Juggling Perspectives

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Level of process: 
Intent or purpose: 
To make decisions based on a good weighing up of the varied interests involved, by clarifying the underlying logic of the different stakeholders.
Used as component of: 
This workshop can be used independently or also as a component of a larger program
Types of Participants: 
Managers / professionals, people who are responsible for acting and making decisions in an organizational context
Recommended size of group: 
Optimal amount of time needed: 
90 minutes to 3 hours
Usual or Expected Outcomes: 
- A framework in which to name the specific assumptions being made by the various stakeholders - Individual assumptions about the content explicitly clarified - Through an internal workshop: discussion of organizational policy
Level of participation: 
Quite active
Type of Facilitator-Client Relationship: 
The facilitator has permission to explain a model and build on it further along with the participants.
Level of Difficulty to Facilitate: 
Facilitation skills required
Facilitator Personality Fit: 
Someone who can endure the pressure of a dilemma and can help the group to explore it further rather than jumping directly to action.

1. As a whole group, discuss with one another the focus issue which the group is considering, and arrive at a focus question statement, if you do not have one already.

2. Remind the group that each stakeholder looks at the same issue from a different perspective. Discuss as a group and name what the major stakeholder perspectives are for your issue. You may use as a starting point the three perspectives mentioned below.* For each perspective (probably three to five of them) post a flipchart, each in a different part of the room, to represent the perspective of each of the stakeholders groups.

3. Begin with the first flipchart. As a whole group, put yourself into the position of each stakeholder and summarize in a sentence in a sentence the values of this stakeholder and then, based on these values, how the stakeholder views the perspectives of the other stakeholders. Record this thinking on the flipchart.

4. Repeat this procedure for each of the perspectives.

5. Divide the space into the number of segments that you have stakeholder values by putting masking tape on the floor. Place your focus question statement on a large sheet of paper in the center of all of the segments.

6. Have the group spread themselves among the stakeholder compartments.

7. Read the focus question and give each stakeholder group a chance to discuss their perspective. Starting with one of the perspectives, ask:
• What is the core issue in this case from the perspective in which you are standing?
• How does that feel?
• What do you experience of the case? What happens next?
• What would you say from this perspective to those in the other perspectives?

8. Ask the same questions of the people standing in each of the other stakeholder perspectives.

9. Now ask everyone to move to a new perspective and repeat the procedure.

10. Reflection:
Let’s list the various perspectives that we have enumerated.(record on the flipchart)
How has this discussion influenced your thinking about the focus issue we face today?

11. As the group proceeds with the rest of their decision-making, check proposed decisions against the perspectives list for inclusiveness.

How flexible is the process?: 
Very flexible
Carolien de Monchy
Epistemological Framework: 
The background thinking here is the logic of competing quality values. In the work of professionals and mangers there are often three categories of stakeholders who are involved in work in their own ways. Each of these parties has their own values and norms by which to assess the work and the decisions of a professional or of a manger: