o d e l present i n tab les F i g u r e 8 a n d F i g u r e 16. A direct r e l a t i onsh ip be tween the e x t e r n a l ac t ions of the leaders a n d a r educ t ion i n the defensive c l i m a t e d i d not emerge. C o m p e t e n t leaders were chosen for t h i s s tudy, a n d the i n t e r v e n t i o n s used by these leaders were i n k e e p i n g w i t h those o u t l i n e d i n Gibb ' s e a r l i e r research; Leadership and Defensive Communication 45 however, appropriate interventions did not necessarily reduce the group's defensive climate in the same manner. This lack of direct relationship, therefore, supports the conclusions of this study. This study reveals that the outcome of an incident is not only dependent on the intervention used, as previously indicated in the research, but also dependent on how a leader manages his or her own internal processes or internal actions. In other words what occurs prior to an intervention is more critical to the success of the intervention than the intervention itself. If a leader fails to manage his or her internal process or internal actions, even the best interventions can arrest the progress of a group and fail to deal effectively with the defensive climate. The process, illustrated in Figure 16, is a highly consistent pattern of internal actions that precede the external behaviours of a leader. The individuals in this study who successfully passed through this five-stage process reported successful group outcomes in which the defensive climate of the group was reduced and the process of the group was advanced. Those who did not successfully pass through this process reported, in most cases, a stabilization of the group's defensive climate or a plateau in the group's development. There appear to be two variations that emerged in this study; one that leads to a significant reduction of defensive communications in which leaders report group development and another that leads to a leveling off of the defensive climate and minimal group growth. The literature in the area of defensive communication tends to focus on external actions and not on the internal actions of the leader. Therefore, this study uncovers a new perspective on how to effectively manage critical defensive climates. Of the four planes of data, the internal action plane was the only one where a significant pattern emerged and, therefore, this chapter wil l focus on primarily this plane of data. The remaining planes of data wi l l be used to support the findings in this plane where there is a significant direct relationship. ' L e a d e r s h i p and Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 46 S u c c e s s f u l A n c h o r i n g a n d U n s u c c e s s f u l A n c h o r i n g The t e rms successfu l -anchor ing a n d unsuccess fu l -anchor ing a t tempt to describe the two w a y s i n w h i c h a leader can pass t h r o u g h the stages of the i n t e r n a l ac t ion process i l l u s t r a t e d i n F i g u r e 16. I n the inc iden t s repor ted i n th i s s tudy tha t corre la ted w i t h successful outcomes there was also a direct r e l a t ionsh ip w i t h i n the f irst three stages. A l l the leaders w h o successful ly moved t h r o u g h the f i rs t three stages of the i n t e r n a l act ions report successful outcomes. T h i s s tudy ind ica tes tha t leaders w h o are able to connect to t he i r p e r s o n a l theore t i ca l be l i e f sys t em are more successful t h a n those who do not. T h i s is d iscussed i n Stage three: t heo ry -anchor ing on page 39. It is t h r o u g h th i s successful theore t i ca l - anchor ing tha t the leader is able to select a n d successful ly app ly a n i n t e rven t ion . A n apt me t apho r to describe th i s stage is the a n c h o r i n g a boat i n harbour : a f i r m a n c h o r i n g a l lows for the f l e x i b i l i t y needed to wea the r the w i n d , cur ren t s a n d t ides of the ha rbour . I n th i s w a y those leaders w h o have successful ly comple ted the a n c h o r i n g stage appear to be bet ter able to overcome the u n p r e d i c t a b i l i t y of the defensive c l ima te of the group, a n d provide a safer m o o r i n g for the group. Those w h o have not successful ly anchored r u n the r i s k of a l l o w i n g the group's defensive c l ima te to d r a g t h e i r anchor; i n t h i s w a y the t ides a n d cur ren t s of the defensive s i t u a t i o n c a n p o t e n t i a l l y d r ive the boat or group t o w a r d the rocky shore of the ha rbour . Rocks tha t s h o u l d be p r o v i d i n g a safe m o o r i n g now become a p o t e n t i a l danger to the group. A leader w h o does not successful ly anchor, therefore, uses a n i n t e r v e n t i o n t ha t i s v i e w e d by the group as less safe t h a n those used by the leader w h o has successful ly anchored; thus , group g r o w t h is i n h i b i t e d . Resonance and Felt Congruence T