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Re-Imagining Leadership and Authority

The 8th International Group Relations Conference in Lithuania

Friday 18th August 2017 - Tuesday 22nd August 2017

University of Vilnius, Lithuania

Vilnius University
The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations

Primary Task
Role of Staff
Info & Fees
Payment Terms


This conference is taking place within a rapidly changing organisational and social world. Older structural and cultural paradigms are shifting under the pressures of new technologies of communication and analysis; new patterns of employment are emerging, affecting the nature of organisational and professional affiliations; organisational boundaries are increasingly fluid, roles discretionary and networking, both within and across organisational boundaries, becoming a dominant working mode.
New questions are also being asked about the wider ethical and/or social accountabilities of both private and public corporations.

Within this contextual environment, culturally accepted ways of thinking about and practising leadership or exercising authority can no longer be taken for granted. As in other periods of transformational change, the challenge and the opportunity is to re-imagine what we thought we knew, to test it against experience and to risk it in action.

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Conference Aims and Primary Task

…to study the nature of leadership and the exercise of authority in the taking up of roles, through the interpersonal, intergroup and organisational relations that develop within the Conference itself, as a temporary organisation in its context.

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The Learning Aims:
  • • manage yourself in the multiple roles necessary for contemporary organisations where greater inter-personal and inter-organisational dialogue and cooperation is called for
  • • find and take up authority. Taking up authority involves risk, and putting one’s authority into action involves recognizing not only one’s responsibility, but also one’s accountability to an-other, or a group of others
  • • bring up a new generation of skilful leaders and managers who will develop vision and foster creativity in changing organisational and social worlds.
  • • take up formal and informal leadership and followership roles as you explore group, institutional, communal and national dynamics as they happen.

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The Development Aims:
  • • bring together understanding of the conscious and hidden, sometimes unconscious, motivations and resistances of work and social groups as they eng
  • • become more effective in working with the underlying dynamics within and between organisations, communities and wider society;
  • • apply the roles discovered and taken up within the programme to your own organisations, communities and networks
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This conference will mark the eighth joint venture between Vilnius University and the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations. It is based on the theoretical perspectives and methods of group relations as developed in the Tavistock ‘Leicester’ working conferences on Authority Role and Organisation.

The conference is designed to provide opportunities for learning for leadership. By examining, interpreting, reflecting and making sense of experiences in the programme events, participants will further develop understanding of their own organisations and their roles within them.

The programme allows the participants to use their imagination to explore how they are taking up leadership roles and reacting to the leadership of others.

The programme focuses on culture, structure and task, and on the need for understanding the roles of participants as they relate collaboratively and competitively with each other. Such understanding involves disciplined attention to one’s own experience, openness to the experience of others, tolerance of uncertainty, the readiness to interpret what is happening, and the courage to test one’s interpretations through communication and action. This includes being alert to both conscious and unconscious aspects of behaviour and the ways in which behaviour is being shaped by the broader social, political and economic contexts in which we work and live.

The method of learning is experiential – as participants you will be invited to study your own and others collaborative and competitive behaviour as it happens in the different events. Consultancy is always available in the programme events.

The focus of learning is based on examining the ‘here and now’ of group and institutional behaviour. You will be invited and challenged to take up your own authority to accept what proves useful learning and reject what is not. Through this process you will be able to reconsider the way that you gain or lose power and exercise authority in your organisations.

Working Language: The working language of the conference will be English. However, where all the members of a group are Lithuanian, Lithuanian may be the language of usage in that group.

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The programme draws participants from diverse work settings and roles: leaders, managers, consultants, educators, researchers, administrators and professional and technical workers

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Role of Staff

Participants will be working with a staff group that is invited by the Conference director on behalf of the sponsoring organisations of the Conference - the University of Vilnius and the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations.

Staff have specific roles in the conference:

1. They act collectively as management. Collective management takes responsibility and authority to provide the boundary conditions – task, territory and time – in such a way that all participants in the Conference, the staff themselves and the participants, can engage with the primary task of the Conference.

2. Working in their consultancy roles in the various events, informed by their own experiences of the events and working to the primary task of the event and the Conference overall, the staff will offer working hypotheses based on their understanding of what is happening.

3. Conference staff members are not observers of the process but are actively involved in it. It is important, therefore, to be as explicit as possible about their task and roles throughout the Conference. The way they take up these roles is always open to examination.

