Providing Feedback to Group Co-Leaders to Improve Group Climate: An Intervention to Facilitate Similar Mental Models in Co-Leader Teams

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This study examined the effectiveness of an intervention that provided feedback to co-leaders of intergroup dialogues about their mental models of their group members. Co-leaders completed similarity ratings of their group members, and group members completed a measure of group climate following each of seven weekly sessions. Co-leader similarity data was used to derive each co-leader's mental model of her or his group members for each session. Co-leaders in the experimental condition received feedback in the form of a graphical representation of their own and their co-leader's mental model of their group members after each session, and were provided with discussion questions to help them examine these mental models. Co-leaders in the control condition did not receive feedback, but were given discussion questions regarding the most important incidents in their most recent dialogue session. The Engagement and Avoidance aspects of group climate in the intergroup dialogues developed as predicted (i.e., Engagement significantly increased and Avoidance significantly decreased), however there was no significant change in the Conflict aspect of the group climate over time. Additionally, co-leader mental model similarity was not significantly related to any of the aspects of group climate as predicted. Finally, results indicated that the feedback intervention did not significantly impact the level of similarity in co-leaders' mental models, or the group climate.