h i s researcher w o u l d l i k e to therefore describe these two v a r i a t i o n s i n t h i s stage as successfu l -anchor ing a n d unsuccess fu l -anchor ing . I n the case of the leaders who repor ted successful anchor ing , th i s researcher is sugges t ing tha t t h e i r choices L e a d e r s h i p and Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 47 of models have more resonance or felt congruence be tween the group's c l ima te a n d the leader 's theore t i ca l beliefs . I n these cases the p a r t i c i p a n t s report greater group development and a r educ t ion of the defensive c l ima te . Those who do not successful ly anchor m a y choose a mode l tha t does not have th i s resonance or congruence w i t h the group. Therefore, those leader 's who report unsuccessfu l a n c h o r i n g appear not to have accura te ly l i n k e d the mode l to t he i r theore t i ca l be l i e f sys tem; hence there is a n incongruen t or l a c k of resonance. The Critical First Three Stages The f i rs t three stages of the process, as i l l u s t r a t e d i n F i g u r e 16, are shaded grey to i l l u s t r a t e t h e i r c r i t i c a l na ture . I n those inc iden t s i n w h i c h successful a n c h o r i n g is achieved, the leaders appear to effectively manage t h e i r anx i e ty or the process i n stage two. T h e r e is a di rect r e l a t i onsh ip be tween t h e i r a b i l i t y to manage t h e i r anx ie ty a n d t h e i r a b i l i t y to theore t i ca l ly anchor a successful outcome. 1 Awareness 2 o J 4 5 Anxiety Reduction . locus Shitting 1 heor\ Anchoring Model Matching/Creating Decision to take Action Leader becomes aware ol" his D I her own internal dclbnsi\c reaction. Leader attempts lo reduce his or Iter an\iel\ level so that they can process what is going on. Leader attempts to understand incident in terms of his or her own theoretical belief s\siem. Leader reviews his or her "rolodex" of models and experiences to find suitable action. Leader makes a decision on what action to pursue and whether to act. F i g u r e 16: M a j o r Stages i n I n t e r n a l A c t i o n s A c o m p a r i s o n of the non-greyed areas of F i g u r e 11, F i g u r e 12 a n d F i g u r e 14 i l l u s t r a t e s tha t there is a di rect r e l a t i onsh ip be tween these stages i n the i n t e r n a l ac t ion process a n d the successful outcome of a n inc iden t . T h e inc iden t s i n w h i c h leaders successful ly reduce t h e i r anx ie ty are the same inc iden t s i n w h i c h the leaders are successful i n theo re t i ca l - anchor ing a n d the same inc iden t s t ha t have a successful outcome. T h i s di rect r e l a t i onsh ip is not present i n the m o d e l - m a t c h i n g L e a d e r s h i p a n d Defens ive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 48 stage of the process as i l l u s t r a t e d i n F i g u r e 13. T h i s s tudy also revea ls the process tha t leaders use to effectively anchor t he i r theore t i ca l be l i e f sys tem. T h i s process fosters a congruent response tha t pos i t i ve ly affects the outcome of the i n t e rven t ion . Summary I n s u m m a r y th i s s tudy cont r ibu tes a n u m b e r of key f ind ings to our u n d e r s t a n d i n g of how leaders effectively manage defensive group c l imates : 1. F i r s t , the leader 's a b i l i t y to manage h i s or her i n t e r n a l process appears more i m p o r t a n t to group g rowth t h a n choos ing a n appropr ia te i n t e r v e n t i o n . 2. Second, there is a coherent process tha t can describe how al l -competent leaders i n t e r n a l l y manage a defensive s i t ua t i on . 3. T h i r d , w i t h i n th i s process the f i rs t three stages, awareness , r e d u c i n g anx ie ty / sh i f t ing focus a n d theory a n c h o r i n g are c r i t i c a l to a leader 's success i n r e d u c i n g a defensive c l ima te . 4. F o u r t h , successful passage t h r o u g h these three stages can not on ly reduce the defensive c l ima te bu t also promote group deve lopment or g rowth . 5. F i n a l l y , k n o w i n g the theory or h a v i n g a n u m b e r of models does not seem suff icient to ensure effective l eadersh ip . T h i s chap te r goes on to i l l u s t r a t e more fu l ly these i m p o r t a n t f ind ings . Analysis of Individual Stages I n t h i s sect ion th i s researcher w i l l explore i n d e t a i l the i m p l i c a t i o n s of each stage w i t h i n the i n t e r n a l ac t ion category a n d i l l u s t r a t e h o w they re la te to each other a n d cont r ibu te to the s tudy 's u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the leader 's successful a n d unsuccessfu l response to defensive s i tua t ions . Awareness T h e f i rs t stage of the i n t e r n a l process is "Awareness . " I n t h i s stage the leader becomes aware of the defensive c l ima te t h r o u g h a m o n i t o r i n g of