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BASIC ASSUMPTION GROUPS
Bion’s theory of Basic Assumption Groups is a way of understanding what is going on behind group behaviour in change. Bion identified that there are three groups of behaviour, and that systems will shift their focus between these groups throughout time.
Bion said that every group’s behaviour is governed by the question:
Who or what will save us?
The Dependency Group
Waiting for rescue by a great omnipotent leader. Behaviour is passive and immature. Leaders are constantly replaced when they fail to solve everything.
The Flight or Fight Group
Behaviour here is about self-preservation. The group feels threatened and they resist with the survival response of fight or flight. Behaviour is destructive and groups are looking to place blame and pass on responsibility.
The Pairing Group
Hoping and waiting for rescue through two parties marrying together to create the ‘perfect’ solution. Action is ‘frozen’. However when a solution does emerge the group exterminate it so they carry on being inactive and hoping rather than taking responsibility and moving forwards.