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Small Group Facilitation: Improving Process and Performance in Groups and Teams by Judith A. Kolb

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Groups as an Open System

An open system “interacts with its environment and transforms resource inputs into outputs” (Schermerhorn, 1984, p. G10). Today’s interpretation of open systems realizes the complexity of the global economy, the rapidity of change within organizations, and the increasing need for everyone, and every group or unit, within an organization to adapt. A group is an evolving open system with interactions to and from the group and its external environment flowing between permeable borders. Most systems have limits to their openness, but systems theory makes the clear point that groups do not operate in isolation. Group process can be considered the linking pin or transformational process by which group inputs are transformed ...

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