h i s or her i n t e r n a l reac t ions . The leader uses self-awareness as a me thod of m o n i t o r i n g the defensive .,, „, L e a d e r s h i p and de fens ive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 49 c l ima te of the group; l i k e a smoke detector th is awareness sounds a n i n t e r n a l a l a r m w a r n i n g the leader tha t a defensive s i t u a t i o n is about to c r i t i c a l l y chal lenge the group's c l ima te . T h i s smoke detector stage sets the leader on a course of ac t ion to resolve the defensive s i t ua t ion . I n i t i a l l y the leader becomes i n t e r n a l l y focused. T h i s sudden in t rospec t ion at f i rs t p revents the leader f rom t a k i n g a n y e x t e r n a l act ions a n d increases the leader 's state of anx i e ty thus r e d u c i n g the leader 's a b i l i t y to manage the s i t ua t i on . Once the leader begins to move t o w a r d addres s ing t h i s anx ie ty , he or she moves in to the second stage of the process. Anxiety Reduction / Focus Shifting T h e awareness stage ra ises the presence of negat ive emot ions i n the leader and , therefore, a tendency towards the presence of w h a t C s i k s z e n t m h a l y i (1997) w o u l d c a l l p sych ic ent ropy. The presence of en t ropic energy keeps the leader focused on r e s to r i ng h i s or he r i n t e r n a l state to i ts p rev ious e x t e r n a l focus, t hus r e d u c i n g the psych ic energy ava i l ab le to dea l w i t h e x t e r n a l t a sks . T h e process of anx i e ty r educ t ion t h r o u g h refocusing he lps the leader r e t u r n to a more negent ropy psych ic state, a state i n w h i c h the psych ic energy is freer to focus on the t a sk at h a n d . I n h i s o w n words , C s i k s z e n t m h a l y i express these two states as fol lows: Emotions refer to the internal states of consciousness. Negative emotions like sadness, fear, anxiety or boredom produce "psychic entropy" in the mind, that is, a state in which we cannot use attention effectively to deal with external tasks, because we need it to restore an inner subjective order. Positive emotions like happiness, strength, or alertness are states of "psychic negentropy" because we don't need attention to ruminate and feel sorry for ourselves, a psychic energy can flow freely into whatever thought or task we choose to invest it in ( C s i k s z e n t m h a l y i , 1997, p . 22). T h e ent ropic state is s i m i l a r i n i t s effect to G i b b s ' concept of defensive c l ima te i n w h i c h the i n d i v i d u a l s i n v o l v e d i n the c l ima te have a r educed capac i ty . H e • Leadership and Defensive Communication 50 describes thisphenomenon as a defensive spiral. In a'defensive climate both the leader and members of the group are likely to be in entropic states of mind. The leader's struggle to move towards a more negentropic psychic state is the process that is described in the second stage, anxiety reduction/focus. In the second stage the focus is on the.leader's struggle with the entropic state of his or her emotions which occurred as a result of his or her awareness of his or her reactions to the defensive situation in the group. To further extend what is put forward by Csikszentmhalyi, both Campos and Barrett (1984, p 232) report that this struggle with emotions affects the registration, storage and retrieval of information from memory. The leader's struggle to stabilize his or her internal psychic state is paradoxical as the emotional reaction is both the first step toward resolving the defensive climate and also the causes the entropic state. It is the leader's struggle with this paradox that determines the outcome. Leaders report moving through the issues in this stage at various rates of speed, and as leaders successfully move through the remaining issues in the subsequence stages, a further reduction in anxiety and change of focus is reported. This stage is present not only in the background of the remaining internal actions but also the external actions. Once leaders have successfully reduced their anxiety or regained a more negentropy psychic state, he or she is able to move into the next stage. Stage Three: Theory Anchoring The reduction in psychic entropy results in an increased alertness or more psychic negentropy allowing the leader to manage the issues outlined in the theory anchoring stage. In this stage the leader begins to build bridges between his or her internal theoretical belief system and what is occurring externally in the group. It is therefore, the stage where the leader begins to move from an internal focus to an external focus. The degree to which the leader successfully anchors his or her L e a d e r s h i p and Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 51 i n t e r n a l w o r l d to the e x t e r n a l w o r l d affects how w e l l h i s or her e x t e r n a l i n t e r v e n t i o n w o r k s , as descr ibed ea r l i e r i n th i s chapter . I n add i t ion , those pa r t i c ipan t s who repor ted successful a n c h o r i n g also repor ted a fur ther r educ t ion i n h is or her anx ie ty or fear and a more successful shift of focus f rom i n t e r n a l to ex te rna l . A s the leader successful ly moves t h r o u g h the i ssues i n th i s stage, he or she not on ly exper iences a fur ther r educ t ion i n negat ive i n t e r n a l emot ions bu t also a greater a b i l i t y to shift be tween a n i n t e r n a l a n d e x t e r n a l focus. Once the leader has successful ly anchored, the psych ic en t ropy is reduced (Campos a n d B a r r e t t , 1984, p . 