Formalizing Relationships

Relationships depend upon the appropriate degree and character of formalization. Too much or too little will prevent the relationship from working properly.


Select a relationship that causes the group trouble. Start with an interchange relationship at first. The exercise also applies to emotion relationships as you become more comfortable with the process.


  • What form has been used in the past? Does this form help or hinder the exchange?

  • Who is the giver? How is this responsibility created? What is the task performed to bring the interchange element into the relationship? Is this task or the element itself dependent upon anything else?

  • Who is the receiver? What does the interchange element or emotion reaction enable or prevent this person from doing?

  • What establishes these roles — a policy or procedure, tradition, individual awareness? Is this the appropriate format? How are giver and receiver notified of their responsibility?

  • What is the trigger? Does this trigger capture every instance that the interchange is required? Is it obvious to the giver?

  • What is the initial behavior? Do the participants know how to perform the steps of this behavior?

  • What pressures establish the behavior will continue? What formality do these pressures take?

  • Is the element transferred in a way that suits the needs of the receiver? Is this a burden for the giver?

  • Are there other places that this element should be delivered?

  • What are the consequences on the completion of work if this interchange is not performed, not performed on time, or not performed correctly?

  • What effect does this interchange have on emotion relationships? Does it create tension or stress for the giver, receiver, or other members of the group?

  • What changes should be made to the structure of the interchange relationship to align it with its role in the production and combination of work?