Abstract for: Power-leveling as an effect of group model building

Use of power concerns a relatively unexplored area within group model building (GMB) assessment studies. In this paper we apply social exchange theory to explore the effect of GMB on the use of power by the participants. According to this theory, differences in power between two participants influence their communicative exchange process; the larger the power difference between two participants the less likely they are to interact and vice versa. This use of power hinders the design of optimal solutions which requires the unique expertise of all participants. It is hypothesized that the act of facilitation within GMB-sessions helps to reduce the use of power by participants. We call this effect ´power-levelling´. If the hypothesis of power-levelling through facilitation holds, it may explain why group model building is helpful in designing better solutions. The research was conducted in a field setting at the Dutch Health Care Insurance Board (CVZ), where regular meetings and GMB meetings were compared. The first results are supportive for the hypothesis, however, more data are required.