232). T h i s r educ t ion creates a more negent ropic state i n w h i c h the leader 's a b i l i t y to register , storage a n d r e t r i e v a l i n f o r m a t i o n is enhanced; the leader is now more able to l i n k r e a d i l y h i s or he r theore t i ca l u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the defensive group i nc iden t to a n appropr ia te i n t e r v e n t i o n . Stage Four: Model Matching or Creating I n the m o d e l m a t c h i n g or c r ea t ing stage leaders r ev iew t h e i r t heo re t i ca l u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the group's state aga ins t models he or she used i n s i m i l a r s i tua t ions or exper ience others use or b e g i n to select e lements of va r i ous models i n a n effect to cons t ruc t a n appropr ia te i n t e r v e n t i o n . L e a d e r s describe th i s process as r e v i e w i n g a k i n d of "Rolodex" of models for a l l the exper iences tha t m i g h t be appropr ia te to the s i t u a t i o n under cons idera t ion . F r e q u e n t l y a n u m b e r of models r e su l t f rom th i s sea rch t h r o u g h the m o d e l "Rolodex." Once t h i s se lec t ion process i s completed, a process of fee l ing the best fit or cons t ruc t i ng a new m o d e l f rom the v a r i o u s models is unde r w a y . T h i s is not necessa r i ly a l i n e a r process. L e a d e r s repor t m o v i n g back a n d for th be tween the models a n d the m o d e l "Rolodex." The importance of a model "Rolodex" The presence of t h i s stage i n the i n t e r n a l ac t ion process ind ica tes the impor tance of a n exper ienced leader b e i n g able to d r a w d i rec t ly on h i s or he r o w n Leadership and Defensive Communication 52 group experience and the experience of watching other leaders. It is not enough to have a theoretical understanding of a model of action; one must also have experience from which to draw intervention models. Leaders with extensive experience reported the need to be able to draw from a series of experiences in order to build an appropriate intervention model. It is likely then that leaders who lack experience in or exposure to intervention models would find themselves unable to link their theoretical understanding of the situation to a plausible intervention. In addition, leaders reported that the ability to recall specific experiences also had an anxiety reducing effect on the leader which bolstered his or her abilities to move through the next stage and implement an intervention. This bolstering effect must also is present in a situation in which a leader lacked experience or exposure to models. Visual nature of the recall The leaders in almost all the incidents described their models visually. This indicates that they drew more on their experience rather than on something they had read. Those who did not describe them in this manner tended to be the more experienced leaders and they referred to groups of models thematically. In either case it was apparent that their ability to recall their actual experiences as a leader or observer was key to being able to select or design an appropriate intervention. More individuals reported successful model matching than did those who reported successful outcomes. This indicates that there is no direct relationship between successful model matching and successful outcomes, thus supporting the previous finding that the first three stages in the internal process is vital to an appropriate outcome. Leadership and Defensive Communication 53 Summary Once the leader successfully selects an appropriate outcome he or she moves into the main issue of the next stage, where he or she decides on an intervention strategy on which to act. Stage Five: Deciding on Action The final stage deciding on action is simply a decision of whether or to take action. In those incidents in which leaders took no action unsuccessful outcomes were reported. These were also the leaders who were unsuccessfully in moving through the process outlined in the first three stages. This direct relationship points toward the need for action when confronted with a defensive climate. In some group situations external interventions are not necessarily warranted; however, the results of this study indicate that critically defensive situations need to be addressed with an appropriate external action. Summary A five stage internal process for effectively reducing defensive climates in groups emerges from the stages in this study is illustrated in Figure 16: Major Stages in Internal Actions. These stages indicate that successful reduction of defensive communication is dependent on the successful movement through the first three stages. The most critical indicator of success is whether or not the leader effectively moves through the third stage of anchoring. Success in these stages appears to be linked: first to the leader's internal awareness of his or her own emotional reaction to the defensive climate of the group; second, to the leader's ability to see these reactions as contextual clues to the nature of the climate; and finally to the leader's ability to link these clues to his or her theoretical belief system. This seems to confirm some of the points established by Campos and Barrett (1984) in their studies of emotions: Leadership and Defensive Communication 54 ... emotions are useful as organizational constructs, lending clarity to the relationship between various aspects of situations and various aspects of an organism's responses to those situations. Emotions function as both intrapersonal regulators, as when they impact cognitive or perceptual processes, and as interpersonal regulators, as when emotional expressions or coping reactions of one person influence the behaviour of another. (Campos and Barrett, 1984, p. 256) Awareness > c a "D C o Leader's Defensive Reaction Theory Anchori The Internal Process Stepping Down/Shifting Focus External Action or Inaction Model Matching / Creating Desision to Act The External Process F i g u r e 17: Effects on G r o u p C l i m a t e the five Stages E m o t i o n s are usefu l o r g a n i z a t i o n a l const ructs t ha t c a n ass is t l eaders i n u s i n g the i r e m o t i o n a l r eac t i on to group events to fur ther the group's process. W h e n leaders use these emot ions i n a process tha t r e su l t s i n successful a n c h o r i n g congruency or resonance be tween the group c l ima te a n d the leader 's be l i e f sy s t em occurs. Once t h i s happens , the group's non-defensive state a n d the leader 's defensive state improves i m m e n s e l y as i l l u s t r a t e d i n F i g u r e 17 a n d F i g u r e 18. W h e n leaders L e a d e r s h i p a n d Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 55 describe an unsuccessful anchor ing , they also describe a n outcome where the group's process p la teaus . Implications for Training of Leaders and Practice T h i s s tudy has i m p o r t a n t i m p l i c a t i o n s for t r a i n i n g and deve lop ing effective leaders . Compe ten t leaders w i l l need to be able to move successful ly t h r o u g h the process descr ibed i n the va r ious stages of i n t e r n a l act ions descr ibed i n F i g u r e 16, F i g u r e 17 a n d F i g u r e 18. I n order to move t h r o u g h th i s process they w i l l need a h i g h degree of e m o t i o n a l self-awareness, a n a b i l i t y to reduce the i r o w n anx i e ty levels , a coherent theore t i ca l be l i e f sys tems a n d sufficient pe r sona l experience a n d exposure to l eadersh ip models . Psychic Negentrogy Group Growth and Ability to Process + • F i g u r e 18: Leader ' s P s y c h i c Sta te a n d G r o u p s A b i l i t y to Process L e a d e r s N e e d t o U n d e r s t a n d T h e m s e l v e s The leaders i n t h i s s tudy used t h e i r o w n e m o t i o n a l r eac t ion to the defensive group c l ima te to b e g i n a process of ana ly s i s . T h r o u g h th i s process they a t t empted to Leadership and Defensive Communication 56 select an appropriate external action to resolve the negative group climate. Their awareness of their own reaction to the defensive climate and their understanding of the meaning of this reaction initiated the process for climate resolution. Leaders, therefore, need to be highly aware of their own emotional landscape. It has been suggested in dyadic therapeutic encounters that a counsellor's emotional state is .much like the surface of a lake on which a client creates ripples. It is these ripples that provide the counsellor with a direction for the next intervention. This metaphor describes how group leaders use their.own emotions to direct their group interventions. To complete the metaphor, a counsellor needs to be aware own his or her own lake of emotions and be able to calm these waters before he or she wi l l be able to see the ripples created by the group. Once the counsellor is able to do this he or she wil l need to be able to relate these ripples to his or her own emotional experience to understand its meaning. Leadership training, therefore, should be designed to heighten self-awareness as effective leaders wi l l need