Abstract for:The power of group model building; a micro level analysis of social interaction during group model building

Group model building is based on the assumption of equivalence between participants: the facilitator encourages participants to equally contribute to the group discussion, and to equally value the input of all participants, regardless of their power position in an organization. This study examines to what extent the method of group model building is indeed able to achieve such equivalence by exploring the role of power in group interaction during two real life group model building sessions. We determine the level of equivalence by analyzing differences in social interaction between participants with high versus low legitimate power. The analyses show that participants are predominantly and about equally involved in positive social emotional and task oriented behavior, with a shift from more social-emotional behavior in the convergence phase to task oriented behavior in the implementation phase. While distinct participant roles can be discerned, which can be labelled as process oriented, group oriented, content oriented and goal oriented, no significant difference can be found in interaction behavior between participants with high versus low legitimate power.