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Complexity and Group Processes

Complexity and Group Processes by Ralph Stacey

This book, by Ralph Stacey, brings a new perspective on group theory – introducing a new way of looking at how people relate with each other.


it is in engaging with the contradictions between our various acts of thought that we begin to make more sense of what we are doing together.

As one thinks differently so one practices differently.

Paradox, in the sense of simultaneously forming and being formed, is thus essential to this way of thinking.

we have clearly come to believe that thinking is in the mind and that the mind is an ‘internal world’,

The feeling we have of a mind inside ourselves is thus an illusion produced by social evolution.

Social is then understood as processes of bodily interaction and such an understanding has no need for the concept of system.

From a temporal perspective, process means something quite different to its spatial meaning in psychoanalysis and systems thinking.

In the temporal sense, however, process is not producing anything other than itself

The temporal notion of process is, therefore, completely incompatible with the spatial notions of psychoanalysis and systems thinking simply because in it there is no inside or outside at all.

Shifts in thinking affect what we do together in ways that we cannot know in advance.