to know how others perceive them as leader's and how their interpersonal behaviour is likely to be interpreted. This is best illustrated in the research on the development of one's Johari window (Luft, 1984). Expansion of the Johari window is an interpersonal process and one that is most effectively approach within a group setting. The impact of member to member learning with in these settings wi l l not only enhance self-awareness but also provide prospective leaders with a non-leader's perspective of the group experience. Finally, a group lead by an experienced leader wil l also provide each member with effective models to integrate into their own personal "Rolodex" of models. The composition of these group experiences, like any group experience, should be carefully screen to ensure a safe environment in which the members can learn and take risks. Ideally the group would be composed of group leaders in training. Leadership and Defensive Communication 57 Anxie ty Reduct ion Techniques A clear understanding of self wil l also help to reduce a leader's level of anxiety. It is also important for leaders to develop a series of techniques that can be used to help reduce ones level of anxiety. Teaching these techniques to leaders are of secondary value because a well-trained leader, who is self aware, wil l likely have developed these techniques as a result of the self-awareness. However, teaching techniques would provide leaders with tools to overcome areas where the training has not yet been completed or was weak. During the group setting outlined within the previous recommendation, a sharing of anxiety reduction techniques between members would help each prospective leader to build a repertoire of techniques. In addition role-plays or enactment's of anxiety provoking situations should be used provide a safe context for building experience, developing and honing models and integrating these techniques into their personal practice. A Strong Coherent Theoretical Belief System Group leadership training has always included extensive theory training and this study supports this practice (Corey, 1991; Yalom, 1995). The participants in this study report using their theoretical belief system to select an appropriate intervention. It would seem apparent then that leaders who have been exposed to extensive theoretical training are more likely to have developed a theoretical foundation, which is integrated with their personal belief system, as Corey (1991) described as an integrative perspective. In order to ensure that this theoretical background is complete the five stages of internal action should be included in the material used to train leaders. This wi l l provide them with a theoretical structure to examine and develop their own internal process for dealing with critical group incidents. Leadership and Defensive Communication 58 Exposure to Models and Experience In this study the importance of being able to draw on both personal experience in leading groups and experience in observing effective group leaders becomes apparent. A l l leaders drew heavily on these two kinds of experience in order to select or construct their intervention model. Leaders must be exposed tb a sufficient amount of experience and practice in order to have a sufficient level of experience from which they can select intervention models. This is in keeping with such recommendations as the American Group Psychotherapy Association's recommendation that a minimum of 180 hours of supervision for group leaders is necessary; this is to ensure that good models are developed and inappropriate models are extinguished (Yalom, 1995). This is also in keeping with Trotzer who suggests that new group leaders should co-lead groups under supervision (1989). The need to be exposed to the use of effective models by experienced leaders is not outlined in the general literature on training leader's as indicated in Trotzer's book. The need for experience is also supported by Gibb's (1961) original research on the influence potential of leaders. This research points out the direct correlation between a leader's influence potential in a group situation and his or her role diversity. Role diversity is directly related to the leader's level of experience. In short the more experience a leader has, the greater degree of influence they wil l have within a group setting. This influence is the direct result of their ability to play a wider array of roles that might be demanded by a group. The findings in this research supports Gibb's original findings that a positive correlation exists between experience and group influence. The experience of co-leading a group with a competent co-leader wi l l help integrate the skills needed to move through the five stages of the internal process while as previous mentioned; ensuring appropriate models are developed. However this kind of training should be preceded by the group