The principal pioneers in developing T-Groups were Kurt Lewin (although he died before the T-Group became the basic training format for the NTL's Human Relations Laboratory), followed by Kenneth Benne, Ron Lippitt and Leland Bradford (Benne, 1964).
Without many hours of practice both as a participant and as a T-Group facilitator, much about the workings of T-Groups will remain somewhat abstract and inaccessible.
However, we can generalize about what T-Groups produce and by doing so we see how appropriate the T-Group is for teaching emotional intelligence.
In this schema, lines depict the coaching/observer relationships between the two T-Groups.
Discussion: T-Groups are frustrating encounters and they often get the blame (along with the T-Group leader) for unresolved conflict that arises from the T-Group interactions.
In brief, the T-Group is a vehicle for learning about yourself, about your impact on others, and about adopting behaviors that enhance your effectiveness in group and interpersonal encounters.
When we look at a partial list of the goals of T-Group training, it becomes readily apparent that this is a good fit for pedagogy in teaching emotional intelligence:
Participants in T-Group training are coaxed and coached to be mindful and authentic.
Before we describe what a T-Group session might look like, let us clarify some basic rules about what a T-Group is and does, and what it is not and does not do.
Along with many others, Argyris was elated by the success of T-groups, with their power to unfreeze the rigid, authoritarian behaviour of so many managers and to generate a feeling of liberation and excitement.
This rapid return to original behaviour, by people who had been extremely enthusiastic about the `new approach' generated by T-group training, led Argyris to formulate an idea that has affected people's views about organisational behaviour for many years.