PROCESS CONSULTANTThe process consultant is an expert on group process. By being an expert on process, the consultant can work with groups from a variety of content areas. If faculty in the medical school or the business school, or if staff at the Environmental Protection Agency are complaining about inefficiencies and frustrations resulting from people interactions, a process consultant does not have to be an expert in medicine or business or environmental protection in order to be helpful; he assumes that people are resourceful with the means to solve their own problems if provided the opportunities to do so. Using social science knowledge of groups and organizations, and a variety of role plays, simulations, guided group interaction, abbreviated, and small group exercise, the consultant devises a process to help people to both define and solve their own problems. While content experts often assume that they have the only worthwhile knowledge to be disseminated, and while they foster asymmetrical and dependent relations by reducing group members to the role of passive listener, the process consultant helps the group examine its roles, tasks, decision-making style, and makes suggestions to enhance efficient problem-solving and productivity. The process consultant is aware of the ways in which the group communicates and provides opportunities for important feedback among group members so that they can observe how their behavior impacts others within the group or organization. The process consultant may work with groups to help increase their short- and long-range planning skills or he may work with them on a participatory research endeavor. Over the years Professor Bryant has been a consultant to a number of grassroots, public school, cooperative and environmental groups and government agencies across the country. Process consultant skills are also a major part of his classroom pedagogy.
Picture Credit - S.C. Delaney, EPA