experience, as outlined in the L e a d e r s h i p and Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 59 previous r ecommenda t ions . T h i s exper ience s h o u l d inc lude a series of enac tments tha t force the prospect ive leaders to take on a wide va r i e ty of roles. I n th i s w a y leaders w i l l be g iven a greater oppor tun i ty to e x p a n d the i r role reper to i re , p r i o r to the process of i n t e g r a t i o n tha t occurs d u r i n g the co-leadership t r a i n i n g . These two approaches shou ld r e su l t i n leaders tha t have a more d iverse role reper toi re a n d therefore greater group inf luence, t h a n those t r a i n e d on ly t h r o u g h experience of co- leadership . Summary of Implications Leade r s to successful ly move t h r o u g h the i n t e r n a l process, descr ibed i n th i s research, w i l l need a h i g h degree of e m o t i o n a l self-awareness, a n a b i l i t y to reduce the i r o w n a n x i e t y levels , a coherent theore t i ca l be l i e f sys tems a n d suff icient pe r sona l exper ience a n d exposure to l eadersh ip models . T h i s s tudy demons t ra tes e x i s t i n g l e a d e r s h i p - t r a i n i n g p rog rams i n the f ie ld of counse l l i ng psychology, educa t ion a n d bus iness need to be mod i f i ed i n the fo l lowing w a y s : 1. I n order to b u i l d a bet ter u n d e r s t a n d i n g of self, l eadersh ips t r a i n i n g s h o u l d inc lude group exper iences tha t a l l o w member s to e x p a n d t h e i r J o h a r i w i n d o w . These group experiences s h o u l d be conducted by experience a n d effective group leaders i n order to expose m e m b e r s to effective models of add re s s ing defensive c l i m a t e s a n d other group p h e n o m e n a 2. G r o u p exper iences shou ld be used to explore va r ious anx i e ty r e d u c t i o n techn iques a n d in tegra te t h e m in to each leaders pe r sona l mode ls of l eade r sh ip . 3. The group theory used to t r a i n leaders s h o u l d inc lude five-stage i n t e r n a l ac t ion mode l , i den t i f i ed i n t h i s research . 4. The use of enac tments i n t r a i n i n g groups composed of prospect ive leaders needs to precede a n d be i n t eg ra t ed w i t h the t r a d i t i o n a l co- lead ing t r a i n i n g . Leadership and Defensive Communication 60 Limitations of the Study The first potential limitation of this study is that the participants selected for the study were all individuals with backgrounds in the field of counselling psychology. However, the graduate programs that train these individuals tend to attract a wide variety of academic disciplines and professions, which would counter act this limitation. The incidents in the study were not all set in a therapeutic setting; they included business and educational settings. It is likely, then, that the findings are applicable to group leadership situations in therapeutic, corporate and educational settings. In addition this researcher has conducted informal face validity tests of the internal action process in various settings and these informal tests seem to indicate that the model is not unique to the field of counselling psychology. The model does appear to have validity in a broad range of leadership situations, which would include education and business. The final limitation to the study is that only 12 incidents were used in this study. It is important to note that the internal stages saturation was reached before all 12 incidents were all analyzed. The strength of this saturation would appear to provide sufficient evidence that a larger sample was not necessary to establish the stages outlined in this study. Direction for Future Research Given the emergence of a stage process or model that has a significant impact on the outcome of groups, one direction for future research is testing the model in the field. Studies that looked at the difference in the effectiveness of leaders that have had additional training based on this model would provide significant insight into the implications of basing leadership training on the elements of this model. 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The counselor and the group (2 n d ed.). Muncie, Indiana:Accelerated Development. Waldron, H . B., Turner, C. W., Alexander, J . F. & Barton, C. (1993). Coding defensive and supportive communications: discriminant validity and subcategory convergence. Journal of Family Psychology, 7(2), 197-203. Woolsey, L. K. (1986). The critical incident technique: an innovative qualitative method of research. Canadian Journal of Counselling , 20, 242-254. Yalom, I. D. (1995). The theory and practice of group psychotherapy (4th ed.). New York: Basic Books, Harper Collins Publishers. Leadership and Defensive Communication 66 A P P E N D I X A - C O N T E X T S T A T E M E N T We are studying how leaders respond to defensive situations? During the interview