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Conference Director:
Jolita Buzaitytė-Kašalynienė  PhD
Associate professor at Social Work Department, Vilnius University Faculty of Philosophy. Advisor, Ministry of Education and Science and the Youth Department, Ministry of Social Security and Labour; Member, National Board of Social Work, Lithuanian Sociologists Society and Lithuanian Scouting Association; Representative, Vydūnas Youth Foundation; President, Lithuanian Society of Group Relations.

Conference Associate Director:
David Armstrong,  BA
Associate Consultant, Tavistock Consulting, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, London; Distinguished Member, the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organisations.

Conference Administrator:
Tomas Rakovas   MA
Clinical Psychology, organizational consultant and trainer working in the field of non-formal education and teachers' professional development. Deputy director for education at Lithuanian Children and Youth Centre, long-time volunteer at Lithuanian Scouting.

Conference Associate Administrator:
Julija Orlovskaja  MA Social Work
in a process, junior specialist at Social Work Department, Vilnius University Faculty of Philosophy.

Consultant Staff will be drawn from the following:
Milda Autukaitė  MA
Organisational Psychology; Human Resource Management Consultant, HR Director, Swedbank, Lithuania.

Raymond Bakaitis  Ph.D
Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles (U.C.L.A.); President, Grex, the West Coast Affiliate of the A. K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems.

Barbara Lagler Özdemir  MA
Coaching & Organizational Consulting; Managing Director, oezpa GmbH, Academy & Consulting Germany/Switzerland. Director and Staff member of international Group Relations Programs. OD Consultant and Senior Coach (DBVC); Cooperating Partner International Coach Federation (ICF) and DBVC (German Coaching Association) Germany/Switzerland

Martijn van der Spek  MA
Assistant professor, senior organisational consultant, program leader executive program Coaching and Consulting in Context at Utrecht University School of Governance, Netherlands; professional partnership with Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, UK; associate consultant Tavistock Consulting; UK; associate Organisation for Promoting Understanding of Society (OPUS), UK; member International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations (ISPSO).

Mike Teplitz  PhD
Psychologist, Director Psychological Services of Upper Gallilee; Co-director Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Program in Safad College; Board member OFEK; Member Israeli Society of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy; Consultation, psychotherapy and supervision in private practice.

Kay Trainor  PhD
Principal Consultant at Tavistock Consulting in London where she consults to a wide range of organisations. She also directs the Tavistock's Masters programme Consulting and Leading in Organisations: Psychodynamic and Systemic Approaches. Member of OPUS and ISPSO

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Info and Fees

Time: The conference will begin at 09.00 on Friday, 18 August and end at 16.15 on Tuesday, 22 August 2017.

Place: The conference will be held at Vilnius University, Faculty of Philosophy, Universiteto st. 9/1, Vilnius. The conference is not residential and participants from other cities or countries should reserve their accommodation at hotels in the vicinity.

Follow-up event: all members will be invited for the follow-up event the task of which will be to share the learning achieved during and after the group relations conference; and discuss possibilities of the application of learning to work. The preliminary date is Saturday 7th October 2017.

Fees: The conference fee is 540 EUR.

Meals: Refreshments will be served morning and afternoon. Meals will not be provided by the conference.

Attendance: As the programme of the conference constitutes an integrated whole and its events are all inter-related, participation in all the sessions of the programme is essential. If you know in advance that you will be unable to attend all the events in the conference, we suggest you defer your application to next year.

Certificate: Participants will be issued with a certificate of professional development by Vilnius University.

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Payment Terms

Early booking is advised as the number of places is limited and not guaranteed.

Payment can be made by bank transfer. Other administrative details will be given upon completion of the registration process.

Cancellation Policy:
Cancellation occurring on or before 14 August, 2017: 75 of payment will be returned.
Cancellation occurring after 14 August, 2017: 25 of payment will be returned.

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Reduced Fees

(i) There is a reduced fee of 340 EUR for public and NGO sector‘s workers in Lithuania.

(ii) In addition there, is an early bird discount of 80 EUR for all applications received before 3 June, 2017.

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Partial bursaries may be available upon request. For more information please, contact the pre-conference administrator - Tomas Rakovas.

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Please complete the accompanying application form and return to:

Mr Tomas Rakovas
mob: +370 678 06610

Closing Date for Applications: Monday, 17 July 2017.

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