Case Study I (c): Practicum in Dialectical Team Interventions

In this course, students work with members of a team of their choice in order to better manage complexity with the aid of holistic and systemic, “dialectical”, thinking. Focusing on a central team task, they model for team members how to deepen collaboration and partnership in the team by closely listening to others’ task and interpersonal issues. In paying close attention to team discourse, they learn how to facilitate the untrammelled flow of ideas and proposals for solving both well-defined and heretofore ill-defined team problems. Helped by discussions in the study cohort, participants develop pertinent dialectical thinking exercises for their team, both to promote members’ interpersonal functioning and to reflectively deepen their approach to team tasks. They also help team members pay attention to the relationship of their own team to other teams with which they collaborate or compete in the organization.

Students obtain a course certificate by submitting to the instructor a written free-form report (about 10 pp.) on how, under their guidance, the team has developed a greater aptitude for defining and pursuing topics and goals crucial for the team’s success. In the report, they spell out details of the results of their interventions during the duration of the course, framing their team evaluation in terms of a social-emotional as well as cognitive perspective. Optimal reports also describe what growth assignments the student has developed for team members’ future work, and how this growth assignment relates to the goal of self-coaching in the team.

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Author: Otto Laske

I am the founder and director of IDM, the Interdevelopmental Institute. My background is in philosophy, psychology, consulting, and coaching based on developmental theory to which I have mightily contributed myself. See the blogs at