I wil l be asking you to recall specific critical incidents which have occurred while you were in a leadership role in a group situation. By sharing your experience to date you wil l be helping me identify both negative and positive reactions that you may have had when faced with this situation. As a group leader your are the expert since you have experienced these situations yourself. Your experience can provide us with an insight into not only what helps but what hinders in these situations. I am going to ask you to think back to specific incidents where you experienced a defensive group climate where you were the leader. I am interested in how you reacted to this climate and whether your behaviour helped or hindered you. I am also interested in concrete events, your feelings about them, and their meaning to you. Please take the time over the next seven days to recall the critical situations that have occurred to you in a group situation were you felt defensive. Please make whatever brief notes you may need to recall these events. L e a d e r s h i p and Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 69 APPENDIX G - INTERVIEW CONTEXT, QUESTIONS AND PROBES A s y o u k n o w we are s t u d y i n g how leaders respond to defensive s i tua t ions? D u r i n g th i s i n t e r v i e w I w i l l be a s k i n g y o u to r e c a l l s i tua t ions w h i c h have occur red w h i l e y o u were i n a l eadersh ip role i n a group s i t ua t ion . B y s h a r i n g y o u r experience to date y o u w i l l be h e l p i n g me iden t i fy bo th negat ive a n d pos i t ive react ions tha t leaders have w h e n faced w i t h t h i s s i t ua t ion . Y o u are the exper t since y o u have exper ienced these s i tua t ions yoursel f . I a m going to ask y o u to t h i n k back to specific inc iden t s of defensiveness a n d r e c a l l how y o u r reac t ions e i ther he lped or h i n d e r e d you . .1 a m in te res t ed i n concrete events, y o u r feel ings about t hem, a n d t h e i r m e a n i n g to you . It i s bet ter to m e n t i o n s o m e t h i n g r a t h e r t h a n not m e n t i o n i f y o u are unsure . A s y o u t a l k about each event I a m going to ask y o u to w r i t e a phrase desc r ib ing the event on a t i m e l i ne i n ch rono log ica l order. T h i s w i l l a l l o w y o u to go back a n d for th as y o u recollect events . D o y o u have a n y quest ions at t h i s po in t? Opening interview Question: Context "I 'd l i k e y o u to t h i n k back to a n event i n a group where a c r i t i c a l defensive s i t u a t i o n developed, c a n y o u describe w h a t l e a d up to tha t s i tua t ion?" H o w d i d y o u react? W h a t was the outcome or r e su l t of t h i s act ion? Probe W h a t were y o u feel ing, expe r i enc ing or t h i n k i n g ? D i d y o u r feel ings change i f so please e laborate? W h a t were y o u r sensat ions at the t ime? W h a t were y o u do ing at the t ime? L e a d e r s h i p a n d Defensive C o m m u n i c a t i o n 70 Summarize S u m m a r i z i n g a n d empathe t ic response to reduce r e t r a m a t i z a i t o n r e s u l t i n g from rev iew inc ident . ) E x a c t l y w h a t d i d y o u say or do tha t was espec ia l ly effective or ineffective? W h y w a s th i s ac t ion effective, or w h a t more effective ac t ion cou ld y o u have taken? Linking Situations C a n y o u t e l l me w h a t was different i n this ' s i t u a t i o n tha t was more he lp fu l /h inder ing? C a n y o u t e l l me how a n d w h a t w a y y o u exper ience t h i s s i t u a t i o n different ly? Leadership and Defensive Communication A P P E N D I X D - INCIDENT C O N T I N U U M F O R M Check the appropriate Degree of Negative Impact Clarification Sheet Check the appropriate Degree of Positive impact Very Somewhat Negat ive 9 Negat ive - o o o Leader 's Act ion Somewhat _ ... Very „ ... Posit ive _ . / Posi t ive Posi t ive o o o + Very . . Somewhat Negat ive Negat ive a Negat ive • o o o Leader 's Act ion Somewhat _ ... Very _ ... Posi t ive _, ' Posi t ive Posi t ive o o o + Very . . ,. Somewhat . . .. Negat ive . , Negat ive Negat ive " o o o Leader 's Act ion Somewhat _ _ Posi t ive _, ... Posi t ive Posi t ive Very o o o + Very .. Somewhat . . .. Negat ive . , Negat ive Negat ive • o o o Leader 's Act ion Somewhat _ ... Very _, ... Posi t ive _ . . ' Posi t ive Posi t ive o o o + Very Negat ive Negat ive Somewhat Negat ive o o o Leader 's Ac t ion Somewhat _ ... _ ... Posi t ive _ ... Posi t ive Posi t ive Very o o o + Very . . Somewhat . . ,. Negat ive Negat ive a Negat ive • o o o Leader 's Ac t ion Somewhat _ ... Very r, ... Posi t ive _ ... Posi t ive Posi t ive o o o + Very N . Somewhat Negat ive 9 Negat ive • o o o Leader ' s Ac t ion Somewhat _ ... Very _, Posi t ive _ ' Posi t ive Posi t ive _ O O O + Group Stage: Early • Middle • Late/Mature •

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